Smiling Scientists at the UC Botanical Garden

When the docent at the UC Botanical Garden asked Berkeley Arts Magnet (BAM) kindergarteners, “Why is this season called fall?” the students responded, “Because the leaves fall!” while they made sweeping motions with their hands representing falling leaves. The students brought a lot of energy to the garden on the day we joined Benjamin Wilkins-Malloy’s […]

Building a Makerspace

Posted on October 10th 2017 in Grants

There was palpable excitement in the former Longfellow Middle School cafeteria, soon to be re-purposed into a Makerspace, as students and their families arrived for a community work day to help build work tables. Tools, measuring tapes, and fasteners were organized in separate bins while the lumber was neatly arranged on one side. Matt Hinckley, a […]

Feeding the Community and Growing a Business

Posted on April 17th 2017 in Grants

The smell of chocolate cinnamon cake wafts from the ovens as thirty-three seventh and eighth graders file in through the door. In early April, we visited the Growing Leaders business elective class at Willard in which students prepare and sell bi-monthly meals to the community made largely with ingredients grown at the school site. It’s […]

Teaching Language in Every Subject

It might seem odd to imagine anyone other than an English teacher working to improve how students read and write. However, that was exactly what Math, Science, and Humanities teachers from Berkeley Middle Schools were brainstorming together to achieve on a recent weekday afternoon. The Schools Fund awarded Akemi Hamai, a science teacher at King, […]

A Look Back at 2016

Posted on January 10th 2017 in About the Schools Fund, Behind the Scenes, Events, Grants, Volunteers

As 2016 comes to a close, we think it’s more important than ever for our community to do everything it can to support our kids and public schools. We’re committed to supporting teachers by growing our impact every year, finding higher impact projects that meet the needs of teachers and students and encouraging new ideas. We’re setting the […]

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 […]