Benicia High School Panther Post

August 2021 - Back to School 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

Welcome Back - First Day of School is Tuesday, August 17th!

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Welcome Letter from Principal

Hello Panther Families,

Welcome to the 2021-2022 school year! We are SO EXCITED for a full return to in-person learning with all of our students and staff.

There have been several important updates from our district office over the summer. Please be sure to access that information at the Benicia Unified School District's website.

We want to welcome all of our students and families to Benicia High School at our New Student Orientation and our Back 2 School Bash, both held on Wednesday, August 11th. Our New Student Orientation will be held from 2:00 to 4:00pm and is for all students who are new to our campus - incoming 9th graders, 10th grade students who attended school virtually all year last year, and new transfer students. The orientation event is for students only, but then we have our Back 2 School Bash from 4:00 to 6:00pm where we welcome ALL of our school community - students, parents, families, and staff. Our Back 2 School Bash will feature a live DJ in the quad, games, food trucks featuring Whipt, Kona Ice, and Ofie's Kitchen selling their delicious menu items. This is a great opportunity to learn more about BHS and reconnect with school. We encourage students to bring their class schedule and locate their classrooms before the first day. In addition, we will have a special Grand Opening event for our new Wellness Center at 5:00pm. Join us!

This is our fourth year of our continued focus on the theme of COMM[YOU]NITY, the idea that every individual has their own valuable story, perspective, experiences, and talents that contribute to a caring, diverse, and incredible school community. We are excited to bring our school community back together.

Our first day of school is on Tuesday, August 17th. Below are several important updates, reminders, and a few new items that are important for our students and families to know before the school year begins. Please be sure to read through everything and to reach out to the school if you have questions so that we can personally provide you with accurate information.

New School Start Time: School Begins at 8:30am

Link to Bell Schedules on BHS Website

BHS has a modified block schedule, which is subject to change due to weeks with holidays/no school or for school events. Please be sure to check the bell schedule for dismissal times.

Independent Study Request

Benicia Unified School District has shared information with parents regarding Independent Study for the 2021-22 school year:

Pursuant to Education Code 51745, as amended by Assembly Bill 130 for the 2021-2022, we are offering an independent study option for students whose health would be put at risk by attending in-person instruction. Enrollment in the independent study course is an optional educational alternative in which no student is required to participate. All independent study instruction will be delivered virtually. Please see details of the independent study here:

New School Communication System

Benicia Unified School District is excited to stay connected with our families using a new communications tool -- ParentSquare. This will streamline communications from your school and teachers to keep you informed and connected this year. ParentSquare provides a safe way for administration, teachers, staff and parents to receive important school and teacher communication, all in one place. Benicia Unified School District will email out information to get started with ParentSquare on Monday, August 9th.

New Student Information System

BUSD is also excited to introduce our new student information system which replaces PowerSchool -- Aeries. Information to get started with Aeries will also be sent to families on Monday, August 9th so that you can create your account and complete registration for your student(s). Student schedules will then be available on Aeries on Tuesday, August 10th.

Benicia High School counselors will be providing a Parent Workshop at our Back 2 School Bash on August 11th to help parents get started with Aeries, set preferences and notifications, and make sure you have completed registration.

Class Supplies

Individual teachers will share supply lists specific to their classes, if needed, during the first week of school. Please send your children with the basics for the first week. Below is a list of suggested materials. If your family is experiencing financial difficulty and you cannot purchase school backpack or supplies, please notify our office for assistance.

  • BUSD Chromebook (charged each day)
  • Pencils
  • Pens
  • Highlighters
  • Folders/Binder (organizational system)
  • Binder paper/notebooks of paper

Back to School Night: Thursday, September 2nd

We will provide a virtual Back to School Night again this year, with videos from all of our teachers available on a special section of our BHS website, so that families can watch and learn about all of their student's classes, meet their teachers, and understand their learning goals for the school year. Please check your email as we will send out the link to this virtual event on September 2nd. Since this event will not be held in-person this year, we encourage you to come to our August 11th Back 2 School Bash which will be held on campus and will be a great opportunity to reconnect on campus. (The Back 2 School Bash is for all students, parents, and families.)

