Orientation at Berkeley High

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What if he's out of town during orientation

March 2010

We have joint legal custody of my child, but dad has physical. Dad is planning to take child to family camp the week of his orientation at BHS (8/23). Child will miss getting schedule, id photo, text books, etc. and child would rather not go to camp because of this. Do I, as the non custodial parent, have any recourse to prevent the custodial parent from making the child miss their orientation? Frustrated

dear fellow divorced mom, Yes, I think you should have recourse. Did you mediate with your child's dad at the time of your divorce? If not, this would be a good time to get a mediator in place for the three of you. Since you have joint legal custody, it should say in your divorce agreement that you share in making decisions about your child's education, medical treatments, and other things. The parent with physical custody can not make unilateral decisions about important things like this if you have shared legal custody. And your child is now old enough to have input as well on these matters. In my agreement, neither Dad nor I can take child out of town without notification and agreement between parents; you should check your agreement for this. But best would be a session with a mediator in which you, Dad, and kid all get to air your concerns, desires, etc. I can recommend Eva Herzer in Albany or Judith Joshel in Berkeley. Even if you didn't originally set up your custody agreement with a mediator, you can still use their services to talk through difficulties and understand the significance of your legal agreement. This will take some of the onus off you as well; the mediator can help the Dad understand the implications of his actions. divorced mom

I don't know how well you and your child's father communicate at this point but I think there may be room for compromise here. Would it work if you picked him up from camp so he could attend orientation? Starting a new school is stressful enough without added drama. Negotiating Nelly

Many students are unable to make the registration date and there is a process for these students to get their schedules on the first day of school. It is not a disaster. My kids never got all their books during registration, just a couple. I think as a parent you can show up on registration day and pick up your child's schedule, but you might want to check with the school to verify. BHS parent

It is a very bad idea to skip orientation at BHS. That said, you are allowed to go as a proxy for your child. But if the child is not there, then they cannot take an ID photo and therefore cannot get books since the ID card has the bar code that is needed to get books. I know - I volunteered last year and it was necessary to have that bar code or no book. However you can get books the next week.

Last year they were ruthless about helping kids fix their schedules. If the kid was not at orientation they refused to fix the schedule. Sometimes the kid could not fix the schedule until a parent showed up to strong arm the situation . It was very unpleasant. Everyone hopes that next year will be better.

I suggest that you try to get your kid to orientation. If you cannot strike an agreement with your ex, then get some paperwork to that effect and talk to someone at school ahead of time to at least see if you can have the power to fix a schedule if there is a problem. And get the books the next week. BHS mom

Berkeley High's Freshmen Registration/Orientation will take place this year on Monday, August 23. On the 23rd, emergency, athletic (if needed) and health forms are collected; class schedules distributed; lockers assigned; textbooks issued; organizers sold; and ID pictures taken. In addition, freshmen will go on tours and meet administrators.

Last year the administration decided to only accept requests for schedule changes during the registration week. As a result, the first week of school was remarkably smooth in large part because the change requests were dealt with before school started. These schedule changes were only accepted in the case of mistakes made by the school. In other words, schedules were not changed just because a student changed their mind after they filed their course requests in the spring. Counselors were available to talk to students during registration. Counselors were not available to talk to students the first few weeks of school as they were registering new students.

Every year there are families that for one reason or another cannot come to registration/orientation. If your child cannot register as scheduled, you may send a proxy to pick up his/her schedule. The proxy should either be the parent or come with a written note from the parent and a contact phone number. Your student, or you, or someone authorized to make changes, should be available by phone when the proxy picks up the schedule. If there is a mistake, the counselor will want to talk with the student (or you) in order to resolve the issue. The proxy can turn in forms and purchase a school organizer, but will not be able to have a picture ID taken. Last year some proxies were able to get lockers and textbooks, others weren't. Clearly that has to be worked out one way or another.

I am the BHS volunteer coordinator. If you have questions about the BHS registration/orientation, please feel free to contact me. My email is below. Janet Huseby


Is there an orientation before school starts?

Nov 2009


My son will be entering BHS next fall (2010). I have heard that there are some mandatory events before school starts in September, such as 9th grade orientation and class registration for kids entering 10th-12th grade. Can current BHS parents tell me if this is true? And if it is true, when do these events usually occur (e.g, the week before school starts? earlier?) . Are there multiple dates available or is it just once and you can't miss it? We've been going to Berkeley Tuolumne Camp for the last week of camp for the past 10 years, which usually means we are away until the Sunday immediately before school starts and are wondering if we need to change our family tradition. Thanks very much for the information. Karen

School starts Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2010. Registration/orientation is the week of August 23. For the last few years freshmen have gone first on the Monday of retgistration/orientation though to be clear the calendar has not yet been set. Freshmen could be any day during that week.

For students who are new to Berkeley High, a lot happens during registration. Picture IDs are taken, forms turned in, free and reduced lunch forms handed out, student organizers sold, lockers assigned, and class schedules distributed. If there is a mistake in the student's class schedule registration is the time to submit a request for change form. Finally, freshmen will meet with administrators and be taken on school tours by upperclassmen. Janet H