Benicia High School Panther Post

February 2020 - 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

February 6th - Celebration of Black History Month with musical group SoVoSo February 19th - UC Santa Cruz Presentation February 20th - Career Speaker Event - Learn about various careers March 4th - DVC Registration Presentation for Seniors

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BHS Annual Open House: An Event for Current & New Families

Mark your calendars for Thursday Feb. 13th at 6:30pm!

Benicia High is hosting our annual Open House event with special features, including:

  • 8th Grade Parent Night - Special presentations geared toward 8th grade parents and students
  • Returning & New Families - Moving into the area or returning to BHS? Come learn about our classes and programs!
  • AP Night to learn about the 20+ Advanced Placement classes offered at Benicia High School - Talk with the teachers of these classes and learn about your options
  • Elective Fair - This event runs throughout the day for students to visit and learn about all of the different elective class options as they consider what classes to take next year. Then, at Open House, this event continues so that parents and incoming students can join the fun. This is a hands-on opportunity to see student work and explore your interests.
  • Counseling Presentations - Learn about graduation requirements, college entrance requirements, and more!
  • Open Gym - Want to check out the BHS gym and see what it would be like to be a student-athlete at BHS? Head to the gym during Open House to meet our Physical Education teachers and some of our coaches

We invite every family to attend to see what's happening at BHS and to get ready for course selections for the 2020-2021 school year!

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College & Career Readiness for ALL Students

Hello Panthers,

Every February, the Benicia High School Counselors meet with all 9th-11th grade students in their English Classes in order to provide them with information about classes for next year, graduation requirements, and other important information for considering their schedule selections for next year. They also visit with 8th grade students at Benicia Middle School to introduce our "Future Panthers" to the high school. On February 13th, our students will visit the Elective Fair during the school day and that evening we host our annual Open House event for all current and future families to gather information to help make decisions about course selections.

Course selections time can be very exciting, but it is also an important time to consider how each student's choices will best prepare them for graduation and for their preparedness for their path after high school, including what choices they will have. Benicia High focuses on making sure that EVERY student graduates and has set the goal to make sure that EVERY student graduates College and Career Ready. Over the past few years, we have worked towards this goal and experienced great progress that we want to share with you. We are celebrating an increase of students being prepared for College and Career from 46.9% in 2017 to 74.8% in 2019; this growth of 27.9 percentage points represents a 59% increase in three years (see chart above).

Our Goal: EVERY STUDENT prepared for College and Career Readiness when they Graduate

How does a student meet College and Career Readiness? There are several ways this can happen, which provides flexibility based on the students' own interests and plans. We begin talking with students in 9th grade about how to explore their interests, how to plan, and how to continue to develop their plan as their interests or decisions change. We encourage students to cultivate experiences - try different classes, job shadowing, internships, volunteering - to learn about what they like or don't like. There are 6 ways for students to demonstrate College and Career Readiness at Benicia High School. We want students to select at least one of the following as their path:

  1. Academic Proficiency with Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments (SBAC exams at 11th grade) - Score of Level 3 "Standard Met" or higher on both the English Language Arts and Mathematics tests, which are given in May of their junior year.
  2. Advanced Placement (AP) exams - Score of 3 or higher on two AP exams.
  3. Career Technical Education (CTE) - Student completes a CTE Pathway (2 or more classes in one industry area) with a grade of C- or better plus college course credit or qualifying SBAC exam scores.
  4. State Seal of Biliteracy - State Seal of Biliteracy awarded AND score of Level 3 or higher on the English Language Arts SBAC exam
  5. College Credit Courses - Two semesters or three quarters of of college coursework with a grade of C- or better in academic and/or CTE subjects where college credit is awarded. This can be accomplished with articulated classes offered at Benicia High School or classes at a community college.
  6. University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) Entrance Requirements - Also known as "a-g requirements," student completes the required course list with a grade of C- or better, plus completion of CTE Pathway, college course credit, qualifying SBAC exam scores, or score of 3 on one AP exam.

The path that is the fastest growing is Career Technical Education, with 7 different industry Pathways currently offered at Benicia High School. These courses are hands-on and offer vocational learning with industry professionals. The Pathway options at BHS include:

  • Patient Care (Medical)
  • Residential & Commercial Construction
  • Engineering Design
  • Performing Arts (Dance)
  • Design, Visual & Media Arts
  • Games & Simulation (Computer Technology)
  • Welding & Materials Joining

Likely this information leads to more questions, which we look forward to answering at our upcoming events. The 2020-2021 Course Catalog is now available and is a good starting point for more information about graduation requirements for Benicia Unified School District, college entrance requirements, and all of the classes we offer for next year. The Course Catalog also indicates which classes are articulated with local community colleges so that students have the opportunity to earn college credit while taking classes at BHS. We look forward to welcoming you to the Open House event and helping your student create their individual path towards College and Career Readiness that best captures their interests, goals, and dreams!

