Benicia High School Panther Post
Monthly Letter from Principal
Hello Panther Families,
We have a few important items to share with you this month (September) along with the events and updates included below. Please take some time to read through everything and discuss with your students so that they can make the most of everything offered at Benicia High School. We want to make sure every student feels that they belong here and that every family feels connected to BHS.
Access Period Information
On Wednesday, September 1st, students received information during Access Period about how to make appointments with their teachers during Access to get additional help, make up a test/quiz/lab, or work on group projects for that class. This allows students to plan ahead and move from their assigned Access class to the classroom of another teacher in their class schedule. Students will do this using Google Calendar, which we hope will help them to improve in organization and utilize the features to set reminders for assignments and other deadlines. Students will then be able to start to make appointments and change classes during Access as of September 8th.
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website states: "Suicidal thoughts, much like mental health conditions, can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background. In fact, suicide is often the result of an untreated mental health condition. Suicidal thoughts, although common, should not be considered normal and often indicate more serious issues." Link to NAMI website
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, though this work is important throughout the year. This month highlights the need to raise awareness rather than stigmatize the topic of suicide. A common goal for schools and mental health professionals is to ensure that everyone has access to the resources they need to discuss suicide prevention and to seek help.
- If you are in crisis or are experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255)
- If you’re uncomfortable talking on the phone, you can also text NAMI to 741-741 to be connected to a free, trained crisis counselor on the Crisis Text Line.
Sources of Strength is a program at Benicia High School that is led by students (peer leaders), with our counselors and staff, designed to support students. It is a youth suicide prevention program designed to harness the power of peer social networks to change unhealthy norms and culture, to prevent suicide, bullying, and substance abuse. The mission of Sources of Strength is to prevent suicide by increasing help-seeking behaviors and promoting connections between peers and caring adults. Sources of Strength does not only focus on risk factors, but instead works to strengthen multiple sources of support (protective factors) around youth so that when they experience difficult times they have strengths to rely on. For more information or to get connected with Sources of Strength at BHS, please email counselor Justin Keppel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also want to share links to the Kyle Hyland Foundation and Benicia Teen Center, a local organization focused on this work as well. They provide space and support for students, as well as events throughout the year. BHS will be partnering with the Kyle Hyland Foundation for a Chalk for Life event during lunch on Monday, September 20th for interested students.
(Please note, this is not a school sponsored organization/events)
Homecoming at BHS
We are excited to share that we are planning to hold our traditional Homecoming Week at BHS this year, with a spirit week, dress up days, lunchtime activities, a Homecoming football game, and a Homecoming Dance. Students are allowed to request to bring a guest (non-BHS student) and must submit a guest bid form for approval. Guests must be BHS graduates under 21 years of age or be current high school students enrolled at another local high school (no middle school students or adults age 21+). More information will be coming out soon about the Homecoming festivities. The Homecoming Dance will be held outdoors due to COVID-19 protocols and for the health of our students.
