Berkley Beat: July 27, 2023
Berkley Beat: July 27, 2023
- Community Celebrates ArtSpace Grand Opening
- Students Excel in Berkley Summer Difference Program
- Berkley Schools #BSDSummer
- Administrative Office Staff Participate in Reunification Drill
- Details About the August 8, 2023 Bond Proposal
- Berkley School District Invites the Public to its Job Fair
- Important Berkley Schools Safety Update
- Helping Families with Medicaid Keep Their Coverage
- Join the Berkley Schools Family - Now Hiring!
- Sign Up for Text Alerts
Community Celebrates ArtSpace Grand Opening
The Berkley Community gathered on Saturday, July 15, to celebrate the grand opening of ArtSpace, a new community plaza. This collaborative space, a joint effort of the City of Berkley, Berkley School District and Berkley Downtown Development Authority, is in the heart of Berkley on Coolidge Highway, just south of Catalpa and adjacent to Berkley High School. The three entities worked together to design, execute and maintain the space to create a new common space for the community to use.
To kick off the ceremony, Berkley Schools Superintendent Scott Francis addressed the crowd and shared, “My hope is that ArtSpace will serve as a catalyst for future collaborations and opportunities for our community to make our City an even better place to live, work, and go to school.” The grand opening also featured speeches from DDA Director Mike McGuinness and Berkley City Manager Matt Baumgarten.
The focal point of the plaza is a bronze sculpture, “Walking Together” created by Berkley High School alum and renowned Detroit sculptor Austen Brantley. Mr. Brantley was recently named a 2023 Kresge Visual Arts Fellow and has created statues for the City of Detroit as well as around the country. Mr. Brantley addressed the crowd and shared how his time in Berkley Schools inspired this piece.
ArtSpace features six large-format pieces of art from Berkley High School students and alumni:
- Mia Echlin, Class of 2024
- Ellie Kubicki, Class of 2022
- Katelyn Long, Class of 2024
- Oliver Moss, Class of 2024
- Ella Sturtz, Class of 2022
- Matilda Wittig, Class of 2022
ArtSpace includes seating for the community to gather, landscaping and a reinforced space for food trucks.
The ceremony concluded with a ribbon cutting and attendees enjoyed socializing and refreshments provided by the Donut Bar.
Students Excel in Berkley Summer Difference Program
The Berkley Summer Difference Math & Language Arts program is available for students currently in Grades TK-8 each year. The Communications Office stopped by Summer Difference classrooms to capture summer learning. Students were strengthening math, reading and writing skills through a variety of activities led by Berkley teachers. Check out the photos below to see summer learning in action.
Berkley Schools #BSDSummer
On our social media platforms, the Communications Department is asking the Berkley Schools Community what they are experiencing over the summer. Check out the collection of photos from BSD members who have submitted photos using the hashtag #BSDSummer.
If you would like submit a photo, post on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #BSDSummer or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure your posts are set to public, otherwise we won’t see them!
Administrative Office Staff Participate in Reunification Drill
On July 13, the Berkley School District Administrative Office staff participated in a reunification drill, using the new Raptor Emergency Management system. The drill aimed to reinforce the standard reunification procedures and involved staff members assuming various roles such as parent/guardian, greeter, runner, or reunifier. Through the utilization of the Raptor app, staff practiced essential tasks, including marking student attendance, parent/guardian identification within the system, and successful reunification of students with their trusted adults.
This comprehensive exercise is vital, as the Administrative Office staff serves as first responders during emergencies. If a building had to evacuate, the school staff manage the evacuation process while the Administrative Office staff deploy for reunification management. The successful execution of this drill exemplifies the Berkley School District’s commitment to maintaining a safe environment for students and staff.