New Staff

We want to welcome all of our new students, families, and staff. Joining the Benicia High School staff are:

  • Math Teacher - Nathan Hanson Regalado
  • English Teacher - Stacy DeRobertis-Theye
  • Social Science Teacher - Iona Morgan
  • Social Science Teacher - Lynn Lubamersky
  • Special Education Teacher - Michelle Aresti
  • Physical Education Teacher - Heather White
  • Spanish Teacher - Yarely Topete
  • Band Director/Teacher - Candice Crismond
  • 11th Grade Counselor - Emily Rainey
  • Vice Principal (last names P-Z) - Dr. Sarah Heidel

Please take a few minutes to read on for important updates and to learn about how you can partner with us to be a part of our learning community at Benicia High School.

Go Panthers!

Brianna Kleinschmidt, Principal

COVID/Safety Guidelines

Benicia Unified School District follows CDPH (California Department of Public Health) Guidelines. Click here for more information.

  • Masks are required indoors at all times: locker rooms, classrooms, gym, student center (when not eating). Outdoor is optional (PE classes & lunch).
  • There are multiple outdoor lunch areas available on campus
  • Frequent hand-sanitizer and hand-washing
  • No minimum distance requirements
  • MERV-13 air filters in all HVAC units in BHS buildings
  • Doors/windows will remain open as much as possible
  • Desks and high-touch surfaces cleaned are sanitized daily

All families MUST complete a daily home screening. If your child is experiencing any of the following symptoms, please keep them home and contact the attendance office at 747/8325: fever over 100.4, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, muscle or body aches, congestion, diarrhea, new cough, sore throat, headache, fatigue.
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Upcoming Events at Benicia High School

  • Monday, August 9th: First Day of Fall Sports (see info below)
  • Tuesday, August 10th: Class schedules available via Aeries
  • Wednesday, August 11th, 2:00-4:00pm: New Student Orientation in BHS Gym - Students only
  • Wednesday, August 11th, 4:00-6:00pm: Back 2 School Bash in BHS Quad - Students & families invited
  • Wednesday, August 11th, 6:00pm: PTSA Board Meeting
  • Tuesday, August 17th: First Day of School - classes begin at 8:30am
  • August 23-27: Welcome Back Spirit Week! (see info below)
  • Tuesday, August 24th: School Picture Day (grades 9-11)
  • Wednesday, August 25th: Student Club Info Meeting during lunch, in the Perf. Arts Bldg
  • Friday, August 27th: CPT Day, Early dismissal at 2:30pm
  • Thursday, September 2nd: Back to School Night - virtual event on BHS website
  • Friday, September 3rd: Minimum Day, Early dismissal at 12:50pm
  • Monday, September 6th: Holiday - No School
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2021-2022 Class Schedules

Our goal is to release class schedules via Aeries by 4pm on Tuesday, August 10th. We have been hard at work to create schedules based on student requests, completion of past courses, and availability within the master schedule. While we hope that every student is satisfied with their schedule, we understand that sometimes schedule changes are desired or needed due to changes over the summer.

Please note our policy regarding schedule changes. Schedule changes are only available for the following reasons:

  1. Schedule errors, such as a missing period or 2 periods of the same course.
  2. Completion of a summer school class.
  3. Missing graduation or college entrance requirement.
  4. Being placed in the wrong level (i.e. Spanish 1 instead of Spanish 2).

Requests based on teacher preference, period preference, and elective changes will not be granted. If you meet one of the four criteria above for a schedule change, please email your counselor. Please understand they have a large volume of emails at this time and may take 24 to 48 hours to respond.

Student Parking Passes

Student drivers are expected to park on campus and to have a visible parking pass in/on their vehicle. We ask that students do not park on surrounding streets so that we can be considerate of our neighbors.

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.

