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September 5, 2014

In this issue: Election Alerts, Boycott Staples, Free Flu Shots for BUSD Employees, Opening on the B-PAR Panel, Alternative Evaluations, BPSF Classroom Grants, and more…

Berkeley Public Schools Fund 2014-2015 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 29th. 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.

Fall Election Alert: Vital Race for State Superintendent!

Without question, the most important statewide race this Fall is for State Superintendent of Instruction. Incumbent Tom Torlakson was actually a teacher, supports educators, and has stood toe-to-toe with Arne Duncan over issues like tying test scores to teacher evaluations and teacher tenure. His opponent, Marshall Tuck, worked as a Wall Street investment banker before being hired as a charter school CEO. Tuck is backed with big money from Eli Broad, StudentsFirst, and the Walton Foundation, and he supports eliminating teacher tenure and tying test scores to evaluations. The outcome of this will impact all of us—call your friends and family, both here and in Southern California, and be sure to vote on Nov. 4th!

Fall Election Alert: Sugar Sweetened Beverage Tax (Measure D)

Berkeley residents: BFT urges all Berkeley voters to vote for the nation’s first tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. These products are a major contributor to childhood obesity and rampant Type 2 diabetes. Paid representatives of Big Soda are already in town and attacking the measure with every means available to them—help Berkeley stand up to Big Soda and do the right thing by our children!

Boycott Staples!

Office supply giant Staples is actively working to dismantle and privatize the US Postal Service by piloting “full-service” postal counters in 84 stores. These counters are staffed by Staples workers, who are not unionized, do not make a living wage, and have little to nothing in the way of benefits. They also have no training in safe, private handling of our mail. Eventually, there are upwards of 500,000 good-paying jobs at stake. Both the NEA and the AFT have endorsed boycotts of Staples and BFT urges all members to buy their school supplies elsewhere.

Free Flu Shots and Other Kaiser Wellness Initiative Events Coming Up

Kaiser will be providing free flu shots for all BUSD employees (regardless of whether or not you are a Kaiser member) on three dates in October: 10/8 at BUSD Transportation from 9:00-1:00, 10/9 at Berkeley High from 8:00-1:00, and 10/13 at King MS from 7:30-1:00. Flu shots will also be available at the Wellness Fair on 10/16, 12:00-5:30 in the BUSD Board Room at 2020 Bonar Street.  There will also be three wellness classes offered in October: Healthy Eating, 10/2; Get Moving, 10/; Stress Management, 10/14. All classes are from 4:30-5:30 in Room 126 at 2020 Bonar St. 

B-PAR Panel Position Open—Application Due September 17th 

Consider joining this very important labor/management panel which oversees the BTSA, PAR and Alternative Evaluation programs in BUSD.  There is an immediate opening, earning a stipend of $1572 per year.  The BFT-appointed positions are open to all tenured K-12 BUSD teachers with at least 5 years of experience in the district and a strong interest in teacher quality and professionalism.  To apply send a letter expressing your interest and reasons for applying to BFT President Cathy Campbell at, making sure to include relevant experience and training.  Applications are due September 17th.  

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!! The required form is available on the BFT website.  This requirement applies to units you take toward a master’s degree.

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 and don’t forget that all transcripts and credit towards salary advancement must be turned in by November 15th!

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.

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 2014-2015

This year’s Organizing Team consists of Maggie Knutson (John Muir), Dana Blanchard (LeConte), and Britt Alamo (Longfellow).  We’re excited to work with this team as we head into another round of negotiations, work on our Quality Education Agenda, and look ahead to more important political work around the city and the state.

Calendar of Coming Events

 September 11th Middle School Back To School Night
 September 18th High School Back To School Night
 September 29th Last Day to Apply for BPSF Grants
 October 16th BUSD Benefits Information Fair at the BUSD Board Room (2020 Bonar St.)