Details About the August 8, 2023 Bond Proposal
Superintendent Scott Francis sent an email to the Berkley Schools community on Friday, July 21, sharing details about the upcoming Bond Proposal election on August 8, 2023. The email is below, if you missed it, and be sure to watch the video, below, to see BHS student Emily take a tour of the high school and share about the Bond along the way. (https://youtu.be/fbQ5mNWa4WU)
I’m writing to you to share details about the upcoming Bond Proposal on the August 8 ballot in order to clarify some points about the election. As a reminder, the Bond Proposal calls for $88 million to invest in multi-purpose additions at all elementary schools, performing arts upgrades and additions, athletics upgrades and additions, new spaces for robotics, District-wide technology upgrades, District-wide classroom furniture, and more. The 2023 Bond would touch every TK-12 classroom, many of our community spaces, and provide the opportunity for a full upgrade to our student and staff daily experiences. We have a comprehensive website with details about the Bond, including 32 frequently asked questions, the ballot language, a tax calculator and a per building breakdown of costs. Election day is August 8, 2023.
Does the District have a tax calculator?
Yes. The Berkley School District's financial advisor PFM developed a millage rate calculator for all District residents to use to calculate the proposed 2.25 mill increase for their own home.
An example: A home worth $200,000 typically has a taxable value of $100,000. 2.25 mills levied on this home would cost $225/year, before any income tax considerations. Ultimately, this Bond would cost on average less than a dollar a day.
Visit this online millage rate calculator to determine how the proposed 2.25 mill increase for the 2023 August Bond initiative would impact your taxes. To utilize the calculator, you will need the taxable value of your property as issued by the Oakland County Treasurer's Office. Do not use the assessed value, the state equalized value, or your sellable price for the tax calculator. If you use something other than your taxable value, the tax calculator will produce incorrect numbers. If you need to find your taxable value, visit the Oakland County Property Gateway to search your address.
What is the cost of each project?
Many dollar figures have been circulating in the community about what specific Bond projects would cost. Early on, we made a conscious decision to share the total costs per building, rather than per project. We did this because when a community starts to pit projects against each other, it can minimize the importance of projects to certain groups. And then, the conversion becomes which group of students deserve which project more. We believe that all student needs are valid, and all programs and spaces should be treated with a lens of equity and not one of ‘one is better or more important than another.’ Our athletes have space needs, our performing artists have space needs, all our students and teachers have classroom needs, our science students have lab needs, our robotics students have space needs, etc. One of these groups is not more important than another, and we hope our community can understand and respect this viewpoint.
To look at the projected costs of every line item, residents are encouraged to read through the very detailed PQA presented to the State of Michigan Treasury. We also have a clarification of costs for the proposed field house on our frequently asked questions page.
How are large construction projects funded?
It’s important to know that the way schools are funded in Michigan does not allow for Districts to save funds to tackle large projects. More than 85% of the District’s budget is allocated to people, our main resource, the rest funds operational expenditures, supplies, utilities, etc. Bond proposals are the only method available for Districts in the state of Michigan to fund larger construction projects. Our primary funding source, per pupil allotments from the state, were not designed to have enough extra funding to save for large projects.
What were 2015 Bond projects for?
In 2014, the District commissioned an independent contractor to complete a facilities study to identify areas of need. The report identified $120 million worth of needed projects and upgrades. From that report, the 2015 Bond was created. However, at the time, the 2015 Bond could only tackle half of the recommended projects. You can see the detailed history on our Bond webpage. The 2015 Bond was used for mostly behind the scenes upgrades: electrical, HVAC, plumbing, updating restrooms, classroom finishes (carpet, paint, sound systems, lights), as well as security updates and a multi-purpose addition at Norup. The 2023 Bond is structured around completing the recommended work from the 2014 facilities study, as well as addressing new needs identified since that report was completed.
I encourage you to take time to look through all the details on our Bond webpage. We are happy to answer any questions you may have after looking through the website, reading posts on social media or hearing things in the neighborhood. Send your questions to email@example.com and you’ll receive a quick response.
Berkley School District Invites the Public to its Job Fair
On Monday, July 31, the Berkley School District is hosting a job fair open to the public. From 1-3 pm, at the Berkley Schools Administrative Offices building, 14501 Talbot, Oak Park, MI, future employees will have the opportunity to interview on site and receive conditional offers pending background checks.
