Jim Slemp, principal of Berkeley High School, said today he plans to retire at the end of this school year. The announcement was made at this morning’s public announcements at the school.

Slemp has been at the center of this year’s controversy over the future of extra time for science labs at BHS. He proposed in December to eliminate the 0 and 7th period science labs and reallocate the funds to “equity grants”, designed to narrow the large academic achievement gap at the high school. When the proposal was passed by the BHS School Governance Council, Slemp declared he did not need BUSD School Board approval for the change. That set off a heated debate, which has been extensively covered here on Berkeleyside (click here to access all of our BHS science lab coverage).

Slemp is in his sixth year as principal at BHS. He has been a consistent and vocal supporter of the small school program at the high school. The idea of the small schools germinated before Slemp’s arrival, but he oversaw the launch of the reorganization in 2005.

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Lance Knobel (Berkeleyside co-founder) has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. Much of his career was in business journalism. He was editor-in-chief of both Management Today, the leading business magazine...