Benicia High School Panther Post

August 2020 - 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 Monday, August 17th!

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Welcome Letter from Principal

Hello Panther Families,

Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year! While this year is starting off like no other, we remain excited to welcome all of our students and families to Benicia High School and are dedicated to providing the best learning experience possible. All of our staff have been hard at work this summer to prepare for this school year. We have several changes this year, designed with our students in mind, to best support their academic success, their social and emotional growth, and the school culture of BHS.

We have always believed that the BHS Panther Pride culture and our traditions extend well beyond our school campus, and this year we are truly putting that into practice with virtual learning. Panther Pride lives at each of your homes, in Benicia and beyond as we celebrate the many students that attend from around the North Bay. We consider ourselves lucky to attract students from outside of Benicia, due to our excellent teachers and programs. This brings added diversity and a range of talents to BHS that we would not otherwise enjoy and that is cause for celebration. This is our third 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.

With the first day of school, on Monday August 17th, we begin a new schedule at BHS. We begin the year with virtual learning for the first quarter (through October 15th). It is yet to be determined if we will continue in virtual learning or return to campus after that date and we will be sure to keep you updated with communications from Benicia Unified School District and Benicia High School. Our new schedule is a 4x4 model - meaning that students will have 4 classes each semester, for a total of 8 classes over the course of the year. Year long courses will be taught in one semester. The first semester will end on January 14, 2021. Please see the image below for our 4x4 schedule during virtual learning. On the first day of school, students will start with their period 1 class, with their Google Classroom. Students will be pre-assigned to their Google Classrooms and will not need codes to join.

Digital Citizenship Expectation:

Students engage in positive, safe, legal, and ethical behavior when using technology, including social interactions online or when using networked devices. (ISTE Standard for Students)

Monday, August 17th - School Begins at 8:00am - Check Google Classroom for Class Instructions - First Period Begins at 8:30am

Back to School Night will look very different this year as well. We will provide a virtual Back to School event, with presentations and/or videos from all of our teachers. This will be sent out to you via email at the end of the first week of school. Be sure to check your email regularly for announcements and updates!

Freshmen Orientation has been postponed as we are not allowed to gather at this time. If/when we return to in person classes on campus, we will provide a Freshmen Orientation at that time and send out information.

Registration for all students must be completed prior to the start of school and can be done online. If you have not yet completed the online registration process, please be sure to do so immediately by logging onto your PowerSchool Parent account and select the registration icon on the bottom left of your screen.

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

  • Math Teacher: Mr. Reza Modabber
  • Special Education Teacher: Ms. Madison Murray
  • English Teacher: Mr. Jesse Zitrin
  • Office Manager: Ms. Janelle Sapp

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

BHS Schedule for Virtual Learning

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Chromebook Distribution for 9th Graders & New Students

As we prepare for the start of the school year, we need to make sure that every Benicia High School student has a laptop/device for learning. BHS went 1 to 1 with Chromebooks last year and will continue this year as well. We will be returning to school with virtual learning for the first quarter (through October 15th) and all classes will be run through Google Classroom.

Chromebook Event for Incoming 9th Grade Students and New Students:

Tuesday, August 11th from 9 am to Noon

Drive through distribution in the front parking lot of Benicia High School, follow signage and instructions from staff when you arrive. Please remain in your car.

Before arrival, parents/guardians must complete the BHS Chromebook Device Parent Contract provided below. At the distribution, students must present their 8th grade student ID (preferred for fastest service), or parent/guardian must show their ID to receive a Chromebook.

Questions can be emailed to Vice Principal Sean Thompson at

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BHS Chromebook Device - Parent Contract

Please complete this form before Chromebook Distribution on August 11th.

2020-2021 Class Schedules

Our goal is to release class schedules via PowerSchool by 4pm on Thursday, August 13th. 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. Due to the change to a 4x4 schedule over the summer, not all students will have a complete schedule. Our priority is that all students have a Semester 1 schedule. If they are missing classes for Semester 2, counselors will take care of that at a later date. If your student is missing a Semester 1 class, please have your student contact their counselor immediately.

