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Bay Area Technology Charter School (Oakland, CA)
I was reading the review that was posted on September'09 and I am still thinking about how someone can judge a school by just two days. First days of schools are the times that admins and teachers try to establish their school and classroom culture, so that they can have a smooth academic year. Besides, lets face the community that we are serving, where coming to school in the morning is itself a success. Yes, it is true that we do make a lot of emphasis on general school rules, uniforms, and expected behaviors, and there are a lot reasons for that. First, it is a precaution that we felt a need since we are in downtown location where there were a lot of challenges such as facility restrictions, student population. Second, it is one of the reason that we have successful school years, achievements like 2nd place in an International Science Olympiad and 1st place in SF Science Fair, participating Lego, SimCity, Math Counts, College Fairs (etc). This is why we have %100 graduation rate and %0 drop-out rate for all time. Third, since our school culture is continuously improving, we no longer need to be that much pre-cautious rules and policies. BayTech provides a safe environment for it students. I have been at BayTech for 6th years now and the improvement since than tremendous. Teacher
All of our family, including our 6th grader, love science and technology (also art... go figure). Eg, he was in heaven at ID Tech Camp this summer. So, judging from their website, Bay Tech seemed like the perfect school. So we went to a walk-through, and the 6th grade orientation. We were shocked by the overwhelming emphasis on uniforms, discipline, consequences etc. But we figured they might just be getting that stuff out of the way, so they could then focus on the fun stuff, so we registered him anyway.
He only attended for 2 days. Our son's experience was that attention was extremely focused on discipline issues, to the degree that he didn't get the fostering of creativity or love for learning that he was hoping to see. Eg, they sent home a 'syllabus' from each of his 7 classes. 90% of each document was a gruesome description of misbehaviors (eg, touching another student, or using the bathroom on school time more than once a week), and the methods of discipline they use. (This is in addition to the School Handbook with the same material.) Barely any mention was made of the academic topic.
BTW, there were no classes in actual technology (just Earth Sciences and Math, plus a few minutes of Computer Science), but there was a class in Character Education (and no art or music).
Our child reported that classes were just like the syllabus, except the rules were unevenly enforced. He already got in trouble because his uniform shirt was not tucked in (which was not written or requested anywhere). He also reported that the school food was mainly starch, with little taste or nutrition.
We decided this was not the school for us. What a pity! -Disappointed with BayTech
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