SAVE THE DATE FOR OCTOBER 20th REPUBLIC GALA DINNER

Dear Berkeley Turkish School Community and Friends,

As a part of our new shift of becoming a community service organization, we have been working together with our extended community for an exciting and meaningful event this coming fall.  Please join us on October 20th in celebrating the 95th Anniversary of the Turkish Republic at the Republic Gala Dinner. The Berkeley Turkish School Folk Dance Group is also honored to be dancing at this festive program. The host of this fantastic venue is the Turkish American Association of California (TAAC), a 501 (c) (3) organization and we have been collaborating with them to liven up their local chapters. 

We hope that you join us in celebrating our homeland's 95th birthday by attending this event. Below are the details:

The Location: Four Seasons Hotel in Palo Alto

Dinner: The three course dinner will have chicken and fish options. Please indicate your choice when you are placing your order

Program: Live music by Alaturca Connection and Mert Ozel, folk dance by Berkeley Turkish School Dance Group.
ChildCare: Onsite childcare is available for $5/child/hour
Tickets: TurkishRepublicDay2018.eventbrite.com

  • Early bird - TAAC members: $75, non-members $90. Fees apply
  • After Oct 1 - TAAC members: $90, non-members $105. Fees apply
  • Group discounts and table reservations will be available for 10+ 
  • Checks are accepted. You can make your checks out to TAAC and mail them to the address:  PO Box 404, Monterey CA 93942
  • Becoming a member  to TAAC: As you know organizing community events such as these are volunteer intensive efforts. If you go to TAACA.ORG and be a member in order to support our community events such as these, you will also be taking advantage of future discounts. 
    Program Flow:
  • 6pm Arrival and Reception
  • 7pm Welcome/National Anthems
  • 7:15 Keynote address
  • 7:30 Dinner
  • 7:45 Monterey Kadinlar Korosu
  • 8:15 Alaturca Connection
  • 9:15 Raffle
  • 9:30 BTS folk dance
  • 9:45 Alaturca Connection
  • 10:45 Mert Ozel

Thank you, and have a lovely weekend.

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Join Us In Our Fresh & Exciting Journey at BTS this Fall

Dear Berkeley Turkish School Community,

We hope this message finds you well, and that you’re enjoying the remaining weeks of the season with your families.

This summer, we have been strategizing on how we can continue to support and nurture our growing community. Since the inception of our school, we got to know each other closer through activities such as our potlucks, school performances, parent seminars, festivals and celebrations.  As our children grew, our community grew as well.  We thank you for helping us by being integral participants in this endeavor through volunteering your services and your time, and by inviting your own circles of friends and families to our school. We are very happy to be the spark that started this exciting momentum that brought us all together. 

With growth, comes change. After assessing our experiences of the last 3.5 years and weighing many options, we feel we can best meet the needs and desires of our community, and make the most positive impact by implementing an intentional shift of our mission and program from a children’s language school to a community service organization. We will integrate the Turkish Language into this new approach through ‘immersion’ in the community and activities rather than a traditional ‘school’ format.

As such, we will continue developing BTS as an instigator of an active, lively, modern and diverse community hub that it already is, and keep offering opportunities for discovering shared values and respectful engagement with one another.

In Fall 2018, based on demand, we are going to focus our attention to bringing to life adult and children cultural activities such as the following. (We will hold these activities in different local venues we will rent out instead of one location.)

  • BTS Family Club: Continue exploring the Bay Area culture with group outings such as hikes, visits to museums, movies, theaters, symphony or ballet as well as continuing holding group workshops on subjects such as Leadership, KidPower, finances, family dynamics, career development and many more subjects.
  • Arts and Culture: Peer interest groups such as: Movie Club; Book Club; Turkish Conversation Club; Turkish Cuisine Club; Music Club; Literature and Lectures; Theater and Dance classes.
  • Turkish Life & Holidays: Continue celebrating Turkish Holidays with our extended community in a meaningful way.
  • Adult Classes: Lifelong learning is our motto. One great example of this model is the BTS folklore group that was formed last Spring which has been such a pleasure to take part in. Our team danced at the Children’s Day Festival in April, and was invited to the Monterey Turkish Festival to perform a few weeks ago. We will be performing at the Republic Ball Gala in October soon, and more soon after that. We want to keep growing this program and add other diverse adult classes such as a floral design workshop we will hold in October.

