Parent Observation preschool could close

MVLA considering shuttering preschool program, replacing with alternative school for at-risk students

It was standing room-only last night at the local high school district's board meeting, as supporters of a local preschool and residents of the Waverly Park neighborhood voiced their opposition to the district's proposal to remove early childhood development program from its current home on the Mountain View High School campus and replace it with an alternative high school for teens who haven't done well in traditional public education settings.

The Santa Clara County Office of Education recently announced that it would be closing Terra Bella, a county-run alternative school for high-risk students from a number of cities, including San Jose, Fremont and Mountain View. Once the school closes, all of its students will need to be moved to similar programs.

The Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District has a variety of options of where to move the 20 or so of its students currently attending Terra Bella, but Barry Groves, superintendent of the district, initially recommended to the board that relocating the Parent Observation program and putting the students there would be the best option.

The contentious proposal came as a shock to both parents and officials with the Parent Observation Parent Education Program, which functions as a preschool and as a parenting class for those living in the area surrounding Mountain View High School.

Diane Hart, director of Parent Observation, implored the board to consider her program's benefit to the community and local schools when making their decision. She quoted State Sen. Elaine Alquist, who called Parent Observation "one of the most valuable resources for parents and children in the local community," according to Hart.

Another woman, a school teacher who lives near Mountain View High School, raised concerns about bringing more high-risk youth into the area. "I have a great compassion for all students, although I do have a great concern for our neighborhood as well," said Sheri Mulroe.

Check back later for more details on this story.

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3 people like this
Posted by _
a resident of Gemello
on Feb 14, 2012 at 5:00 pm

I don't think that the program is just for people who live near the high school.

I could be wrong but isn't Alta Vista HS already for high risk youth?

3 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 14, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Alta Vista is a continuation school for kids who aren't able to be successful in MVHS or LAHS because of academic performance and/or behavior issues. I think Terra Bella is for the truly "high-risk" students, who would still be problematic even in an Alta Vista setting. At least that is my understanding. The tougher nuts, so to speak, are at Terra Bella.

3 people like this
Posted by TeacherToo
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 15, 2012 at 5:00 pm

In response to teacher Sheri Mulroe's comment, Terra Bella students already live in the neighborhood and are zoned for MVLA school district.

3 people like this
Posted by DadOfTwo
a resident of another community
on Feb 16, 2012 at 8:37 am

My daughter has attended Parent Observation this last year and it has been remarkable for her. She is really learning how to share and socialize as well as follow directions. We know that it is giving her a solid foundation for her education and it's been a great community of parents to be a part of. The District simply must save this program. An investment on the "front end" of education pays higher dividends than investments later on. I understand the need for a Terra Bella program, and unfortunately our educational institutions are not adequately funded, but there needs to be a solution to this dilemma in a relatively well-off District in Silicon Valley. The PO program has an ideal location with a classroom and developed playground. Find somewhere else for the 20 or so teens that need little more than a classroom and bathroom.

3 people like this
Posted by Jenny Robertson
a resident of another community
on Feb 16, 2012 at 9:22 am

Parent Observation was our first preschool experience, and opened our
eyes to value of programs with parent involvement. Not only did my son
receive a first-rate experience that has helped shape him into the
caring and inquisitive person he is, but I also had an invaluable

Through monthly parent discussions, I learned about keeping my
relationship healthy, nutrition, positive discipline, temperament, and
a wealth of other information useful to me as a new mother.

I also made connections with other parents, some of whom are still
close friends.

The most important thing we got from Parent Observation was that it
opened my eyes other co-op preschools, which then further enriched our

My son is now enrolled in a school with a progressive educational
philosophy made possible by heavy parent participation. We love it,
and feel blessed to have it in our lives. It is providing a
foundation for our son consistent with our values, and is a source of
great joy.

Personally, I feel like I am adding significantly to the lives of the
children in my son's classes, not in small part due to the years of
working with children I've had as a parent in co-op programs, starting
with Parent Observation.

I don't have a comment on Terra Bella; both programs provide value, and should continue to exist in our community. Please find space for both of them.

3 people like this
Posted by Alice
a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 16, 2012 at 4:02 pm

I believe in the value of a program like the Terra Bella Academy but I do NOT believe it has a place right next door to Alta Vista High School or Mountain View High School. Terra Bella does house more "high-risk" students with many that have been in trouble with the law for serious offenses.

