Berkeley High School’s staff is starting out the school year with a renewed focus on attendance and communication, according to a letter sent out Wednesday to the high school community.
Welcoming students back on the second day of school, the high school’s principal Pasquale Scuderi said in the message that he wants to “continue to develop a culture where teachers, their peers, students, and administrators talk openly and respectfully about instruction.” As a first step, Scuderi created a Twitter account — @BHSinfo — which he encourages students and families to follow for the latest updates about the school.
In the letter, Scuderi also outlined his goal of increasing attendance and cutting back on truancy, a problem he hopes to tackle with some structural changes this year.
“District staff and the Board of Education have helped provide us with resources to manage these efforts, and chief among those resources was the acquisition of a Dean of Attendance, Daniel Roose,” he wrote. “Roose and his staff will maintain accurate attendance data, manage the implementation of the formal processes dealing with truancy as determined by state law, and also implement a systematized way of tracking our efforts to connect with parents of students who are regularly truant.”
This is Scuderi’s second year as principal of Berkeley High School, a mammoth of a school that serves a third of the district’s total student population — about 3,400 students last year — and has proven a challenge for previous principals. Although Scuderi’s predecessor, Jim Slemp, who retired in June 2010, worked as principal for six years, the position has seen more turnover than consistency; the high school flew through five principals in the five years before Slemp, with his predecessor resigning just two weeks after he was hired, right before the school year began.
Soumya Karlamangla is the assistant city news editor.
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