While we embark on this fresh and exciting journey, we look forward to our community actively participating in and supporting the continued enrichment of our lives for both adults and children. So, we encourage everyone in our community to think creatively about their talents and interests, and share with us any specific activities or classes you’d like to lead in areas you’re passionate about.

Please email or call with any thoughts or suggestions, and be ready to lead efforts. It takes a village!
Bayramınız kutlu olsun!

Fondly,

Başak Altan & Başak Çakıcı

Join our school's Folkdance Team at the 21st Annual Turkish Festival in Monterey this saturday

Berkeley Turkish School Folklore Team will be performing at the 21st Annual Turkish Festival in Monterey this Saturday at 4 PM. Together with our teacher Mehmet Unal we will be dancing to Artvin, Ankara and Damat Halayi. Come and join us! If you can not make it this weekend to Monterey but are interested in learning folk dancing, join our folk dance practices that we are holding in Rockridge every week.

 

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Thank you and have a lovely summer

Dear Berkeley Turkish School Parents and Community,

As you know, we started our journey with the casual community potlucks in local parks 6 years ago, which later became the foundation and inspiration of the Berkeley Turkish School (BTS), nurturing and supporting our growing and diverse community. This past Sunday, we completed our 7th Semester, and thank all of you for being an integral part of this meaningful endeavour.

While organizing casual community potlucks were fun, running a school, that’s a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit and Public Charity, required a lot more professional rigor and dedication. When we founded BTS, we elected to start it as a nonprofit, because we believed strongly that our growing community needed to own and govern their school instead of an individual private entity.  We also intentionally set our organization’s bylaws in a way that this nonprofit organization would live beyond its founders.  Being a nonprofit in California also means that the organizations’ books are fully transparent, all expenditures are accounted for and audited diligently by an independent certified CPA to comply with the strict CA regulations.


Managing and leading any organization requires diligence, sacrifice and a stomach to handle the stress of being a public figure, at times making the not-so-popular hard decisions and having difficult conversations, all with professionalism and goodwill. Volunteering to manage and run a community school which leverages volunteer support is even more challenging and requires dedication to the cause like no other. As the founders and board members of BTS, we want to remind you that we’ve been living up to this challenge of donating our own time, expertise and professional and personal resources, because we strongly believe in the mission of the Berkeley Turkish School and the positive impact our school has made on our diverse Turkish- American community.

The Berkeley Turkish School’s mission is to:

Inspire the children of the Turkish-American community to learn about their rich and diverse Turkish heritage and language, to engage confidently with and within a changing diverse world, lead positive, peaceful and purposeful lives in their communities, and become strong world citizens with solid foundations and values.

The Guiding Principles of the Berkeley Turkish School:

  • We Believe in standing as a community united against hate.
  • We Welcome anyone who wants to join our community where peace, diversity, inclusivity are valued, respected and encouraged.
  • We Collaborate as a tight volunteer team to teach the children of the Turkish-American community in their ability to understand, speak, read, and write Turkish.
  • We Foster a safe and secular environment through our school program, curriculum and community events which enhance our community members' understanding of the rich and diverse Turkish Culture and heritage while welcoming different backgrounds.
  • We Facilitate innovative solutions to challenging problems relevant to their lives in our evolving curriculum.
  • We Encourage a global perspective and learning that’s inspired by different traditions and encourages different ways of thinking.
  • We Learn together as a community so we are better stewards of a peaceful and sustainable world.

Together and with your help, feedback and our community’s endless energy and support we:

  • Celebrated four International Children’s Day Festivals, three Republic Day Ceremonies, three Holiday Parties, three Mothers’ Day Events, four Graduations, six Parent Registration Events, three teacher appreciation dinners, and many birthdays
  • Hosted Parent seminars and workshops where we explored relevant topics to our community including: Kidpower; how to save for college; how to care for ourselves as parents; how to parent by connection; how to pursue excellence; the nuances and intricacies of multicultural parenting; how mindfulness can help our resolve and many more
  • Shared our favorite family recipes and dishes at our countless garden potlucks where important and meaningful conversations began over coffee, while most of us pondered over how delicious Yildiray Bey’s Suboregi is and how he achieves excellence consistently every time
  • Made some mistakes which we quickly learned from and took cautious steps to not repeat the same ones again
  • Built East Bay’s first Children’s Turkish Library
  • Rejoiced with a sense of pride and a feeling that we are connecting our past with our future when our children performed and sang our childhood songs in Turkish under Fatosh Hanim’s leadership
  • Learned how to folk dance ourselves and danced with our children with Mehmet Bey’s leadership
  • Established our Adult Folk Dance Team and had so much fun learning together
  • Collaborated as families on collective art workshops including ebru painting
  • Hosted meaningful conversations between other Turkish organizations and their leaders such as American Turkish Society, TCA, TAAC and many others
  • Lead the Engage innovation studio where the CCA industrial design Students designed Turkish Cultural educational products with the help of our students and teachers under Basak Altan’s leadership
  • Played informal Sunday soccer games
  • Laughed, Cried and danced hand in hand to many halays together

