Letter From B-Tech: Student Misperceptions
When people first hear about Berkeley Technology Academy, also known as B–Tech, they assume our students are a bunch of delinquents. They assume that the teachers and staff are too lazy and unqualified to work at a “real” school like Berkeley High School.
The day a counselor told me that I had to attend B–Tech, I looked her in the eye and said flat out, “I don’t want to go there.” However, that was before I took one step in B–Tech shoes. After my first day, I found myself saying, “It’s not so bad.” After my first year, I can honestly say that I love it!
I love B-Tech because of our wonderful teachers and staff. They are truly committed to the students and our future. Some teachers today only care about a paycheck, but B-Tech teachers actually care about the students. They don’t mind going that extra mile to help someone improve their grades, whether it’s staying after school for hours or giving us the real life information we need to make it in the world. Our teachers listen to our needs and concerns to make our school a more enjoyable place to be. Our school would not be the wonderful school it is without our amazing and unique teachers.
B–Tech students get a bad reputation because of the circumstances that landed them there. People never consider the talents that B–Tech students have. Our school is filled with poets, artists, actors, and other students with amazing talents. We formed our first student government council, initiated solely by the students, to help make B–Tech a more fun environment with a stable and involved community.
B–Tech Principal Sheila Quintana, a graduate of Occidental College in Los Angeles, served as Principal of Solano Middle School in Vallejo from 2007 to 2011. She was also Vice Principal of Havenscourt Middle School, and the Vice Principal of Calvin Simmons Middle School, both in Oakland. She worked as a teacher at Skyline High School for 20 years. Quintana says that she has always loved high school, and she is here to offer students a clear pathway to college and the career of our choice. She wants to make sure we all have enough credits to reach our high school goals, understanding that B–Tech and its teachers are doing the best they can to help us all achieve our dreams. Quintana enjoys the creativity and high level of expertise that our students have, saying, “So many different talents, and I want to find a place where all of these talents can expand.”
She knows the potential we have; when asked if she liked her current situation, she replied “I love B-Tech. I want to stay here as long as I can.”
B-Tech is a school that I came to by accident. Some people come simply for credits and others come as a last resort. When I tell people I go to B–Tech they usually shake their heads and assume I’m ignorant. I am not ignorant. We are not ignorant.
B–Tech is much more than just an alternative high school. From the outspoken security guards to the committed teachers, B–Tech is like a family. That is why I love B-Tech.