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September 13, 2012

In this issue: Rally for Chicago Teachers on September 22nd, Bonus For Members, Classroom Grants Available, Submitting Transcripts for Salary Schedule Movement and more…

BFT and BUSD Reached An Agreement on a 1% Bonus

BFT’s negotiations team responded to our members’ cry for some kind of financial relief by successfully negotiating a one-time 1% bonus. Our position was that, as a result of very targeted belt-tightening, BUSD ended the year with a large reserve and a small portion of that reserve would be put to good use to alleviate some of the financial hardships our members face with rising health care costs. Our next step is to pass Proposition 30, the Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act, to generate much needed revenue before we go back to the bargaining table.

Now is the Ideal Time to Submit Transcripts And Move A Column On the Salary Schedule

BUSD will be calculating 1% bonuses based on your 2012-13 salary, so we are encouraging members to submit transcripts for newly acquired semester units to BUSD as soon as possible to ensure a timely and accurate bonus calculation. BFT members can advance on the salary schedule based on submission of official transcripts for approved coursework. Although the contractual deadline to submit transcripts is November 15th, if you can move over on the salary schedule prior to the payment of the bonus in October, this will be reflected immediately in your bonus payment.

Stand In Solidarity With Striking Chicago Teachers’ Union - Attend September 22nd Rally

Chicago teachers are on strike. This is the first major urban strike in 20 years. Despite ongoing efforts to reach an agreement, the CTU and the district remain divided on core issues like the best way to improve instruction, and how to ensure job security and fair compensation for educators, forcing teachers to go on strike. The outcome of this strike is going to have broad implications for all unions and for public education in our nation. Please attend a rally on Saturday, September 22nd at 4:00 p.m. at the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland to show your support. Wear your BFT t-shirt and stand in solidarity!

Are You Being Evaluated This Year? Consider an Alternative Evaluation

Teachers who received a proficient or distinguished rating on their most recent evaluation may opt for alternative evaluation. Teachers may participate in Action Research, Lesson Study or National Board Certification, as well as a few other options. Talk to your evaluator if you are interested. If you have questions, look for the FAQ on this topic on the BFT web site under “Resources – Fliers and FAQ’s.” If you did an alternative evaluation in your last evaluation cycle and would like to do one again in 2012 this may be possible. Please contact the BFT office at 549-2307 for more information.

Berkeley Public Education Foundation 2012-2013 Classroom Grants Deadline is September 28th

Online applications for BPEF grants are now open. The deadline for the applications is 5:00 p.m. on Friday, September 28th. See for more information. Don’t wait until the last day to apply! New teachers- you can ask your BTSA support provider or a veteran colleague at your site to assist you in completing an application. This is not a cumbersome process.

Did You Move Classrooms This Year?

Teachers who are required by a district administrator, including principals and vice-principals, to move classrooms are entitled to receive up to twelve hours of pay at the curriculum development rate. If you have not already, you should submit a blue time sheet to your administrator. Be sure to keep a copy.

2012 School Board Candidate Forum on September 27th at LeConte Elementary

Come and meet the four candidates running for the two open seats on the Berkeley School Board and hear about their vision for Berkeley schools. The focus of the event will be the education of English Language Learners, but there will be an opportunity to ask the candidates about any topic. Spanish-English translation, childcare, and light refreshments will be provided. The forum will be held at LeConte Elementary School at 2241 Russell Street on Tuesday, September 27th from 6:00-8:00 p.m.

BFT Teachers of Color Network Has New Co-Facilitators

BFT is thrilled to announce that Monica Salvador and Susanne Reed will co-facilitate the BFT Teachers of Color Network. Monica teaches Special Education at BHS and Susanne teaches first grade at Jefferson. Thank you for your service to the vision of equity in our profession.

BFT Office Has A New Home

In an effort to increase efficiency, reduce our carbon footprint, & offer more private meeting spaces for members, BFT has moved to a new office space. We are now located at 1423 University Avenue, near Sacramento Street. Visit the BFT website at for a map.

Join the Downtown YMCA With No Registration Fee!

All BFT members are eligible to join the Y without paying the $99 enrollment fee during the month of September. To join, go to the Downtown Y with a photo ID and your BFT membership card. If you do not have a card please call BFT at 549-2307.

Educator Discount for Berkeley Repertory Theatre

All K-12 educators are eligible for discounted tickets at the Berkeley Repertory. For more info go to and click on “For K-12 Educators.”

FAQ Of The Month: Part-time Teachers

Have questions about being a part-time teacher, such as, whether or not you are required to attend the entire Staff Development Day if you only work part-time? You can find answers to this and many other questions in our FAQ section at

Community Mourns the Loss of Berkeley High Teacher Wendell Brooks

Longtime Berkeley High School teacher Wendell Brooks passed away this summer. He was able to engage his students through his wide variety of interests and talents including politics, sociology, history, music, and African American studies. Mr. Brooks performed widely in Europe and the United States in both classical and folk music, and as a proponent of African American slave songs and spirituals. His contributed a great deal to our community and will be missed.

Calendar of Coming Events

September 14th - 23rd Free admission to Downtown Berkeley YMCA for BFT members
September 13th - Middle School Back To School Night- Election Leafletting
September 20th - High School Back To School Night- Election Leafletting
September 30th  - Free YMCA enrollment for BFT members ends
September 28th -  Last Day to Apply for BPEF Classroom Grants