We accomplished all this together as a community through our collective efforts and dedication to our mission, and by not tolerating divisive and disruptive behaviour.

However busy and sometimes overwhelmed we may be, we wanted to take this moment to say thank you and to congratulate our community for supporting our school by being here, bringing your children, attending our events, by being ambassadors of our school’s mission and by volunteering your valuable time and resources so we can continue to serve our community through meaningful programs that are aligned with our mission.

BTS is evolving, and adapting as our community’s needs change. We have more plans that we will be sharing in the coming months. One plan, for example, is to establish our Advisory Board, with carefully vetted leaders in our community to help sustain alignment of our mission and our programs. We will share more on this and other developments at a future date.

Please also check out our events page during the summer. Our community expands beyond the walls of our schoolyard. It is about getting together to have meaningful conversations that spark a sense of belonging in a loving, supportive and true community. So join us for our picnics that will be coming up soon as well.

Should you have any questions about our organization, please feel free contact our board.

Thank you,

Başak Altan, Founder & President

Başak Çakıcı, Co-Founder, Vice President

Alpay Soyoğuz, Board Member & Treasurer

Completing our 7th Semester at The Berkeley Turkish School

We thank all our students, teachers, and our community members for supporting the Berkeley Turkish School’s mission which is to:

Inspire the children of the Turkish-American community to learn about their rich and diverse Turkish heritage and language, to engage confidently with and within a changing diverse world, lead positive, peaceful and purposeful lives in their communities, and become strong world citizens with solid foundations and values.

The Guiding Principles of the Berkeley Turkish School:

  • We Believe in standing as a community united against hate.

  • We Welcome anyone who wants to join our community where peace, diversity, inclusivity are valued, respected and encouraged.

  • We Collaborate as a tight volunteer team to teach the children of the Turkish-American community in their ability to understand, speak, read, and write Turkish.

  • We Foster a safe and secular environment through our school program, curriculum and community events which enhance our community members' understanding of the rich and diverse Turkish Culture and heritage while welcoming different backgrounds.

  • We Facilitate innovative solutions to challenging problems relevant to their lives in our evolving curriculum.

  • We Encourage a global perspective and learning that’s inspired by different traditions and encourages different ways of thinking.

  • We Learn together as a community so we are better stewards of a peaceful and sustainable world.

Together and with your help, feedback and our community’s endless energy and support we:
 

  • Celebrated four International Children’s Day Festivals, three Republic Day Ceremonies, three Holiday Parties, three Mothers’ Day Events, four Graduations, six Parent Registration Events, three teacher appreciation dinners, and many birthdays

  • Hosted Parent seminars and workshops where we explored relevant topics to our community including: Kidpower; how to save for college; how to care for ourselves as parents; how to parent by connection; how to pursue excellence; the nuances and intricacies of multicultural parenting; how mindfulness can help our resolve and many more

  • Shared  our favorite family recipes and dishes at our countless garden potlucks where important and meaningful conversations began over coffee, while most of us pondered over how delicious Yildiray Bey’s Suboregi is and how he achieves excellence consistently every time

  • Made some mistakes which we quickly learned from and took cautious steps to not repeat the same ones again

  • Built East Bay’s first Children’s Turkish Library

  • Rejoiced with a sense of pride and a feeling that we are connecting our past with our future when our children performed and sang our childhood songs in Turkish under Fatosh Hanim’s leadership

  • Learned how to folk dance ourselves and danced with our children with Mehmet Bey’s leadership

  • Established our Adult Folk Dance Team and had so much fun learning together

  • Collaborated as families on collective art workshops including ebru painting

  • Hosted meaningful conversations between other Turkish organizations and their leaders such as American Turkish Society, TCA, TAAC and many others.

