BALSA Talk: Advanced Learners & BUSD

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Berkeley Advanced Learner Support and Advocacy Community (BALSA), an inclusive, diverse grassroots organization founded by parents partly in response to changes BUSD’s Gifted & Talented Education (GATE) policy, has a regular speakers series.

Come hear Superintendent Donald Evans speak about BUSD policies for advanced learners at BALSA’s next meeting:

  • Monday, October 27, 7:00–9:00 pm
  • 2020 Bonar, Room 126 (directions here)
  • All are welcome!

Advanced Learners and BUSD: Finding the Way Forward Together

Join BALSA members, Superintendent Donald Evans, and Director of Programs and Special Projects Pat Saddler for a discussion of the “State of GATE” in our district. Topics will include the current BUSD rubric for GATE (“Gifted and Talented Education”) identification, strategies for challenging advanced learners in math and other academic areas, new proposals for district-sponsored enrichment, and plans for professional development in differentiation. A middle school math coach will also be present to talk about differentiating within the Common Core.


Donald Evans, Ed.D., brings 26 years of experience as an educator to his position as BUSD Superintendent. Dr. Evans began his teaching career in San Diego Unified School District where, during his 10-year tenure, he served as a GATE teacher, a teacher coach, and a vice principal. He later held positions in East Palo Alto, Oakland, and Compton. Prior to joining Berkeley Unified School District, Dr. Donald Evans was the Superintendent of Hayward Unified School District where he built strong relationships with community members and stakeholders throughout the city. Throughout his career, Dr. Evans has focused extensively on curriculum and professional development. Dr. Evans earned his Doctorate in 2010 from the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley, in association with the Leadership in Educational Equity Program.

Pat Saddler came to Berkeley in 1999 as LeConte Elementary School Principal. In 2005, she was asked to take the helm at Rosa Parks Elementary School, where she established an API score for a school that had not historically participated in California Standards Testing (CST). Under her leadership, Rosa Parks gained 36 API points over a three year period. In 2008 Saddler moved up to secondary, when she became principal at Longfellow Middle School. She currently serves as Director of Programs and Special Projects for BUSD.