The Schools Fund Blog

Students Build Stories with Berkeley Rep

For over a decade, the Berkeley Public Schools Fund has partnered with Berkeley Repertory Theatre to bring theater workshops into our elementary schools. The Story Builders program uses “sound, movement, dialogue, and improvisation [to] turn the classroom into a living theatre.” Throughout several classroom visits, students read a story and then bring it to life […]

LeConte Students Get Muddy in The Forest

“Children today spend significantly less time outdoors than previous generations,” writes Strategic Impact Grant awardees Erika Englund and Natalia Bernal (LeConte TK and Kindergarten teachers) and Laura Figueroa (Pediatric Occupational Therapist/LeConte parent). “Many factors have contributed to our children’s lack of access to play in nature, including rapidly-advancing technology and increased ‘screen time,’ lack of […]

Developing Life Skills in the Marin Headlands

Posted on June 14th 2016 in Grants

Twenty-five fifth graders. Four days. Countless exercises and challenges to strengthen character before middle school. Rick Kleine’s Classroom Grant for a Marin Headlands Camping Trip for his Jefferson fifth grade class tackled personal growth, collective communication, leadership building, and even some World War I & II history. Kleine writes in his Classroom Grant application, “As […]

Challenge Day Ignites Compassion at Berkeley High

Posted on June 13th 2016 in Grants

As Berkeley High teacher Shannon Erby pointed out in her Classroom Grant application for Challenge Day, “Students can be mean. Sometimes they are intentional bullies, other times they don’t realize the impact their words and actions can have on others. Unsafe and/or contentious environments are not conducive to learning.” Erby’s solution (or, beginning of the […]

A Visit to Berkeley High’s Orchestra Rehearsal

Visiting Karen Wells and Mary Dougherty’s Berkeley High orchestra rehearsal, we were pleased to observe two types of Schools Fund grants in action. The first, a contrabass clarinet, was the result of a directed gift from Another Planet Entertainment. The second was a Classroom Grant for Professional Music Mentors. Another Planet Entertainment’s Annual Gift to […]

Architecture of Life: Third Graders Visit BAMPFA

Posted on May 23rd 2016 in Grants

The inaugural exhibition at the new Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) is “Architecture of Life,” which explores the ways that architecture (“as concept, metaphor, and practice”) illuminates different aspects of life. Featuring over 200 works of art in a range of media, including scientific and architectural drawings, the exhibit is the perfect […]

Building Artists: Preschool to High School

Posted on April 22nd 2016 in Grants

Last week I had the opportunity to visit two Berkeley student art shows: one at Berkeley High and another at Franklin Preschool. The shows covered the full spectrum of student artistry, but both were gratifying and impressive in their own right. In both I found abstract thinking, narrative explorations, self-reflection, and out-of-the-box creativity. I also […]

Storytelling Festival at Berkeley High

Posted on April 19th 2016 in Grants

I sat in Berkeley High’s Little Theater waiting for the Storytelling Festival to begin, listening to student conversations happening around me. Some quietly tackled math homework, others sang in Spanish, a few more chatted about their crew team. Soon one conversation melted into another, the crew kids picking up on basic Spanish phrases, exclaiming, “You’re […]

Partnering with UC Berkeley on Be a Scientist

Today we welcome guest bloggers Teresa Barnett (Community Resources for Science), Kate Spohr (Berkeley Research Development Office), and Mary Wildermuth (UC Berkeley’s Department of Plant and Microbial Biology) to tell us more about the Be a Scientist program, which is supported by a Strategic Impact Grant. SCHOOLS FUND: We know Be A Scientist is beneficial to […]

Work Hard Play Hard: Franklin Preschoolers Explore Careers

Posted on February 9th 2016 in Grants

A fireman, a construction worker, and a veterinarian walk into a classroom. They’re all roughly 3 feet tall and use plastic tools exclusively. This isn’t the set up for riddle; it’s playtime at Franklin Preschool where students are using Community Career Costumes provided by a Schools Fund classroom grant. Franklin teacher Joni Miller requested funds […]