Berkeley school programs receive annual grant support from nonprofit

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Grant money awarded to Berkeley schools continues to support programs from elementary to high school levels as they head further into the heart of the academic year.

Many specialized school programs in the Berkeley Unified School District rely almost solely on community funding to remain in operation. The nonprofit Berkeley foundation In Dulci Jubilo Inc. granted more than $30,000 to local schools, as the award winners announced on the Berkeley Schools website last week.

The local foundation awarded 13 grants, totaling $34,150, to six elementary school programs, four district programs and one to the Berkeley Public Library Foundation, in addition to two Berkeley High School grants. The nonprofit’s board of directors accepted applications from Berkeley educators and community members this April and awarded the grants in June.

Funding shortages have led Berkeley schools to seek financial support in multiple places over the years. The Berkeley School Excellence Program parcel tax measure — extended for 10 years after the passage of Measure A in 2006 — supports school enrichment programs and smaller class sizes for Berkeley public schools, among other programs, and is a source of funding for many projects also supported by In Dulci Jubilo.

“What In Dulci Jubilo has done for the last 35 years is actually invest in our teachers’ dreams,” said Mark Coplan, the district’s spokesperson. “They’ve provided money for dreams that will excite students, help with the achievement gap and encourage teachers to continue to develop their classrooms.”

One of the programs that the nonprofit’s money is supporting this school year is the Berkeley High School Student Court — a program that allows students facing suspension to present their cases for peer review and alternative methods of discipline.

“The student court and the work that we do cannot exist without grants from the community,” said David Luu, on-campus intervention director at Berkeley High School. “Ever since the court was created, we have relied on community support to keep our program going.”

Malcom X Elementary’s Project Connect — an academic support program that aims to close the achievement gap — also received a 2012 grant from In Dulci Jubilo, which supplements funding from the PTA and the BSEP fund.

“In these tight budget times, we would not be able to run the program without support from our community,” said Malcom X Elementary Principal Alexander Hunt. “Without help from In Dulci Jubilo, we would not be able to serve all of the students we need to.”

Contact Libby Rainey at [email protected]