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.

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 through email, phone, and Zoom contact, and through small group meetings. If your child could benefit from additional support, please contact your counselor by email.


9th grade - Ms. Smith at

10th grade - Ms. Guenther at

11th grade - Mr. Keppel at

12th grade - Ms. Wallace at

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As part of our first week back to school, we have planned a time for each student to check out their textbooks, pick up their student ID card, and have their school picture taken. Please note, school pictures are for students in grades 9-11 as 12th grade students have special Senior Portraits (see information below). We have scheduled this event on a Friday and Saturday so that it does not disrupt class time.

UPDATE as of 8/19/20: School Pictures have been postponed to a later date due to smoke/air quality. We will email out information for the new picture dates once that becomes available.

In order to provide a safe event and proper social distancing, we ask that only students come onto campus for this event and that any parents, guardians, or other guests remain in their cars. Everyone is required to wear a mask.

Students with last names A-E: Friday, August 21st between 9am and noon

Students with last names F-L: Friday, August 21st between 2pm and 5pm

Students with last names M-R: Saturday, August 22nd between 9am and noon

Students with last names S-Z: Saturday, August 22nd between 2pm and 5pm

Students will enter from the front parking lot through the gate near room A-108. Students will first get their 2020-21 school ID card and then proceed to check out textbooks/course materials. Staff will be on hand to help direct students and ensure safety guidelines are followed.

Students who have textbooks and novels from last year - please bring those with you and return them at this event.

If you have any questions, please email

Class of 2021 Senior Pictures

Senior pictures are still going and we want to make sure we have every Senior included! Be sure to check out the information linked below and book your appointment if you have not already done so. You have the option of making an appointment at the photographer's studio now or making an appointment for your portrait at Benicia High School in October.

Link for Senior Picture Information

Seniors - College Application Info Coming Soon!

Senior Counselor Ms. Wallace 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.

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.

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BHS Debate Team Starting Soon!

BHS debate season has officially started! The team is open to anyone, regardless of prior experience. We'll cover everything you need to know about public forum debate during boot camp, our first meeting of the year. We are one of the few extracurricular activities that can transition to an online platform, so this year is the perfect time to improve your public speaking skills, better your research techniques, and increase your knowledge of current events. Anyone is welcome to come to boot camp and see if debate is something you might be interested in!

Boot camp will be after school, via Zoom, from August 31 to September 4. For more information or to sign up, please contact Mrs. Gaines, the team advisor, at We hope to see you all there!

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!

Parent Volunteers & Representatives Needed!

BHS Parent Representative Needed for Parent Advisory Group

BUSD is developing a Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan to mitigate learning loss, promote engagement and attendance, and to support mental wellness. Surveys went out recently to parents and students as part of stakeholder engagement. Benicia High School is looking for a parent representative to serve on the Parent Advisory Group which will contribute to the Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan process. The Parent Advisory Group reviews and monitors progress, and gives input into the goals and actions listed in the plan. If you are interested in representing Benicia High School, please email Asst. Superintendent Dr. Leslie Beatson at

PTSA: Parent-Teacher-Student Association

While many parents join the PTA & PTG when their students are in elementary school, high schools often do not see the same support. We ask that you and your student consider joining our PTSA and improving your student’s school experience by donating your time or resources to our programs. Learn more at the PTSA table at one of our back to school events or at a PTSA meeting (first Wednesday of each month at 6pm). Recent projects and programs sponsored by our PTSA include: library renovation, N-2 renovation, staff appreciation, Teacher Innovation Grants, Student Project Grant, and student scholarships. Seniors planning to apply for a PTSA scholarship must be a member to qualify. Join PTSA today!

