News

School board agrees to put Bullis at Stevenson campus

 

Calling it the best option in a bad situation, Mountain View Whisman school board members voted 4-1 Thursday night to put Bullis Mountain View's new charter school at the old Stevenson Elementary School site.

Assuming the charter school accepts the offer in May, the new school would open this fall in a compact site shared with two other schools. While it's not an ideal arrangement and is sure to bring traffic headaches to the neighborhood, board members generally agreed that if the buildings were good enough for Stevenson up until last year, they're good enough for Bullis.

Bullis Charter School officials last year sought to expand the school's presence beyond its flagship campus in Los Altos last year, launching a new nonprofit called Bullis Mountain View with the goal of opening a school in the Mountain View Whisman district. The school district reluctantly approved the charter petition last month amid fears that the charter school would sap district resources and draw away the affluent families that support the school district.

In following a strict timeline mandated by state law, the Mountain View Whisman School District has until Feb. 1 to make a preliminary offer for where to put the charter school, which must include "reasonably equivalent" facilities financed by the district. In keeping with the fast-paced process, trustees considered five options that ranged from reasonable to outlandish.

One option was to put Bullis in portable classrooms currently used for excess enrollment at Bubb, Huff and Landels elementary schools, which are located on blacktop space and were slated to be removed in the fall. If Bullis Mountain View can't fit in the portables at one of the schools, it would be split between multiple campuses.

Another option -- which Superintendent Ayinde Rudolph admitted was untenable -- was to hastily redraw attendance boundaries with an eye towards earmarking classroom space for charter school students. This would essentially upend three years of planning for new school zones right in the middle of an open enrollment period, and Rudolph said he strongly recommends against what amounts to a 'surprise' change of plans.

"Our community, after three years, is still struggling to embrace the boundaries, and we've had a long lead-in to this," Rudolph said. "So to change it within six months' time -- I'm sure it would be an interesting situation for all of us."

The idea that won the day, which Rudolph backed and the board ultimately approved, was to plant Bullis at the old Stevenson site, which was recently vacated after the district's choice school was moved into new facilities next door. District officials were originally hoping to use the old campus to create a consolidated preschool program serving district students, but Rudolph said he believes the change of plans would be the easiest and least disruptive way to give Bullis what's red under state law.

"This is not an ideal situation, we're playing the cards that we're dealt," Rudolph said. "And it is my goal to the Stevenson community that I help mitigate this impact as much as possible and that we find a way to make this solution viable."

Stevenson parents at the meeting reluctantly agreed with the assessment, telling board members they understand the difficult position the district is in. Stevenson's foundation chair, Jenn Pierson, said the magnet school is used to sharing school sites -- having been neighbors to Theuerkauf Elementary for years, and Castro and Slater elementary schools before that -- but there are some lingering concerns about traffic, safety, sharing of facilities and scheduling that need to be addressed.

With Theuerkauf, Stevenson, the district office and Bullis Mountain View all on one site, the roughly 17 acre campus is likely to get crowded, causing serious logistical problems. And that doesn't include the potential for Bullis to grow, and how the charter school might alter enrollment at both Stevenson and Theuerkauf.

"We ask that you consider the short and long-term impact this placement could have on both Stevenson and our neighbors and friends at Theuerkauf," Pierson said. "We support the district in making these tough decisions, however both of our schools have much to lose with two non-neighborhood schools in such close proximity."

The plan means Bullis would be "required" to share a multipurpose room and potentially a library with one of the nearby schools, likely Stevenson, according to a district staff report. It will be up to district officials to figure out the hours and terms under which the charter would have access to shared facilities.

In past years, parents, teachers and school board members have been quick to lament that Stevenson's facilities were inadequate -- housed entirely in portables with a small multipurpose room and library that didn't measure up to other district schools -- but board members said they think the buildings are just fine.

"I disagree ... that it's sub-standard," said board member Ellen Wheeler. "I think it's pretty darn good, comparatively to other schools and school districts in the county and the state. We're offering a pretty nice site."

Board member Devon Conley agreed that the former Stevenson site is adequate, noting that she had previously taught in those same classrooms, and that her concerns fall squarely on the "outsized" impact Bullis Mountain View could have on Theuerkauf, particularly its enrollment and ability to attract families in the neighborhood.

"I think that the way that we have to address that, as a school district and as a board, is to make sure that Theuerkauf is fully competitive with Bullis," she said. "That we are offering a program that is attracting and retaining families in the neighborhood so that they are not opting to leave that neighborhood school."

Board member Jose Gutierrez cast the only vote in opposition, stating plainly that he rejected all the options.

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Comments

13 people like this
Posted by Preschool?
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Jan 25, 2019 at 12:07 pm

So, Kevin, what about the badly needed, planned preschool that Bullis is taking?

Is the consolidated preschool going to be sited somewhere else? Or is that going to suffer as a result of BMV too? Would be very sad if the district was unable to provide preschool as hoped.

