All of us – but especially our children – are more than a score. Their brilliance, their creativity, their talent, and their potential — none of this can be reduced to a number on a test. One of the reasons I ran for School Board was to be a voice on the Board that challenges us to look beyond the results of high-stakes standardized test scores. I want us to maximize opportunities for creative thinking, problem-solving, and project-based learning in the classroom. Our goal should be to have all of our students engaged in their learning, and to have them all graduate not only prepared for college and career, but also with a lifelong love of learning.
Two friends and I decided to ask a group of seven Berkeley High seniors in the Communication Arts and Science (CAS) small school to work over the summer to create videos about themselves and their peers, to document what makes them “more than a score.” The only rules we imposed were to keep the videos under two minutes, and to use their creativity. Take a look.
Bios of the seven Berkeley High seniors who participated in this project are below. Hasmig Minassian, Berkeley High teacher and co-lead of CAS, and Jason Brand (Berkeley High ’91) worked with me to provide some guidance and feedback to these students, but our approach was to be hands-off and let the students’ creativity lead the project.
Jesse Barber is a senior at Berkeley high. Jesse was born and raised in West Berkeley. At Berkeley High Jesse is the opinion editor on the jacket, a Y&G delegate, and the student representative to the BUSD school board. When he is not focusing on CAS course work and participating in extra-curriculars you will find him on the basketball court playing pick-up with who ever is around.
River C. Nelson, the nearly-18 year-old Berkeley High senior, is an adventurous, creative person who carries a special passion for the digital arts and for nature. Combining these two passions is the surest way he knows how to feel right at home (just take a look at his head shot). Through his adventures with film-making and the CAS program at BHS, River has realized his own potential to generate social progress by utilizing his skills.
Marco Bloom is a self driven, hard working musician who prides himself in his ability to empathize and communicate with people with whom he has little in common. He is a dedicated member of the CAS program within Berkeley high school, and hopes to use the media skills aswell as everything else he is taught through his experiences in life to contribute to his community.
Last year I made the hard decision to discontinue volleyball. This sent me into a slight depression and for the first time in 7 years I had to rediscover myself. During this time I found spoken word, something I never thought I would turn to because I wasn’t very great at putting words together to explain how I felt. However, once I joined I realized that my work was never judged because everyone there knew how tough it was to share something from the heart. I then discovered that the spoken word community is far bigger than Berkeley High. I now am certain that where ever Life takes me I can make myself known with my words. – Nia Hampton
Isadora Stern is an active senior at Berkeley High. She is passionate about creating positive change in her communities and uses art as a mouthpiece for implementing this change. A voracious reader, focused student, and dedicated dancer she is looking forward to a future in which she can continue to use her skills to help.
Bianca Stern is an extremely inquisitive, spontaneous, spasmodic seventeen year old who is the kind of girl to slay the dragon and do the saving (really, quite dashing). She is a dedicated member of the CAS community at Berkeley High School and a dancer, poet, and the best twin sister ever. Bianca discovered film making through CAS and learned to use her work to express her passions, chief among them: saving the world.
Marielle Boland is a seventeen year old senior in the Communications Arts and Sciences small learning community at Berkeley High School. She is a young filmmaker who aspires to promote social awareness through her work. In her personal work, instead of telling her audiences what to think, Marielle chooses to simply let them think, and then form their own opinions.