From November 2018 to March 2019, Berkeley Schools Volunteers went quiet as the Berkeley Public Schools Fund board contemplated new directions for the program. In March, they hired Duffy Ross as their new Director of Programs to rethink and relaunch a new and improved BSV for 2019-20.
Duffy spent much of the spring engaged in community listening about what had been working well with BSV, what needed attention, and how BSV might flex to be more impactful. Over two months, she spoke with 65 individuals, from BUSD Principals and Teachers, to community-based organizations and University partners. In addition, she surveyed all current BSV volunteers about their experiences with and dreams for the program.
In June 2019, Duffy presented a BSV redesign proposal to the Schools Fund board. The proposal was warmly received and the whole Schools Fund team has been hard at work all summer implementing the new vision.
The New BSV Vision
- A more strategic focus on student learning
- Increased responsiveness to teachers’ needs
- Building out a volunteer Learning Community with ongoing training opportunities
- Better support of the teacher-volunteer relationship
- Inclusion of parent volunteers into BSV’s new Learning Community
- Engaging and honoring a broader cross-section of Berkeley’s community in schools
- Growing BSV’s presence across the district
- Developing a menu of ongoing volunteer learning opportunities (trainings) in collaboration with district specialists!
- Asking every BSV volunteer, new and returning, and inviting parent volunteers to up their equity game by attending a training called “Working Across Differences in Berkeley’s Diverse Classrooms” (in collaboration with the Office of Family Engagement & Equity)
- More consistent follow-up with both teachers and volunteers after a volunteer placement is made and troubleshooting support to ensure a higher success rate.
Redesign Highlights (Continued)
- Strengthening communications with both new and returning volunteers through regular and purposeful communications, including a new BSV e-newsletter
- Strategic offering of helpful volunteer management tools/resources to teachers at the right moment.
- Designing a new Strategic Impact BSV program focused on strengthening the math fluency skills of our youngest mathematicians. Stay tuned for details on a 2019-20 pilot!
- Launching a new “event-based” pathway for single-day volunteers supporting district-wide needs (such as library book inventorying and science kit restocking)
- Developing a NEW Schools Fund Teacher Advisory Group to inform both grant making and volunteer program into the future.