Seems like that info should be in the story.


29 people like this
Posted by Nora S.
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 25, 2019 at 12:24 pm

Great article, thanks.

I too would appreciate a follow-up on the fate of the preschool when that information is available.

My only comment on the District deliberations is this: if Bullis eventually turns out to be successful in its stated aims and ends up taking a big chunk of Theuerkauf's enrollment, why fight it? The District could save a lot of money by closing or combining schools. Don't get me wrong, I'm sorry Bullis is coming to MV, but given that the District is being forced to accept the charter, why not just sit back and see what happens? Best case scenario is that they succeed in fixing the achievement gap. Let the best school win.


9 people like this
Posted by Bored M
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 25, 2019 at 12:30 pm

This article is incomplete, which is pretty typical of the Voice.

Bullis actually requested Stevenson's current (recently built) campus. I know Stevenson has its detractors in Mountain View, but the gall of Bullis to try and displace a well performing school for its goals is contrary to the best interest of kids. Maybe they intended for the displaced children to wind up at their school, I don't know.

Still, though, if parents think its best to send their kids to Bullis, so be it. I just ask that Bullis stop alienating the majority of people who won't attend their school. This isn't Los Altos which has its own reasons to dislike the school. Many of us already don't like Bullis because of its own provocative actions, not for any other reason.


50 people like this
Posted by Kevin Forestieri
Mountain View Voice Staff Writer
on Jan 25, 2019 at 12:40 pm

Kevin Forestieri is a registered user.

@Bored M

The Proposition 39 request from Bullis Mountain View states the following preference:

"Based upon the needs of the Charter School and the residency of the projected student enrollment, the Charter School desires to locate its facility at a district facility that is serving the students of Mariano Castro Elementary, Theuerkauf Elementary, and/or Monte Loma Elementary."

The only mention of Stevenson in the entire 205-page document is a graph showing zero Stevenson families submitted "intent to enroll" forms to the charter school. If you can substantiate your claim that Bullis requested Stevenson's new campus, I could certainly include it in the story.


30 people like this
Posted by Humanity
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 25, 2019 at 1:59 pm

It's disappointing to see so much anger and spite in the comments section. What's the goal of being disrespectful to the MV Voice reporters? Will nasty comments make Bullis go away? Are you going to picket outside the school and shout at children?


17 people like this
Posted by Softball Parent
a resident of another community
on Jan 25, 2019 at 2:33 pm

I hope they are not taking away the softball fields. Those are heavily used by the community!


4 people like this
Posted by Active parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 25, 2019 at 2:46 pm

Yes they plan to remove the softball field sadly.
The pre-school, from what I understand, will be rehoused and spread out accrosss reveal district sites.


10 people like this
Posted by William Hitchens
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jan 25, 2019 at 3:10 pm

William Hitchens is a registered user.

Rearranging the chairs on the deck of the SS Titanic. This is a game in which everyone loses. Are these facilities really "reasonably equivalent" as as intended by the State? Why would anyone want to sit on the Mountain View Whisman School Board? It's an impossibly thankless job. No matter what you do, you get heavily criticized.


7 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 25, 2019 at 4:11 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@Preschool?

"So, Kevin, what about the badly needed, planned preschool that Bullis is taking?"

I was also very concerned about this, but Dr. Rudolph explained that the pre-BMV plan had been to pull together all preschool kids from the various other schools to this site and make one real full-on school out of it. This would have allowed some pretty good expansion of seats available too.

The BMV-caused new plan is to keep preschoolers scattered all around the district including at the middle schools and then re-think how those would all be managed and if it was going to be possible to expand the total number of seats or not.

So, we wont lose total preschool seats, they will just be scattered and we may not get any expansion.

I hope that helps.


11 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 25, 2019 at 4:32 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@ Nora S.

"if Bullis eventually turns out to be successful in its stated aims and ends up taking a big chunk of Theuerkauf's enrollment, why fight it?"

The primary marketing claim was that Bullis was going to recruit about 40% of it's enrollment from the Free/Reduced Lunch families. That would totally gut Theuerkauf before we even had a clue if the Bullis methods would be of any value towards improving educational performance for those types of kids. Theuerkauf is already below 300 kids.

But I think more to the point, based on historical choices made by the Free/Reduced Lunch families, it's extremely unlikely that BMV will be able to attract any noticeable number of the Free Lunch kids at all. Meaning, BMV will simply draw middle class kids from all over the district to BMV.

I have predicted that BMV will primarily draw the kids who normally end up on the Stevenson waiting list each year.

"The District could save a lot of money by closing or combining schools."

We just spent $198 million + $40 million to OPEN a school and to RENOVATE all the others up to 21st century standards. Now you think it makes sense to close one of these schools?????

The upgrades to Theuerkauf alone was $13.1 million.

New Stevenson cost $11 million, old Stevenson only cost $2 million in 2009.

