PTSA Bulletin

PTSA 2022 January-June Bulletin

Graduating Seniors

 

The PTSA extends its congratulations to all BHS 2022 seniors. Within our ranks we’re saying farewell to two of our student execs. VP Marco Levine will be going to UC Santa Cruz next year. Secretary Hanim Nuru will be going to the University of Chicago. 

 

A-G College Readiness Data Analysis

 

Looking through the lens of graduating high school students who meet the A-G requirements of California’s 4-year public universities and breaking the data down into different ethnicities has yielded surprising results. Former BHS math teacher Peter Bloomsburg, currently getting a PHD in Data Science from the University of Michigan, shared his research with the PTSA. 

 

About 25 years ago, I analyzed standardized test scores for White, Asian, African American and Hispanic students from several school districts in the county, including Berkeley and Oakland. I found that Berkeley had some of the best scores for every ethnic group. That was not true this time, twenty-five years later.

 

Peter’s unprecedented use of A-G data to assess BHS’s ability to prepare its students has yielded eye-opening findings in his paper College Readiness of California High School Graduates, which is on the PTSA website.  https://www.bhs.berkeleypta.org/infonew

 

Notes on 2022 Meetings

 

January - Emotional Health Follow-up

 

Mental health resources on the PTSA website’s new Wellness tab were discussed. They include those provided by the City of Berkeley. BHS alumni Eli Marx-Kahn presented on the neuroscience that supports the benefit of mindfulness underlying his Holistic Learning website, which he made available to BHS students this year. 

 

February - Black History Month Celebration

 

The tone of the meeting was one of celebration and engagement with guests Spenser Pritchard, Dawn Williams, and Laura Babitt, a presentation from the Black Student Union. The meeting culminated in a fun-filled Kahoot that brought light to the traditions and culture of Kwansa and African American history. Check out the student winners of the PTSA’s Black History Month Art Contest https://www.bhs.berkeleypta.org/2022-winners

 

March: The PTSA Reorganizes into Working Group Model

 

BHS needs clear avenues for parents, students, and teachers to collaborate and participate in the school’s well being. For this reason the PTSA has restructured its parent and student leadership into a working group model. This meeting introduced participants to the three working groups being launched by PTSA leaders: 

 

  • Community, Culture, and Hospitality - Sandra Loving & Bridgett Bernhardt

  • Emotional Health - Monique Buffler

  • 504 and Admin Policy Reform - Mimi Pulich & Tatiana Guerriero Ramos

 

April - the scheduled meeting was canceled/postponed

 

May - Block/Bell Schedule Redesign

 

Vice Principal Harrison Blatt delivered a presentation to parents at our May meeting on what is now referred to as the Bell Schedule Redesign. The intent of this proposal is to create more on-campus time during the school day to better serve BHS students. At the PTSA’s November meeting on emotional health, several teachers and counselors shared their perspectives on how having a Block Schedule would afford Berkeley High students more opportunities to get teacher and emotional health support while on campus during the school day. At the PTSA’s May meeting, parents expressed concerns about how the proposed change might disrupt academic rigor at BHS and they questioned the value of the BHS Redesign Survey findings because there were so few responses to it. Like the U9, the bell schedule redesign is a teacher initiated proposal. If it goes forward, it will be implemented in the 2023-24 school year.  

 

More information, including the presentation given at the PTSA meeting can be found on the BHS website: https://bhs.berkeleyschools.net/bell-schedule-redesign/ 

 

Working Group Updates

 

The focus of the working groups launched this year has been to identify goals for next year.  All groups will be updating the PTSA website this summer to communicate their plans and provide information for incoming and existing BHS families.

 

Emotional Health

 

The 2021-22 school year has highlighted the need for more services for BHS students. Already group leader Monique Buffler has gotten the ball rolling on a parent lecture series and reviving the MEET program in her pursuits as she gathers knowledge of resources, networks with BHS staff and students. If you have or know of any resources that will support our students, families, and staff, this is the group you want to connect with.