  • Lead the Engage innovation studio where the CCA industrial design Students designed Turkish Cultural educational products with the help of our students and teachers under Basak Altan’s leadership

  • Played informal Sunday soccer games

  • Laughed, cried and danced hand in hand to many halays together

We accomplished all this together as a community through our collective efforts and dedication to our mission, and by not tolerating divisive and disruptive behaviour.

Should you have any questions about our organization, please feel free contact our board.

Thank you, from all of us at The Berkeley Turkish School

 

The Berkeley Turkish School commemorates Atatürk, and Youth and Sports Day.

Today, May 19th, marks the 99th anniversary of the start of the War of Independence after the Republic of Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, journeyed from allied-occupied Istanbul to Samsun on the Black Seat on May 19, 1919. The Berkeley Turkish School commemorates Atatürk, and Youth and Sports Day. 

19 Mayis Ataturk'u anma, genclik ve spor bayraminiz kutlu olsun... Gençlerimiz için barış, sevgi ve umut dolu bir gelecek bırakmak için hep birlikte elele. Berkeley Turkish School’dan sevgilerimizle...

Happy Mothers Day!

Together, we celebrated Mothers' day saying thank you to all our amazing super moms of our BTS community. Thank you for being here, and thank you for doing what you do everyday...

We also thank Martha Ozturk for planning this great venue... and Fatosh Hanim and her adorable students for singing songs. We also thank  and our lovely teachers Gulten Demirbek, Gozde Efe, Hande Tokgoz Utku and Pelin Bektur for preparing with the kiddos the lovely gifts. 

We all had so much fun that even the sun couldn't resist at the end and decided to peek through the clouds to join in... 

Happy Mothers Day from all of us at Berkeley Turkish School, where beautiful friendships start... Anneler gununuz kutlu olsun, Berkeley Turkish School'dan sevgilerimizle...

 

 

A Beautiful May Morning

Berkeley Turkish School hosted a parent seminar by Duygu Balan, on parenting and self care. It was a fantastic workshop that gave us parents an opportunity to reflect, and plan on thinking about our needs to care for our minds, spirit and our bodies  before helping our little ones. While we explored what does self care mean to each one of us, how much self care are we able to provide for our selves, and what are some of the barriers that keep us as parents from self care... we shared examples as well as began the drafts of our own self care plans. We say many thanks for this very valuable opportunity to Duygu Balan.

In the classrooms there was the buzz of getting ready for mothers' day brunch which is next weekend. Some songs were practiced, and crafts were constructed. But, shhhh... it is a surprise for our moms. ... so we will leave it here..  We also shared some delicious sour plums with salt which is a favorite fruit for spring season in Turkey. 

 

 

Reflecting on our Festival

As we gathered around coffee, we reflected on our past International Children's  Festival. The Jefferson Elementary School was having a clean up day at the same time so it was great to see the interaction between the two communities that share this beautiful campus together.

Some of you mentioned that you have not received our link to the survey about our festival. Usually we send these through Kinderlime newsletters. Incase you haven't received this here it is below. We are always looking for ways to improve our events, and your feedback is critical to our process. It is a very short survey so please take second. Thank you and we appreciate your time.

Here is the link to the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BCGLZQZ

For those of you who missed today's announcements here are some big dates for the month of May:

-May 6th:Parent Seminar with Duygu Balan Founder of come as you are therapy
-May 13th:Mothers Day Tea/Brunch Martha Ozturk will be sending an invitation, please kindly RSVP

-May 20th: End of the year Community Potluck/ Youth & Sports Day

Thank you, and looking forward to next Sunday!

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Thank you for celebrating with us!

On a beautiful Sunday on April 22n, 2018 the Berkeley Turkish School community organized and hosted their 4th annual International Children’s Day Festival.

We thank our amazing parent community, our sponsors, and our guests for participating and helping put this meaningful event together to celebrate our children, and the value of democracy and the richness diversity brings to our lives.

The founders of our school Başak Çakıcı and Başak Altan opened the ceremony talking about the historic meaning behind this important day, April 23rd National Sovereignty and Children's Day in Turkey, which was later adopted by UNESCO to celebrate as International Children’s Day world wide.

