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March 14, 2011

In this issue: March 2nd Rally a Success, BFT Elections, General Membership Meeting on March 24th, FREE Stress-Reduction Program for Teachers, and more…

March 2nd Statewide Education Action Day –BFT/BCCE Rally a Success

Despite the cold, wet weather, parents, students, and community members stood with BFT and BCCE to defend public education. Members marched from their sites, carrying signs and even giant pencils to rally in front of the district office. Students from elementary schools, middle schools, BHS, Berkeley Community College, and the Adult School inspired the crowd to take action and to tell our legislators “Put Governor Brown’s tax extensions on a June ballot so we do not have to face more cuts to education!” Thank you to all who attended!

Nominations for BFT Officers Open March 24th – May 5th

Elections for BFT executive officers (President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer) will be held this spring. Nominations will open at the March 24th general membership meeting and will close on May 5, 2011. Nominations can be made on the form you will receive in your box. Contested elections are good for Union democracy, so don’t hesitate to nominate a colleague or yourself.

BFT General Membership Meeting

All members are invited to attend a general membership meeting on Thursday, March 24th at the Berkeley Adult School multi-purpose room, 4:00-5:30pm. We will discuss how to empower members to work with Leadership Teams to shape professional development at your site. Several sites will present the work they are doing to create teacher-led Professional Learning Communities. Refreshments will be served. All members are welcome and encouraged to attend.

FREE Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program Available to BFT Members

The “Stress Management and Relaxation Techniques (SMART) in Education” program is a 9-week educator renewal program designed specifically to help teachers and others who do classroom instruction. It involves experiential practices in emotional awareness, mediation, movement exercises, and discussions and at-home exercises. Please look for a flier with more details and registration information in your box soon. Participants may obtain 3.5 CEU’s through St. Mary’s College. You can also find more information on the BFT web site.

BUSD Wants Your Input on District Communications

The District is currently seeking input from employees about internal communication with employees, and external communication with the community and parents. They need to hear from BFT members! Please take the time to go to the BUSD web site to find a link to the employee questionnaire. The deadline to complete the survey is March 18th.

Deadline for Filing 2010 Flexible Spending Account Reimbursement

Reminder: Those with money still left in their Flexible Spending Accounts have until March 31, 2011, to submit claims for reimbursement for expenses incurred in 2010.

California Federation of Teachers Convention

Members have chosen the following delegates to represent us at the CFT convention in March: Barry Fike, Dana Blanchard, Marcela Taylor, and Tracey Iglehart. Thank you all who participated in this process!

Are You Interested in a Job Share Next Year?

If you are a K-5 teacher interested in a job share for 2010-2011, please contact BFT at 549-2307 or so that we can connect you with other teachers seeking job shares.

Jefferson Teacher Beth Trevor Wins Award

The 826 Valencia Writing Center, which helps children 6-18 develop their writing skills, honored first grade Jefferson teacher Beth Trevor for her accomplishments in teaching creative writing with the 826 Foundation Teacher of the Month Award. Congratulations!

Dolores Huerta Foundation Classroom Lesson Plan Contest

Help bring the spirit of struggle and “Si se puede!” into the classroom. The Delores Huerta Foundation is sponsoring a classroom lesson plan contest about this iconic labor and human rights figure. Winners will receive a hand-signed portrait of Dolores Huerta by artist and activist Ester Hernandez. Entries must be submitted by May 20, 2011. You can find more information at

Cesar Chavez Commemoration Writing Contest

Berkeley 2nd-12th grade students have an opportunity to submit an essay answering the following question: If you could talk to Cesar Chavez today, what would you tell him about how his work has impacted you and our world today? Please look for a flier with more details to follow. Essays must be submitted by 4:00 p.m., Thursday, March 31st. Winners will be honored at a luncheon with BUSD Board directors and Berkeley City Council members, and will have the opportunity to read their essays at a School Board and City Council meeting.

June BUSD Workshops

For those of you who are beginning to make end-of-the-school-year plans, there will be several professional development options the week of June 20th. Topics offered will be TCRWP for teachers who were unable to attend the August trainings; K-5 Math alignment; English Language Development instruction; and professional development in culturally and linguistically responsive teaching. Look for more information in the future.

Looking for Interesting Teachers to Tell Their Stories

Do you know an interesting teacher? Do you consider yourself to be an interesting teacher? Now's the time to step forward. Bruce Larkin will be writing books about interesting teachers from all over the United States. The nationwide search is on! Teachers featured in these books will receive a $250 educational supply gift card for their classroom, along with a 1,000-book donation for their school. If you've got an interesting hobby, a great life story, or a fascinating work situation and would love to see your story in a book, please go to:

Calendar of Coming Events

 March 18th-21st CFT Convention
 March 24th BFT General Membership Meeting at 4:00 @ the Adult School
 March 31st Middle School Open House
 March 31st Cesar Chavez Day of Service and Learning