 

Community, Culture, and Hospitality

 

Be it coffee one morning for the Safety Officers or getting the food trucks back to Back to School night, any opportunity to build community, celebrate our cultural diversity, and further acts of appreciation is within this working group’s domain. It has attracted a lot of parent interest that has yet to be tapped into, but “2022-23 is the year we will make things happen,” says Sandra Loving, group leader.

 

504 and Administrative Policy Reform

 

The 504 working group’s identified goals for the upcoming school year are to: illuminate the 504 process and identify the holes, provide missing resources for families, students, and staff, and  identify and reform BHS administrative policies that don’t put students’ needs first.

 

Join Our Efforts

 

If you’re interested in joining one of the PTSA’s working groups or you have ideas about creating another please contact us.  ptsaberkeleyhigh@gmail.com

 

The PTSA’s student president, Anaya Loving, will be a senior next year and at present is our only student exec. Students with a vision to make Berkeley High better either through leadership or as part of a working group should contact Anaya at bhsptsa.students@gmail.com

 

 

About the PTSA

 

Meetings take place via Zoom; meeting information is on the PTSA website.

https://www.bhs.berkeleypta.org/meeting-resources

 

Watch this short video to learn more about the PTSA

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1HYqHncSaqqbthEGu0fFu46DDF2mEHtaK/view?usp=sharing

 

The PTSA does not actively fundraise, instead we ask for member donations. You can join and support the PTSA on our website https://www.bhs.berkeleypta.org/join

PTSA 2021 November/December Bulletin

Monique Buffler is our new VP of Wellness

 

Monique is a public health professional committed to improving the emotional health of BHS students. She hopes to collaborate with caregivers, students and teachers to provide resources, reduce stigma around mental health, and address substance use in the high school community. The mother of a BHS alumni and a current junior, Monique has served for years on various school committees and is looking forward to working through the PTSA on this important topic

 

November 16 PTSA Meeting

 

Participants conveyed that BHS students have never been as underserved and emotionally down as they are now. Teacher dedication persists, but their morale has never been as low as it is now. The November meeting focused on what the extended BHS community can do to help BHS students, teachers, and staff during this unprecedented difficult time on campus. Here’s what teachers, parents, and guardians suggested at the November 16th PTSA meeting. 

 

BHS Needs Some Fun

 

The BHS campus is not a happy place right now. On top of emotional health plunging and  anxiety and frustration rising, the A building has become a noisy disruptive large scale construction project. Worse yet, there’s a shortage of janitors so the campus is a mess.

 

More fun and a cleaner campus are needed to boost student and teacher morale. One day the intervention counselors wore Mickey Mouse ears just to lighten things up. What can parents, guardians, teachers, and students potentially do through the PTSA? Get food trucks on campus again? Organize a parent and student campus clean-up day? Ideas and implementers are needed.

 

Bringing Outside Resources to BHS 

 

The community is rich with resources and people who care about BHS students and teachers and want to do something to bring emotional health support resources to BHS at this critical time. But there’s no pathway to do so; parents and teachers who’ve attempted to do so encounter obstacles that make no sense. A streamlined and effective pathway is needed.

 

Meeting participants agreed that compiling a list of potential resources interested in providing students with services is a sensible next step. Do so on this form.

https://forms.gle/KWtxPoMCDkx44p2x8

 

Some free resources are already available (see below). During the break the PTSA website will add means to easily navigate to these and other resources that become available.

 

Supporting a future Block Schedule

 

The current school day consists of six 54 minutes in class followed by a 6 minute passing period and one 40 minute lunch in the middle during which most BHS students rush to Shattuck and back. It’s a rat race, and there’s no time for students to receive academic or emotional support during the school day. In contrast, a block schedule builds a flex period into the school day. This allows students to slow down, think about what they’ve learned, and get support or pursue an interest without having to miss a class. Research shows that block schedules have a positive impact on student achievement and emotional health. Like the U9 structural change at BHS, the proposal for a block schedule is a BHS teacher initiated initiative. A team of teachers is working on a new proposal with BHS’s newest vice principal, Harrison Blatt.  The PTSA will pass on  more information as it becomes available.