"given that the District is being forced to accept the charter, why not just sit back and see what happens?"

Because we know pretty well what will happen, we just can't do very much about it. Sort of like the "achievement gap". We know where it comes from, but there is only a little any school district can do about it.

"Best case scenario is that they succeed in fixing the achievement gap."

Not possible, the primary factor that drives the achievement gap are based in the home, and the schools can't fix that, at best a school district can reduce the gap by just enough of a percentage so that it's noticeable.

"Let the best school win."

In the mean-time we will create a seriously hostile climate in the district and cost the district many millions of wasteful thrashing around.

If we allow BMV to just grow as it wants, then the very people they have claimed they are here to help will be the ones harmed the most by the side-effects. Our best case would be to allow BMV a few years to prove itself and then force a hard cap on enrollment to a 2-strand school (2 classrooms per grade level).

The district has always kept a seriously tight control on PACT for the past 21 years to allow only a slow growth and it took PACT 21 years to reach 430 kids that we have today at Stevenson.

BMV has ambitions to grow to take up every child in the district if they can.


5 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 25, 2019 at 4:38 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@Bored M

"Bullis actually requested Stevenson's current (recently built) campus."

The only basis I have found for this rumor was the fact that the BMV leaders showed up at the Stevenson opening ceremony and looked around.
However, BMV leaders also took tours of the rest of the school sites in the district as well.

So, IF you have any direct info to confirm the rumor, PLEASE provide that info, we would indeed want to know that!

"I just ask that Bullis stop alienating the majority of people who won't attend their school. "

Never going to happen...

I have concluded that the BMV leadership is totally tone deaf and cannot hear anything said by anyone but their own supporters, or they do hear but they just don't care.


5 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 25, 2019 at 4:46 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@ Softball Parent

"I hope they are not taking away the softball fields. Those are heavily used by the community!"

This is a rumor based on misunderstanding of the site where BMV will be located.

For the 2017-2018 school year, Stevenson PACT was located in the buildings that BMV will get AND Stevenson had an additional set of a dozen temporary portables located just to the north of the existing yellow buildings BMV will get. That year Stevenson had 400 kids. BMV will start out at 168.

While Stevenson had those portables, all 3 ball fields and/or one soccer field was still available. So, BMV in the first few years will not effect the ball fields.

IF BMV is reauthorized in 3 years and it grows to a full 2-strand school (2 classrooms per grade level), then there is plenty of room to add back the 12 portables to support up to 400 kids without a problem.

If the district allows BMV to continue to grow beyond 400, THEN we may see some serious problems on every level.


4 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 25, 2019 at 5:00 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@God, I hate Bullis so much

"Never admit to me in person that you're a Bullis parent. Best for all."

Funny you should say that...

Over the past few years (before BMV came to my attention), I had occasion to talk with various BCS parents who were also involved with softball, which is how I met them.

I have had various conversations with Bullis Los Altos parents, but they were ONLY willing to admit they were from BCS because they found out I was from Stevenson and they felt that PACT had such a long history of being unfairly demonized that they felt I would understand their feelings and situation. They were willing to talk to me a bit about BCS.

I found that those same parents would not admit to being from BCS around other people.

I expect that BMV parents will end up also being unwilling to talk about BMV with random people they meet in Mountain View.


29 people like this
Posted by BCS Parent
a resident of another community
on Jan 25, 2019 at 5:17 pm

@ST parent and @God, I hate Bullis so much

No BCS parent I know would hide the fact that their child goes to BCS. Please stop spreading misinformation.

I proudly admit that I am a BCS parent to anyone that I meet. I am proud of the fact that I did extensive research and moved to Los Altos for the specific purpose of hoping that my child would win the lottery and get into BCS.

I am proud of the fact that BCS administration care deeply about educating children.

I am proud of the fact that my child is thriving at BCS and simply loves BCS, and I share that information with new parents that are choosing a school/school district for their children, so that they can have such incredible education for their children.

It's those people that harbor hatred - that should hide who they are. How strange to harbor such hatred for other parents - simply for the fact that those parents chose an excellent school for their children.

Luckily, I have never met anyone in real life who harbors such hatred. These hateful people only speak up on message boards like this.


17 people like this
Posted by Castro Street James
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 25, 2019 at 5:32 pm

There is a level of shame in the Bullis parents I've come across as well. When I realized they were making great efforts to sidestep the topic, I changed it. It was obvious to all they were uncomfortable with the topic of schools.


6 people like this
Posted by BCS Parent
a resident of another community
on Jan 25, 2019 at 5:41 pm

@Castro Street James

I think you are misinterpreting... Perhaps the BCS parents sidestep the topic of schools because don't want to brag about what an incredible school it is - all the specialist classes - drama, choir, music, language... - and the project-based learning, personalized approach...


