News Blog

Monday Password Reset

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On Monday evening, September 28 the Berkeley Unified School district will force a password reset for all elementary students. The first time your child logs into their @students.berkeley.net account after the password reset, they should input their original as usual. After entering their password, they will be required to enter a new password. 

Why is this happening?

It is always good practice to change passwords frequently – requiring a password change will help protect your child’s privacy and keep them safe, especially considering these accounts are being used more frequently during distance learning.

What should we do to prepare for the change?

  • First you can take a look at this slideshow – your child’s classroom teacher will go over this presentation during a live class session before Monday, September 28.
  • Right now, you and your child should pick a new, strong password, and write it down.  
    • Note: Strong passwords use at least 8 characters and have both upper and lower case letters. 
    • Make your password long, memorable and difficult to guess. For example pick your favorite color, animal and food together (For example, PurpleTigerPasta).

What will happen after Monday, September 28?  How do we change the password?

You can review the steps to take HERE.  

  • After this forced password reset, your child will log into their account as usual, using the old password.  
  • They will then need to enter the new password twice.  It will look like this:

What if I forget the new password? Try ONE method below

  • Emergency Zoom Hotline: only available on Tuesday 9/29 & Wednesday 9/30 from 8:30am – 10:30am.  Guardians can join the Zoom Meeting below:

Meeting ID: 811 8626 6322

Passcode: 922399

Hola Familias en las Escuelas Primarias:

El lunes, 28 de septiembre Berkeley Unified School District va a forzar un password reset (restablecimiento de contraseña) para todos los estudiantes en primaria.  Ese día, después de logging (iniciar sesión) en la cuenta de @students.berkeley.net, se le pedirá a su hijo que ingrese una NUEVA password (contraseña).

¿Por qué esta sucediendo esto?

Siempre es una buena práctica cambiar las passwords con frecuencia; el requerir un cambio de password ayudará a proteger la privacidad de su hijo y a mantenerlo seguro, especialmente considerando que estas cuentas se utilizan con más frecuencia durante el distance learning (aprendizaje a distancia).

¿Que debemos hacer para prepararnos para el cambio?

·   Primero vea estas diapositivas this slideshow (diapositivas) – el maestro de clase de su hijo repasará esta presentación durante una sesión de clase en vivo antes del lunes, 28 de septiembre.

·   Ahora mismo, usted y su hijo deben escoger una nueva, y fuerte password, y escribirla.  

  • Aviso: Un password fuerte usa por lo menos 8 caracteres y contiene letras mayúsculas y minúsculas. 
  • Haga que su contraseña sea larga, memorable y difícil de adivinar. Por ejemplo elija su color, animal y comida preferida juntos (Por ejemplo, PurpleTigerPasta (MoradoTigrePasta).

¿Que pasará el lunes, 28 de septiembre?  ¿Cómo cambiamos el password?

Usted puede revisar los pasos a seguir AQUÍ.  

·   El 28 de septiembre, su hijo iniciará sesión en su cuenta como de costumbre, usando su password anterior.  

·   Luego deberán ingresar la nueva contraseña dos veces.  Se verá de esta manera:

¿Que sucede si olvido el nuevo password?

  • Línea directa de emergencia Zoom: solo disponible el martes 29 de septiembre y el miércoles 30 de septiembre de 8:30 a.m. a 10:30 a.m. Los padres pueden unirse a la reunión de Zoom a continuación:

Meeting ID: 811 8626 6322

Passcode: 922399

BUSD: Housing, Student Attendance

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Important Information from Superintendent Stephens

A message was sent out by Dr. Stephens yesterday via School messenger regarding attendance.  In case you missed it, here it is again –

Student Attendance

California made significant changes to the laws about student attendance in the 2020-2021 school year, and although the new state law does not describe every challenge that families are facing, school attendance continues to be compulsory for students.

Compulsory attendance means that all students are expected to participate in school, including the teacher’s live daily online instruction and the completion of assignments made by the teacher. Both of these elements are expected parts of attending school and, to comply with state law, BUSD will soon implement a new attendance taking system that tracks both daily attendance in live instruction and each student’s ongoing completion of school work.

