Benicia High School Panther Post

December 2019 - Monthly Newsletter

BHS Vision Statement

Benicia High School will inspire learning with integrity in order to find personal success in an ever-changing world.

Expected Student Learning Results:

  • Communicator and Collaborator
  • Critical Thinker and Problem Solver
  • Creator and Innovator
Students - Sign up for Access Events Online

College & Career Events, College Application Workshops, Resume Workshops, Special Performances & More!

Spotlight on Sources of Strength

Hello Panthers,

Over the past few years, Benicia High School has adopted and has developed the Sources of Strength program, a program that emphasizes strengths to promote positive behaviors in teens. The curriculum in the program is rooted in eight "strengths" – factors that research has shown are protective against suicide risk. Those strengths include: Family Support, Mental Health, Medical Access, Positive Friends, Mentors, Healthy Activities, Generosity, Spirituality.

Sources of Strength is a best practice youth suicide prevention program designed to harness the power of peer social networks to change unhealthy norms and culture, ultimately preventing suicide, bullying, and substance abuse. Benicia High School administrators, counselors, and teachers recognize the need for this program in our community, as we work with teens struggling with these issues every day. While research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance shows that the national suicide rates have remained flat in recent years, it is still the third most common cause of death for 15- to 19-year-olds. Nationwide, 17 percent of American high school students said they had seriously considered suicide. According to the 2016 California Healthy Kids Survey of Benicia High School students in grades 9 and 11, 18% of 9th grade students and 16% of 11th grade students reported that they had seriously considered attempting suicide within the past 12 months. This statistic increased in the 2018 California Healthy Kids Survey of Benicia High students, with 21% of 9th grade students and 20% of 11th grade students reporting that during the past 12 months, they had seriously considered attempting suicide. As a school, we are working to provide students with a strengths-based alternative and to bring awareness through the Sources of Strength program.

"Teens are highly influenced by their peers – social development, peer acceptance and personal identity are all part of growing up. Researchers note that adolescents look to their peers to define acceptable ways to deal with problems." (link to article) The mission of Sources of Strength is to increase help seeking behaviors and promote connections. Sources of Strength moves beyond a singular focus on risk factors by utilizing an upstream approach for youth suicide prevention. This upstream model strengthens multiple sources of support (protective factors) around young individuals so that when times get hard they have strengths to rely on.

According to the American Journal of Public Health, Sources of Strength has been shown to:

  • Increase youth-adult connectedness
  • Increase in Peer Leader's school engagement
  • Peer Leaders in large schools were four times more likely to refer a suicidal friend to an adult
  • Increase positive perceptions of adult support for suicidal youth and the acceptability of seeking help

Throughout the school year, our Sources of Strength Peer Leaders and Staff Leaders hold campaigns, focusing on one of the Healthy Habits. For the month of November, Sources of Strength held a Generosity Campaign at BHS and they created a beautiful moving mural on campus, wings made of individual feathers created by students. In addition, Sources of Strength students have presented mini-lessons to all 9th graders in their Get Focused, Stay Focused classes, secured grant funding from our PTSA, and are holding a special training for staff in December.

We need the partnership of every student and every parent to bring the community together for our teenagers. How can you help? Attend school events to grow your awareness and learn helpful strategies. Communicate with school staff about concerns before something happens. If possible, consider a donation to the BHS Sources of Strength program to further their work in an upcoming campus campaign. You can also discuss, promote, and practice the healthy habits that are embedded in the Sources of Strength program.

We hope to multiply this good work, with the good work of everyone in our school community. Please help be a source of strength in your family and at Benicia High School. For more information about Sources of Strength, please read this article published by NPR titled "Preventing Suicide With a 'Contagion of Strength'" by Elissa Nadworny.

Go Panthers!

Brianna Kleinschmidt, Principal

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Adolescence and the Teenage Brain

Wednesday, Dec. 11th, 7pm

Benicia High School, Room L-116

Adolescence is a developmental period when teenagers:

a) blossom into amazing young adults
b) drive their parents crazy
c) all of the above

For most parents, the answer usually feels like "C." Historically known as a period of "Strum and Drang" (Storm and Stress), adolescence for our teens and parents is simply what we choose to make it. Come and find out how and why the adolescent brain develops the way it does and what parents can do to help support this development. This special event will be presented by our own AP Psychology Teacher, Mr. Starkweather.

Fall Fundraiser for our PTSA - Honeybaked Gift Cards!


The BHS Parent-Teacher-Student Association (PTSA) provides support to Benicia High School for things like Innovative Grants to Teacher and Student Programs, Campus Improvements, Grad Night, and Staff Appreciation Events.


Whether it's their signature ham, tender turkey, delicious desserts or tasty Heat & Serve sides, you'll be serving the best while spending more time with family and friends. You can use HoneyBaked Gift Cards to shop online or in-store at any HoneyBaked location nationwide. And the most satisfying part? 20% of your purchase goes directly to support the fundraiser.

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SAT/ACT Practice Exam for Benicia High School Students

To prepare for success in the college admission process, students are invited to complete a practice SAT in the Fall and practice ACT in the Winter. Our school's PTSA (Parent-Teacher-Student Association) has partnered with Revolution Prep, a nationwide leader in academic and test preparation tutoring, to provide these opportunities. This is a great chance to get started on an individual testing plan, or get additional practice. Taking practice tests under timed conditions can help to improve scores. Plus, every exam comes with a free 30-minute score report review with Revolution Prep’s testing experts to assess specific strengths and areas of improvement, if desired.

