Google gives to local schools in 2011

Search company donated money, equipment, time

Christmas came early and frequently this year for local schools, as Mountain View-based Google played Santa Claus -- donating money, computers and the time of its employees to both the Mountain View Whisman and Mountain View-Los Altos school districts.

"It's important for us to invest in science, technology and math education in our community, in order to inspire the next generation of technologists right here in Mountain View," wrote Jordan Newman, a Google spokesman. "That's why we support our local schools through donations and community service projects."

$1 million donation

The giving spree began in April, when the search engine giant announced its plan to give $1 million to the Mountain View Whisman School District to fund math programs for struggling students.

"We are extremely grateful to Google for making it possible to embark on this new era of instruction and student achievement," Craig Goldman, the district's superintendent , told the Voice when the donation was announced.

More than one-third -- about $350,000 -- of the money went toward funding a teacher-training program. Over the summer break, teachers learned a style of teaching called "explicit direct instruction," or EDI. With EDI, each student is given a small, personal dry-erase board, which they use to solve problem and then display their solutions to the teacher, who can immediately see who is having trouble with the lesson.

The idea is to address confusion the moment it arises, according to Cynthia Kampf, a consultant for DataWORKS, the company that developed the EDI system. "Instead of waiting for the quiz on Friday, we're finding out right then and there."

Volunteering time

Over the summer about 400 Google employees gathered at Stevenson Elementary School to help clean classrooms and paint walls as part of the fourth-annual GoogleServe community service initiative.

On June 16, the crew of volunteers descended upon Stevenson with paintbrushes and cleaning supplies.

It was the "biggest GoogleServe project ever organized," according to Cady Kollen, an administrative assistant at Google and the project leader for the Stevenson site.

It was also the biggest year for GoogleServe on the whole, according to Katelin Todhunter-Gerberg, a spokeswoman for Google. More than 6,000 employees from 60 offices around the world participated over 400 projects 11 of the projects being in Mountain View.

'Home, Sweet Home' grant

In September, Theuerkauf school was the recipient of a $15,000 grant from Google, which came as part of the philanthropic "Home, Sweet Home" initiative. The money was given to the school in support of science, technology, engineering and math -- or STEM -- education.

"Supporting STEM education locally and early makes all the sense in the world to us," Spain said, noting that the company has a vested interest in building "strong foundations" in STEM education. "We really believe that is important and we really believe that it is important to do in our own backyard."

The grant to Theuerkauf was used to fund a once-a-week, after-school science club for fourth- and fifth-grade students, according to Principal Connie Vasquez-Sawdey.

"We're elated," Vasquez-Sawdey said of the grant. "We believe in extending our student's day for education in science and the arts."

In the club the students explore three branches of science: physical, life and earth, the principal said. They are also learning about alternative energy by working on hands-on experiments with the school's large solar panel, which was installed with money from the PG&E Solar Schools Program.

She said she was pleased to see Google reach out and help schools in Mountain View. Large companies have an obligation to contribute to their communities, she said.

200 laptops to MVLA

Google also pledged 200 laptops to the Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District in September -- another donation aimed at improving STEM education in local schools.

Barry Groves, superintendent of the high school district, said that the laptops -- all of them IBM Thinkpads -- were exclusively for student use. The laptops were in good condition, sometimes better condition than some of the school's comparable machines.

"This donation will be used, and it will be used every day," Groves told the Voice.

The laptops were donated at the same time the district was becoming more Web-connected than ever before. With a new high-speed wireless Internet network recently installed at both high schools, students and teachers now have Wi-Fi access everywhere on campus, even out on the athletic fields.


Like this comment
Posted by dm
a resident of another community
on Dec 31, 2011 at 12:36 am

Why does Google want to participate in the depopulation of the planet by sterilizing our kids with exposure to hi frequency pulsed microwave radiation from wi fi. the highest exposure is to their laps. Studies have already confirmed lowered and dead sperm counts with RF exposure. check the website: wirelesswatchblog dot org for more information.

Like this comment
Posted by SanJoseNative
a resident of another community
on Jan 3, 2012 at 9:48 am

I think it's fantastic that Google is giving back and I understand the concept of giving to the community surrounding their location. Yes, I know there are probably schools that do need it within the district noted above, but I'm sure not as many as in San Jose. Silicon Valley... well guess what, San Jose is the largest portion of that. I grew up in San Jose and still live there, and I can honestly tell you that many of the kids I went to school with work for Google, Yahoo, Facebook, etc. High school students from the nineties are a big portion of today's workforce. I recently heard of my old high school possibly closing it's library because of budget cuts, what?! So why not give to San Jose? An area that actually and truly needs it!!!!

Like this comment
Posted by postHarvardmom
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jan 3, 2012 at 2:42 pm

I love Google for doing this. Why not San Jose? Why not the Dominican Republic or Zimbabwe? Because they chose their home city, and what's wrong with that? Let's face it: a million dollars doesn't go very far. You can barely buy a home or start a business with that amount. When you're the donator of funds, you get to give as you wish, and I'm delighted they chose Mt. View. Thinking of the future, the trained teachers will take their skills beyond our city, and good effects will ripple out. Thanks, Google. You're the best!!

Like this comment
Posted by llg
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jan 3, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Yeah...what postHarvardmom said!

Like this comment
Posted by mv mom
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 3, 2012 at 5:28 pm

Google and other local corporations (including Microsoft and Synopsys which have supported our schools for many years) have been very generous to our Mountain View Whisman schools and the Mountain View Educational Foundation. 44% of the students in the Mountain View Whisman School District qualify for the free and reduced lunch program. The District is putting these much-needed donations to good use for the benefit of our student population. Many of these students will join the local work force after they graduate. We are lucky to have the corporate support from our local businesses--and the businesses are fortunate to have strong schools in their backyard!

Like this comment
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jan 5, 2012 at 9:46 am

We are so lucky to have Google and the others that give money to the schools, the local businesses that give money to the schools. As Bill and Ted would put it "most excellent" Not only money but time, not only the schools but the library, the sporting clubs, youth clubs, hospitals and any kind of local support. This is a sign of good civic pride and makes for good leadership Thank You Google and the others over the years

Like this comment
Posted by Nicole
a resident of Castro City
on Jan 31, 2012 at 9:10 pm

Mountain View definately has it's share of disadvantaged kids, no doubt. I really wish the grant had gone, however, to addressing some of the real issues, rather than focusing on improving test scores with a new-fangled method of teaching. I just sat through a session on EDI taught using EDI, ugh. The teachers at my school are wonderful, but struggle with the mandates of obsessively focusing on test scores and the issues that come from poverty. I love the idea of more science, fixed up classrooms, but please reconsider money focused only on improving test scores. We want school to be more fun, require more creativity, not more tedious. How about bringing the standard of food served at Google to the schools in mountain view?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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