Change on horizon for MV Whisman Schools & Kids, posted by Editor, Mountain View Voice Online, on Oct 7, 2009 at 6:07 pm
School officials contemplated big changes last week as they discussed a possible overhaul of the Mountain View Whisman School District's policies — such as boundaries and class sizes — in order to meet the demands of rising enrollment.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, October 7, 2009, 12:43 PM
Posted by Bubb Parent, a resident of the Blossom Valley neighborhood, on Oct 7, 2009 at 6:07 pm
The board needs to take a hard look at the district's personnel polices as well. I question the qualification and placement of certain principals based on personal relationships and not qualifications or performance. I also question the manner in which principals are hired and moved. I also question the manner in which many hard-working professional teachers have been side-lined by the cult of a singular chauvinist personality. I also think that the board needs to review the manner in which the district manages teachers as well as administrators. And finally, I think the board needs to put an end to constant raises and perks for the administration while teachers are expected to wait until 2011 for another raise while their benefits are slashed.
Posted by Sara, a resident of the Martens-Carmelita neighborhood, on Oct 8, 2009 at 6:29 am
Well said Observer.
"Laser-like" focus on what's best for children and our schools? I don't think so.
Posted by Andrew, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Oct 8, 2009 at 8:57 am
I think the problems start with the MVWSD board, which has been overly supportive of the superintendent. For example, the board has supported the CI initiative, which seems to be a misapplication of corporate management theory to the elementary school environment.
An overly top-down approach just does not work in education. If teachers don't have a real voice in planning, grand plans pushed down from above (like CI) will run aground in the reality of the classroom. I have never had the impression that the board has made a real attempt to engage and listen to teachers.
Posted by sickened parent, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Oct 8, 2009 at 9:15 am
Once again our Children and Teachers suffer...... Our children don't always feel safe at school, they work harder and are dumped hours of homework so that the schools ratings are a "10". Children don't always have the things they need at school, programs are cut. Parents are now the ones to supply classroom equipment, paper towels, antiseptic, kleenex, teachers markers..... THIS IS PATHETIC!!!!
Teachers work 6 days a week and extra hours planning, managing, and preparing for class and students. Check how many teachers are at school on the weekends - i think you would be surprised.
BUT... yet we have a superintendent that does not seem to care much about the individual Child/Student. A superintendent that does not return parents phone calls or address their issues.
But I have an idea... instead of having a spine and dealing with the problem once again I am sure it will be swept under the district/board RUG. And on top of that lets give the spineless cheater a 2% increase and sign him to a 4 year extension.
Does'nt anyone realize the difference between Right and Wrong?
Makes you think twice about leaving your children in his school where having NO MORALS seems to be the way to live.
Gosh.... If I had an ounce of hindsight, I would have to become an advocate for Homeschooling.
Posted by another parent, a resident of the Monta Loma neighborhood, on Oct 8, 2009 at 11:44 am
I agree with the above comment, budgets are a bigger issue. It is also too sad that when we are so short of $$ and everyone is being told that they will not get any increase for 2 years min, that somehow our Superintendent (who many, many feel is not doing such a great job) and now is having improper relations with school employees that report directly to him... he is the one that gets the increase.... It's a matter of principal.... who do we reward?
Posted by Elaine, a resident of another community, on Oct 8, 2009 at 1:50 pm
I really agree with Andrew about the "misapplication of corporate management theory to elementary environment" - this is painfully true. The board needs to take a more objective look at the Supe's performance. The CI concept is a bust. Try asking teachers for their honest opinion (this might be difficult for them to share though, as they don't want to be viewed as going against the district). The lower grade teachers have told me it really isn't applicable to young kids. Most have told me they don't have time for this stuff and it is just yet another requirement they have to keep up with. They post some things on their boards to make it look like they are practicing it, but in the day to day whirlwind they don't have the time.
The administration of this district needs to spend more time focusing on teaching methods of ACTUAL curriculum and how to capture and motivate students. They spend too much time with gimmicks or business jargon or with ridiculous GOAL playtime field trip rewards where students miss days of school. The Assst. Super. also needs to come up with some more solid curriculum programs. Programs like CI or "student led conferences" or GOAL rewards are politics to take the onus off the staff to come up with actual curriculum and focuses it back on the students.
As for budget cuts, the cuts always end up affecting the students and teachers! And it affects the parents in the wallet to pick up the extra slack. Upper management never takes cuts. The school board needs to wake up and stop having the administration tell them what to do.
Posted by Observer, a resident of another community, on Oct 9, 2009 at 9:00 am
"Which is it? Scores need to be raised, or NCLB needs to go?"
Actually, it's both, but NCLB needs to be revised. Different from saying it's needs to go.
Districts (not just this one) are well within their rights to complain about the flawed elements of NCLB(and it is flawed), but they still are under the gun to raise scores at all costs. Which is part of the flawed aspect of NCLB. It puts the focus on scores, not necessarily on learning.
Posted by Bob, a resident of the Cuesta Park neighborhood, on Oct 9, 2009 at 3:56 pm
I'd just like to point out that home school students do very well and have contributed to higher scores in the API for this district. Also, transfer students have provided many dollars for this district for many years. For years MVWSD has talked about wanting to attract students with "magnets" like Dual Immersion and Parent Participation type programs. The Independent Study Program has been one of those programs that is highly successful in attracting participants and in many years has been filled to capacity with students on waiting lists to get in. I find it irresponsible of the district to automatically want to cut the program just because it has many out of district transfers in it. Los Altos has gone in and out of "basic aid" status for years. Kicking faithful transfer students out (many students participate from grade school through 8th grade) and shutting down a highly successful program in the first year MVWSD becomes basic aid is a knee jerk reaction. What happens in subsequent years if MVWSD becomes "limited revenue" once again - we beg the transfers to come back??
Besides, in the article, Ms. Zeller has a good point. If the district simply promoted the ISP as an option for MV students, like they do the other programs within the district more, it would probably have a lot more MV participants. Most parents do not know the program exists. We didn't until another family told us about it. It offers students and families another choice than just conventional ways of schooling without having to transfer out of the district to private schools.
One of the biggest problems this district has had for years and years is their "reactive" approach rather than a "proactive" approach. And this causes so much turmoil within the community too. Just think about when student attendance started to decline they shut down Slater to save money and relocated students to other schools and the Parent Participation program to Castro. Then they decide the attendance is up within a couple of years and they have to pay out all kinds of money to relocate the Parent Participation program yet again. Recommending to shut down the Independent Study Program next year is just yet another piece of evidence of short term planning. This district badly needs some long term vision.
Posted by parent to be, a resident of the Shoreline West neighborhood, on Oct 9, 2009 at 6:08 pm
What, change the boundary so Huff takes in more HIspanic and African American students...thus lowering the highest API scores in Mtn. View??? Are you kidding? That would be absurd!
I guess the folks at Bubb don't want the lower-scoring kids at their school either. If they change the boundaries expecting the higher scores from students on the border, those families will just send their kids to private school or will refuse to send them to Castro.
They're worried about the scores tanking now that PACT is gone from Castro...even the principal said it herself. So the idea is to change the boundary to get more middle and upper income kids at Castro. You really thinks those parent will send their kids to Castro now that PACT is gone...think again!
Posted by MVWSD Volunteer, a resident of the Monta Loma neighborhood, on Oct 11, 2009 at 7:47 am
I think the fidelity check list that the district office makes teachers use for Continuous Improvement, might be better made use of by district office personnel. The process is time consuming and hollow and none of the teachers I've worked with need it.