26 people like this
Posted by Been there
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2019 at 6:53 pm

Let’s not kid ourselves, TH is not and never was a desirable neighborhood school.
As much as you want to hate Bullis, they are providing options to families who could not get into Stevenson, can’t afford private or moving to Huff/Bubb boundary, and don’t want to send their kids to a school with 65% low income/ESL and all it entails.
Fwiw, I am not going to apply to BMV, but there is demand! Had the district satisfied it (demand for fast paced curriculum and a peer group from middle class families), BMV would have zero applications.
Open a program similar to dual immersion at TH, fire certain long time but inefficient and rude employees and maybe it stands a chance with high performing students.


6 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 25, 2019 at 8:46 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@BCS Parent

"Perhaps the BCS parents sidestep the topic of schools because don't want to brag about what an incredible school it is"

No, sorry, in my experience the reason the BCS parents give for keeping private the fact that they send their kids to BCS is because of the near universally negative reactions from other people.

"- all the specialist classes - drama, choir, music, language... - and the project-based learning, personalized approach..."

Well, that puts BCS at copying about half of the programs at Stevenson that PACT has been doing for 21 years now.

As I said all along, we know what BCS and BMV will do, as far as teaching methods, because PACT proved them out for 21 years.

NOBODY is criticizing the BCS teachers or the planned teaching methods of BMV, the issue everyone has with BMV is the behavior of the leadership towards... well, pretty much everyone but their supporters.


2 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 25, 2019 at 8:52 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@BCS Parent

"No BCS parent I know would hide the fact that their child goes to BCS."

Around people they know or assume will be friendly, sure, but every BCS parent I have ever met asked me what school my kids attends before they would say what school their kids went to.

Mostly what happens is I over hear some bits of a conversation between two BCS parents and I hear something that sounds like it might be BCS they are discussing, I then ask if they are from BCS, they don't reply until I keep standing there and then they ask me what school my kid goes to and when I say Stevenson, they suddenly look relaxed and open up.


5 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 25, 2019 at 8:58 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@BCS Parent

"I am proud of the fact that BCS administration care deeply about educating children."

NOBODY is arguing about the teaching or how much the leadership "cares" about the kids.

The problem is about the behavior of Bullis leadership towards pretty much everyone who does not attend Bullis, especially anyone at the district level. In the case of BMV, their leadership has proven they don't listen to anyone but their own people and they walk around constantly confirming that they are unconcerned about their impact on anyone else. They use prop 39 like a sledgehammer and nobody can do anything about it.

So, nobody is arguing BCS or BMV are or will be bad schools for the kids, but for everyone else outside their schools they will be bad to deal with.


15 people like this
Posted by Nora S.
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 25, 2019 at 9:12 pm

@ ST Parent,

No, I would not close a campus, but if Bullis takes all of Theurekauf's students, then they can have the buildings as far as I am concerned. Why prop up an under-performing, under-enrolled school—for sentimental reasons? It makes no sense. And then the District can open the preschool they planned.

I don't buy your argument that Bullis won't attract low-income students. In fact, the District has placed some wise restrictions on their ability to cherry-pick students.

I also don't believe that Bullis will necessarily fail in closing the achievement gap. You say it is all based in the home, but that is a pernicious myth. Studies consistently show that excellent teaching can boost student achievement to levels that will allow disadvantaged students to succeed as well as or better than their wealthy peers.

It's not like you, or I, or anyone in the district has a choice. Bullis is coming. So why not just wait and see whether they can deliver the amazing results they promise? I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next. Numbers speak louder than propaganda.


16 people like this
Posted by Nailed it!
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 25, 2019 at 9:14 pm

@ Been there

You hit the nail on the head. I love how parents with their kids at Stevenson talk about limiting access to Stevenson and other options like BMV (keep it a 2 strand school). Why? Why should some kids get a great education and other kids not? Why should some parents have a true choice in their kids education and others not? It's total rubbish. If the district had found a way to create space at Stevenson or a new similar school at another school site years ago there wouldn't be such demand for Bullis. It's too late for my children, but I'm very happy to see that other families in my neighborhood won't have to sit on the Stevenson waitlist going no where. They will finally have other options for their children.


7 people like this
Posted by Been there
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2019 at 9:30 pm

@Nailed it!

Yet, nobody openly talks about it for fear of looking racist.

Also, the district is notorious for its desire to curb choice as much as they can. I am pretty sure it is no coincidence that Stevenson is bearing the brunt of the new charter (Theuerkauf will suffer too but that’s a different issue). High performing kids (and apparently their parents who are willing and able to donate time and money to schools) are seen as a magic bullet to closing the achievement gap. Yet, nobody cares about the needs of high performers as long as they do well on never ending assessments.