We recognize that attendance in live online instruction can be interrupted by a variety of factors, including the stability of internet service. We ask that families continue to share with their teachers the reason for an absence from an online session. At the school level, we are required to maintain our attendance communications with families, and this still involves automated attendance calls to the home when a student is absent. We will do our best to limit these calls to absences that we have no information about.

Supplemental support is scheduled by Special Education, English Language Development Teachers, and intervention teachers, and these support classes are also mandatory. 

At the elementary level, Choice Time consists of live enrichment classes like Music, Physical Education, Library, Science, and Gardening & Cooking. Student participation in Choice Time enrichment classes is highly encouraged, but may be viewed as optional. No make-up instruction can be offered for families who opt out of these enrichment classes on an ongoing basis, and periodic participation will affect your child’s learning in these subjects.

Students grades should be based on impartial, consistent observation by the teacher of the quality of the student’s work and his/her mastery of course content and objectives. A student’s understanding and work can be affected by attendance, but attendance itself is not included as part of grading.

Some families may choose to opt out of Zoom instruction entirely, and while BUSD discourages this because of its impact on student learning, it is permissible under state law that a child is considered to be attending school if she or he is only completing the teacher’s assignments. Families who elect to miss all or some Zoom sessions should understand that teachers cannot offer individual tutoring, make-up work, additional assignments, or other support beyond what the teacher provides to all students. Families who choose to opt out of Zoom entirely should contact their school principal. 

In keeping with state law about attendance, families that choose not to participate in either live or assigned school work will be dropped from the district, and will be required to re-enroll to begin attending a BUSD school again. A seat at your current school cannot be saved.

 

Last Chance for SSC Nominations

You can have a direct impact on your child’s education.  Join the dynamic group of parents, teachers & staff on the School Site Council, working to meet the learning needs of ALL students, improve school climate, and forge a strong Home-School Connection.  The SSC helps write our annual School Site Plan and determines funding priorities for Oxford Elementary.

Please nominate yourself here to be on the Oxford SSC ballot. It’s a two-year term and three parent/guardian positions are open on the council this year.  We meet once a month in the late afternoon.  The deadline for nominations is Friday, Sept. 11.  Contact Beth Rhine if you have questions. The first official meeting with the 2020-2021 Committee will be on October 14. 

 

 

Coastal Art & Poetry Contest

California students in kindergarten through 12th grade are invited to submit artwork or poetry with a California coastal or marine theme to the Coastal Art & Poetry Contest, presented by the California Coastal Commission. 

Entries can be submitted online until midnight January 31st. For rules, contest flyer, entry form (and helpful links for teachers and students), please visit www.coastal.ca.gov/art-poetryThe instructions, flyer, and entry form are also available in Spanish. (If you need the flyer emailed instead, please let me know.) 

Up to ten winners will be selected to win $100 gift certificates to an art supply store (for artists) or book store (for poets). Each winner’s sponsoring teacher will receive a $50 gift certificate for educational supplies, courtesy of Acorn Naturalists. Students may have their work featured on Commission web pages and materials, and winners and honorable mentions will be exhibited throughout the state, as conditions allow. 

 
 Bekkah Scharf (she/her/hers)

Public Education Program, California Coastal Commission 


 

 
Berkeley Housing Information
Jones Berkeley is a new apartment complex at 1080 Jones Street that is now accepting applications for below market rate apartments. There are 16 available units including studios, 1 bedrooms, 2 bedrooms, and 3 bedrooms. They will accept Section 8 and other valid rental assistance program vouchers. 
 
The property includes:
Fitness Center, Indoor/Outdoor Lounge, Social Lounge, Package Lockers, Indoor Bicyle Parking, On-site Composting, Green Roof Spaces
 
 You can find information about the property / application process here.  Application due date:  10/13/2020 at 5:00pm.
 
 

BUSD Technology Review

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At our PTA meeting we heard from BUSD Teacher Librarian Eric Silverberg, who shared with us an overview of the different technologies the District is using in the new Distanced Learning plan.

