Riddle Ends Tenure as School Board President By RIO BAUCE Special to the Planet

Friday December 09, 2005

The School Board meeting on Wednesday night marked the end of the presidency of Nancy Riddle. The board passed a unanimous resolution honoring Nancy Riddle for her work. Riddle was described as a strong leader who ran meetings smoothly and calmly. 

“I’ve glad that I’ve only had to use the gavel once this year,” Riddle said. “This speaks well of our community.” 

Former Vice President Terry Doran offered to take over as president. The board voted to name Doran president. Directors Shirley Issel and Joaquin Rivera abstained on that vote. Rivera ran for the vice president position with a unanimous vote of approval. And, as is customary, Superintendent Michele Lawrence was granted the secretary/clerk position. 

“We have our work cut out for us,” said Doran. “We’ll do everything that we can.” 


Public comment 

Some members of the community said they were dissatisfied that their children weren’t accepted into the Honors’ Algebra class at their middle school. 

“Why weren’t more honors’ algebra classes available?” said Karen Nielsen. “Why didn’t BUSD track programs? 

Others came to the meeting to inform the board of the opinion of the East Campus Neighborhood Association on the possible closure of Derby Street to allow the district to build a regulation size baseball field. 

“Please know that you have the full support of the neighborhood in proceeding with the open-street Plan,” said Berkeley resident Susi Marzuola. 


Student performance testing data 

On Wednesday, the board heard about student scores on the Advanced Placement (AP) tests, Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SAT), and the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE), which have a direct impact on the individual student’s future. Three administrators, including Berkeley High School Vice Principal Rory Bled, reported the results to the board. 

The Berkeley Unified School District scored higher than both the county and the state averages in many areas, including on the SAT Verbal, SAT Math, SAT Participation, and SAT Combined Scores. Latin and French had the highest average AP scores, with Latin at 4.44 and French at 4.41. The results also showed that the achievement gap between white students and non-white students is shrinking. 

Many board members said they were concerned that some seniors haven’t yet passed the CAHSEE. 

Riddle asked, “Of the 90 or so seniors that haven’t passed the CAHSEE, how many are on track for meeting their other graduation requirements?” 

Bled replied, “There are 50 seniors who have met all their graduation requirements, except for passing the CAHSEE.” 

“It seems that the trend for high scores in AP Science tests is going down,” observed Vice President Joaquin Rivera.”Do you know why that is?” 

“I can’t comment on why that is,” said Bled, a longtime administrator at Berkeley High School. “We have great science teachers ... You would be welcome to ask them.” 


Board mourns death of longtime employee 

The board observed a moment of silence to honor Dorothy Dorsey, longtime BUSD maintenance department employee, who recently passed away. She provided the BUSD with valuable direction and scheduled all the maintenance work. 

“Her commitment to improving maintenance was impressive,” said Issel.”Her death will be a loss to our community.” 

Funeral services will take place on Saturday morning, Dec. 10, at 10 a.m. at St. Luke MBC, 165 South 7th St., Richmond.