The District is hiring substitute custodians, child care assistants, latchkey assistants, lunch aides, permanent building substitute teachers, paraeducators and Shared Time teachers (electives: Spanish, physical education, music and art).
Berkley Schools will pay a $500 bonus after 60 work days to qualifying positions hired at the Job Fair. In addition, the District is paying for fingerprinting for all employees who are offered a position. Medical benefits available for most positions.
Join the Berkley Schools family, a supportive environment where all are welcome.
Learn more on the Berkley School District's website: www.berkleyschools.org/jobfair
Important Berkley Schools Safety Update
School safety is our number one priority. The District continually invests in school safety systems and tools and has been fortunate enough to receive millions of dollars over the last few years through safety grants in addition to the safety updates that were implemented as a result of the 2015 Bond. This message will include information about an expansion of the Raptor Visitor and Emergency Management system, information on our Behavior Threat Assessment and Management protocols, new security cameras, vape sensor updates and an announcement about a new partnership with Berkley Public Safety.
Raptor Visitor & Emergency Management
Earlier this year, we shared about the Raptor Visitor Management system. This system was implemented to ensure our guests and visitors are screened and checked-in prior to entering our buildings. We launched this District-wide in the winter. The system worked well and we heard from many families that it was well received. Starting with the 2023-24 school year, we will expand our use of Raptor and will begin using the Raptor Emergency Management system. This tool will serve two primary purposes: reunification and alert notification. If a building were to evacuate, our staff will pull up their class and building rosters through the Raptor app and take attendance at the reunification site. The system syncs daily with MISTAR, so Raptor will always be up to date. In addition, Raptor will help our reunification team to reunite families with their children. Secondly, Raptor allows our staff to conduct emergency drills and send/receive emergency notifications through the Raptor app. This means our staff can activate ALICE right from their phones as well as alert the entire building and District administration at the same time. Three buildings piloted the app at the end of last school year and it will launch District-wide in the Fall.
Behavior Threat Assessment Management
In the 2022-23 school year, our mental health staff worked diligently, and in conjunction with training at the county and state level, to create a process to manage and address threats. This process fulfills Board Policy 8400 which identifies the need for the District to establish a Threat Assessment team and a process to address threats. Our District process utilizes the Behavior Threat Assessment Management (BTAM) tool as recommended by the Michigan Department of Education and Michigan State Police. The BTAM is a fact-based, systemic process designed to identify, assess, and manage potentially dangerous or violent situations. Building risk assessment teams are the first responders to a BTAM. These teams are comprised of an administrator and at least two mental health staff.
A top level view of BTAM is as follows: If a threat of any kind is made, an administrator is notified. The administrator will consult with the core team to review the threat and determine if a full analysis is needed by following a flowchart and the BTAM protocol. If the threat is deemed transient or not substantive, the process is complete. If not, a deeper investigation is completed. By following the BTAM process we are ensuring we give each threat due diligence. Families will be notified if a BTAM was conducted for their child, however, it might not be until an investigation is underway or complete so the team can have a better understanding of the situation. In addition to the school team, members of the District administrative team are also involved in every BTAM process.
In 2023, Berkley Schools purchased an additional 177 security cameras to place in all areas of the District that were considered a blind spot - any location inside and outside our buildings that did not have camera coverage. Installation of the new cameras has begun and will be in place before school starts in August. With this new purchase we will have over 500 security cameras in place throughout the District.
Earlier this year we also announced that vape sensors were installed in restrooms at Berkley High School, Norup International School and Anderson Middle School. Those sensors are now fully operational and are sending alerts to building administrators if they are set off by vape smoke. If you need resources to speak with your children about the harmful effects of vaping, visit our website for more information.