Register today! Registration is required and seats are limited.

To enroll: Please register at

ACT Practice Exam: Saturday, January 25th 9:00AM-1:00PM

Deadline to enroll: Friday, January 19th

Donation: $20

Amazon Smile - An Easy Way to Donate to Your PTSA!

Shopping on Amazon? Be sure to use Amazon Smile and select "Benicia High PTSA" as the charitable organization of your choice. A small percentage of your purchase will benefit Benicia High School thanks to the PTSA's projects, scholarships, and grants.

Amazon Smile is now available on the Amazon app also!


Hey Seniors, don't wait to purchase your yearbook - last year the books sold out so to give you an extra reason to order your book early, every Senior who purchases their yearbook during the first semester will receive a FREE copy of the Senior Panoramic Photo ($40 value).

You can purchase your yearbook in the Finance Office or through the BHS Webstore.

Math Lab Now Available - Free Math Tutoring

Math Lab is held in Mr. Guinon's classroom, B-204 on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school for one hour. All students are welcome to attend no matter their level of math class. Along with Mr. Guinon's help, volunteer tutors from Valero Refinery in Benicia are on hand to assist students.
The Paw - Benicia High School's Student Newspaper

Stay in the know with our online newspaper; including student articles about school news, arts & entertainment, sports, opinion pieces, politics and more. You can also access Panther TV, with weekly episodes on all that's happening at Benicia High!

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Upcoming Events at Benicia High School

  • Thursday, December 5th: Student Forum during Access
  • Friday, December 6th: CPT day, 2pm student dismissal
  • Friday, December 6th: Deadline for Senior Dedications for the Yearbook (see flyer above)
  • Friday, December 6th: Fall Play "Almost, Maine," 7pm in the auditorium
  • Saturday, December 6th: Fall Play "Almost, Maine," 7pm in the auditorium
  • Sunday, December 7th: Fall Play "Amost, Maine," 2pm in the auditorium
  • Monday, December 9th-Tuesday, December 17th: Wellness Week at BHS
  • Tuesday, December 10th: School Site Council Meeting, 3:30pm in room A-108
  • Wednesday, December 11th: "Adolescence & The Brain" presentation by Psychology teacher Mr. Stacy Starkweather, 7pm in room L-116
  • Thursday, December 12th: Improv Show, 7pm in the auditorium
  • Friday, December 13th: Student of the Month Luncheon
  • Friday, December 6th: Fall Play "Almost, Maine," 7pm in the auditorium
  • Saturday, December 6th: Fall Play "Almost, Maine," 7pm in the auditorium
  • Sunday, December 7th: Fall Play "Amost, Maine," 2pm in the auditorium
  • Wednesday, December 18th: Finals Schedule - Period 6/Access/Period 5, 1:20pm dismissal
  • Thursday, December 19th: Finals Schedule - Period 4/Access/Period 3, 1:20pm dismissal
  • Friday, December 20th: Finals Schedule - Period 2/Period 1, 12:20pm dismissal
  • Friday, December 20th: End of Semester 1
  • Monday, January 6th: School Resumes

BHS Communication Guide

Communication is a key component to a successful school community. Our team of administrators, counselors, teachers, case managers, and staff members work to provide the best communication possible throughout the year and ask that you partner with us in this effort.

An area of concern regarding communication is the online forums and apps such as the “Benicia Happenings” group on Facebook, Next Door app, and similar pages/social media sites. It has been brought to our attention that on several occasions incorrect information has been posted and negative or bullying remarks have been directed towards the school, staff, parents, and other individuals. Spreading false information is extremely disruptive and may compromise the work of the school and school safety. Posting negative and disparaging comments damages the positive school culture we work to create every day.

In grades 9-12, we encourage students to grow to be self-advocates and to communicate for themselves. Most concerns can be addressed and solved when the student proactively and positively communicates directly with their teacher or their counselor. For further assistance, we provide a communication guide on our website with information on who to contact and the timeline to expect a response.

In an effort to provide high quality communication, we ask that questions be directed to school staff via email or phone call so that correct information can be provided. When in doubt, contact the school. Our Main Office number is (707) 747-8325. We also recommend use of our website, school-operated social media accounts, and monthly newsletter to access accurate and timely information. We thank you in advance for your support in this effort.

Link to BHS Communication

Be sure to check out the Benicia Unified School District's Food Services web page for several important items including monthly menus, application for Freed or Reduced meals, and access to set up and maintain a student meal account. We encourage all families to online set up their "My School Bucks" account for convenient access to meal balances, purchases, and to make payments from your computer or phone.

Benicia High School does not allow food deliveries during school hours as we are a closed campus and work to minimize disruptions to class time as well as maximize school safety. Students can purchase breakfast, snack, and lunch at multiple locations on campus with cash or their 'My School Bucks" account.

New at BHS - We now offer a Ramen Bar in the Student Center during lunch. Students can choose from several options of protein, including a vegetarian option, and select their choice of ingredients as they create their own ramen bowl.

We also offer a range of Vegetarian, Vegan, and Plant-Based meal options every day in the Student Center!

District programs, activities, and practices shall be free from unlawful discrimination, including discrimination against an individual or group based on race, color, ancestry, nationality, national origin, immigration status, ethnic group identification, ethnicity, age, religion, marital status, pregnancy, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, or related recovery, parental status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or genetic information; a perception of one or more of such characteristics; or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics.