Bimonthly Bulletin

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