Their mindful message reflected on the mission of our school and how BTS crafts their school programs, through meaningful events they organize and weave Modern Turkey’s founder Atatürk’s principles as well as his legacy to into the tapestry of BTS’s curriculum.

As we watched the Berkeley Turkish School Children sing songs in Turkish, and perform dances along side with the BTS Parent Folklore team to commemorate the meaning behind this important day we were yet reminded of how lucky we are to be a part of this community where we connect our past with our future in meaningful ways.

Thank you from all of us at The Berkeley Turkish School, we couldn’t have done this without the support of our community.

Lovely Photos and  Credits: BTS Teacher Hande Tokgoz Utku

 

 

Celebrating the International Children's Day Festival at BTS

We thank all our guests,  teachers, parents, sponsors, and our children for celebrating this day with us and supporting our school's mission. It was a fantastic day full of excitement, delicious food, great dancing, amazing music, and lovely performances by the BTS students, parents and Monterey Folk dance team. Most of all, we thank  all of those who volunteered their time and services  in making this day a memorable one. 

Here are some initial photos of our day. Enjoy!

Berkeley Turkish School Folklore Team is very excited for this Sunday!

With the direction of our Folklore Teacher Mehmet Bey, the Berkeley Turkish School Parent Folklore team has been practicing on Sundays. We are super excited to perform the first time this Sunday at the International Children's Festival: Artvin, Ankara and Damat Halayi dances. Here is a sneak peak of  our practice last night at Basak Altan's house.

We also wanted to  thank Sema Altan for ordering and Elif Kale & Baris Lostuvali for carrying our costumes from Turkey. It takes a village! Hope to see and dance with all of you  on Sunday!

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Cinar Classroom at work preparing a peace corner and the legacy of Ataturk

Mese and Cinar classroom students were busy with their teacher Hande Hanim preparing our school's Ataturk corner that will be showcased at our festival.

At the Berkeley Turkish School we  believe that secular and democratic education ensures public sovereignty and rationality. In our curriculum and in our school's diverse activities we celebrate Atatürk, the founder of Modern Turkey, and his legacy in meaningful ways that connect our children to their Turkish history. The international Children's Festival is one of the many occasions where our children learn and reflect through classroom activities to get an understanding of the topics and historical context.  We hope you can all  join us on Sunday in celebrating this special day. 

 

 

Multi Cultural Parenting Seminar

We can not believe it is March already! Where did February go?

This past Sunday our school was proud to host Dr. Nes Pinar's Multi Cultural Parenting workshop. As always, it was a fantastic and a thought provoking seminar. Thank you Neslihan!

While the parents enjoyed conversations on the side of "Pismaniye" which was freshly brought from Turkey (thank you Olcay Bey!) we couldn't help but notice the advancement of our casual soccer games that are taking place in parallel to our curriculum :))

We also had a distinguished guest visitor, Mr. Ozcan Cikmaz, who is the CEO of Hospital On  Mobile. Our leading team has been helping the Georgia Tech Educators and their team in their launching of a Turkish Community School in Atlanta Georgia. Our school is evolving, learning, growing, and at the same time we are being recognized as an example to other community schools. We are happy to share our experiences in creating a community school so many can enjoy the benefits of working together as a team.

If you would like to sponsor an activity for our upcoming international children's day festival, please get in contact with our advancement director Ms. Fatosh Arabacioglu. 

Thank you!

 

 

TALKING ABOUT OUR FAMILY

This week, the theme was learning about Our Families. 

The Elma classroom had Sema Altan as their visiting teacher. Together they learned about different geometric shapes, and forms. They conversed  about different kinds of families, with two moms, two dads, one mom and one dad, single mom, single dad etc. The children enacted stories with puppets, and created their own penguin families from the geometric shapes that form the foundational understanding of geometry. The Magnolia class begin with their Mindfulness session with Irem Radzik, and transitioned to a very focused folklore class after learning about the Alphabet with Gulten Demirbek and Pelin Bektur. 

This Past Sunday was also our first held Adult Folklore Class with Mehmet Unal. We had a great turnout and are looking forward to learning more. We began learning our Artvin and Ankara dance moves. It is so much fun. So here is your chance, please join in as next weekend is the last weekend to join the class. 

Here are some images from this past Sunday. Thank you and see you next Sunday!