Brianna Kleinschmidt, Principal
Upcoming Events at Benicia High School
- Thursday, September 2nd: Back to School Night - virtual event on BHS website
- Thursday, September 2nd: PTSA General Meeting at 5:30pm (Zoom meeting - link sent via ParentSquare)
- Friday, September 3rd: Class of 2022 Senior Sunrise, 6:20am at the BHS Stadium
- Friday, September 3rd: Minimum Day, Early dismissal at 12:50pm
- Monday, September 6th: Holiday - No School
- Tuesday, September 7th: Site Council Meeting at 3:50pm (Zoom meeting)
- Wednesday: September 8th: Deadline for students to submit Club Charter packets
- Friday, September 10th: Club Fair Meeting during lunch
- Friday, September 10th: Deadline for Senior Sweatshirt design submissions (see below)
- Monday, September 13th: Homecoming Guest Bids Available
- Tuesday, September 14th: BHS Student Blood Drive (see info below)
- Wednesday, September 15th: Homecoming Ticket Sales Begin (online)
- Friday, September 17th: CPT Day Schedule - 2:30pm dismissal
- Friday, September 17th: Club Fair during lunch
- Wednesday, September 22nd: Parent Workshop 6:00-7:30pm (see info below)
- Thursday, September 23rd: Career Speaker Series at Access in room N2
- Wednesday, September 29th: Virtual Orientation for Willie B. Adkins Program, 6:30pm
- Wednesday, October 6th: Deadline to Submit Homecoming Guest Bids
- Wednesday, October 6th: Picture Make-up/Retake Day (grades 9-11) during lunch
- Wednesday, October 6th: Senior Class Photo during Access
- Friday, October 8th: Deadline to purchase Homecoming Dance tickets
- October 11-16: Homecoming Week
- Wednesday, October 13th: PSAT/NMQST for registered students (see info below)
- Friday, October 15th: Homecoming Football Game
- Saturday, October 16th: Homecoming Dance from 8:00-11:00pm
Show Your Panther Spirit: Student Section at Football Games
Sept. 10th vs Maria Carillo High School: Wear red, white & blue.
(Game Cancelled) Sept. 17th vs Moreau Catholic High School: Wear all white & come early to the tailgate before the game for some colorful fun!
Oct. 15th vs Miramonte High School: Homecoming Spirit in Blue and Gold
Nov. 5th vs. Las Lomas High School: Senior Night, wear your class colors
Welcome back students, families, and staff! Benicia High School is dedicated to meeting the Panthers R.I.S.E expectations at all times - while on campus, at athletic events, in our community, at other schools, and whenever we are representing BHS. Panthers R.I.S.E by demonstrating Respect, Inclusion, Support, and Engagement.
Students who receive a "Pawsitive" for demonstrating the R.I.S.E. expectations can turn their Pawsitive into the raffles in the main office to win a variety of prizes: gift cards, free Homecoming ticket, computer cases, VIP parking, and more.
New! Benicia Chapter of the Willie B. Adkins Program
The focus of the program is to provide connections, mentorships, study skills, tutoring, college prep, college tours at History Black Colleges/Universities, increase the number of African American students enrolling in college, SAT/ACT prep, career/personal counseling, guest speakers, and community service opportunities.
The Application and Registration for Orientation is on their website under the Benicia- Willie B. Adkins Program tab.
For more information on the program, see their website above and attend the orientation.
Willie B. Adkins Scholars Program Orientation via Zoom.
When: Sep 29, 2021 06:30 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Register in advance for this meeting:
This opportunity is supported through our District Strategic Plan-LCAP goals.
Goal 1: Social-Emotional Learning
All students in Benicia Unified School District, especially those who have been underrepresented, will feel a sense of belonging and connection to their school community so that they feel challenged and invested in a learning environment that values individuals and is accepting, respectful, safe, and supportive.
Goal 2: Academics-Literacy/Humanities
All students in Benicia Unified School District will demonstrate mastery on and be supported in grade-level literacy and humanities standards in all content areas so that there is comparable performance for all student groups, and achievement and performance gaps are virtually non-existent.
Goal 3: Academics-Math/STEAM
All students in Benicia Unified School District will demonstrate mastery on and be supported in math standards with the support of all STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) content areas so that there is comparable performance for all student groups, and achievement and performance gaps are virtually non-existent.
Goal 4: Equity & Opportunity
Historically underserved and underrepresented students will have access to and inclusion in all learning and activities in school.
BUSD will advance equity practices by ensuring that the voices of our students are represented, they feel seen and their cultures and stories are valued with a particular focus on students who are black, socio-economically disadvantaged, English learners, Latinx, LBGTQ, and students in special education.
Senior Sweatshirt Design Contest
Hey Class of 2022!
Leadership needs your help creating our Senior Sweatshirts for this year! We would love for you to come up with a design to be located on the front of the sweatshirt/hoodie. All designs must be school appropriate and should be school spirited - think blue & gold, Panthers or panther paw. Please email your design submissions to Dylan John Villanueva (email@example.com) and Mrs. Wheat (firstname.lastname@example.org) no later than Friday, September 10th.