Click here to see the presentation deck

Learn about the ED HUB

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The Ed Hub is BUSD’s centralized distribution site for all things teaching & learning during school facilities closure due to COVID-19. The drive-through site allows for BUSD students and their families to pull in, pick up essential learning supplies, and head back home while staying safely inside their car.

 

 

Click here to see more information about the ED HUB

“How to” videos for Google Classroom

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In partnership with BUSD’s Digitech, Berkeley Schools Volunteers spent much of the summer researching, designing, and producing a series of Google Classroom “how to” videos for families (grades 3rd and up).

These videos are now linked to the District’s Distance Learning resources page, bit.ly/busd2020. They are located under the red buttons in both English and Spanish. (Arabic coming soon!)

Or, if you just want to highlight the new Google Classroom how-to videos, you can share these direct links:

In partnership with BUSD’s Digitech, Berkeley Schools Volunteers spent much of the summer researching, designing, and producing a series of Google Classroom “how to” videos for families (grades 3rd and up).

These videos are now linked to the District’s Distance Learning resources page, bit.ly/busd2020. They are located under the red buttons in both English and Spanish. (Arabic coming soon!)

Or, if you just want to highlight the new Google Classroom how-to videos, you can share these direct links:

Welcome Back Monday!

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Hello, Oxford Families.
 
We are busily trying to get everything ready for Monday.  Emails and texts have been flying – it’s been a busy day.  I might need to send out another email if there are more updates, but I’ll try to limit the emails.  I’ll try!
 
First, teachers are working on reaching out to families to share information, links, and a sign-up for Family Conferences.  If you haven’t heard from your teacher, you will hear from them today or tomorrow.  Some are learning a whole new level of technology and are trying to get things in place.
 
For some tech support for families, check out this link:  bit.ly/busd2020. There are also links for students to use next week during independent work time.
Returning students will likely remember their login email and password.  Please use the BUSD email to log onto all BUSD programs, etc.  Classroom teachers will share the login email and password with the new students and kindergarten students.  I also have the list, so if you’re in a jam, feel free to email me.  
 
Today, we received a directive from the City of Berkeley Health Department saying that we are not able to hold in-person meetings inside or outside of schools.  I believe some teachers had been setting up outside family conferences next week but those will now need to be moved to Zoom Meetings.  It’s unfortunate but with Covid numbers increasing, we want to follow the guidelines and keep everyone healthy.  
 
Kindergarten Families, this means that Balanced Beginnings plans have to be cancelled.  I met with the Kinder team today and students have been assigned to teachers.  Ms. Lewis and Ms. Ahmed will be reaching out to families today or tomorrow with information about next week.  We are so bummed about this and were looking forward to seeing families, socially distanced, of course.  But again, we want to keep everyone healthy.
 
I am going to send out the information in this email via robo-call this evening.  I am using the Illuminate database that has all families in it.  If you don’t get an email or a phone call…or both, let me know.  This means that the information in our system is not accurate and I’d like to get it as accurate as possible.  
 
For future communications, our plan is to send out the school newsletter via this list on Tuesdays.  I will do a robo-call on Fridays with timely information.  As the school year gets underway, communications might slow down as we get into a groove.
 
Speaking of getting into a groove, the first couple of days might be a little bumpy while teachers get their virtual classrooms set up and as students figure out the routines.  I am confident that we will get into a groove for Distance Learning and the bumps will smooth out. (It will probably happen right before we go to Hybrid/part school-part home learning!). I really appreciate your patience and support in this whole process.  You are amazing. 
 
One piece of good news is that the move is still on schedule!  Phew.
 
Big hugs to you all!
 
Beth Rhine, Oxford Principal

BUSD: Optimism, Even in Uncertain Times

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Dear BUSD Community, 

On Monday, we begin another school year together, and we do so in an environment of great uncertainty. We wish we could tell you more about when and how schools will reopen in person, but there are just too many unknowns right now. 

