FAQs & Resources

This page has some resources put together by the school and PTA to help answer some commonly asked questions.  
Understanding Willard Communication Systems:

Infinite Campus, Remind, School Messenger, Willard Update 
Infinite Campus Parent Portal Guide
First Week of School FAQs

And some other basic information…


Q: What should I do if my child will be absent because of illness or other emergencies?
Answer: Call or email the attendance clerk (510-644-6330, willardattendanceoffice@berkeley.net) before 10am; if you know ahead of time, e-mail teachers (firstnamelastname@berkeley.net) and check to see if there’s any make-up work for your child.

Q: What is the difference between “excused” and “unexcused” absences?
Answer: An excused absence is any absence that is medical in nature or involves a family emergency.

School Lunch Information

Q: How does Lunch work?
Answer: Students will eat lunch outside and may either bring their own lunch or get school lunch. According to new California policy, all California students will now have the opportunity to eat for free so EZ School Pay Accounts are no longer needed.


Q: What should I do if my child needs help with class work or homework?
Answer: Teachers are available to support your child, so you or your child can advocate for some extra help. If the necessary help goes beyond the occasional teacher conversation, your child might need other supports and you should talk with one of the grade-level counselors (see school contacts).

Q: How does the grading system work?
Answer: In each class, your student will receive two grades. 1) The first grade is for Standards-Based Performance (“SBP”) and is a measure of how well your child is understanding and retaining the subject matter (based on performance on tests, quizzes and other assessments designed by the teacher). 2) The second grade is for Habits of Work (“HOW”) and is a measure of how well your child is handling the responsibilities of being a student (based on getting to class on time, completing homework assignments on time, paying attention and participating in class). Each grade is scored on a scale of 1 to 4. 

Community — Getting Involved & Staying Informed

Q: How can I meet and chat with other parents?
Answer: Attend PTA meetings, attend school events, get to know your child’s friends and their parents. We also have a Willard Community Bulletin Board on Facebook

Q: How can I volunteer at school?
Answer: Classroom volunteers aren’t usually needed in middle school but sometimes there are school wide events that need volunteers. Volunteer opportunities will be announced via the Willard Update when needed. 

Q: How does the PTA work and how can I get involved?
Answer: The PTA’s main goal is to develop community, raise funds, and provide support for students, parents and teachers. Join the PTA here and attend meetings to learn more! 

Q: What is the SSC? How can I get on it?
Answer: The School Site Counsel (“SSC”) is a committee comprising equally of parents, teachers, and staff. The goal of the SCC is to establish goals promoting the academic success of students, the development of students into productive citizens, and the communication and participation of parents as part of the community. To accomplish these goals, the SCC collects and reviews data, assess programs and progress, and allocates funding for small grants and for larger programs. In total the SSC is responsible for allocating approx $200,000 per year (which come primarily from your parcel taxes). In particular, these funds support the Athletic Director, the Garden and Cooking Program, Student Mentoring, Mental Health Counseling, After School Sports, and Professional Development. SSC members are elected in the Fall by the parent body.

Q: How do I keep informed about school events?
Answer: Sign up for the Willard Update (Willard’s electronic newsletter) by using the form on this page!  

Social / Behavioral

Q: What should I do if my child feels like he/she is being bullied?
Answer: Contact the teachers if it’s happening in a class, contact your child’s advisory teacher for advice, or contact the counselors if it’s a more general problem. Whatever you do, don’t do nothing — please involve us, which you can do confidentially, without your child knowing. We need to know because your children need to feel safe at their school, and we can keep an eye on problems before they escalate into something more serious.

Q: What should my child do if he/she observes another child doing something mean, dangerous, or illegal?
Answer: Same as above. If you or your child hear word of another child behaving negatively, please let us know right away.

Extra-curricular and other activities

Q: How do you join Band? Orchestra? Jazz band?
Answer: Prior to school starting, there are sign-ups for the music program.  Band and Orchestra are classes that meet at zero period from 7:45 to 8:30, and Jazz Band meets after school but is only available to students who take the morning music class. See this page for information about the different bands and chorus.

Q: How do after school sports work? 
Answer: All Willard LEARNS Sports teams are part of Willard LEARNS After School program. Students who are selected for team rosters must register for LEARNS if not already registered – you can register for the Sports season only and will be given information about how to do that when tryouts information is sent! See the LEARNS page for more information and pay attention to the Willard Update for tryout/registration announcements. 

Q: Does Willard have after school clubs? 
Answer: Yes there are various clubs that meet throughout the school year! These are announced to students in the weekly Willard Word, which is a bulletin for students read aloud by the Principal on Mondays. The Willard Word contents are also shared each week in the Willard Update (our electronic newsletter – sign up form is on this page), so that parents/caregivers can be looped into what announcements their students here. 

Q: What is Advisory?
Answer: A 25-minute class that meets M,T,Th,F. During this class, monthly themes are discussed, such as being a responsible citizen, being an ally, study skills and time management, issues regarding social networking and media awareness, being inclusive and appreciating all abilities, being a bridge-builder, dealing with issues around social mores and stereo-types, being respectful in our relationships, social justice, drug sex and alcohol. Advisory periods are also used for additional academic support during two of the class days.

For any questions that are not included here, please call the person you think might be able to help from this contact page, or the main office can direct you appropriately (510-644-6330). And of course, the principal’s door is always open for parents and students who have questions or want to know more about their school community.