Principal’s Message 2015

“Once a Panther, always a Panther!”

Welcome to all of our Edna Brewer Panther families.  Thank you for making Edna Brewer your school of choice.  The start of the school year can inspire various emotions- excitement, nervousness, anxiety, to name a few, for both students and adults.  We recognize this and have been working to make the start smooth and easy for all.

The 2015-16 school year marks a major transition for the Edna Brewer Middle School community at the leadership level.  With Sam Pasarow’s departure to Berkeley High School, I have the honor and privilege of returning to lead Brewer’s thriving school community.  For those who may be unaware, I previously held an Assistant Principal position at Brewer for 3 years, 2007-2010, coinciding with Sam’s first year of tenure.  Our work with each other and my familiarity with the school community have made the transition seamless.

A little bit about me: I learned at early age that education is the tool that can open many doors of opportunity.  My investment in bettering myself and pursuing lifelong learning led to graduating from Stanford University, where I encountered the disparity between opportunities available to Palo Alto residents and students in neighboring communities.  To make a contribution to equity and to level the playing field, during my undergraduate studies I chose to tutor/mentor students in neighboring East Palo Alto.  This decision, unknown to me at the time, would initiate a journey and advocacy in the education profession that has lasted for more than last 18 years; 9 years as a teacher in East Palo Alto and 9 years as an Assistant Principal in Oakland Unified School District.  Moreover, my graduate work at Cal Berkeley reinforced my passion and interest in fostering equity within the school system while pushing and motivating all students to excel in their academic endeavors.  I am thrilled to be returning to Brewer, and I commit to working hard with staff, students, and families to ensure Brewer remains a thriving beacon of light in Oakland.

This year is off to a terrific start.  The staff recently returned from our retreat at Marconi conference center in Point Reyes, where teachers collaborated, forged positive relationships, and planned tirelessly to offer the best educational experience for our students.   Teachers started mapping out their curriculum for the upcoming school year, emphasizing rigorous common core standards.  Our goal is to provide an excellent educational experience, as well as meet the emotional and social needs of all of our students.  To start the school year, our whole school community will emphasize fostering a positive culture and climate at Edna Brewer.  Students will learn procedures, routines, school policies and expectations being a “Brewer student and scholar.”  A positive and safe community and exemplary instructional practices are two of our most important priorities at Brewer.

With change in leadership, many may wonder how things will shift.  I would like to take this time to alleviate your concerns.  Many of the structures and foundations that made Brewer the #1 Middle School (in academics and culture) in OUSD still hold.   Our plan is to enhance our current systems and practices to take our school to another level.  As we continue our pursuit of excellence, we ask that you support us through our various initiatives, such as supporting beautification day, our Washington DC trip and other school fundraisers, volunteering as daily crossing guards, supporting the Brewer auction, volunteering as classroom instructional support, pride store and healthy snacks program leads, field trip chaperones, mentorship program leads, participants in Brewer Dads group and supporters of the Brewer families in need initiative.  The relationship between school and home is paramount to the success of our scholars, and we rely on family involvement.

We want to thank all the students, parents/guardians, and volunteers who helped us make the registration, new student orientation, and 6th grade picnic a success.  It is true that all of us working
together ensure that our school is the best for all kids.  I look forward to collaborating with you as the school year progresses.

Thank you,
Principal Layne