6 people like this
Posted by This is Odd
a resident of another community
on Jan 25, 2019 at 9:48 pm

The preschool services will still be expanded to 200 slots. Having those slots all around the district will be good. The old plan would have been like having a central site for all K classes. Who would support that? It sounds like this change is a big improvement for the preschool program. Also note that the BMV program includes a half class of Tk the serves preschool aged children who otherwise wouldn't be old enough for TK, so that adds another 12 or so slots for preschool The BMV program effectively has a free after school program and operates programs during more weeks of the year than the other MVWSD schools. It sounds like a big win for low income kids.

The site won't be overloaded since they planned to have 900 anyway plus the preschool. The total looks to be under 900, with both of the other schools well below built-out capacity.


17 people like this
Posted by Good grief
a resident of another community
on Jan 25, 2019 at 10:05 pm

This is so silly but feel the need to chime in. I’m a BCS and MVLAGS mom. When someone asks at softball practice where my kid goes to school, I tell them. This business of deciding that we BCS parents don’t want to share until we know your kid goes to Stevenson is ridiculous. To the person who hates BCS parents, that is up to you. Hate has gotten us nowhere in Los Altos. It will be the same poison and outcome in MV if you perpetuate it. Take my advice. It’s not worth it. We are finally working together on building relationships across LASD and BCS. It’s taken 15 years. Don’t let the same happen in your community.


5 people like this
Posted by Other
a resident of another community
on Jan 25, 2019 at 10:37 pm

BCS Parent:

“I think you are misinterpreting... Perhaps the BCS parents sidestep the topic of schools because don't want to brag about what an incredible school it is - all the specialist classes - drama, choir, music, language... - and the project-based learning, personalized approach...”

As I understood, the BMV will not be following the model as the original BCS. I am guessing they won’t be offering the international trips etc. their aim is to boost the disadvantaged students of MV, which is I suppose a good goal, but somewhat smacks of White Saviorism.


9 people like this
Posted by @Bored M
a resident of Willowgate
on Jan 25, 2019 at 10:47 pm

> I know Stevenson has its detractors in Mountain View, but the gall of Bullis to try and displace a well performing school for its goals is contrary to the best interest of kids.

Is Stevenson really a high performing school? It doesn't show up in the standardized tests, where not economically disadvantaged students perform just the same as not economically disadvantaged students at other MV schools year after year, despite both selection bias and requiring much more of the parents' time. Web Link

Compare to Bullis, where not economically disadvantaged students repeatedly perform better than their counterparts at other LA schools. Again, we're not accounting for selection bias here. Web Link

If the state reported test results for students who applied for the lottery but didn't "win," we could remove the selection effect, but even with the data we have now, it looks like an easy conclusion that Stevenson isn't actually a high performing school for the amount of effort put into it, while Bullis *might* be.


12 people like this
Posted by Geez!
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jan 25, 2019 at 10:49 pm

@ST Parent - don't be such a negative Nelly with all your "predictions". You sound like some of the parents in this clip. Give the school a chance and see what they do with the low income kids. Web Link



8 people like this
Posted by Geez!
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jan 25, 2019 at 10:56 pm

@Other - "their aim is to boost the disadvantaged students of MV, which is I suppose a good goal, but somewhat smacks of White Saviorism."

Seriously? White Saviorism?? Is that to say that white people should not help people of color with fewer advantages? Unbelievable.


16 people like this
Posted by BCS Parent
a resident of another community
on Jan 25, 2019 at 11:04 pm

There is a lot of animosity towards BCS on these message boards – not because BCS is a bad school, but precisely the opposite – because it is simply “too” good. School districts don't like the competition. This is exactly what happened in Los Altos. There is tremendous demand for BCS - 20% of the children go to BCS - with many more that would like to go there. Some people even fear that 100% of Los Altos will want to go to BCS, if allowed to do so.

Wouldn't such an incredible educational model be an asset to MV? I think so. In real life, “all” parents I've talked to want excellent education for their children...give them the right to choose, a right granted by California law. Please don't create a hostile environment for these parents by promoting hate.


10 people like this
Posted by BCS parent
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Jan 26, 2019 at 12:34 am

This thread is really starting to read like some of the previous threads around BCS in LASD (which is unfortunate... and continues to perpetuate false arguments).

We have two kids that both started out in LASD, and we moved them to BCS (one in 3rd grade, one in 4th grade) because when we talked w/parents about how their kids were doing in math & science (@BCS) we were suprised that they were working on more advanced concepts & topics (leveraging project-based learning) than our kids in the same grades (in LASD). This was clear in science, and it was embarrassingly obvious in math - in the same grade BCS students were working almost a full year ahead of where our daughter was in her class (our daughter is now in HS, and our son is bout to enter HS next year - both have benefitted greatly because of their time at BCS).

Landing the Bullis curriculum in Mountain View (with some of the lower socio-economic level kids & their families) is going to be tough, but I think it has a good chance of succeeding. The thinking that the kids (and their resources & support at home in LASD) are the primary reasons why BCS has succeeded is deeply flawed. In short, BCS works (and accelerates kids' learning) because they have deeply engaged teachers (way beyond anything we saw in LASD), an advanced curriculum (that they are constantly looking to tweak and improve), and a very high standard for student engagement, effort, and behavior.


