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BFT Action - May 3rd, 2020

BFT Action--May 2020
Dear BFT Members,

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! You are so appreciated! Thank you for your continued work and dedication to Berkeley students, families, and to each other.  It's been amazing to see your fantastic collage photos at site meetings. Keep the photos coming.

This BFT Action is packed with announcements, upcoming dates, and information about two general membership meetings this month.

Have a good week!

Berkeley High Counselors showing their love for students!
BFT Membership Meetings in May 2020
May 7th (THIS THURSDAY): Interviews of Candidates for BUSD School Board 2020
- Via Zoom: Access the meeting  here
- 4pm to 5:30 pm
- Interviews of one incumbent candidate (Judy Appel) and two non-incumbent candidates (Ana Vasudeo and Laura Babitt)
- There will be discussion after the interviews

May 21: BFT Endorsement Decisions
- Zoom info to be sent out later
- 4:00 to 4:45 p.m.
- This is a membership meeting and an Exec Board meeting at the same time.  All members are welcome.

The next School Board will set direction for our next round of negotiations and make critical decisions around possible Covid-19 budget reductions. These are important public leaders and we hope all members will consider attending our May 7th membership meeting THIS THURSDAY to learn more about the candidates and to give input on BFT endorsement decisions. This meeting will be recorded.

The Schools Fund's Annual Spring Luncheon 
will take place virtually 
on May 8 at 12:00 p.m. 

No tickets are required, and this event will be open to the community. 

Here are the 2020
Hearts & Souls Honorees

Lily Howell – Emerson,
Family Engagement Specialist
Don Arrieola – Washington, PE Teacher
Jonah Cohn – Jefferson, PE Teacher
Sylvia Riddick – Thousand Oaks, School Secretary
Tito Aquino – Rosa Parks,
Family Engagement Specialist
Jackie Ray – Cragmont, Custodian
Ade Owudunni – John Muir, Special Ed Instructor
Adam Weis – BAM, 5th Grade Teacher
Camille Clausen – Oxford, Afterschool Instructor
Mariah Castle – Malcolm X, Drama Teacher
Irene Leja – Sylvia Mendez, Afterschool Instructor

Join the community THIS FRIDAY to celebrate our wonderful honorees. 

If you can afford it and it makes sense for your family at this time, join Berkeley Educators in pledging to give all or part of your stimulus check to undocumented families in their time of need. Undocumented families did not receive ANY stimulus money from the Federal government. If 500 educators pledge to give at least $120 or 10% of their stimulus check, we will raise $60,000!

Through collaboration with the Berkeley Public Schools Fund and the Office of Family Engagement, BFT has secured a way for you to donate all or part of your stimulus check to directly support undocumented families. Find the link here.

Please write in "BFT SUPPORTING UNDOCUMENTED FAMILIES" in the Special Instructions box to make sure your donation goes directly to these families. Also, write in BFT under Organization.

The California Alliance For Community Schools (CACS) has developed a statewide petition that fights for well-resourced, community-centered, publicly funded and democratically run schools. 

BFT is part of CACS and has been instrumental in developing this petition. Your site reps will be giving you more information about this petition, and providing you with the petition tool to sign virtually when it's available. 


Get involved in your union: Be a BFT Organizer or a Teachers of Color Network Facilitator
You will receive announcements for two different BFT Organizer positions for 2020-2021 by email.

The BFT Organizers work with CFT staff and BFT officers to implement the political and electoral parts of the BFT strategic plan, including mobilization for local and state electoral fights, recruit members to volunteer for events and be a BFT liaison to city governing bodies and commissions. The BFT Organizer also works with Site Reps to maintain high membership and represents BFT on District committees. You can find the application here.

The Teachers of Color Network is a group, organized by BFT, that works to improve the recruitment, hiring, support, and retention of teachers of color in BUSD. They also work together on the all-important goals of self-care and building community. Being a TOCN Facilitator is a great chance for BFT members to help serve their colleagues and do fun, important work! You can find the application here.

