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October 16, 2013

In this issue: Transcripts for Salary Advancement Due November 15th; Deadline for Benefits Changes and Joining Sick Leave Bank is October 31st; Weingarten Rights, and more…

Transcripts for Salary Advancement Due November 15th

If you have completed new units and plan to advance on the salary schedule, official transcripts are due to Human Resources by November 15th—start planning now!  Check the BFT FAQ page for an important resource under “Course Approval and Salary Advancement.”  Remember that you must submit sealed, official transcripts to Human Resources.  Ask your Site Rep if you have any questions. When you drop off your transcripts, be sure to get a receipt.

Join the BUSD “Step Up” Program!

Wondering what those colorful posters around your site are all about?  Join BUSD “Step Up”—a program promoting health and wellness in conjunction with Kaiser Permanente.  There is a free biometric screening, a Total Health Assessment that will give you advice on how to improve wellness, and a Thrive Across America campaign to get us up and moving.  All information is completely confidential, and “Step Up” is open to all BUSD employees, not just Kaiser members.  Check the flier on the BFT homepage for more information.  

Open Enrollment For Health Benefits Through October 31st

BUSD employees should have received Open Enrollment packets in the mail at the start of the month.  If you did not, information can be found on BUSD’s website at We encourage people making changes not to wait until Thursday, October 31st to turn in your paperwork.

Please Join Berkeley Community Organizations and Educators in a Walk Against Violence

All BFT members are encouraged to participate in a community Walk Against Violence on Thursday, November 7th from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. starting at McGee Avenue Baptist Church at 1640 Stuart Street (near Longfellow Middle School).  As educators and community members it’s important that we participate in community efforts to stand up in the face of increased violence in Berkeley.  If you are able to attend, please email BFT at

Enroll in the BFT Sick Leave Bank—Deadline October 31st!

The BFT/BUSD Sick Leave Bank was organized to generate a pool of sick leave days to be available to qualified applicants toward long-term leave in the event of a prolonged illness or injury. Enrolling in the Sick Leave Bank is both completely voluntary and a great opportunity for BFT members.  Enrollment is open for the month of October—see your Site Rep if you need a form.

Don’t Fall Victim to the October Slog!

This is the longest stretch of the year without a holiday, and it’s often the roughest time of the year in terms of confidence, satisfaction, and stress.  Don’t forget that BUSD employees have access to a free, confidential Employee Assistance Program (EAP) from Compsych.  Their counselors can help with financial, legal, emotional, or work-related issues.  Log on to (web ID: COM589) or call 800-272-7255 for more information.

Congratulations to Tamara Friedman—BUSD Teacher of the Year!

Berkeley High teacher and PD Lead Tamara Friedman was honored as BUSD’s Teacher of the Year at a recent ceremony—watch the video on the BFT website. Congratulations Tamara!

Berkeley Teacher Published in Rethinking Schools

Big shout out to BHS teacher Andy Peck for his article in the Summer 2013 Rethinking Schools, “Ban the Box! A Role Play on Mass Incarceration.”  In the article he describes an amazing unit on human rights and formerly incarcerated persons involving community organizations, Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow, debates, and letters to California state legislators.  Congratulations Andy and thank you for the powerful teaching.  

Open Enrollment for Flexible Spending, Parking, and/or Transit Spending Accounts

Flexible Spending Accounts allow an employee to set aside pre-tax dollars for certain health and childcare related expenses. Parking and Transit Spending Accounts allow an employee to set aside pre-tax dollars for parking or transit costs related to their commute to work.  Open enrollment for FSAs is currently taking place until Oct. 31st. Employees who are currently enrolled will need to submit a new application even if they are not making any changes.  Visit and click on “Teachers and Staff” for more information about benefits.

Call for Proposals—3rd Annual Peaceful Schools Conference

The Mt. Diablo Peace Center has sent out a Request for Proposals for their Peaceful Schools Conference on February 1st, 2014.  They’re seeking teachers and counselors to lead sessions in any of the four conference strands: Elementary Education, the Socio-Economic Divide, LGBTQIA Topics, and Cross-Cultural Understanding/Cultural Competency.  Proposals are due October 21st, and they really want some BUSD representation!  Email for more info.  

FAQ of the Month: Your Rights in a Meeting With an Administrator (Weingarten Rights)

Do you know when you have the right to a union representative in a meeting with an administrator?  Do you know what your union representative’s role in such a meeting is?  Answers to these and other very important questions can be found in BFT’s new FAQ on Weingarten Rights, available now on the BFT website’s FAQ page.

Calendar of Coming Events

October 25 End of 1st Grading Period/1st Quarter
October 31 Last Day of Open Enrollment for BUSD Benefits AND Sick Leave Bank
November 4-7 K-5 Parent Teacher Conferences (shortened days)
November 5-7 Middle School Parent Teacher Conferences
November 8 K-5 Parent Teacher Conferences (no school for students) 
                Secondary Staff Development Day
November 11 Veterans Day Holiday
November 27-29 Thanksgiving Holiday