Pictures by AC student, Johanna Staples-Ager
On Monday, November 7th, Berkeley High held something that the school hadn’t seen in quite a while: a school-wide breakfast meeting for staff; teachers, administrators, safety officers, librarians, custodians, all together. The goal was to build community across the school, while working together to improve their ability to offer culturally responsive teaching and outreach to students.
Professional Development lead teacher Monique Debrito envisioned the event, with tons of outreach and support from Ms. Parker and Leticia Amezcua of the Parent Resource Center, parents Laura Marlin and Ana Hoover, team-building exercises designed by Eddie Estrada, Dagny Dingman and Karen Zapata, support from Principal Pasarow, and terrific help from the custodial staff. Table assignments and exercises mixed folks up from all over the school.
And the food: pitched as a giant potluck for 230 participants, with parent volunteers bringing the food and decorations, setting up, serving and cleaning up afterwards, all on a day when there was no school - it was a major undertaking.
By Thursday afternoon of the preceding week, potluck sign-ups were looking alarmingly skimpy. That’s when the Academic Choice Advisory Council decided to spring into action; with the goal of ensuring that the breakfast helped build community by making staff feel loved, appreciated, and free to work collaboratively, AC Council members quickly put together a grant request to pay for needed food for the event. The next morning, the Council enthusiastically and unanimously voted to give $750 to the event leaders to pay for food.
When Monday morning arrived, the food was plentiful, the flowers and tablecloths lovely, and staff members were seen enthusiastically filling their plates with the bountiful goodies that parents had provided. One of the major highlights of the event was the visit donated by BHS parent Bill Choy: his Travelin’ Joe espresso and waffle cart. Bill and an assistant proceeded to churn out high quality espresso drinks and fresh waffles for hours, and staff members were observed literally doing a happy dance as they awaited their treats.
Many thanks to the parent community for their generous gifts of food and effort to the event, to AC for the money, to all of the staff who put it together, and to Bill Choy and Travelin’ Joe for the coffee love.