Still, we view Monday’s start to the school year with optimism, and are excited to see so much energy from our teachers as they prepare to welcome their students. This year’s work brings a well-organized schedule for distance learning, meaningful revisions to the curriculum, more professional development for our staff, and increased attention to the importance of small group support and family communication. 

As we launch, let’s all note that we have accomplished so much since March, thanks to our caring staff and community. We have served tens of thousands of meals without interruption, distributed thousands of laptops to families, and shared hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations with Berkeley residents who need it most. Over the summer, we have made significant changes to the Distance Learning experience incorporating thoughtful feedback from parents/guardians, students, and staff.  We will continue to support our families with essential needs – please see our updated Nutrition Services information here.

As I write today, BUSD continues to receive evolving public health guidance about the risks associated with on-campus activity, and this guidance is developing to be more restrictive. In fact, as of last night, we have been told we can only conduct our Elementary School Family Meetings remotely. This is a huge disappointment to the principals, teaching staff and families who were really looking forward to the possibility of brief, socially distanced meetings on campus. Our principals and our risk manager are now developing revised protocols for picking up books and supplies, checking out library books, and more.  Your school principal will continue to communicate with you about what this will look like at each school site. 

Together, we are now watching as schools around the country are attempting a variety of strategies to reopen, and we are witnessing how difficult this is. When our local health conditions improve, BUSD is committed to continued partnership with our local health officers, the use of accurate data and informed scientific perspective, and a measured, cautious approach to reopening. 

The Board of Education and all our staff recognize that many Berkeley families are in a near-impossible situation. We recognize that Distance Learning is not the same as in-person school, and that it does not address the needs of caregivers who must work during school hours. We are still trying to find solutions that will address the very real childcare needs, and we are continuing to work on plans for an eventual return to at least some in-person learning, so that when local conditions and health orders permit, we will be able to. 

As so many Berkeley families have shared with me since March, we are in this together. While we are deeply disappointed that health orders do not permit us to be on-campus, I hope we adults can all still convey to our children that this return to school is an opportunity to reconnect with teachers and friends, and even at a distance, we have much to be grateful for and excited about. My very best to you and your children for an engaging and safe start to the school year.

Brent Stephens

Dear BUSD Community, 

On Monday, we begin another school year together, and we do so in an environment of great uncertainty. We wish we could tell you more about when and how schools will reopen in person, but there are just too many unknowns right now. 

Still, we view Monday’s start to the school year with optimism, and are excited to see so much energy from our teachers as they prepare to welcome their students. This year’s work brings a well-organized schedule for distance learning, meaningful revisions to the curriculum, more professional development for our staff, and increased attention to the importance of small group support and family communication. 

As we launch, let’s all note that we have accomplished so much since March, thanks to our caring staff and community. We have served tens of thousands of meals without interruption, distributed thousands of laptops to families, and shared hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations with Berkeley residents who need it most. Over the summer, we have made significant changes to the Distance Learning experience incorporating thoughtful feedback from parents/guardians, students, and staff.  We will continue to support our families with essential needs – please see our updated Nutrition Services information here.

As I write today, BUSD continues to receive evolving public health guidance about the risks associated with on-campus activity, and this guidance is developing to be more restrictive. In fact, as of last night, we have been told we can only conduct our Elementary School Family Meetings remotely. This is a huge disappointment to the principals, teaching staff and families who were really looking forward to the possibility of brief, socially distanced meetings on campus. Our principals and our risk manager are now developing revised protocols for picking up books and supplies, checking out library books, and more.  Your school principal will continue to communicate with you about what this will look like at each school site. 

Together, we are now watching as schools around the country are attempting a variety of strategies to reopen, and we are witnessing how difficult this is. When our local health conditions improve, BUSD is committed to continued partnership with our local health officers, the use of accurate data and informed scientific perspective, and a measured, cautious approach to reopening. 

The Board of Education and all our staff recognize that many Berkeley families are in a near-impossible situation. We recognize that Distance Learning is not the same as in-person school, and that it does not address the needs of caregivers who must work during school hours. We are still trying to find solutions that will address the very real childcare needs, and we are continuing to work on plans for an eventual return to at least some in-person learning, so that when local conditions and health orders permit, we will be able to. 