If your design is chosen, you will receive a free senior sweatshirt!
BHS Student Blood Drive: September 14th
BHS is holding our annual student blood drive to help our community on Tuesday, September 14th. This event is for students only, it is not open to guests or visitors.
Students must pre-register to participate by signing up at the table on the stage in the quad during lunch August 30th to September 3rd. Registered students will then be scheduled to donate during a class on September 14th.
To donate, students must be at least 16 years old and weigh at least 110 pounds. Consent forms will be provided to students when they sign-up -make sure to fill out the form and return it to Leadership on the stage at lunch.
Visit https://vitalant.org/minordonor for general information on donating. Contact your student event organizers, Ryan Webb (email@example.com) or Gabrielle Barangan (firstname.lastname@example.org), with any questions.
BHS Library Hours & Info
We also offer a BHS Library Website with events and information at: https://sites.google.com/beniciaunified.org/bhslibraryonlineresources
Questions? Please contact Ms. Segle at email@example.com
Student Parking Passes
Student Parking Passes are FREE this year, but students must register using the link below. Once a student has submitted the registration information needed, the information will be reviewed and a parking pass will be issued to the student (delivered to them in class). If information is missing or needed, the student will receive an email in their student email account with further instructions.
Why Should Students Take the PSAT/NMSQT?
Benicia High School is offering the opportunity to take the PSAT/NMSQT on Wednesday, October 13th at BHS as part of the school day. It is important for students and their families to understand what this test is and why a student would want to take advantage of this opportunity.
The PSAT is a practice standardized test, like the SAT, intended to measure the knowledge and skills in reading, writing, and math that students learn in the classroom. NMSQT stands for National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test and provides opportunities for major scholarships and recognition. Scores are available to students in December and are not sent to colleges.
Why Take the PSAT/NMSQT:
- It connects students to more than $235 million in scholarships, including the National Merit® Scholarship Program. If your child opts into the free Student Search Service®, scholarship providers will invite them to apply.
- It's excellent practice for the SAT. Both tests measure the same knowledge and skills and ask the same types of questions, so PSAT/NMSQT takers will know what to expect on the SAT.
- It's the first step to a free, personalized SAT study plan. Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy® uses your child's PSAT/NMSQT score to create a customized SAT study plan with sample questions that focus on areas where they need help.
- It shows student progress on the road to college. The PSAT/NMSQT is part of the SAT Suite of Assessments, a series of tests beginning in eighth grade that shows your child and their teachers whether your child is on track for college.
- It shows which Advanced Placement Program® (AP) courses your child is ready for. The PSAT/NMSQT Score Report indicates which college-level AP courses your child has the potential to succeed in.
Registration is $20 and we have space reserved for 100 students to take the test, with priority given to 11th grade students. Registration will be open from September 7th to October 8th on the webstore (linked here).
NEW - Marquee Birthday Wishes!
Make your favorite student's birthday extra special with a Marquee Birthday Wish! For $20 you can put their name in lights on the BHS marquee and send a birthday wish they'll never forget.
1. Submit the information using this Google Form (linked here) - must be submitted at least 5 days prior to the requested posting date.
2. Purchase the Marquee Wish on the BHS Webstore (linked here)
This is a fundraiser for the BHS Associated Student Body and benefits students through school activities.
High School Voter Registration Weeks
It is important to ensure that our students are learning to become active and engaged participants in our democracy. As part of this effort, BHS is participating in High School Voter Education Weeks, September 13–24, to put our students on the path to a lifetime of civic engagement and voting.
It is easier than ever for sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds to pre-register to vote. Once pre-registered, students will automatically become active voters on their eighteenth birthday. In California, over 750,000 teens have pre-registered since the program launched in September 2016.
