For 40 years we’ve been the single organization that supports all Berkeley public schools.
With your support, we annually invest $1 million into grant, volunteer and STEM programs that directly benefit our school community.
Our work creates the conditions for student success and wellbeing by addressing:
Basic Needs • Safety & Belonging • Love of Learning
These efforts are made 100% possible by your generous support!
Partnership to Close the Opportunity Gap in STEM Education
The Schools Fund’s new K-12 STEM programs are designed to transform the trajectory in BUSD for our most vulnerable students. Every year, 500 students are invited to explore career-connected skills through hands-on learning at our Maker Camp (6th-10th grade), Super Science Saturdays (1st-5th grade), and holiday break STEM enrichment (K-5th grade). Offered with BUSD’s Career Technical Education (CTE) program, these free, innovative out-of-school-time opportunities start to build students’ self-knowledge and prepare them to take advantage of the college and career opportunities ahead—in Berkeley High’s CTE pathways and beyond.
Partnership with Wareham Development and BUSD
Paving the Way to Arts Engagement at BHS through Music Scholarships
The Schools Fund is committed to ensuring that the full diversity of Berkeley students are able to access and thrive in the performing arts.
This past summer, Schools Fund donors paid for a free week of music camp for forty 5th and 6th graders to encourage more students to continue their music education into middle and high school. Currently, Berkeley High’s nationally acclaimed music programs are not reflective of the entire student body at Berkeley High. With the phenomenal new “A” Building, we want to ensure that a diverse range of students benefit from the state of the art facilities and opportunities for artistic and personal development at Berkeley High. After last year’s success, we are expanding our scholarships to reach sixty students this summer.
Heeding National Calls for Better Literacy Instruction
In Berkeley and across the country, there is an acknowledged crisis in literacy and a major shift underway in how we teach reading. These two projects highlight how the Schools Fund is addressing the issue of literacy:
- Summer enrichment is often out-of-reach for students from lower-income backgrounds, resulting in a predictable setback in reading skills that equates to the loss of a school year or more by 5th grade. We are funding high-interest, take-home “summer libraries” for hundreds of priority elementary students.
- In an effort to buoy BUSD’s investment in phonics-based literacy, we’re outfitting every K-5 literacy coach and intervention teacher at all school sites with new book sets for the 2023-24 school year that are not only aligned to the “Science of Reading” but more culturally reflective of our students.
Addressing Food Insecurity for BUSD Families
Nutrition is a basic condition for learning. However, one third of Berkeley students are living at or below the poverty line and struggle to access enough nourishing food to keep their focus in the classroom.
Last spring, the Schools Fund piloted the Berkeley High On-campus Food Equity Project and this year we’re expanding it to bring healthy and desired foods into academic support and counseling spaces across the school.
Berkeley Schools Volunteers continues to connect Berkeley families experiencing food insecurity to regular grocery deliveries.
Partnership with Berkeley Food Network
Diversifying the Teacher Pipeline
“Growing Our Own” in the Face of a Nationwide Teacher Shortage
- The Schools Fund is proud to have seed-funded a partnership between BUSD and Berkeley City College to build a pathway at Berkeley High for students interested in teaching as a career.
- We continue to support BUSD’s “Classified to Certificated” pathway to help advance BUSD staff of color on their journey to becoming certificated classroom teachers.
- We’re investing in teacher retention with a new educator-led collaborative designed to retain Black educators in BUSD schools.
Celia (Xinyu) Wei wears her lanyard with pride: on one side is her BSV Volunteer Name Badge and on the other side is her Cal Student ID card. As an emergent researcher, Celia is interested in helping students better understand math concepts by using “culturally-grounded math tools.” In this case, her math tool of choice is the abacus.
Every year our trained Classroom Volunteers (CV) are supporting educators and students at school sites—in classrooms and also libraries, gardens and playgrounds.
In 2022-23, BSV made 262 Classroom Volunteer placements across 17 schools from Elementary to the Berkeley Adult School. At the end of the year, 94% of volunteers said they would recommend the Classroom Volunteer program to a friend!
Jean Fichtenkort and Patricia Price have delivered meals and groceries to BUSD families since early in the pandemic. Through the Schools Fund’s School Support Volunteer program, they continue to make a powerful difference for families in the District.
In 2022-23, our School Support Volunteers (SSV) delivered 20,000 bags of groceries from the Berkeley Food Network, providing food support to over 500 families.
“There has been an increase in students recognizing they need a snack or food to focus, asking for it, and then returning to their class to participate…I believe [this grant] has been extremely successful in creating community, reducing [problematic] behaviors, and inspiring learning in students.”—Reflections from a Schools Fund food security grant recipient.