Learn more about what a group of 6th graders focused on for their Passion Project!
All about the Science Showcase:
When the science PLC planned this, our intent was low-leverage, high engagement, but still educational. We wanted to keep teaching content without the high intensity of formal classes due to SBAC and MAP testing. We decided a low-key science fair style showcase would be fun. It would still hold students accountable to learning, but would allow for creativity and engagement and learning the student way. Ultimately, our goal was to do a deep dive into a standards based topic that occurred this year per grade level. Our focus was on asking questions and defining problems, developing and using models, planning and carrying out investigation, analyzing and interpreting data amongst a few of our designing and engineering practices. Essentially, students designed a focus question which led their investigation, collected or researched data, wrote CERCA responses to their focus question, designed models and/or presented their findings via poster boards, google slide shows or prezis. Students were excited to present all their new learnings often taking and answering questions to fuel their passion.
A recent interview with a group of 6th grade students:
What is your favorite thing about Caliber: Beta Academy, specifically Upper School?
Loyal Blake: “This is only my second year here and I am learning to be more responsible ! We get to be involved in lot more leadership like SAG, I am an advisory representative.”
Anaissa Cabeza: “I like that we get Dean’s List reports and it tells us our GPA and our attendance - we get to know what we need to work on or what positive things we did in class. I really like that we get to write what our goals are for the next week.”
Joshua Villalobos: “I like that we have more classes and activities!”
Tell me more about the Science Showcase?
Kemi Adeduro: “So we also call it the Passion Project, because it’s something that we chose to explore. The science showcase is a way we can show our parents and other kids in what we are working on!”
Anaissa: “I think it’s important for other students to understand what we are learning and our curriculum and through the showcase, they get to see new things that they might not know about if they are in another grade level.”
Why do you think it’s important for students to participate in the science fair?
Joshua: “It’s important because we get to choose what we want to talk about, and dive deep into what we are learning in the classroom. This is preparing us for high school because we also get to work with others and form groups, so we really have to learn to collaborate.”
Loyal: “We get to teach others about science and collaborate with different people!”
Tell me about your own science project?
Kemi & Anissa: “Our science project was on how global warming affects the Arctic. We got a piece of ice and paper animals - that deteriorate with hot water- to represent global warming. This turns into rising sea levels, which we can demonstrate at the showcase.” Loyal: My group focused on a focus question- What causes coloration in rainbows? So we came up with different theories as to how the sun affects the rainbow and how they form. We used a prism to reflect it since we can't form raindrops and so the crystal acts like a raindrop and we are able to reflect this.”
If you could relate this project to one of our pillars, which would it be?
Anaissa: “Smart and Think because we are researching topics and really trying to figure out how something works."
Learn all about what students do in Books to Bravo @ Caliber:Beta Academy:
The San Francisco Opera brought Books to Bravo to Caliber. Books to Bravo is a program where students engage with curriculum in new ways as they bring literature to life through music and theater. Using interpretative skills and their own imaginative voices, they write scenes and songs, design and rehearse their work, and perform for their classmates in a culminating performance.
A recent interview with a group of 3rd grade students:
What is your favorite thing about Caliber: Beta Academy?
Taraji McClellan: “Something I like about Caliber is that all the teachers here never leave us and want us to work hard in school.”
Harbandna Bhullar: “In third grade you get to do Books to Bravo and it’s something I really like!”
Tell me more about what you do in the Books to Bravo program?
Melanie Ledezma: “We get to perform in front of a lot of people, so I lost my stage fright when I started participating in it.”
Viridiana Ramirez: “ Books to Bravos is a group that teaches you about how to do a play based on a book, it’s always based on a book and it’s really fun if you get to participate in it. It’s really fun participating because you work on being on stage and you meet new people. It helps you to get out of your comfort zone!”
Christopher Galindo: “We get to do shows where we act, and we work with teachers who come from San Francisco. We take the stories from books and make these into a play.”
Harbanda: “It's kind of embarrassing when the parents come in. I stay brave by pretending I’m the only one there.”
Allen: “It is embarrassing sometimes, but I stay brave by focusing on myself.”
Tell me about a favorite book you got to act out?
Taraji: “My favorite book that we got to act out was “Ayobami and the name of Animals” I like it because we get to act out what it’s like to be a teacher and I get to “teach”. We spoke out and projected ourselves!
Viridiana: “ I got to learn new things like write our own songs and our own scripts!”
Harbanda: “I had to hold a stick and had to pretend to hit a bad guy with an oar when we did Petite Rouge (Little Red hen).”
Christopher: “A spider fell to the ground and it was funny when we did Anansi and the Moss Covered Rock, it was fun to move around and say hi to the rock.”
What have you learned while being in the program?
Taraji: “Our teachers helped us put together the show and we learned how to act instead of writing, we stopped the writing and started acting!”
Allen: “They help us sing a song even when we get really distracted.”
Learn all about how Ms. Morris is supporting the cheer/dance team @CMA!
All about Keyauna Morris @ Caliber: ChangeMakers Academy:
I was born and raised in Vallejo, CA and it is a blessing to serve kids in my community. I have been apart of many cheer and dance teams starting at the age of 8 all throughout college. It helped me become confident in expressing myself in front of an audience and made me a team player. I have built sisterhood with my cheer and dance sisters that still thrives today and we still remember cheers and dances from when we were kids. I showed my students a few cheers at recess one day and they came to my class after school that day and asked, “Miss Morris, we were wondering if you could be our cheer coach?” My heart smiled as I answered yes. I am using this cheer and dance team to embrace the importance of health and fitness, teamwork, leadership, and self-discipline.
A recent interview with Keyauna Morris:
What is your favorite thing about Caliber: ChangeMakers Academy?