To learn more about pre-registration in California, or to pre-register, please visit: https://registertovote.ca.gov/
New: Purchase BHS Gear Online
Panther fans can now purchase spirit wear online with a range of items and accessories and proceeds benefitting our general athletics program. Items are delivered directly to you - including hats, blankets, jackets, shirts, backpacks, wall decals, and more. You can even design your own items!
We will still continue to offer spirit wear sales on campus that benefit our Associated Student Body (ASB) and various team wear. Thank you in advance for supporting your BHS Panthers!
Girls Basketball Open Gym
Interested in more information or the dates for open gym? Please contact Girls Basketball Varsity Head Coach Carlos Fernandez: (707) 853-4680 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Parent-Teacher-Student Association Needs Your Participation!
Last year was tough on everyone - yet in spite of not being able to fundraise, Benicia High's PTSA continued to fund important items for our students and school such as scholarships for the Class of 2021, teacher appreciation events, and Grad Night. With many more things to fund this year as school will be fully up and running, we are relying on membership and doubling our fundraising efforts! In order to do this, we need your help! Please consider a PTSA membership for yourself and your student for the 2021-22 school year. The membership price is still just $10 per person and membership is crucial to our success.
We also have four open board positions that need to be filled! Please take a look at the vacant positions below and and let us know which position you would be interested in taking. We have an awesome team and a lot of support for our new Board members.
2020-2021 Benicia High School PTSA Board
President: Kristin Kamm
Vice President: Jaime Sherry
Secretary: Jennifer Ward
Treasurer: Amy DeLago
Historian: Robyn Ballinger
Financial Secretary: Lora Vail French
Parliamentarian: Jennifer Largaespada
Hospitality: Shanna Hamernick
Membership: Lily Ploski
- Volunteers - helps recruit and acts as point of contact for potential volunteers; coordinates volunteers for PTSA activities and events as needed.
- Fundraising - oversees and ensures each fundraiser has a chairperson and supports follow-through; assists with creation of new fundraising events.
- Auditor - audit BHS PTSA books and financial records semi-annually and provide information to CA State PTSA.
Amazon Smile - An Easy Way to Donate to Your PTSA!
Amazon Smile is now available on the Amazon app also!
College & Career Center: Upcoming Events
Here is a list of our upcoming events for the College & Career Center. Students, be sure to add them to your calendar and join us to learn more!
- Thursday, September 9th - Sacramento State Info Table @ Lunch in the Quad
- Wednesday, September 15th - University of Nevada at Reno Presentation @ Access in room N2 (sign up with Google Form in your counselor's Google Classroom)
- Thursday, September 16th - UC Berkeley Presentation @ Access in room N2 (sign up with Google Form in your counselor's Google Classroom)
- Thursday, September 16th - Air Force Academy Info Table @ Lunch in the Quad
- Thursday, September 23rd - Career Speaker Series: First Responders @ Access in room N2 (sign up with Google Form in your counselor's Google Classroom)
- Wednesday, September 29th - Grand Canyon University Presentation @ Access in room N2 (sign up with Google Form in your counselor's Google Classroom)
- Thursday, September 30th - Cal Apply Workshop - Seniors Only - @ Access in room N2 (sign up with Google Form in your counselor's Google Classroom)
Counselors are available to provide a full range of services to students virtually. This includes academic, college, career, personal, social, and emotional support. If your child could benefit from additional support, please contact your counselor by email.
9th grade - Ms. Wallace at email@example.com
10th grade - Ms. Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org
11th grade - Ms. Rainey at email@example.com
12th grade - Mr. Keppel at firstname.lastname@example.org
College & Career Center - Ms. Marwick at email@example.com
Counselors and Ms. Marwick will be meeting with students and giving class presentations starting in September.
Youth Resiliency Summit hosted by Solano County Office of Education
"IT'S A MOOD"
The Youth Resiliency Summit is part of the Art is Power Series, and is sponsored by the Solano County Office of Education, Solano County Public Health, Fighting Back Partnership, Safe Quest Solano, Nature of Sound, and the Solano Youth Coalition.