Go Panthers!

Brianna Kleinschmidt, Principal

Did You Know? California State Seal of Biliteracy

The State Seal of Biliteracy is a recognition by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction for graduating high school students who have attained a high level of proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing in one or more languages in addition to English. The State Seal of Biliteracy is marked by a gold seal affixed to the student's diploma. This opportunity is available to every Benicia High School student, but many parents and students do not know this program exists. We hope to share this with you and encourage more of our students to earn this special recognition.

Below is a chart that shows how a student can earn the State Seal of Biliteracy - the requirements outlined by the California Department of Education. Each Spring, we review our Senior Class to evaluate who has met the criteria and will receive the seal on their diploma. We have seen a small increase: Class of 2017 had 28 students, Class of 2018 had 30 students, and the Class of 2019 had 36 students receive the recognition.

More information about the State Seal of Biliteracy is available on the California Department of Education website.

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New Student Enrollment for 2020-2021 School Year

Benicia Unified School District will be enrolling Transitional K, Kindergarten, and NEW students beginning February 3, 2020, by appointment only for the 2020-2021 school year.

If you have a child who will be age five by September 1st, you may enroll them for 2020-2021 Kindergarten.

Transitional K is for children who will be age five on September 2nd through December 2nd.

Please visit the BUSD New Student Enrollment web page for directions and a list of documents required for enrollment before calling for an appointment.

Once you have completed the applicable enrollment forms and gathered all required documents, please contact the Benicia High School Registrar, Jane Uggla, to schedule an enrollment appointment: (707) 747-8334.

Have You Moved? Please Inform the Office!!

We are in the process of confirming spaces for next year and we must have up-to-date information on all students’ home addresses. If you have had a change of address and have not notified the office, please do so immediately. You must bring in a copy of your valid CA driver’s license/ID, current mortgage coupon or rental agreement, and current utility bill.

Important Student Safety Form - Turn In ASAP

In December, an email went out to all families with updated information about early release and a form to complete & submit with your selection for your student. If you have not yet done so, please complete this form and turn it into our Main Office.

Celebration of Black History Month with SoVoSo

Thursday, February 6th in the auditorium during Access Period. Students, use this link to sign up and reserve your seat for this interactive performance! (Picture below courtesy of Young Audiences of Northern California)

Register for Spring Sports by February 10th

Spring Sports Registration is now open - All students planning to try out for and/or participate in Spring Sports must register prior to February 10th. Along with registration, a copy of the student's current physical must be uploaded. Registration information and link:
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BHS is starting an all female competitive cybersecurity team! Meetings are on Mondays in room B-107. Questions? Talk with Mr. Kaiser or email him at

This is a growing field! Here are the facts:

  • There will be over 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs over the next 5 years.
  • Average salary is $100,000+
  • Current % of female cybersecurity professionals: 15-20%
  • The US needs more cybersecurity professionals (article linked here).
  • The cybersecurity profession needs more women (article linked here).

The CyberPanthers will be an all-female team competing online against over 1,000 schools.

No experience is necessary and no after school commitment!

BHS Student Art Shows Coming Soon

The Benicia Public Library will be hosting our Student Art Show from February 20th through March 12th, with a special Student Reception on Thursday, March 12th, from 6:00 - 7:30 pm.

The Arata Gallery will also be hosting a Student Art Show February 1st through March 30th, with student artwork available for purchase. For each sale, the Arata Gallery will donate a portion of the commission back to the Benicia High School Visual and Performing Arts Department. A Special Student Reception Event will be held on February 8th, from 1:00 - 3:00 pm. Any student interested in submitting a cohesive portfolio for this show should contact Ms. Seilonen in room B-206 by January 10, 2020 (

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!

PTSA Seeking Future Board Members

Our Parent Teacher Student Association is preparing for the 2020-2021 school year and seeking volunteers for the open Board Positions. While always working to grow our membership and support for Benicia High School students, the leadership of the PTSA is a fun way to engage with the school and bring your ideas to life to help the school in a variety of ways. If you have an interest or talents in organizing volunteers, putting together fundraising events, coordinating hospitality for staff appreciation, or possibly even lead the PTSA, we want you to join us!