 

Strength in Numbers

 

The PTSA is positioned to channel parent energy to establish a pathway for emotional health resources and support block scheduling, but it will need strength in numbers to succeed. Add your support now.

https://forms.gle/dGPmqrUJeYiVbykn7 

 

January Meeting Follow-up

 

The January 18th meeting will further the discussion of solutions and steps to move forwards that were identified at the November 2021 meeting. Look for an eTree announcement.

 

Meetings take place via Zoom; meeting information is on the PTSA website. https://www.bhs.berkeleypta.org/meeting-resources

 

Free Resource: Holistic Learning

 

Holistic Learning is an integrative extracurricular education platform for high school students developed by BHS 2017 alumni Eli Marx-Kahn that he is offering free to all BHS students. Holistic Learning provides a set of tools that can enhance students ability to ease the stress and anxiety of high school as well as provide them with valuable skills and knowledge. It offers an extensive library of videos covering topics in the areas of meditation & wellness, learning strategies, college & career guidance, and career seminars.

 

Eli will be discussing the cognitive neuroscience underlying Holistic Learning at the January PTSA meeting, and to get it you can contact him now by phone (510) 326-1995 or email at

wellness@holisticlearning.co

 

Free Resources: myStrength and Headspace Apps

 

Two popular apps, myStrength or Headspace, are now available to BHS students for free. The apps use proven techniques to help navigate issues such as stress, depression and substance abuse, and to help create and build mindfulness and meditation practices. The City of Berkeley is now providing these two free mental health apps to anyone 13-years-old or older who lives, works or attends school in Berkeley

 

Sign up now for one or both apps. Click the link and scroll to bottom of page

https://helpathandca.org/berkeley/

 

December Staff Appreciation

 

The PTSA showed some appreciation and love to all BHS staff on Monday December 13th. We set up at the Donahue Gym lobby and distributed coffee and bagels. It was wonderful to see BHS stop by for a morning treat, some caffeine, and a smile.

 

About the PTSA

 

The PTSA is a way to get involved, get things done, and make a difference at BHS. Watch this short video to learn more about the PTSA

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1HYqHncSaqqbthEGu0fFu46DDF2mEHtaK/view?usp=sharing

   

The PTSA does not actively fundraise, instead we ask for member donations,  You can join and support the PTSA on our website https://www.bhs.berkeleypta.org/join

PTSA 2021 September/October Bulletin

About the PTSA

 

BHS has a PTA that includes student leadership, it’s a Parent, Teacher, Student Association, one of the few. Our meetings and website give a voice to parents and provide a hub for resources and student expression. We have officers and monthly Zoom meetings, we publish to the eTree, we sponsor activities through our website, and we now compose bi-monthy bulletins.

 

Watch this short video to learn more about the PTSA

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1HYqHncSaqqbthEGu0fFu46DDF2mEHtaK/view?usp=sharing

Our goal for this year is to establish sustainable leadership. We have built the infrastructure for the PTSA to flourish, now it’s a matter of attracting new parent, student, and teacher leaders. The PTSA is a way to get involved, get things done, and make a difference at BHS. 

 

The PTSA does not actively fundraise, instead we ask for member donations, You can join and support the PTSA on our website https://www.bhs.berkeleypta.org/join

 

 

Tatiana Guerreiro Ramos is our new VP of Equity and Inclusion 

 

Tatiana is known to many BUSD parents as the co-owner of Classroom Matters, and she's its learning differences specialist. In her advocacy for kids with learning differences, she helps families get support, services, and curriculum accommodations that promote student engagement. Given the depth of her experience and commitment to equity and inclusion, Tatiana is destined to put her stamp on this position’s role at Berkeley High. We welcome her with open arms.  