Open to all middle and high school students, grades 6-12, residing and/or attending school in Solano County. The FREE virtual summit will be held on Saturday, May 15, 2021, from 10:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. will cover a wide range of workshops on topics affecting youth and their community as well as develop skills that strengthen resilience and create positive change. The summit will host fun activities, raffles, prizes and more!
The first 100 students to register will receive a box filled with fun conference supplies.
Registration deadline May 14, 2021 at 3:00 PM.
Workshops will be hosted by adults and youth and will cover a wide range of topics including:
- Social Justice and Equity
- Human Trafficking
- Mental Health and Wellness
- Suicide Prevention
- Healthy Relationships and Teen Dating Violence
- and more!
For more information, visit: https://www.solanocoe.net/youthsummit
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!
VOENA Children's Choir Open Enrollment
VOENA Children's choir for ages 5-18 is now open for enrollment: www.VOENA.org
VOENA offers a unique program that will allow for in-person or virtual rehearsals starting Tuesdays, September 14th, 2021. No auditions required and scholarships are available. Children are interviewed for level placement: Preparatory, Intermediate, Concert Choir I, and Concert Choir II. In addition, there are Masterclasses (10 week sessions), drumming (Tuesdays), and ukulele (Thursdays) offered.
VOENA is a professional choir that has performed at The White House, Olympics, World Expo Japan, Carnegie Hall, and in Abu Dhabi. Director Annabelle Marie received the Jefferson Award for her work with children. Unlike traditional choirs, Ms. Marie believes in a whole body learning and expression of music that she teaches children to embody. Even the shyest of children have found their voice over time with Annabelle's training. She believes that every child should have access to music which is why she has no auditions for children to join. Graduates from VOENA have received scholarships to such universities as Brown, UOP, and UCLA, as VOENA's reputation is known for giving children skills in teamwork, self-motivation, self esteem, and a hard work ethic. The children of VOENA gain life-long friendships!
- Recent YouTube performance "IMAGINE" (John Lennon Cover) debuted at Angel Flight West National Conference: https://youtu.be/qWjKojfwE88
- VOENA alumni member Eliza Partika is a journalism student at U.C. Berkeley and created this feature story for KALW public radio: https://www.kalw.org/news/2021-03-09/beautiful-unexpected-childrens-choir-builds-confidence-despite-virtual-rehearsals#stream/0
- VOENA featured in Carquinez Magazine: https://www.carquinezmagazine.com/carquinez-pandemic-come-together
- Vallejo Times Herald: https://www.timesheraldonline.com/2020/10/20/october-22-arts-and-entertainment-source-annabelles-happy-neighbors-not-anti-violins/
FREE School Meals for ALL Students 2021-22
Free meals will be provided for all students for the 2021-22 school year. The United States Department of Agriculture has extended pandemic flexibilities providing free school meals to all students at all schools throughout the 2021-2022 school year.
Families still need to complete the Free/Reduced Meal Application on the BUSD web site for the following other benefits:
Student eligibility for P-EBT benefits (more information below)
Student eligibility for discounted services such as advanced placement testing and internet service provider discounts
School eligibility for significant additional State Funding
How to access the Free/Reduced Meal Application:
- Apply on line at: http://www.myschoolapps.com/
- You will be notified with the results
Coming soon, “Summer 2021 P-EBT”, additional family funds to purchase food!P-EBT provides families of eligible children additional funds to purchase food during the summer while school is no longer in session. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 amends the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to extend the Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program through the summer of 2021. P-EBT is administered by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS), in collaboration with the California Department of Education (CDE).
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 are the online forums and apps such as the “Benicia Happenings” group on Facebook, Next Door app, and similar pages/social media sites. 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 so that correct information can be provided. When in doubt, contact the school. Our Main Office number is (707) 747-8325 and if you are not sure who to email you can send your question to BHSInfo@beniciaunified.org and we will direct it to the correct person to assist you. 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.
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.