PTSA meets on the first Wednesday evening of each month, at 6:00pm at Benicia High School. For more information, or to submit your interest in a board position, please contact President Reem Munakash at

13th Annual Benicia Education Foundation Run for Education!

Registration is now open for the 13th Annual Benicia Education Foundation Run for Education! Visit for information on the Sunday, March 29, 2020 race and to register for the 5K run/walk, children’s fun run, Shop & Stroll, or “Hit the Snooze” 5K. Proceeds from the race help support programs and events at all seven BUSD schools.


Please contact your school principal if you may be in need of financial assistance to participate.

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How to Change Negative Thinking Patterns

Source: Child Mind Institute (many great topics & resources available)

Juliann Garey writes about how we can recognize unhealthy thinking errors called 'cognitive distortions' so that we can help our children and our students when they are stuck in negative thinking patterns. This is important because negative thinking can contribute to depression, anxiety, and a sense of overwhelmed by painful emotions. We often grant negative thoughts much more influence than we do our positive thoughts. Despite negative thinking often being unrealistic from an outside perspective, they are real and significant to those experiencing these thoughts, impacting the person's emotions, behaviors, and world views. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy focuses on learning how to recognize negative thinking patterns that are making the person feel bad, and categorizes 'cognitive distortions' into 11 categories.

  1. All-or-Nothing Thinking: Seeing things in only two categories, so they’re either good or bad. A common distortion that makes you think, and therefore feel, that if something is not all of what you want then it’s none of what you want. It’s also thinking that you have to perform well on everything (perfectionism) or you’ve totally failed.
  2. Emotional Reasoning: Believing that because you feel something it must be true, even when there’s no evidence other than the feeling.
  3. Overgeneralization: Taking one negative event or detail about a situation and making it a universal pattern that is a truth about your whole life.
  4. Labeling: Putting a negative label on yourself or someone else so that you no longer see the person behind the label. When you lock someone in place like that, your understanding becomes so rigid that there’s no wiggle room to see yourself or another person differently.
  5. Fortune-Telling: Predicting something is going to turn out in a negative way. This can become a pessimistic way of viewing the future, and it can impact your behavior, making the event you’re fortune-telling more likely to turn out badly.
  6. Mind Reading: Assuming that you know and understand what another person is thinking, and typically being sure it reflects poorly on you.
  7. Catastrophizing (or Magnification): Taking a problem or something negative and blowing it up out of proportion.
  8. Discounting the Positive (or Minimizing): Taking something positive that happened and minimizing it so that it doesn’t “count” as a good thing in your life or experience. It discounts any evidence against our negative view of ourselves or our situation.
  9. Mental Filter: Seeing only the negative instead of looking at all the positive or neutral aspects of an experience.
  10. Personalization: Making things about you when they are not. This includes blaming yourself for what is beyond your control and also taking things personally when they are not intended to be harmful to you.
  11. Imperatives: Thinking in “shoulds” and “musts,” OR “should nots” and must nots.”

How Parents Can Help:

By recognizing when a person is stuck in negative thinking patterns, we can help to talk about this and reduce their intensity. It is also recommended that we be able to recognize 'cognitive distortions' in our own thinking and learn to regulate ourselves. Avoid being judgmental, to ourselves or to others, when we recognize negative thinking. We all make mistakes, and we all need reminders at times to remove ourselves from negative thinking. If an adult or child feels that more help is needed, they can reach out to our Counseling Office, a School Psychologist, or a family's own health provider.

For more information on this topic, please CLICK HERE.

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Grad Night 2020 - Get Your Senior a Ticket Now!

Grad Night 2020

Attention Class of 2020,

Grad Night is an event created and run by community volunteers, offered to Benicia Graduates every year on the night of graduation to provide a safe and sober celebration. This is an optional event, but highly encouraged and a favorite memory of all who attend. The Benicia Grad Night organization encourages families to get a ticket for their Senior as early as possible in order to get the best price.

Register your Class of 2020 Senior and pay online at A Grad Night ticket would make an excellent gift!

Benicia Grad Night is also in need of volunteers to help plan for and prepare the event - in the months before graduation and for the night of the big event! Volunteers can sign up online as well.