As so many Berkeley families have shared with me since March, we are in this together. While we are deeply disappointed that health orders do not permit us to be on-campus, I hope we adults can all still convey to our children that this return to school is an opportunity to reconnect with teachers and friends, and even at a distance, we have much to be grateful for and excited about. My very best to you and your children for an engaging and safe start to the school year.

Brent Stephens

Superintendent

BUSD: School Start Times, Directories, Town Halls & More

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Dear BUSD Families, Students, and Staff,

We are now one week away from the start of the school year, and I write with important information for all families.

First, on behalf of all our district staff, welcome back. The first day of school, Monday, August 17th, is just a week away.  While the school year begins in Distance Learning, I remain optimistic about our ability as a community to weather these difficult times together, keeping health and equity at the center of all our decisions.

This summer has been challenging because of the ongoing troubling news about the spread of COVID-19, and it has been inspiring, as mass protests continue to direct the attention of our leaders and institutions – BUSD included – to the ongoing need for racial justice. We all step into this new school year with commitments to health and equity for our students, family, and staff – and this will require that we work together. This is work we must embrace in all of its complexity.

Details about BUSD’s new Distance Learning Plan, Back to School, Fall 2020, can be found on our website.

The same plan is available in Spanish: Regreso a Classes Otoño 2020.

In addition to this plan, I hope you’ll read about several important updates:

Most Class Lists Will be Available beginning August 10

Although class lists are usually distributed the day before school begins, this year elementary class lists will be available for families and students on August 10, as will schedules for students at Berkeley High School. Middle school principals are working to finalize their schedules this week. Elementary schools will email lists to families on the 10th, and middle and high school class schedules will be available by checking your family’s Illuminate account. Please reach out to your school principal if you experience an issue. Please note that BUSD is unable to distribute parent contact information to the school community due to privacy laws.

PTA Family Directories

Most school PTA’s are planning to expedite the creation of a parent directory so that families can reach out to one another as the year begins. Specific information about your school’s parent directory will come directly from the PTA.

School Start Times

Beginning on August 17th, all BUSD elementary schools will begin at 9:00 am. During the first two weeks of school, elementary teachers will begin each day with a class meeting and instruction, and will schedule individual family meetings during the rest of the day. Families will receive work and assessments from their child’s teacher, as well as “how to” videos related to Seesaw, Google Classroom, Zoom, and other applications that will be central to the distance learning experience.

Also beginning on August 17th, all BUSD middle schools and Berkeley High School will begin at 9:15 am, and this will be the start time during this period of distance learning. Berkeley Technology Academy begins the school day at 10:00.

When we surveyed parents/guardians and high school students, we found that more families (53%) and high school students (55%) preferred the earlier start time, fewer families (40%) and high school students (26%) preferred the later start time (with the remainder having no preference or choosing an intermediate time). Meanwhile, half of Berkeley High teachers with school-age children have a strong preference for a later start time. 40% of teachers with school-age children prefer the earlier start time.  We regret there was no perfect solution that worked for everyone.

Virtual Town Halls

Last week, we were appreciative of the hundreds of families and students who joined us for Town Hall events about the new BUSD Distance Learning Plan. This week, we look forward to three additional Town Hall events.  The Zoom Links are below and also posted at berkeleyschools.net

Monday, August 10, 6:30 – 8:00, Town Hall for Families of Children with Disabilities

Tuesday, August 11, 6:30 – 8:00, Affinity-Based Town Hall for African American Families

Wednesday, August 12, 6:00 – 7:00: Town Hall for Berkeley High School Students

Links to recordings of last week’s Town Halls are available on the BUSD YouTube channel, which is also where you can watch live streaming of events. 

A recent addition to the BUSD YouTube channel is an August 5th webinar on Schools and Public Health during COVID, with presenters from UCSF and Berkeley Public Health, who responded to a Q&A with the BUSD management team and labor leadership.

Updated COVID-19 Resource Page

BUSD continues to update our COVID-19 Information and Resources web page on a regular basis. We encourage you to visit for additional information about meals, Chromebooks, mental health resources, and housing and financial support. 

