Parents at Berkeley High have had regular emails this week outlining the procedure for registering for the optional, additional science labs. Berkeleyside has already commented on the rather humdrum approach of those notices.

It looks like BUSD superintendent Bill Huyett had a similar reaction. Last night, parents received an email with a very different (and welcome) tone:

Reported Problems In Students Signing Up For Science Labs: On Tuesday, BHS Admin put out a post stating, “Information about the lab support course [the enhanced science labs] was included in the course catalog and counselors provided information and the opportunity to sign up for it during course scheduling.” However, over the past several months, there have been numerous reports from parents and teachers of students not being able to sign up for the new enhanced science labs. Judging by two reports from parents in the past few days that their children went to room G204 after school this week to sign up for the labs, only to be discouraged by the counselors from doing so and leaving without having done so, the problem is clearly a continuing one.

Superintendent’s Response: When this issue was brought to the attention of Superintendent Huyett, he confirmed the following:  These “classes are to be offered now to any student who wants to take them. They are additional classes. They can be signed up for this week, next week, next month or in the fall. Any student who wants to add them at the beginning of the [next school] year can do so. One full FTE is being held for the fall.” He stated that 1.0 FTE would accommodate approximately 650 students, and that even if only 300 students sign up by the fall, the staffing will still stay at a full 1.0 FTE so that the enhancement labs stay available for any students who decide at that time that they could benefit from them. He anticipates that science teachers will explain the role and function of the enhanced lab time directly to their students in the fall, and he emphasized that he is committed to providing whatever additional FTE might be necessary to ensure that all students who want to enroll in the extra period have the opportunity to do so.  Superintendent Huyett agreed that, given the current confusion surrounding the labs, families could use further communication and can expect to be contacted by the school in the fall with full information about the labs and how to sign up for them.

Signing Up In The Future: The Superintendent plans to meet with BHS Admin to resolve the issue of signing up for the enhanced science labs. Parents should be able to have their children sign-up at any time by having their student go to his/her counselor and asking for the lab. Some parents have been able to sign up their child by writing directly to their child’s counselor and requesting the lab. If any parent or their child encounters any difficulty in signing up for an enhanced science lab, they should inform Principal Slemp immediately at, and should also “cc” Superintendent Huyett at and the PTSA at

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...