ELAC: English Language Advisory Committee

BHS invites you to join our English Language Advisory Committee for parents/guardians, staff, and community members working together to support our students who are English Learners. This group will meet five times this year to discuss our current programs and supports, ideas for growth to strengthen our programs, explore ways to better connect with our families, and more. Meetings will be held on Tuesday evenings at 6:00pm, via Zoom during virtual learning. If you are interested in joining ELAC or have questions, please email Vice Principal Dwight Rogers at

BHS Sports Update

Benicia High School will follow the guidelines of the The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), North Coast Section (NCS), and Diablo Athletic League (DAL) as our local competitive schedule is dictated by our group of schools.

The CIF announced on July 20th that all high school sports are postponed until December or January. Sports will change from three seasons (Fall/Winter/Spring) to two seasons (Fall/Spring) with revised dates for practice and competition. No practices or in-person tryouts will be held until guidance from the CIF is received and we are cleared by our County Health officials.

We currently have a tentative schedule for our Fall and Spring sports. We will provide updates and information via email and our monthly newsletter to all of our students and families as soon as that becomes available.

FREE Virtual ‘Athletics Eligibility & Scholarship’ Workshop

Tuesday, August 18, 2020 - 5:00pm

In light of the Coronavirus pandemic and in order to keep families safe, Dynamite Sports is sponsoring a free virtual Eligibility & Scholarship Workshop for high school athletes that have aspirations of playing college sports and their families. This nationally acclaimed program, “Guiding the College-Bound Athlete” was presented at Benicia High School two years ago and will be provided online this year. The event will be conducted by National Recruiting Expert, Rick Wire & special guests Sue Ramsey (Indiana University Basketball Star, 2012 NCAA D-II Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year) and Coy Wire (Stanford Graduate, 9-yr. NFL Veteran and CNN/HLN Sports Correspondent).

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 18th at 5:00pm

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

  • Monday, August 10th, 5:00-6:30pm: 2020 Yearbook Distribution (see info above)
  • Tuesday, August 11th, 9:00am-noon: Chromebook Drive-Thru Distribution
  • Thursday, August 13th, 4:00-5:30pm: 2020 Yearbook Distribution (see info above)
  • Monday, August 17th: First Day of School - New schedule, classes begin at 8:30am
  • Friday, August 21st: Textbook Distribution & School Pictures (by last name)
  • Saturday, August 22nd: Textbook Distribution & School Pictures (by last name)
  • Friday, September 4th: First Progress Report via PowerSchool
  • Monday, September 7th: Holiday - No School
  • Thursday, October 15th: End of First Quarter
  • Friday, October 16th: No School
  • Friday, October 23rd: First Quarter Grade Report via PowerSchool
  • Wednesday, November 11th: Holiday - No School
  • November 23-27: Thanksgiving Break - No School
  • December 18-January 3: Winter Break - No School
  • Thursday, January 14th: End of First Semester
  • Friday, January 15th: No School
  • Monday, January 18th: Holiday - No School
  • Friday, January 22nd: First Semester Grade Report via PowerSchool
  • Friday, February 12th: Holiday - No School
  • Monday, February 15th: Holiday - No School
  • Friday, March 19th: End of Third Quarter
  • Friday, March 26th: Third Quarter Grade Report via Power School
  • April 2-11: Spring Break
  • May 3-14: AP Exams (date determined by subject)
  • Friday, May 31st: Holiday - No School
  • Friday, June 4th: Last Day of School & End of Second Semester
  • Saturday, June 5th: Class of 2021 Graduation

Lunch Service During Virtual Learning

Lunch service will be available for pick up at Benicia High School during the schedule lunch break of 11:20am to 12:20pm and at all other BUSD school sites. More information will be sent to all BUSD families directly from our Food & Nutrition Services Department.

Click here to apply for free or reduced lunch. You must reapply every year.

Click here to access the My School Bucks website to set up or fund your student's meal account.

Have questions? Please contact Food & Nutrition Services Director Tania Courtney at (707) 748-2758 or email her at You can also visit the BUSD Food & Nutrition Services website.

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. 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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