New COVID-19 Testing Pilot Program at Berkeley Adult School, 1701 San Pablo Avenue

BUSD is pleased to host a COVID-19 pilot testing program offered by the City of Berkeley to provide additional COVID-19 testing to the Berkeley community. Curative, Inc’s self-administered oral fluid test is widely used for drive-up testing in the City of Los Angeles. This pilot, which offers the same test in a walk-up kiosk, is part of the City’s efforts to expand access to testing for everyone in our community. Information about this testing pilot, including links for appointments, is available at this City of Berkeley link.

Materials Distribution This Week – Please Be Cautious

BUSD schools will begin distributing materials to families this coming week, August 10 – 14. Most schools have organized these distributions so that families can drive by the school. In the event that any parent, volunteer, or staff member is on-campus this week, please remember that we all share important responsibilities to keep each other safe. This includes wearing a face covering, keeping a six foot distance from other people, and frequently washing or sanitizing your hands.

As we welcome all our families back to a new school year, we continue to be committed to our Berkeley community, and to make our very best effort to adapt to the changing, challenging circumstances of this pandemic.

Warmly,

Brent Stephens

Superintendent

BUSD: Back to School Fall 2020 Distance Learning Plan

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Dear BUSD Community, 

<este mensaje estará disponible en español en nuestro sitio web al final del dia>

With the Board of Education, I’m pleased to share the district’s Distance Learning Plan for the Fall of 2020. In this Back To School Fall 2020 plan, you’ll find detailed information about distance learning schedules at each grade level, including scheduled live teaching time with your child’s teachers, and for elementary students, ways that your child’s schedules will include enrichment, Special Education support, and English Language Development. 

Many people contributed to Berkeley’s Fall Distance Learning Plan, including parents, students, teachers, and principals. I am grateful for the many hours of work, input, and feedback – the finished product draws together many creative ideas, and tries to balance rigor, consistency, small group engagement, and students’ developmental needs.

The plan is a significant step forward from our first efforts to support remote learning, and we have learned a lot together. We’re glad to introduce an elementary school “master schedule” that will tie together students’ daily learning, with Seesaw as a common learning tool in all TK-2 classrooms, and Google Classroom in all classes from Grade 3 to 12. We also thought very carefully about Special Education services, and the school-wide schedules we’re introducing will help teachers coordinate specialized instruction. We will continue key developments from last year, like Grab and Go meal distribution, Chromebooks and hotspot distribution to families and educators, and the Ed Hub. 

For families with younger children, please know that we appreciate that time online is a developmental challenge. The schedule we describe here creates more evenness for instruction, but we understand that every child is different. As you look at the TK-Grade 1 schedule, please note that many Zoom sessions are optional.  Also please note that all Elementary grades will begin the year with two weeks of Family Meetings, so that you can speak with your teacher about your child’s specific needs. We will design an attendance system that permits flexibility, and will work further with families and teachers to adapt to families’ individual circumstances.

As part of finalizing fall planning, we are surveying our middle and high school families about preferred school start times. Middle school could begin at 9:15 am or at 10:00 am, and Berkeley High School could begin at 9:15 am or 11:00 a.m. We are considering these proposals in order to alleviate some stresses for families with children in different grades, and to heed research about school start times for adolescents. Your views on this question are valuable, and we are weighing this decision for a possible Board of Education discussion on August 5th.  A link to the survey for middle and high school families will be sent later today.

We are also holding a series of Town Halls to explain and discuss our Distance Learning plan, including scheduling options, beginning with a Town Hall on Monday, August 3rd at 6:30 pm. The schedule for the Town Halls is posted here

We continue to work on several important questions, including how to create childcare options for students on our campuses, and how to reopen our schools for a hybrid program when this can be done safely. We will continue to report our progress to you at regular intervals.

On behalf of the Board of Education and all our district staff, I express our sincere gratitude to our families, and our commitment to serve your children in this new year. We will emerge stronger together.

Sincerely,

Brent Stephens, Superintendent