No doubt there will be challenges, but setting up the right environment for learning & achieving is something they have nailed - and I think that will be what leads to the biggest impact (at least initially).






12 people like this
Posted by A thieve's rationale
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2019 at 4:55 am

"Look at all the good stuff I did with the money I stole from you...once I excluded those who might not make things look as rosy."

Social filth is what these people are. Stealing public from our children then excluding the "wrong kind" of kids.


5 people like this
Posted by Been there
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2019 at 7:30 am

I don’t think it is about excluding.
Families at lower performing schools do not see why they should enroll. Even if they get the same transportation benefits and there is no suggested donation.
They just don’t have the pull the middle class families do.


12 people like this
Posted by Jordan
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jan 26, 2019 at 9:02 am

I watched the meeting to follow the Bullis decision. It seems clear that there is an effort underway to attack and dismantle school choice programs. The Spanish school choice was watered down already by moving to a 50/50 model of Spanish instruction down from 90/10. Not by housing Bullis at Stevenson, an additional challenge seems to be deliberately being placed on Stevenson. Unfortunately the only thing that will happen is that Bullis will now be able to grow even faster as it siphons off parents who can't get into Stevenson and want out of Therakauf or other schools. In a few years time, Bullis will be asking for it's own campus.

I was also struck by the comments of Board Members Wheeler and Blakely who rushed to the defense of former Board Member Gloria Higgins who blamed Bullis for causing the poor survey results of Monta Loma. Bullis? Where is the cause and effect? Wheeler then stated Higgins was the best principal she has even seen! Blakely stated Higgins always does a great job. But wait, the survey results suggest something completely the opposite! Apparently this is regardless of the results and the poor test schools for English Learners. Yet this same data was used to get rid of half the principal staff last year! Wow! Total conflict of interest. Board Members supporting fellow Board Member turned principal. The process is rigged. Superintedent Ayinde was definitely cued to apologize and rationalize away Monta Loma's poor results. Wheeler and Blakley please step down immediately. Principal Higgens, please resign as well.


14 people like this
Posted by Been there
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2019 at 10:29 am

@Jordan
I agree that there is a clear anti choice trend in the district! Now it will be shark eat shark between Stevenson and Bulis. Two years down the line we will have a weakened Stevenson and BMV will be closed due to not meeting their benchmarks (since they are set so high already).
I don’t know anything about Monta Loma’s leadership but it has too many low income ELLs to have high test scores, this is just life, achievement gap starts and ultimately ends at home.
What the district does not inderstand is that shepherding high achieving students to neighborhood schools by denying choice will not work! Families will go private or move. The district’s overall percentage of low income ELL families (and all that comes with it) is too high for middle class families to be happy with just any school, so they all will flee to 1-3 schools where the percentage is lower. To mitigate that, low performing neighborhood schools need to attract middle class families, not prohibit them from leaving. Pull, not push. Math tracks, emphasis on science/language learning/arts, anything that makes a school look attractive to high achiever families.


5 people like this
Posted by SRB
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Jan 26, 2019 at 10:48 am

SRB is a registered user.

@Mountain View Voice - Was there an explanation why Cooper Park was not deemed suitable as school site ? Not suggesting it would have worked in this case, but if Cooper Park is not suitable for housing nor for a school...what's the use for the District?


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Posted by Grew Up Here
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 26, 2019 at 1:36 pm

Grew Up Here is a registered user.

I truly wish I believed that BCS genuinely had any true interest in closing the achievement gap and helping SEL students achieve, as it claims. But the actions of the school aren't in line with its claims. BCS's approach is an awful and cynical approach to education (claiming to want to help SEL students but not actually wanting to do the work to help them). At every turn that the school could have taken to demonstrate its true commitment to SEL students, it elected not to do so.

I support school choice. If I saw evidence that BCS actually cared about MV's SEL population and was willing to do the hard work necessary to close the achievement gap, I would support the school. But as it is, I cannot support a school that is essentially designed to be stealth expansion campus for wealthy Los Altos families, built on the backs of Mountain View's SEL students.


5 people like this
Posted by Cfrink
a resident of Willowgate
on Jan 26, 2019 at 4:39 pm

Cfrink is a registered user.

@SRB

It’s my understanding that any school going into Cooper will need significant renovations. In addition, the district has a tenant there and it is a source of income for the District. Losing these income sites does impact the district’s bottom line as these arrangements are often very long term agreements. Finally, I think the neighbors at Cooper have been largely opposed to any new school development. It was considered at each stage of the previous school site conversations and even in the boundaries discussions but the costs and other considerations made it a less desirable site.


2 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 26, 2019 at 10:16 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@Jordan

"It seems clear that there is an effort underway to attack and dismantle school choice programs."