 

Sexual Harassment and Harm at BHS

 

It’s a long standing issue and each year more BHS students are traumatized by BUSD’s broken processes without any guaranteed recourse other than what parents and teachers can provide. Berkeleyside has covered recent developments, and BHS students frequently speak at Board meetings about their experiences and need for support. At our October meeting, a panel of parent, student, and teacher subject-matter experts provided perspectives and fielded questions. The consensus is that meaningful District and Board actions and investments to improve the response to sexual harm will not happen until many parents demand it.

GET INFORMED: Read https://www.bhs.berkeleypta.org/sexual-harassment-summary  

LISTEN to the recording of our October meeting https://www.bhs.berkeleypta.org/meeting-resources  

ASK QUESTIONS for a FAQ in the works, email them to ptsaberkeleyhigh@gmail.com 

SHOW SUPPORT NOW with your response to this brief questionnaire: https://forms.gle/P6mDWkp9ca79bLr77

 

 

Our new website at 9 & 1/2 months  

 

On February 1, 2021 we launched our website, https://www.bhs.berkeleypta.org/ with our first annual Black History Art Contest in celebration of Black History Month -- check out the works of our photography, visual arts, poetry, and music student winners on the Student Life tab. 

 

The PTSA website gives a voice to students, teachers, and parents and provides a means to share BHS knowledge (inside information and perspectives on BHS are not easy to come by). Ultimately what makes a website valuable is its content. Our plan to add new relevant content has been “if we build it they will come.”  So we’re putting the word out.  The PTSA website can serve many knowledge sharing purposes. We welcome your interest, expertise and contributions.

 

   

The Math 1-2-3 Survival Kit

 

The curriculum used to teach Math 1,2 & 3 at BHS is called the Math Vision Project (MVP). There is no textbook, and new concepts are not taught with examples. It’s up to the students to figure it out on their own, which is a tall challenge for many. Enter the Math 1-2-3 Survival Kit which has links to over 2000 videos (curated from the tens of thousands on the web by Harvard and Stanford graduate and product developer Nina Hooper, who expended hundreds of hours finding the best matching video) for every Math 1,2 & 3 module's Ready, Set, Go exercise. The Math 1-2-3 Survival Kit on the PTSA website is the perfect tool for the student who is determined to succeed in math despite whatever math trauma they may experience at BHS. Check it out https://ptsaberkeleyhigh.wixsite.com/bhsmath

 

Seeking a Few Students Who Believe They Are Not Good at Math

 

Peter Bloomburgh, a former BHS math teacher, would like to work with a few students on key Math 1 and Math 2 concepts and skills. Students will receive one-on-one tutoring while using a math website Peter’s developed. Peter graduated from MIT and held several senior management positions during his business career; he subsequently taught math at BHS for 12 years. Helping students become more confident about their math abilities is his passion. He is not charging for this service; if you are interested email him at peterbloomsburgh@gmail.com

 

PARENT HELP WANTED

 

1. Skilled Wix resource to assist with web updates

2. Auditor to address PTA reporting requirements (previous PTA experience required)

3. Treasurer (PTA experience is helpful but the BHS treasurer has it easy compared to what K-8 treasurers do)

4. VP of Membership & Recruitment - seeking fresh energy, ideas, and determination 


 

Upcoming Meeting Topics

 

Nov 15 - 504 Subcommittee Meeting - Retests: who needs them & who gets them

Nov 16 - Monthly Meeting - Safety and Mental Health concerns in the Fall of 2021

Jan 18 - Monthly Meeting - 2021-22 Math Discussion Night

 

More meeting details are in our eTree announcements. All meetings take place via  Zoom; meeting information is on the PTSA website. https://www.bhs.berkeleypta.org/meeting-resources