Link to Student Parking Registration

Counseling Department

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

10th grade - Ms. Smith at

11th grade - Ms. Rainey at

12th grade - Mr. Keppel at

College & Career Center - Ms. Marwick at

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.

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Students will check out any needed textbooks during class time. If a student has textbooks from last year that need to be returned, please bring them to the BHS Library.

School Pictures:

Students in grades 9-11 will have their school/yearbook photo taken and receive their school ID card on Tuesday, August 24th. If you choose to purchase a photo package, it will be mailed directly to the address you provide. An email will be sent out to parents with a link to order photos directly from the photography company, Creative Imaging. Picture make-up day is on Wednesday, October 6th.

Seniors should have scheduled their Senior/yearbook portrait over the summer. If you have not yet scheduled your appointment, please do so immediately at:

If you have any questions, please email

Physical Education Clothing

For all Physical Education classes, BHS provides requirements for proper attire that students must wear during class. Students will be assigned a locker in the locker rooms to store their belongings and time to change before and after class. BHS offers the required PE attire for sale through our webstore, or families may choose to purchase their own outside clothing items. Closed toe athletic shoes are required to participate as well.

PE 1, PE 2, and Weightlifting Classes:

Gray t-shirt

Blue athletic shorts

Black sweatshirt

Black sweatpants

Dance Classes:

Black BHS Dance shirt

Blue athletic shorts

Black sweatpants or Black yoga pants

Yoga Class:

Gray t-shirt

Blue athletic shorts

Black sweatshirt

Black sweatpants or Black yoga pants

Link to Webstore to purchase BHS Physical Education clothing items (not required)

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

Open Board Positions - Please email or to submit interest in serving in a position and supporting your school:

  • 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!

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. If you are already signed up with Amazon Smile, be sure to renew your selected charitable organization each year.

Amazon Smile is now available on the Amazon app also!

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Fall Sports Begin August 9th

Benicia High School is a member of the Diablo Athletic League (DAL), part of the North Coast Section (NCS), governed by the The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF). Fall sports officially begin on Monday, August 9th, with try-outs and practices able to begin that day.

Students are required to have a current physical exam on file in order to participate in any BHS sports, tryouts or practices. To submit the physical exam report, please go to:

Student athletes must also be pre-registered on FamilyID before participating in tryouts or practice. FamilyID is a secure registration platform that provides you with an easy, user-friendly way to register for our athletic programs, and helps us to be more administratively efficient and environmentally responsible. When you register through FamilyID, the system keeps track of your information in your FamilyID profile. You enter your information only once for each family member for multiple uses and multiple programs. Please make sure that you have a current physical (bottom of this screen) for your athlete(s). Physicals are valid for 1 calendar year. If your physical was taken at/through Kaiser, it is valid for 2 years. The physical will need to be digitally uploaded into your registration.

If you have any questions, please contact Athletic Director Craig Holden at

Please look below for information on how to join a team or contact information for our coaches of Fall sports.

Cross Country

Head Coach - Lee Ann Aidt; email -

Cross Country practice will take place on Monday 8/9/21 and 8/11from 10:00 to 11:15am at the Community Park, meet at the Big Slide.

Girls Golf

Head Coach - Bob Hall; email -

JV and Varsity Girls Golf practice will take place on Monday 8/9/21 to 8/12/21 from 3:00 to 5:00pm at Blue Rock Springs Golf Course.

Girls Tennis

Head Coach - Guillermo Reyes; email -

Practice will take place from 8/9/21 to 8/13/21 from 3:30 to 5:30pm on tennis courts at Benicia High School.

Girls Waterpolo

Head Coach - Dave Fry; email -

JV and Varsity Girls Water Polo practice will take place on Monday 8/9/21 to 8/13/21 from 6:00 to 8:00pm at Cunningham Pool in Vallejo.

Boys Waterpolo

Head Coach - Dave Fry; email -

JV and Varsity Boys Water Polo practice will take place on Monday 8/9/21 to 8/13/21 from 7:30 to 9:30pm at Cunningham Pool in Vallejo.