I would call it an attitude that the choice schools are not as worthy of consideration as the neighborhood schools, so IF they have anything left after they do something to benefit or protect the neighborhood schools, then they may consider the effects on the choice schools as an after thought.

"The Spanish school choice was watered down already by moving to a 50/50 model of Spanish instruction down from 90/10.:

From the first time I heard of Dual-Immersion it was a 50/50 school intended for both native Spanish speakers and English speakers to equally learn from each other, thus the 50/50. If it was ever 90/10, I have found nothing about that.


"by housing Bullis at Stevenson, an additional challenge seems to be deliberately being placed on Stevenson."

IF Stevenson is going to be forced to regularly share our facilities, then yes that is a big burden. It's also a massive safety problem.

Stevenson never was allowed to use the Theuerkauf library and the TH MUR was only made available on very few days planned out months in advance.

Allowing BMV to use any of Stevenson's facilities would place the new-comer Bullis ABOVE the 21 year old, well-proven highly-popular PACT program at Stevenson. This would NOT be "equity"!

"I was also struck by the comments of Board Members Wheeler and Blakely who rushed to the defense of former Board Member Gloria Higgins who blamed Bullis for causing the poor survey results of Monta Loma."

Actually, that was a total MISTAKE! Gloria NEVER blamed Bullis for ANYTHING!

Dr Rudolph had noticed that the Monta Loma "climate survey" showed some decline and he noticed that the survey was taken at the very time there was speculations going around that BMV might end up at Monta Loma. Rudolph was using that coincidence as a possible example of outside factors potentially causing a climate survey results to be skewed.

Gloria Higgins NEVER made any such claim.

Wheeler/Blakely jumped to a false assumption and then responded to it.


2 people like this
Posted by Cooper Park Shape
a resident of another community
on Jan 26, 2019 at 10:22 pm

Cooper is irrelevant. First, MVWSD used it as a bargaining chip to get the city to create 100 units of teacher housing. The old school building there is very tiny, as well as outdated. It has no MPR/MUR. It's being used as a preschool which needs way less outdoor space per student and a different kind of classroom that grades 1-5. The blacktop there is very small and literally cracking to bits. There is no field in a shape to use for an elementary school. The parking lot even is smaller than the other schools. It's a resource in terms of land and nothing else. Even preparing ground for portables would require some serious work, and it's not clear the electrical connection would be adequate to power them.


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Posted by BCS vs. BMV
a resident of another community
on Jan 26, 2019 at 10:32 pm

Only residents of MVWSD can attend Bullis Mountain View, unless the 160 or so spaces are not all filled by residents of MVWSD. It's unlikely that an LASD residents will even apply for the BMV slots. All this talk about discouraging low income and other MVWSD residents from attending BMV won't free up spaces for LASD residents. BCS has had residents of East Palo Alto, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, and Fremont take some of the BCS empty slots, and of course from MVWSD too--all only possible if there is an empty slot going begging for one year at one grade level. You might get parents who work in Mountain View bringing their kid with them each day so they can attend BMV,
if local kids are discouraged from attending. But the number of slots is very small. It's only grades TK-2 to start. They have a good chance of filling all of them with local MVWSD residents, because they aren't able to handle very many really, about 1/3 of one of MVWSD's 9 elementary schools.

There's a good chance of some low income kids taking their share of the spots, where the aim is for about 50 such kids. First, for 5 years BCS has operated a summer program for MVWSD kids and gotten to know a few such parents. They have younger brothers and sisters and friends. BMV is going to operate free after school programs and be open with school or intersession programs for many more weeks per year than the MVWSD schools. It will be easier for a parent who works to have the kid enrolled at BMV than it will be at any one of the other 9 schools. With 2000 kids to fill low income slots, getting 50 is not much of a high bar. If the program is a success, the next year will be much much easier.


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Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 26, 2019 at 10:32 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@A thieve's rationale

Lets get one fact straight first, NONE of the schools (prior to BMV) has had ANY control over the enrollment process! The District Office runs the enrollment and runs the lottery if more parents want a specific school than there are seats at that school. The District also decides exactly how many kids will be allowed at any campus.

So, Stevenson NEVER had ANY control over which kids the district enrolled NOR any control of the lottery.

Now, Bullis Mountain View is different, they will do their own enrollment and lottery and decide (WITHOUT District Office over-sight) which kids get into BMV and which wont.

So, to be clear, Stevenson had ZERO way to "exclude" anyone who applied to the District Office for enrollment at Stevenson.

""Look at all the good stuff I did with the money I stole from you...once I excluded those who might not make things look as rosy."
"Social filth is what these people are. Stealing public from our children then excluding the "wrong kind" of kids. ""

There is NO "exclusion" involved by ANY of the choice schools!
That would be ILLEGAL and long ago the district would have been sued and punished for any such practices. IF BMV does anything to "exclude" any kids who apply for enrollment in BMV, they will be in danger of being shutdown by the state or county. Of course, since the District Office wont have full over-sight of BMV operations, who know what they will do behind closed doors.