I would ask the school district think of the safety and security factors that may become a problem down the road for all 3 groups of students and possibly even the local neighborhood.

I urge them to work with all interested parties in finding another option for Terra Bella Academy to be relocated to.

3 people like this
Posted by parent in MVLAHS district
a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 16, 2012 at 7:51 pm

I agree with the comment by Alice. Terra Bella sounds like a good program for the students it serves, but it seems like the MVHS location for the Terra Bella kids would likely pose problems for all three of the student groups (Alta Vista, MVHS, and the Terra Bella kids). Plus, it is my understanding that the MV resident students who attend Terra Bella all live somewhat near the current location off Shoreline and Terra Bella. So they would be stuck trying to get to a location all the way across the city that is not convenient for them. There has to be a better site...

3 people like this
Posted by Diana
a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 17, 2012 at 9:05 pm

As a parent attending Mountain View Parent Observation, I am saddened to hear that this extraordinary program is at risk. With these changes coming on so suddenly, folks in the community are scrambling to find a solution for all of our children, whether they attend preschool at MVPO, or are in high school at Terra Bella. It is sad when students needs are pit against each other, and I am hopeful that the community can work together to find a solution that will allow both programs to flourish and meet the needs of our children.

3 people like this
Posted by Acb
a resident of another community
on Feb 17, 2012 at 9:22 pm

My child and many other children go to or have gone to this wonderful preschool. This school, or sanctuary, is a valuable reaource for children, parents and communities. Not only would this be a devasting loss to Mountain View, but an even greater absence for future generations of children and parents.
This school is too important to be brushed aside. Please save this preschool, parent onservation!

3 people like this
Posted by ParentObsMom
a resident of another community
on Feb 18, 2012 at 8:22 am

This is shocking. My son and I attend Parent Observation and I chose this school for him in part because of the great facilities. We realize now how this wonderful environment has be painstakingly and lovingly built over many, many years. It would be such a huge loss to the community if the Parent Observation school were to be shut down. I hope the district chooses to keep this investment in the early years of its residents.

3 people like this
Posted by PBN
a resident of Whisman Station
on Feb 18, 2012 at 8:44 am

I attend Parent Observation with my son, and we just love it. We have gotten so much out of the program so far. Because of the program, my son loves school and learning, and I have learned so much from the weekly parent education component. This type of investment in the community's youngest students and their parents will pay off for decades to come.

3 people like this
Posted by CJK
a resident of another community
on Feb 19, 2012 at 9:17 pm

The parent observation class has been invaluable to my daughter and I. We started attending in Sept. 2011 and I can see how much we both have blossomed in the special space created with so much thought and care for the class in it's current location. As my daughter learns to share, create, and her love of learning grows, I am learning to be a better parent and support her in her life. Let's don't waste the money and time that went into creating this nurturing and perfect environment for the parent observation class that prepares our littlest ones for a lifetime of learning.

3 people like this
Posted by Cathy
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 20, 2012 at 8:31 am

How about putting the high school on a community college campus as a middle high school program -- try to connect those students with college in hopes that they might be able to turn their lives around and see college as an option. Simply being on a community college campus will let them see that many other students like them ARE successfully attending college and headed toward new lives. It sounds like any community college from San Jose to Foothill would work for the communities they are serving. There are programs like the Middle College program (a grant that is open to any community college right now) and Academy for Excellence that could be ways to add to the work that the current program is doing with these teenagers.
Web Link

3 people like this
Posted by Shirley
a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 20, 2012 at 12:16 pm

My son is in this program and it's his first exposure to school. He loves the program activities and asks to go to school even on off-days. I'm pregnant again and really hope that the school is still around for my second child to attend. Parent Observation is a gem in the community! I heard about it from a friend who checked out 5-6 preschools. PO was the top of their list! Please save this program!

3 people like this
Posted by Ann
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 23, 2012 at 10:37 pm

I've heard amazing things about Parent Observation program from multiple friends and were very much looking forward to putting my son into the 18 month old class come fall if we were lucky enough to get in. We would love the opportunity to learn to be better as parents as well as give my son a chance to socialize and learn. I hope that Mtn View finds locations to meet the needs of both sets of students taking community input into consideration

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Gemello

on Jun 5, 2017 at 4:58 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

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