Partnership with the City of Berkley - School Resource Officer
Berkley Schools is pleased to announce a new partnership with the City of Berkley and Berkley Public Safety (BPS). Starting with the 2023-24 school year, we will be welcoming Sgt Dave Arney as our new School Resource Officer (SRO). Sgt Arney currently oversees juvenile investigations, emergency vehicle operations and is a detective for BPS. Sgt Arney has spent a lot of time in our schools as our school liaison officer, conducting walkthroughs, connecting with students, bringing a fire truck and gear for fire safety assemblies and building relationships with our students and our administrators. He is also involved in our BTAM processes if needed. As the Berkley Schools SRO, Sgt Arney will be stationed at Berkley High School. He will be visiting all our schools on a regular basis, will continue to form relationships with our students, will attend large District events and will be on site in case of an emergency. During the summer months, Sgt Arney will return to Berkley Public Safety full time. Both the School Board and the Berkley City Council have approved the SRO agreement.
In addition to these new updates, we have a lot of safety systems and infrastructure in place including the following:
- NightLock door security systems on every room in every building
- Equipping each classroom with a Go-Bucket and a first aid kit
- Testing all Emergency Call Buttons in every classroom
- Establishing a school reunification site and procedure for pickup for all schools in the event of an evacuation
- Conducting ALICE drills with both staff and students annually
- School Safety committees at each school and at the District level
- Ongoing collaboration with Public Safety Departments
- Signage inside and outside our buildings to allow easy access for public safety to find any emergency
- Critical incident mapping tool to create detailed floor plans for public safety to see and use during training
- Secure entrances
- Continuous staff training including: ALICE, Stop the Bleed, CPR/AED, Basic First Aid
- Background checks for all volunteers
- BHS has been designated a MI Heart Safe School with a newly formed cardiac arrest response team
- One critical component of school safety is relationships. We are continually grateful for our staff for the relationships they develop and nurture with students, and for keeping student engagement, learning and growth at the center of all we do.
Helping Families with Medicaid Keep Their Coverage
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government declared a Public Health Emergency (PHE), allowing Medicaid members to keep their health care coverage. Per recent federal legislation, eligibility renewals restarted in June 2023. If you’re a Medicaid member, learn more about how these changes may affect your health care coverage on the Michigan Redetermination website.
Get ready to renew now
Follow these steps to determine if you still qualify.
- Make sure your contact information is up to date
- Check mail or text messages for a letter
- Complete your renewal form (if you get one)
Join the Berkley Schools Family - Now Hiring!
The Berkley School District is hiring! We are looking for talented individuals to fill a variety of positions. Visit our website to apply and share our postings with your networks!
- Assistant Superintendent of Finance, Facilities, and Operations - Administrative Offices
- Special Education Administrative Intern (Current BEA Only) - Administrative Offices
- Middle School Computer/Robotics Teacher - Anderson Middle School
- Special Education Teacher (Elementary K-5) - Burton Elementary School
- Early Childhood Special Education Teacher (ECSE) and Tuition Playgroup - Berkley Building Blocks
- Speech and Language Pathologist - Berkley High School
- Special Education Paraeducator(s) - 2 positions, Norup International School
- Early Childhood Special Education - 2 positions, Berkley Building Blocks
- Early Childhood Special Education - 1 position, Berkley Building Blocks
- Special Education Paraeducator - 1 position, Adult Transition Program
- Assistant Teacher(s) - 6 Open Positions - Berkley Building Blocks
- GSRP and Head Start Associate Teacher - Berkley Building Blocks
- Afternoon Custodian - Berkley High School
- Kids' Zone Assistant Teacher(s) - Various Locations
- High School Girls Diving Coach - Berkley High School
- High School Boys JV Tennis Head Coach - Berkley High School
- Middle School Wrestling Head Coach - Anderson Middle School
- Permanent Building Substitute Teacher - Anderson Middle School
Sign Up for Text Alerts
Quick Steps to Receive Text Alerts from Berkley Schools
In order to receive text messages from the District or your school, you must opt-in. Text messages will be sent out when the District closes or there is an emergency situation. Texts may also be sent from the District and schools for reminder messages during the day that are not urgent.
In order to receive text messages, every parent/guardian must opt-in each cell phone listed in MISTAR.
Steps to Opt-In
Text the word YES (in the message field) to the phone number 67587 (in the To field). Then you are all set!