New, Hip Identity Proposed for Berkeley Alternative High

By Suzanne La Barre
Tuesday May 02, 2006

The Berkeley Alternative High School is in for a new model—and a hip new name.  

Berkeley Technology Academy, or B-Tech as it would be called, is the latest proposal for the alternative school, which would rise again as a continuation school focused on technology, entrepreneurial skills and math. The Berkeley Board of Education will consider the program redesign tomorrow. 

The school would host about 150 students whose needs were not met or who would not be successful at Berkeley High School. Students would embark upon one of three routes for graduation: a UC and California State University preparatory program, vocational coursework or independent study. 

B-Tech would work in partnership with Vista/Berkeley City College and other local organizations including the Black Ministerial Alliance, which addresses issues of violence, education and spirituality. 

The model would require additional staff, including a new work experience coordinator, who would earn $83,000, and a second school safety officer, who would make $56,000. The school psychologist would also be employed for more hours. 

B-Tech is the upshot of a class action lawsuit settled last year after plantiffs accused the school district of discrimination by expelling students without a state-mandated hearing. The settlement included a consent decree, which is driving the current plan to institute a continuation school, district spokesperson Mark Coplan said.  

The Berkeley Board of Education meets Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., at 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. For more information, call 644-6206..