I am at the Berkeley Board of Realtors and learning about the plans for WCCUSD, AUSD, BUSD.
Major topic across the board? How to close the achievement gap.
Did you know that…
– 92% of Albany High kids go on to college
– all 3 districts have “academy” schools which teach vocational skills. WCCUSD has 21!
– all 3 districts have “edible gardening” programs in the elementary schools
– WCCUSD has a partnership with Holy Names University where SAT’s are not a factor for admission
– Albany High will be starting their own student-run student store to teach business skills
– El Cerrito High School has an auto shop that both AUSD and BUSD high school students use
-El Cerrito High School has a renowned theater
– WCCUSD has the largest funding available for rebuilding of all 50 schools
– gone are the days of wood shop and sewing- now it is digital photography and IT
– All districts have Title 1 schools which means free and reduced lunch paid for by federal funds. There is additional support for parents, tutors, etc. 36% of students in kindergarten @ BUSD and 52% in middle school are title 1 students. WCCUSD has the largest percentage.
– Chevron is the biggest supporter for WCCUSD.
– Berkeley High has “small learning communities” which provides flexibility in choices for students- half of the high school students participate.
– BUSD has an elementary lottery system- 80% of students get their first choice. They use a green bus system to transfer the students from one end of Berkeley to the other. All elementary schools are offering the same programs and same support so there isn’t a better school than the other.
– teaching kids to think is more important than test scores: the new Common Core program will force the districts to refocus the teachers to bring technology into the classroom.
– WCCUSD has brought in a Scholar in Residence to help strategize special Ed needs and differentiated instruction. Portola Middle School will start this.
– Portola Middle School will be rebuilt within 3 years.
– closing the academic gap requires bringing in additional support, NOT dumbing down the curriculum
– El Cerrito High School has an Ivy League tract program
– Berkeley has 3 Berkeley-run preschools, but anyone can attend
– Berkeley has a universal preschool screening tool to check for kindergarten readiness
– Transitional kindergarten exists in all districts
– Spanish Emersion program in Berkeley: half of students are Spanish program and half is English. In kindergarten the classroom starts out as 90% English and 10% Spanish; over the course of the year it switches. Le Conte has this program.
– Albany is considering a mandarin-English bilingual program.
– School districts do not care about being a US Citizen
– Berkeley high school is an open campus
– Cooking and gardening program in Berkeley just lost its funding, Berkeley is now seeking community grants and support
– After school programs are much more uniform and offer homework support, enrichment and fun
– Vote YES for all parcel taxes so schools can continue to provide smaller class sizes, music, and art.
– COMMUNITY SUPPORT will make or break the schools. Keep supporting!