Curriculum Pilot & Opportunity to View Curriculum

Our English Language Arts Department will be piloting a new curriculum entitled Springboard through March. This curriculum is created by College Board and contains material to prepare students to meet our rigorous standards. The curriculum is available to view at the District Office in Suite 6 from February 1-10. You can also learn more about the Springboard English Language Arts curriculum on their website (linked here).

Come experience a truly mesmerizing feat of theatre; 8 scenes that go from inception to stage in 24 Hours! The 24 Hour Plays will present 8 original works based on the theme of "FIXED"; all scenes will be written, directed, rehearsed and performed by BHS students in the span of 24 hours. Don't miss out on this raw, gritty, and debut evening of 8 brand new works of theatre.


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Benicia High School is EXCITED to announce a special new event coming up on Monday Feb. 24th - Unified Basketball! This is an inclusive sports program that brings students with & without disabilities together as teammates. We will be playing American Canyon High School's Unified Team with one home game and one away game.

Free Entrance - Come out and Show Your Spirit!!!

February 24th at BHS - 6:00pm

March 9th at ACHS - 6:00pm

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All students are invited to our first ever "Snowcoming" - a winter dance held on Leap Day, February 29th. This is a semi-formal attire event.

Purchase Tickets Online (debit/credit only) between February 3-21 or at the BHS Finance Office (cash/debit/credit). Students with a 2019-2020 ASB card will receive a reduced price on their dance ticket.

Students are allowed to request to bring a guest and must turn in a Guest Request Form by the February 19th and receive approval. With approval, students can then purchase a ticket for their guest in the Finance Office. Guest tickets are not available online.

To attend this dance, students must be in good standing, meaning that they cannot be ineligible, and cannot be on social probation or suspended. Purchase of a ticket to this event signifies that the student agrees to follow all school and dance rules.

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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!

Upcoming Events at Benicia High School

  • Saturday, February 1st: BHS & BMS Band's Jazz N' Crab Feed, 5pm at the Clocktower
  • Tuesday, February 4th - ASB Meeting at Lunch for students interested in running for office for the 2020-2021 school year
  • Tuesday, February 4th - School Site Council Meeting, 3:30pm in room A-108
  • Wednesday, February 5th: Special Student Forum during Access, in the auditorium
  • Wednesday, February 5th: PTSA Board Meeting, 6:00pm in room A-108
  • Thursday, February 6th: Black History Month Celebration during Access, in the auditorium
  • Friday, February 7th: CPT day, 2pm student dismissal
  • Friday, February 7th: ASVAB Testing in the Library, 2pm (pre-register in College & Career Center)
  • Saturday, February 8th: Benicia Bay Winter Review Colorguard & Drumline Competition hosted at BHS, in the gym
  • Monday, February 10th: No School - Holiday
  • Tuesday, February 11th: Special Schedule - Block Schedule Day with 2:35pm dismissal
  • Thursday, February 13th: Special Schedule - Regular Day with 3:05pm dismisal
  • Thursday, February 13th: Open House with Elective Fair & 8th Grade Parent Night, 6:30pm (see information above)
  • Friday, February 14th: Special Schedule - Minimum Day with 12:20pm dismissal
  • Friday, February 14th - Saturday, February 15th: BHS Hosts Diablo Athletic League Wrestling League Championships
  • Friday, February 14th: 24 Hour Plays Begin
  • Saturday, February 15th: 24 Hour Play Performance, 7pm in the auditorium
  • Monday, February 17th: No School - Holiday
  • Wednesday, February 19th-20th: Advanced Dance Auditions, 4:00-6:30pm in the gym/dance room
  • Wednesday, February 19th: ASB Meeting at Lunch
  • Wednesday, February 19th: UC Santa Cruz Presentation during Access, room N-2
  • Wednesday, February 19th: School Safety Drill
  • Thursday, February 20th: Career Speaker Event during Access, room N-2
  • Thursday, February 20th: Blood Drive for students, in multi-purpose room
  • Friday, February 21st: Improv Show, 7pm in the auditorium
  • Monday, February 24th - Friday, February 28th: Dodgeball Tournament at lunch
  • Tuesday, February 25th: College & Career Field Trip to Cal State East Bay & St. Mary's College, Sign up in the College & Career Center with Mrs. Marwick
  • Saturday, February 29th: "Snowcoming" Winter Dance, 8-11pm in the gym


Hey Panthers, don't wait to purchase your yearbook - last year the books sold out! You can purchase your yearbook in the Finance Office or through the BHS Webstore.
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 Pasta Bar in the Student Center during lunch, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Students can choose from several options of protein and sauce, including a vegetarian option.

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

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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

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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