"One of my favorite things about Caliber: CMA is the Computer Science program because I have been able to adapt my lessons to what my students want to learn and make it more interesting to them, while including technology, reading, writing, math, and social skills. I also love seeing the growth and ideas manifest here at CMA. I am appreciative to those here constantly adapting to our students needs and creating a space for students to be able to connect and want to learn."
Tell me more about the work you are doing with the cheer squad?
"We officially started the cheer squad mid-April of 2019. We practice cheer and dance 3 days a week during our 30-minute lunch/recess. Practice consists of stretching, exercising, learning routines, and most importantly bonding. Through this bond, I am encouraging them to embrace this role as cheerleaders who consistently work hard to uplift our community as a team. Many kids do not do things outside of school due to family finances, transportation, or other issues that hinder students from being involved in extracurricular activities. This is why I am supporting the cheerleaders in being role models and an inspiration to their peers and everyone in their community to start their own teams and organizations of their interest."
What has been your favorite memory with the cheer/ dance group squad so far?
"My favorite memory with our team so far is our first performance at the SBAC pep rally! We volunteered to perform the week of, so that left us with little time to practice. They had a field trip that week and few girls missed practice, but they still performed very well!"
If you can relate the work you do to one of our pillars, which would it be?
"I would say Heart and ACT- for heart more so because I am teaching them to build positive relationships with people. They are working as a team and they are learning to combine differences and similarities to come together and move towards one goal, this is definitely a skill that’s important to learn at an early age. They are able to accept help and help others without putting each other down. ACT because that is the leadership piece of our squad. We are cheering people up and and being role models for others."
What is one fun fact that most people don't know about you?
"I played the clarinet, trombone, and piano growing up. I have always been theatrical behind closed doors, but I get shy in front of the camera. When I was younger my mom would take me to auditions and I would freeze on stage. Cheerleading helped me become confident in front of an audience. I still dream of acting or being some type of musical performer. I see that dream coming true, but in the meantime I work behind the camera as a photographer and multimedia creator."
Learn all about how Ms. Oppenheim has helped 8th graders at Beta Upper School through the high school application process!
All about Annie Oppenheim @Beta Upper School:
Along with teaching ELA and Social Studies, I have been directing the high school placement process for Caliber Beta's 8th graders for the past two years. I work to help each 8th grader and their families find a high school that is a good personal and academic fit for them by building strong personal relationships and understanding the vast array of high school options in and around Richmond.
A recent interview with Annie Oppenheim and two 8th graders:
What is your favorite thing about Caliber: Beta Academy (specifically Upper School)?
"I love working on such a small and supportive staff. The Beta Upper team is small but mighty and I so appreciate the experience of working in a school in which collaboration is so highly valued. There is a culture of support from our administrators as well as among our colleagues that I believe makes working here a unique and special experience."
Tell me more about the work you are doing with the transitioning 8th graders ?
"Sending a child to high school can be really anxiety provoking for families, so much of my work with this process has been around providing students and families with information and with time. We start discussing the process in the fall and have a required High School Options Night in which representatives from local charters come and speak about their schools. At this event we have computers on hand so families can log in and apply right there rather than having to go home and navigate the process independently. I also support those who are interested in local parochial, private, and magnet schools in navigating those more complicated application processes. From school visits, to admission essays, to financial aid forms, I try to support students every step of the way so there is no point at which things become so confusing that students choose not to propel their education's forward. Weekly office hours that are open to students and parents have been a great way to ensure all families feel their needs are being met and they are making a good decision for the coming year."
If you can relate the work you do to one of our pillars, which would it be?
"It's hard to choose just one because I hope I am bringing components of all four pillars into my teaching, but if there's one thing I hope students walk away from my class with it is HEART. In both ELA and Social Studies we've read many texts in which I push students to think critically about characters and really try to empathize and connect with figures being studied. History often feels so far behind us that it can be easy for students to forget that these people were human just like they are. I feel so strongly that having empathy and compassion is the best way to forge connections and bridge divides in our increasingly polarized society, so I hope students are learning the value of compassion and empathy in our studies this year."
Tell me more about how Ms. Oppenheim has helped you with your high school applications?
Jocelyn: “Ms. Op has helped us a lot! Because of her, we realized that it was possible to apply to private schools. We had a lot of 8th graders apply to Saint Mary’s this year. She prepared us for each step. She wrote recommendation letters for us and explained everything about the process. She advocated for us a lot and I’m thankful that we have teachers like Ms. Op!”
Jaimelyn: “She took us on a campus visit to help us learn more about private schools (St Mary’s). If I would have applied to high schools by myself, I probably wouldn’t have applied to a lot of schools. She helped me see myself in a “fancy” school that I thought I couldn’t afford to go to.”
What high schools have you been accepted to?
Jocelyn: “I have been accepted to Leadership High School and waitlisted for St. Mary’s and Summit HS.”
Jaimelyn: “I am waitlisted for St. Mary’s and two Summit Public HS’s.”
What makes you excited about high school?
Jocelyn: “I am excited for the new experiences and to learn more about engineering and challenge myself even more than I do here. It’s like a blank slate and I get to choose what I focus on academically!”
Jaimelyn: “I think meeting new people and experiencing new things. High school is bigger."
What is one thing you will miss about Caliber: Beta Academy?
Jocelyn: “Having different people to go to. I think that because high schools are bigger, there are a lot more students and we won’t be able to build great relationships with our teachers! We won’t have access to “our tias” (referring to Ms. Cardenas and Ms. Ashlee). We have family trees here and it’s amazing to have a family in your school. We won’t have that in high school."
Jaimelyn: “Caliber is like a family and it makes it easier to connect with others. A lot of us are going to grow in different ways and it’s scary."