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September 14, 2015

In this issue: Important Meeting for ALL K-5 Members, Kaiser Wellness Initiatives, Alternative Evaluations, Teacher Financial Health Tips, and more…

Important Meeting for ALL K-5 Members on Prep Time and Class Size—September 24th

Calling ALL K-5 members—BFT will be holding a meeting to discuss the issue of prep time and class size at Berkeley elementary schools on Thursday, September 24th at 4:00, in the Multipurpose Room at Berkeley Adult School, 1701 San Pablo Ave. We need members from the full range of K-5 classrooms to come and weigh in on this extremely important topic. Please mark your calendars and plan on being there!

Important Membership Meeting on Your Financial Health—October 8th at Berkeley Adult School

On Thursday, October 8th, join your colleagues for an all-BFT member meeting on financial health. The meeting will take place from 4:00-6:00PM in the Multipurpose Room at Berkeley Adult School, 1701 San Pablo Ave. Topics will include tips on how to maximize your salary, protect your income and begin to plan for retirement. We will explain personal leave and the District’s new Absence Certificate.  You will leave with practical advice that empowers you to increase your long-term financial security!

Don’t Forget to Request Course Approval for Units Towards Salary Advancement

If you plan to take courses this year to move over on the salary schedule and increase your compensation you must submit a BUSD course approval request no later than two weeks after the start of the course.  The credits you earn will not count towards salary advancement unless you get prior approval! This applies to ALL courses, including those toward a Masters Degree. The required form is available on the BFT website.

Are You Being Evaluated This Year? Consider an Alternative Evaluation!

Teachers who received a rating of proficient or distinguished on their most recent evaluation can opt for an alternative evaluation with the agreement of their evaluator. Options include Action Research, Lesson Study, or National Board Certification. If you have questions, look at the Alternative Evaluation FAQ on the BFT website or contact us at 549-2307. If you did an alternative evaluation in your last evaluation cycle and want to do one again, this may be possible. Talk to your evaluator if you’re interested!

FAQ of the Month: Inservice Credit!

Do you attend IEP and SST meetings? Committee meetings outside your duty day? Did you know that you can receive credit for salary advancement or sick leave for these meetings? Check out the FAQ on receiving Inservice Credit on for details.

November 15th Deadline to Submit Transcripts for Salary Schedule Advancement

Don’t forget that all transcripts and credit towards salary advancement must be turned in to the Human Resources department by November 15th!  Be sure to get a receipt for all submissions.

Are You Interested In Having a Peer Coach?

If you’re teaching a new grade level or subject, at a new school site, or simply want to improve your practice, you can apply to have a Peer Coach work with you over the semester or even the whole school year.  Get support in such areas as demo lessons, curriculum planning, classroom design and more.  If interested refer to Peer Coaching FAQ available on the BFT website.

Kaiser Wellness Initiative Events Coming Up

Kaiser will be providing free flu shots for all BUSD employees on five dates in October and November: 10/15 at the Health Fair in the BUSD Board room from 12:00-5:30, 10/22 at Berkeley High from 8:00-1:00, 10/29 at Room 126 at 2020 Bonar St. from 9:00-1:00, 11/5 at King MS from 9:00-1:00, and 11/12 at BUSD Transportation from 9:00-1:00.

Thrive Across America Returns for 2015-2016!

All members are encouraged to forms teams and participate in our fun districtwide walking “competition”.  This year the route is “Thrive Across Hawaii.” Registration takes place from September 7th to October 9th. Visit to register.

Did You Move Classrooms This Summer?

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. We recommend that you keep a copy of the time sheet you turn in to your administrator.

BFT Organizing Team for 2015-2016

This year’s Organizing Team consists of Dana Blanchard (LeConte) and Britt Alamo (Longfellow).  We’re excited to work with this team on affordable health care, our Quality Education Agenda, and important social justice work around the city and the state.

Teachers of Color Network Facilitators for 2015-2016

This year’s TOCN facilitators are Joemy Ito-Gates (Rosa Parks Elementary), Lisa Kelly (REALM Middle School), and Monique DeBrito-Guedes (Berkeley High School). If you’d to get involved with the Network, please contact any of them. Thank you to these members for taking on this important service to their brothers and sisters in Berkeley schools!

Alameda Labor Council Delegates Elected

In last Spring’s election, 4 new delegates to the Alameda Labor Council were elected by the BFT Executive Board: Britt Alamo (Longfellow Middle School), Sharon Arthur (Willard Middle School), Barry Fike (Jefferson Elementary School), and Matt Meyer (Berkeley High School). Thank you to all of these members for their service.

Berkeley Public Schools Fund 2015-2016 Classroom Grants Deadline

Online applications for Berkeley Schools Fund grants are now open! The deadline for the applications is 5:00 p.m. on Monday, 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.

Calendar of Coming Events

September 17thMiddle School Back To School Night
September 24thHigh School Back To School Night and K-5 Meeting on Class Size & Prep Time
September 28thLast Day to Apply for BPSF Grants
October 1st-31stOpen Enrollment for Benefits, Short-Term Disability, and Sick Leave Bank        
October 8thBFT Membership meeting on financial health
November 15thDeadline to submit transcripts for salary advancement