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Berkeley Technology Academy (Berkeley, CA)
Hello, I'm the parent of a 10th grade Special Ed student who is thinking about a placement at Berkeley Alternative High School. I would appreciate hearing from any parent about your experience of this school in regards to:
- social safety and adult supervision. My son does not read social signals well, and has been bullied at previous public schools. He needs a small school with enough adult supervision to keep him safe from kids who sense his innocence. Do you find BAHS to be supervised and safety-oriented? Do the kids respect each other?
- school population, in terms of what kind of kids actually attend the school. I've had Special Ed professionals try to discourage me by insisting that only substance abusers and young criminals go to BAHS. I can't believe that. So who goes to BAHS, really?
- teachers and support staff. Do the teachers try to reach kids with different learning styles, or do they teach one way for everyone? Do they seem to care about their students?
- new principal. I had heard great things about Alex Palau, which is one reason I am looking into BAHS. But isn't he gone? Has the school changed much since the new principal came to the school?
If there are any parents of Special Ed students at BAHS, I am wondering how you have found the resource teacher and classroom support for kids with learning differences?
Is the school aware of and focused on Special Ed students, or are they a side issue?
How much homework is typical, & will teachers make accommodations for a subject in which a student can't produce as much or as fast as other students? (Math, in my son's case.)
If you have other thoughts and experiences of the current BAHS that I haven't asked about, please feel free to share them. TJ
The most important concern is that BAHS does not provide college preparation courses. If your child finishes at BAHS they will not be eligible to qualify for State or UC schools. Additionally, a very small percentage of BAHS students graduate and a very small percentage even finish their GED.
While I am confident that BAHS is working to improve the services that they offer their students it is a continuation school that does not provide children with opportunities that I felt were appropriate for my child.
At the same time I did not feel that Berkeley High School was an appropriate placement either. I recently enrolled him in a charter school that has a student population of less than 100 students. His largest class has a total of eleven students. He actually comes home now and talks about what they are doing in school. For example, in his science class they are studying the weather and learning how to forecast the weather. The classes are more interactive and the lesson plan is based on applied knowledge.
This school is directed towards children with similar backgrounds as my child and the teachers and staff are especially trained in dealing with this population and it has made a big difference for him.
In looking at your child's special needs I would recommend that you identify all the options that are available to you. Contact other parents and organizations working with children that have learning disabilities and find out what programs they feel are most successful in meeting the needs of your student.
I have had the opportunity to observe a teacher from BAHS while he was on a field trip with his students. He did not know I was a BHS parent. He was extremely appropriate and seemed like he had a great relationship with the kids and a positive influence. But at the same time the focus for BAHS seems to be life skills more so than academics. A BAHS parent would be better equipped to discuss that in detail though.
Some parents have raved about the Independent Study program so you might check that out also. I do not recommend BAHS for anyone. Regardless of how challenged the student is I would never recommend a school that does not provide college prepatory classes and does not provide any vocational programs. Without either of the two I'm not sure what the school is actually preparing the child for. ANON
I am a parent of a freshman at the BAHS. I think it is a wonderful school. I chose to send my son there because of the small school setting and his ADHD. It seems as though the Principal at Berk. High would like to exclude the BAHS students from attending both the senior and junior proms and from participating in the graduation ceremonies at the Greek Theater. We are outraged! Our students are not allowed on the Berkeley High campus or anywhere near the school during school hours. We are being segregated. Our children are being treated like pariah. There are 27 seniors at BAHS and the principal of Berk. High wants them to have a separate prom! and a separate graduation ceremony. We are having a meeting with the Superintendant on Jan 10th at BAHS (I am not sure about the time yet) We need input from parents and students, both Berkeley High and BAHS. We will not let this happen. Kathy
I would like to encourage parents of high school students to look into Berkeley Alternative High School (BAHS). This is the new campus on MLK and Derby Streets. This is not a "continuation high"; it is an exciting program that integrates high academic standards with career paths, allowing the student to prepare for college and/or a career at the same time. The classes are small, the classrooms large and well-equipped, and the campus is clean, safe and pleasant. Students have a counselor just for BAHS whose case load is about 1/4 that of BHS, as well as a resource teacher assigned to the campus. Also, students can take classes, participate in sports and other activities at the main campus if they wish.
I have been visiting high schools all over the Bay Area this year, looking for good alternative programs with well thought out curricula (most of which are $ 9,000 - $13,000 per year). I am pleased to say that BAHS is comparable to most of the private options I've seen, and superior to many of them.
They are enrolling now. The teachers and administrator are committed and excited to be a part of a new era in high school education, and are happy to talk with parents and teens about this program. For more information contact: Tainiza at 510-644-6835 or 510-644-6159. I know my son hasn't been this excited about school since elementary school.
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