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April 8, 2016

In this issue: Important Conversations re: SBA Testing, May 2nd: Disrupting the School-to-Prison Pipeline, CFT Convention Victory, and more…

Is Your Site Doing Everything It Can to Minimize Impacts of SBA Testing?

As we move into our second year of “operational” SBA testing, it’s crucial that all of us in BUSD remember to keep testing in proper perspective and to minimize its disruptive impacts on our most vital work: teaching our students to be informed, empowered, active citizens in the 21st century. There are many aspects of SBA administration that are decided at the site level—if you haven’t yet had a meeting to discuss these questions, schedule it now! 

  • How important is it that Chromebooks are available for non-testing use? Do we want our Chromebooks set automatically to testing mode or left in 'normal' mode?
  • How important is it that our library not be commandeered for testing?
  • How important is it that intervention groups continue as normal during testing?
  • Since the Classroom Activity is optional, do we want to spend instructional time on it?
  • What is the most useful data for informing site plans and priorities? If it's not SBA, what data should we use?

The TOCN & BFT Present: Disrupting the School-to-Prison Pipeline, May 2nd!

The Teachers of Color Network and BFT are proud to sponsor an important member event with Dr. Roger Viet Chung. Dr. Chung teaches ethnic studies at Laney College and works with the ROOTS Program at San Quentin. This event will be a powerful discussion of Dr. Chung’s work and an inspiring examination of ways we can disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline. Monday, May 2nd, 5:00-7:00PM, Berkeley Adult School Multipurpose Room, 1701 San Pablo Avenue. All BFT and BCCE members are encouraged to attend!

BFT-Sponsored Resolution on Standardized Testing Passes at CFT Convention!

The BFT Executive Board brought a resolution calling for “Rationality in Testing” at the 2016 CFT Convention, sparking great discussion and wide interest. BFT delegates spoke eloquently on the issue both in committee and on the floor of the convention—BHS Math teacher Dan Plonsey in particular urged CFT and its locals to take a progressive, active stance against the impact of testing on our schools. The resolution passed overwhelmingly, directing CFT leadership to push hard on this issue at the state level. 

Berkeley Public Schools Fund Honors Music Department!

At its annual luncheon on May 6th, the Berkeley Public Schools fund will honor the entire BUSD Music Department for their amazing work. Obviously this is well-deserved and a great honor. Tip your hat to a music teacher next time you see one!

Are You Interested in a Job Share Next Year?

If you are a K-5 teacher interested in a job share for 2016-2017 please contact BFT at 549-2307 or so that we can connect you with other teachers seeking job shares.

Voluntary Transfer Rights Provided by the BFT/BUSD Contract

The BFT/BUSD contract provides teachers the right to request a voluntary transfer to an open position at a different school so long as they have a positive evaluation and meet certain criteria (e.g. certification, credential, minimum years teaching experience, specialized training, etc.). If you have questions about how to make use of your rights in this area please contact BFT at or 549-2307. You should also carefully monitor certificated job listings posted to your email. 

Are You Interested in a Reduced Workload Leave, aka a “Willie Brown” Leave?

A Reduced Workload Leave (RWL) allows a teacher to work part-time but still receive BUSD contributions to STRS and benefits as though they were working full-time. To be eligible, a teacher must be at least 55 years old and have worked in a certificated position for at least 10 years, with the last 5 years full-time. Teachers can take RWL up to .50 FTE under state law, and the deadline for notifying BUSD HR is July 15th 2016. For more information, check the Reduced Workload Leave FAQ on the BFT website or email 

BUSD School Board Candidate Interviews: May 5th

On Thursday, May 5th, BFT will be interviewing candidates for the BUSD School Board as part of our endorsement process. All BFT members are encouraged to attend and give your thoughts at the end of the interviews—this is an important part of our political process here in Berkeley. Interviews will take place from 4:00-6:00PM on Thursday, May 5th at the Berkeley Adult School MPR.

Nominations for AFT Convention Delegate Close May 12th 

If you’re interested in nominating yourself as a delegate to the AFT convention in Minneapolis this summer, nomination forms are due to the BFT office by 5:00PM on May 12th.

Calendar of Coming Events

May 2nd Disrupting the School-to-Prison Pipeline Event @ BAS 
May 5th BUSD School Board Candidate Interviews @ BAS
May 6th Berkeley Public Schools Fund Luncheon