Page One

Rosa Parks Welcomes New Families

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday September 01, 2006

For 6-year-old Eli Lebowitz, going to school on Monday evening was exciting because he got to attend a barbecue, meet all his friends before starting school on Wednesday and even receive a brand new backpack full of school supplies. 

“What was even more great about the backpack was that there were Z bars inside it,” said the first-grader from Rosa Parks Elementary School, excitedly. 

Rosa Parks has hosted the Annual New Families Barbecue for 15 years and given away free backpacks and school supplies for the past two years. 

Councilmember Darryl Moore started this initiative with the help of the West Berkeley Business Association and other companies in council district 5. 

“I have worked with Rosa Parks for years, and this just seemed like a special way to get the kindergartners on to a great start for the new school year,” Moore said. 

Moore thanked Rosa Parks Principal Pat Saddler, the PTA, the West Berkeley Business Alliance, the Bayer Corporation, Pacific Steel Casting and other businesses for helping make the event happen.  

“All the businesses in West Berkeley wrote out checks with open arms,” Moore said. 

Rosa Parks, at 920 Allston Way, has 58 percent of its students taking part in the free and reduced lunch program.  

Cody’s Books gave away bilingual (Spanish & English) Dora the Explorer books and Clif Bar distributed free children’s organic bars. Orchard Supplies donated terra-cotta pots for the kids to paint and provided them with earth and saplings. Crayons, pencils, and gluesticks were also distributed among the school supplies. 

“It was a lot of fun,” said PTA president Tracy Hollander. “New students and their families were welcomed and they also got to meet BUSD Superintendent Michele Lawrence, teachers and other families. Principal Saddler introduced many of the Rosa Parks teachers and staff and explained what parents could expect at Rosa Parks.”  

The PTA enrolled 67 members in the first day itself, Hollander said. 

“I am really proud of being a Rosa Parks parent,” she said. “The school’s commitment to community building is brought forward through events like this.” 

Hollander added that Rosa Parks has six new teachers this year.