Berkeley Arts Magnet Elementary School PTA

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Berkley Arts Magnet School

Berkeley Arts Magnet school, commonly referred to as BAM, is a K through 5 elementary school located in beautiful Berkeley, California. BAM has a rich and diverse student community, and a unique history.

BAM is located at the Whittier campus, in the North Shattuck / Gourmet Ghetto neighorhood of north Berkeley, and just blocks from Downtown Berkeley.

BAM offers a rich curriculum in both arts and academics. The school community values learning experiences in all domains, and consistently pledges funds and instructional time to incorporate visual arts, dramatic arts, music and dance into a comprehensive education program.

Berkeley Arts Magnet teachers recognize the diversity of learners in each classroom, and have committed to ongoing professional development in “best practices” to promote academic achievement in reading, writing and math. In this way, the needs of all students are supported through a rich program that is not “one size fits all.” This year teachers will again participate in school-wide professional development with The Foundation for Comprehensive Early Literacy Learning. The outcome of this training is the improved ability to provide exemplary reading and writing instruction at all levels, using inspiring literature and student-generated topics for writing. Our goal is to develop highly skilled readers and writers who are prepared for future academic study and life-long learning.

Each child at Berkeley Arts Magnet develops artistic perception by learning technique in four arts domains: music, dance, drama and visual arts. Arts specialists provide rich experiences that allow students to explore the art form, and integrate learning experiences in other disciplines. For example, our dramatic arts teacher incorporates language arts standards into the drama program. Speaking, reading and writing skills are embedded in the creative expression of a piece of literature or social studies theme. Students learn to dance, play an instrument and read music, while at the same time they learn about these art forms in both a historical and cultural context. Students learn aesthetic valuing through reflection on their own artistic work and that of others. The school’s rich arts program promotes connections, relationships and applications of learning across content areas. Student growth and mastery in the arts are celebrated in ongoing performances (large and small).

Berkeley Arts Magnet is also an Arts Learning Anchor School, which promotes arts integration through professional development for teachers. The school was previously honored as a California Distinguished School for successful integration of the visual and performing arts programs into the academic domain.

Parents and caregivers are an essential part of the school community, and take their responsibility as school partners seriously. Volunteers and organizers support our children at the classroom, school, district and community levels. This is a school that can count on lots of family support, and this is a school that provides multiple opportunities for participation. All our family and caregiver groups (PTA, African-American Families United at BAM, Latino Families, School Governance Council, and the BAM Giving Campaign) promote active participation, parent education, student achievement, and community celebration. Our parents and caregivers also do ongoing fund-raising to provide supplemental and enrichment programs that simply cannot be offered without these additional funds. Generous giving this year added lunchtime sports and PE support through the Berkeley YMCA.

Berkeley Arts Magnet does not shy away from challenges, and we face – as do many public schools – some sobering reality. “We must ensure that more of our students thrive and achieve,” says principal Kristin Collins. “We must eliminate the equity gap that exists between our students of color and the school at large. We are building our systems to reduce barriers to learning and to achieve equitable outcomes. Our Universal Learning Support System Team meets weekly to address the needs of struggling students. We are extending learning in our before and after school programs. We are working with our larger community to provide additional resources to promote achievement. Berkeley Arts Magnet is a dedicated school community aspiring to school success for all.”