Read more about what Beta Lower School staff did to support our community and families during the winter holidays!
A recent interview with Jasmine Douville, Restorative Justice Coach and Specialist at Beta Lower School
Tell me more about what the holiday drive? What was the goal?
" This year we have seen so many families struggle. For the Thanksgiving holiday we gifted over 107 families with free veggies, fruits, macaroni and turkeys or hams and saw a need to try to double those efforts for Christmas. I worked with Sunshine Sales in Lafayette and Toys for Tots to provide over 500 free toys for the families at Caliber. The veggies, fruits and dry goods were provided by the Contra Costa Food bank, and the organization following Frances worked to provide art supplies, food and their time on organizing all of the efforts. Our goal was to reach 200 families for the holidays and we went above and beyond by reaching 250 families at Caliber Beta Academy!"
What is your favorite memory of this event? Is there anyone you want to appreciate for the support?
" Our hope was to provide some normalcy for families this holiday season, giving them a feeling of relief knowing they don't have to struggle just to provide food on their table and give their children a special something for the holidays. While handing out the food a mom with three youth at Caliber started crying as we placed her goodies in the trunk. She let us know that without our support this holiday season, she would not be able to feed her family or have anything for them to open on Christmas day. The operations team worked tirelessly to ensure that everything went off without a hitch! Huge thank you to all the volunteers for making the event feel so special for our families at Caliber."
Learn more about what staff across both campuses are working on to bring a more anti-racist focus at Caliber!
A recent interview with some of the members of the Equity Initiative:
Tell me more about the work you do in the equity working group?
" We are currently working on drafting a DEIB statement for Caliber Schools that includes action items we can take in every aspect of our organization to strive towards being anti-racist and equity-focused." - Brooklyn Joseph (Beta Upper)
" This year the equity group included staff from all levels teachers, admin, para's, and support staff. It is important that all voices are heard and that we have representatives for all groups and in this group I feel privileged to not only represent my fellow colleagues but also in a way represent the latino community of CMA." - Roxana Morales (CMA Lower)
" Caliber's Equity initiative was one that I am so excited and honored to be a part of. As a teacher, equity is central to our work and for me personally the reason I got into teaching. This is my first year working with Caliber Public Schools and this work in conjunction our work with Overcoming Racism is more than just nominally important. Beyond showing we are self-aware as an organization, it pushes us all to be self-reflective and to really do the work we set out to do in our vision statement. We have been working on drafting the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging statement to give our work direction."- Gabriella Gini (Beta Lower)
What has been your favorite (learning) moment in the group?
" I love collaborating with everyone on this team. I think my favorite moment was when we were trying to come up with "we" statements and Brother Michael reminded us that it probably makes sense to start with what is important for each of us to include in the vision and then we can build our collective vision from there."- Brooklyn Joseph
" So far we have been working hard in how to create a more authentic and true equity statement for Caliber Schools. We have been reviewing, revising and discussing how to make it clear that Caliber is a racist school. We want for this statement to be clear, true, and transparent"- Roxana Morales
" My favorite moment as part of this group is having the experience to work alongside leaders, teachers, families, and auxiliary staff towards one goal. It is exciting to be part of an organization so aligned on its values and so transparent with its planning."- Gabriella Gini
What do you hope the equity working group will bring to the Caliber community?
" I hope this group will be able to guide the Caliber community to analyze every aspect of our organization and come up with concrete action steps towards the goal of becoming unapologetically anti-racist and continue to work along-side our students and their families to fight back against systems of oppression."- Brooklyn Joseph
" My hope is that we can be of impact to all communities in our school by being an example of what can be achieved if we all just work together. We have enough hate in our world and I can honestly feel that everyone that is working in this committee is bringing their all to break those barriers and show what love and unity can do for a school, for a community."- Roxana Morales
" I know that this group will bring about an actionable plan towards enacting the vision that Caliber was founded on and to continue to be self-reflective, equitable, and working "with" not only "for" our community"- Gabriella Gini
Learn more about what the Spire Phonics team at Beta Lower School is doing to support students during distance learning!
All about the Spire Phonics Team
"Our SPIRE phonics team addresses key foundational reading skills! We have an incredible team made up of many staff who normally would have other roles (including Fernando, our PE teacher, Aydee, our nutrition lead, Jackie Grossman, our librarian, as well as Instructional Assistants, classroom teachers and special education teachers). They hold Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 phonics interventions and have created a bank of hundreds of phonics videos and assignments to share with each other. Students get to participate asynchronously and some receive live sessions!" - Assistant Principals and Beta Lower
A recent interview with some SPIRE Phonics Team members:
Tell me more about the work you do with the SPIRE team?
"As part of the Spire team, the initial focus during this school year was on increasing student participation.
In an effort to do this we closely monitored student work completion and followed up with families to support student
engagement and problem solved any obstacles they were experiencing. We also followed up with students to foster
motivation for completing their work. Once students were participating, the focus shifted to mastery of
skills being taught. Through weekly assessments we look for patterns of misconceptions and determine whether
it is appropriate to move students on to the next lesson or provide reinforcing instruction to help solidify the skill.
I found that with the group of students I have been working with that all but a few were consistently mastering the
targeted concept after only two days of asynchronous learning. Now after testing students on concepts for which they have not yet received instruction, it became evident that most of these students didn’t need further Spire instruction
and we could now shift our focus to synchronous learning for the kiddos that need Spire instruction the most. Up until now all of my teaching has been asynchronous. I am really looking forward to interacting with my students face to face." - Marna Cooper
"I am currently working with students in the 3rd and 4th grade. SPIRE phonics is a reading program that allows students to develop their reading levels and master their phonemic awareness through repetition of sounds, words, and reading. My responsibilities are to bring out the awareness to my student by providing different activities that will help to instill confidence in reading and also to develop a better understanding of the English language."- Fernando Ramos
What has been your favorite moment or memory since starting distance learning?
"I had to administer a post assessment to a student. While beginning our zoom session, she couldn’t get her
microphone to work so I called her on the phone while we both remained on the zoom call. We stayed on the
zoom call because I had to share my screen with her so she could see the list of words that I needed her to read.
She was such a trooper and happy to read for me. When we were all done she asked if she could show me around her terrace. She wanted to show me all the different pots of flowers that her mom planted. She was so proud. It was a beautiful connection and is one of the highlights of distance learning."- Marna Cooper
"My favorite moment since starting social distance learning has been the responses, which have greatly caught the attention of student engagement and student learning. I really enjoy how much effort students put into their work. It is obvious that there is a desire to learn and it motivates me to continue producing content."- Fernando Ramos
How have you seen your students grow with the support you and the team have been providing?
"My students have grown in two major ways as a result our commitment to connect with students and families.
Through multiple attempts to communicate with families via email, text, phone calls, translators and/or google translate, student work completion has improved significantly. In addition, students have been passing their weekly skill assessments. This means what we are doing is working." - Marna Cooper
"Yes, each week we provide each student with assessments based on the previous concept. The assessment will determine the level of mastery of each student. It is our responsibility that all students reach mastery level before moving on to the next concept. Students are at different levels so for friends who require additional support we provide lessons to reinforce the lesson. The goal is to increase the phonemic awareness of each student. The data shows that learning is taking place and that students are growing and furthering their skills each week."- Fernando Ramos