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September 6, 2013

In this issue: BFT Picnic, Diane Ravitch In Berkeley, Retro/Bonus for Members, and more…

Membership Overwhelmingly Ratifies 2012-2013 Contract

BFT members voted overwhelmingly to ratify the BFT/BUSD 2012-2013 Tentative Agreement. Congratulations and thank you to the negotiations team and everyone who helped with the contract campaign!  BFT is back at the bargaining table on October 1st to negotiate a contract for 2013-2014—be on the lookout for how you can get involved!

Start the Year Right at the BFT Picnic!!

All BFT members are invited to a picnic on Friday, September 27th from 4:30-7:00p.m. at the Padre Picnic Site in Tilden Park.  BFT will provide food, drinks, and music.  Join us to celebrate last year’s victories and to learn more about our work for this upcoming school year.  Bring your families—Coach Don Burl will provide activities for kids!

An Evening with Diane Ravitch—September 28th

Diane Ravitch has become one of the most important voices in the fight to preserve public education and push back against the corporate model of education reform.  Come out to King Middle School on Saturday, September 28th at 7:30PM to hear her speak in advance of her new book Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger for America’s Public Schools.  Tickets for BFT members only $5—call BFT at 549-2307 to receive tickets.

FAQ Of The Month: Is Your Retro/Bonus Check Correct?

Make sure that your 2.5% retroactive and 2.5% bonus payments are correct!  An FAQ was placed in your mailbox last week and is also featured prominently on the BFT home page. 

Two B-PAR Panel Positions Open—Application Due September 18th

Consider joining this very important panel overseeing the Berkeley Peer Assistance and Review program.  There are two immediate openings, each 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 18th.

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.  You can also try out the Berkeley YMCA for free during the week of 9/13-9/22.  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.

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.

Teachers of Color Network Co-Facilitators

BFT is thrilled to announce that Susanne Reed will continue as a TOC Network co-facilitator, joined by Nabila Massoumi. Susanne teaches First grade at Jefferson and Nabila is a BUSD Teacher on Special Assignment for English Language Development. Thank you for this very important work!

BFT Organizing Team for 2013-2014

This year’s Organizing Team consists of Matt Meyer (BHS), Amanda Green (BHS), Dana Blanchard (TSA-RtI), 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.

Berkeley Public Schools Fund 2013-2014 Classroom Grants Deadline

Online applications for Berkeley Schools Fund grants are now open.  The deadline for the applications is 5:00 p.m. on Friday, September 30th 2013. 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.

Community Mourns the Loss of Joe McClain, Skip Whideman, & Mary Raguth

Longtime BUSD members Joe McClain, Skip Whideman, and Mary Raguth passed away in the last several months.  A celebration of Skip’s life is scheduled for Thursday, September 12th in the Lower Courtyard at Berkeley High.  Services for Mary will be September 17th at 1:00PM at Kingdom Hall, 1801 Bissell Ave. in Richmond.  Our hearts go out to their families.

Calendar of Coming Events

 13th-22ndFree admission to Downtown Berkeley YMCA for BFT members
 12Elementary School Back To School Night
 19Middle School Back To School Night
 21 Moellering Field Dedication
High School Back To School Night
 27BFT Picnic  
 28Diane Ravitch Event
 30Free YMCA enrollment for BFT members ends
 30Last Day to Apply for BPEF Grants