Applications for these positions are due to BFT (via email) by Monday, May 25th. 

Recent Resolutions

The BFT Executive Board has approved the Common Good Demands Resolution. This resolution was developed by Labor Notes and labor activists across the country. It defends the rights of workers against the Corona Virus. 

The BFT Executive Board has also approved the resolution  Free All Immigrant Detainees- Stop Covid- 19 Deaths

CFT recently approved an AFT SPED Resolution that BFT members worked on! 


CalSTRS Webinars

CalSTRS offers webinars that are designed for early, mid-career or nearing retirement. Communicating virtually now is more important than ever. Register today so you can plan ahead by better understanding your CalSTRS benefits.

You can find more information about upcoming webinars here.

BFT Site Rep Nominations for 2020- 2021 due Friday, May 8

Nomination forms for BFT Site Rep positions were emailed out last week to all members. Being a Site Rep is a great way to get involved in your union--you're part of one of the most important decision-making bodies in the union, the Executive Board. As a Site Rep, you become a leader at your school site, helping your colleagues with contractual and quality-of-work issues. Nomination forms are due back to the BFT office by Friday May 8. It is best to email your form to Be sure your email has a clear subject heading.


Seeking Volunteers to
Support Families with
‘Tech Wellness Checks’

In partnership with the district, Berkeley Schools Volunteers (BSV) is contacting all families who received loaner Chromebooks this spring for a personalized “tech wellness check.” Volunteers will be supporting families to ensure their laptops and internet are working, they know how to access remote learning platforms (like Google Classroom & Meet/Zoom), and their students can access e-book collections (like Sora). This is a major undertaking and is a critical piece of BUSD's strategy to minimize the deepening of the digital divide in our district.

BSV is currently seeking Tech Wellness Check volunteers with as little as an hour to give each week. You can make all calls from home, can make as many or as few calls as your schedule permits, and don’t need a high tech background (we’ll train you, give you a script, and support you with resources). 

*** Want to learn more? Click here

*** Ready to join the Tech Wellness team? Sign up as a Berkeley Schools Volunteer here, and then check the Skills box that says, “Tech Support for Remote Learning/Wellness Checks.” Then program leaders will be in touch!

Are you following BFT on Instagram? Follow @BFTunion to see updates and member photos.

We've also highlighted moments over the last few months from the Measures E, G, and H Campaign and Schools and Communities First. Check it out!

Be sure that you also follow BFT on Facebook where upcoming actions and news are regularly posted. 

College Scholarship Available - Deadline to Apply is June 15
The AFT and CFT offer several college scholarship opportunities for children of union members (both high school and seniors and continuing college students). The CFT Raoul Teilhet scholarship application for students already in college, the due date is June 15, 2020 and the application can be found here.
Update on Course Approval:

HR is not requiring a course approval form through this summer. You will turn in a new form (that has not been created yet) with your transcripts when we return. Essentially this means that all courses that receive course credit are 'approved'. 

Interested in a Job Share?
If you are a K-5 teacher interested in a job share for 2020-2021, please contact BFT asap so we can connect you with other teachers seeking job shares!
Voluntary Transfer Rights in BFT/BUSD Contract
The BFT/BUSD contract provides teachers the right to request a voluntary transfer to an open position at a different school so long as as they have a positive evaluation and meet certain criteria (e.g. certification, credential, minimum years experience, specialized training, etc.). If you have questions about how to make use of your rights in the area please contact BFT President Matt Meyer at You should also make sure to carefully monitor certificated job postings in your email. 
Calendar of Coming Events
5/07/20 General Membership Meeting (School Board Endorsement Interviews) 4:00 p.m.
5/08/20 Site Rep Nominations DUE via Email 
5/08/20 Schools Fund Luncheon 12:00 p.m.
5/21/20 General Membership Meeting (School Board Endorsement Decisions) 4:00 pm