Each Board member is the liaison to several schools in the District. This is a great way for Board members to have a true understanding of actual sites and the individual school communities when decisions/ solutions need to be made and voted on. If you are a current Board member, please tell us how you see this role, which schools you are liaison to, and how often you visit these schools. If you aspire to be a Board member, how do you see this role and if elected what are your plans for being a liaison?

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Ty Alper

The Board member liaison role is critical, as it ensures that each school in the District has a direct connection to the Board. Probably the most important function for the liaison is to be present as often as possible at school events (and PTA/SGC/ELAC meetings) for the express purpose of listening to and seeking to understand the thoughts, concerns, and ideas of that school community. Members of the community can come to (or watch on TV) the Board meetings to see what the Board members think about the various issues. But the Board members also need to hear from the community, and they need to hear from members of the community who do not have the resources or ability to speak during public comment at the Board meetings. A regular presence at the school sites is one way to accomplish this goal.

Josh Daniels

Being a school site liaison is incredibly important for me to do my job well. Specifically, it provides me with important insights and perspectives that I would not get any other way. I have worked to support my liaison sites on a variety of issues such as facilities/maintenance, communication, and governance.

I am currently the liaison to Cragmont, Emerson, Willard, and Berkeley Technology Academy (BTA). As the liaison, my intent is to make annual visits to each school, to each PTA, and to each SGC, and to meet with each principal. (So far this year I have visited the Cragmont PTA and the Willard PTA and I have done a site visit at BTA.) I also attempt to attend regular school events such as performances and graduation. During my first two years on the board I also help community meetings at my liaison school sites. However, I discontinued them because attendance was generally low and I now have monthly office hours at which I encourage attendance.

Norma J F Harrison

We’ll see....

Karen Hemphill

I am the liaison to Washington, Berkeley High, Independent Study and Jefferson. This year, I spent most time with Washington and BHS – either meeting with parents or discussing issues with school staff. Now that I have more flexibility in my day job work schedule, I will be able to spend more time at school sites than previously (in addition to going to Policy Subcommittee, equity or achievement gap-related meetings, and meetings with the Superintendent and/or central administrative staff during week days). I also attend virtually every monthly Parents with Children of African Descent (PCAD) meeting and hold office hours every month on the second Saturday at 10am. at Café Leila (San Pablo and Delaware). I also attend other community organization meetings that focus on public educational issues.

Julie Sinai

As the Board Liaison, I am a clear point person the school community can reach out to when they have issues they want to bring to the Board’s attention. I am the liaison to Berkeley Arts Magnet (BAM), John Muir, Longfellow and BHS. Early this month, I attended BAM’s Walk and Roll to School – promoting bike and pedestrian safety, along with bus and carpooling to get to school. I visit the schools periodically, attend events and graduations and when I want to observe a practice I try to do it at one of those schools. For example, last year I observed 2nd grade and 5th Also attended the community meetings at Longfellow where they discussed the future of the new cafeteria and the relocation of the garden. I also attended BHS staff development on Constructing Meaning early in the year and later in the year I met with the Professional Development Team to discuss their plans for the coming year. I attended the John Muir spelling bee and I responded to the parents’ concerns about the future of their cooking programs. Most recently, I received emails from BAM parents about an issue regarding substitutes and I immediately communicated with Assistant Superintendent of Instruction and Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources to address the situation.

Being the liaison provide an opportunity for me as a school board member to better understand what the schools are addressing, their challenges, and their highlights, and it is important for the school community because there is always a school board member who is there for them. grade math lessons at BAM and 6th  and 7th  grade math lessons at Longfellow.