Berkeley Technology Academy. Photo: Emilie Raguso

In an Opinionator piece, Donald Evans, the Berkeley school superintendent, discusses the many challenges facing the students at the district’s alternative high school, Berkeley Technology Academy.

Since “90% of the students who attend BTA bring with them a history of profound exposure to complex traumatic stress that often has created significant barriers to both academic and personal development,” Evans says it is important that the school district adopts a multi-faceted approach to helping these students.

“As more and more educators, counselors and mental health professionals have recognized the critical imperative of addressing the psychological and emotional health of students, school districts are evolving to incorporate a more comprehensive approach,” writes Evans.

Berkeley Unified has a history, said Evans, of addressing the “whole child.” BUSD provides a “multi-tiered system of behavioral support and interventions in order to be ready and able to succeed academically.”

Evans decided to write the op-ed after attending the recent BTA graduation, where he said one-third of the students have been accepted to two- and four-year colleges. He wrote in response to a Berkeleyside story that talked about “extreme behavior” among students, chronically low attendance, a lack of academic rigor, and a generally unsafe campus environment due to deficient security resources and limited district support.

What is your response to Evans’s op-ed? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Berkeleyside welcomes submissions of op-ed articles. We ask that we are given first refusal to publish. Topics should be Berkeley-related, local authors are preferred, and we don’t publish anonymous pieces. Email submissions, as Word documents or embedded in the email, to editors@berkeleyside.com. The recommended length is 500-800 words. Please include your name and a one-line bio that includes full, relevant disclosures. Berkeleyside will publish op-ed pieces at its discretion.

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