Head Coach - Craig Holden; email - ; cell-707-333-8588.

JV and Varsity Football practice will take place on Monday 8/9/21 to 8/13/21 from 4:00 to 6:30pm at the BHS Stadium.

Girls Volleyball

Head Coach Maynard Patascil; email or Coach Todd Ajari; email

Conditioning and Clinic will run from August 2-6, 2021, 4:30-6:30pm in the BHS gym.

Girl's Volleyball Tryouts will be held August 9-12, 2021, 4:30-6:30pm in the BHS Gym.

Makeup tryouts will be held August 16-17, 4:30-6:30pm.

Masks must be worn indoors.

Student-athletes should wear the shirt color assigned to their grade level:

  • Freshman-White Shirts
  • Sophomores-Black Shirts
  • Juniors-Yellow Shirts
  • Seniors-Blue Shirts


Cheerleading tryouts were completing in the Spring and selections were posted. Coach Kim will be sending information to the cheer team and their parents. Please contact Coach Kim for any questions or additional information:

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!

FREE Virtual Athletics Eligibility & Scholarship Workshop

Tuesday, August 24, 2021 - 5:00pm

Dynamite Sports is providing a free and virtual Eligibility & Scholarship Workshop for high school athletes that have aspirations of playing college sports. This nationally acclaimed program, “Guiding the College-Bound Athlete” was presented at Benicia High School three years ago and will be provided online this year. This event is intended for high school athletes and their parents/families so that you can learn and plan together.

Attendees will learn the following:

  • How to get noticed as a high school athlete
  • How to make sure you will be academically eligible to play in college as a freshman
  • How to get an athletic scholarship or grant
  • How to setup recruiting visits
  • Why you should start as early as possible
  • Why there are more opportunities at D-II, D-III, NAIA & junior colleges

You must pre-register to attend this virtual workshop.

Click HERE to register - save your spot for Tuesday, August 24th at 5:00pm PST.

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Seniors - College Application Info Coming Soon!

Senior Counselor Mr. Keppel will be sending a letter out to seniors about the process of applications so be sure to check your student email. We will also have a Google Classroom dedicated to Seniors so that you can access information and announcements from the Counseling Office and the College & Career Center all year long.

Many of the college applications sites opened on August 1st but there is still lots of time until the November 30th deadline. We will provide you with the UC, CSU, and Common App websites and information.

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) opens on October 1st and has a deadline of June 30th the year you need financial aid. We highly recommend submitting the FAFSA as early as possible to secure the most financial aid possible. Knowing when to apply for financial aid is critical no matter which school you’re planning to attend. There are deadlines to meet and some funding is on a first-come, first-served basis. The sooner you apply for aid, the better your chances of maximizing the amount you’ll receive. More information is available at:

Want to get started early? Work on updating your resume, draft a letter to teachers and others that you would like to have write a letter of recommendation for you, starting working on your FAFSA (for financial aid), and get a great start on your Senior year classes.

Career and Technical Education Guide

Want to learn more about Career and Technical Education (CTE)? Benicia High School offers a range of CTE Pathways and classes designed to help all students reach college and career readiness by their graduation. Research shows that students taking CTE courses are more likely to graduate high school and see an increase in earning potential in their future career. In addition, most of our CTE courses at BHS provide are articulated with a local community college, providing students the opportunity to earn college course credit while in high school.

Link to the 2021-22 Career and Technical Education Guide

Of the CTE Pathways available, Benicia High School offers the following:

  • Marketing, Sales and Services
  • Arts, Media, and Entertainment: Performing Arts in Dance
  • Health Science & Medical Technology
  • Information and Communication Technologies
  • Engineering and Architecture
  • Building and Construction Trades
  • Transportation, Distribution and Logistics
  • Manufacturing and Product Development
  • Education, Child Development, and Family Services (coming 2022-2023)

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!

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:

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 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.

Link to BHS Communication Guide

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.

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