The REAL problem is that very few low-income parents are willing to trust any style of "alternative" education. Even the Mistral school located at Castro has struggled to recruit enough native Spanish speaking families to enroll at Mistral to meet the 50%/50% (Spanish/English) requirement.

Even when PACT was located at Castro and recruited like crazy to get local low-income families to choose PACT, not nearly enough did, I think it was something like 15% or so Free/Reduced lunch kids enrolled. Transportation was not an issue then at all and yet not many low-income families were interested in alternative education.


3 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 26, 2019 at 10:41 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@BCS parent
a resident of St. Francis Acres

"This thread is really starting to read like some of the previous threads around BCS in LASD (which is unfortunate... and continues to perpetuate false arguments). "

Given the behavior and bully tactics and the total tone-deafness shown by the BMV leadership, do you blame anyone else for the results they caused?

BMV had (and still has) the opportunity to engage in a proper dialog with our schools, neighborhoods, district staff, Trsutees and the general public and take the time to get to know our city and give us all time to get to know the BMV leadership.

INSTEAD, the BMV leadership blew in like a bully in a china shop swinging their prop 39 sledgehammer around and NOT hearing one single word the rest of us were saying.

IF BCS got started the way BMV has gotten started, then I totally understand now why LASD and BCS have always been at war.

The BMV leadership has chosen this path and is getting what it paid for.


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Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 26, 2019 at 10:51 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@BCS Parent

Maybe people hate Bullis because NONE of the Bullis people can READ or HEAR anything but their own supporters say. NOBODY is complaining about the education side of Bullis, just the LEADERSHIP BEHAVIOR side!

How many times do people have to tell you the problem before you can hear it?

"There is a lot of animosity towards BCS on these message boards"

Indeed, and since I have now experienced the behavior of the Bullis Mountain View leadership towards the families, schools and district, I am now no longer surprised by the animosity towards BCS.

If BCS chose to start up like BMV has, then the BCS leadership earned it.

"– not because BCS is a bad school,"

WHERE has ANYONE claimed BCS or BMV is/are "bad schools"???????

NOBODY I know of has claimed that either BCS or BMV are "bad schools", NOBODY I know of has claimed there is ANYHTING wrong with the Bullis educational model!!!!

Get that?

EVERYONE is complaining about the BEHAVIOR of the Bullis LEADERSHIP!

"but precisely the opposite – because it is simply “too” good."

NO, NOBODY complains about the quality of the education at Bullis, they complain about the BEHAVIOR of the LEADERSHIP!!!!!

How LOUDLY do we have to scream that before you can hear it??????????

"' School districts don't like the competition. This is exactly what happened in Los Altos."

No, NOBODY likes to be forced into a relationship with a bunch of jerks who use the law as a battering ram to get what they want all the while turned a DEAF EAR to everyone else!


3 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 26, 2019 at 11:02 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@Geez!

"@ST Parent - don't be such a negative Nelly with all your "predictions". ...Give the school a chance and see what they do with the low income kids. "

There are countless times (well, pretty much every day to be honest) when my great wish would be to find out I was wrong about something or other, but I don't get my wish as often as I would like.

I would be delighted to be proven wrong, I would be astonished if Bullis can attract even 10% Free/Reduced Lunch Program families, I would be shocked into a seizure of happiness if BMV can actually make any statistically significant reduction in the "achievement gap"...

I would be delighted to be wrong on all that and I would be happy to celebrate BMV for such results, so...

I could be wrong now, but I don't think so...
(It's a jungle out there, it is a jungle out there)
Apologies to Randy Neuman


4 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 26, 2019 at 11:51 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@Nailed it!

First, Stevenson could have accommodated ALL of the families who apply each year IF we had been given the site Bullis is going to get. Nobody even suggested that because a new big preschool was more valuable to the district families.

Second, Stevenson was built in a huge RUSH in 2009 for a mere $2million out of cheap portables and pre-fabs to relieve severe over-crowding at Castro.
Stevenson had NO MUR and NO library building and the smallest play structure in the district and not enough classrooms!

Basically, Stevenson had the worst facilities in the district.
(Stevenson shoved bookcases wall-to-wall into a tiny portable to make a minimal library)

Over the years Stevenson has been able to physically grow slowly by getting big storage containers and by going without auxiliary purpose rooms to make every possible space available for classrooms for more kids.
ST was able to expand from 280 in 2009 to 400 by 2017 and 430 today. Beyond 450 would require more land space & buildings.

"I love how parents with their kids at Stevenson talk about limiting access to Stevenson"

When you said "limiting access to Stevenson" are you claiming that ANYONE at Stevenson said the enrollment of kids at Stevenson should be "limited"?
Stevenson enrollment was ALWAYS only limited by the wishes of the District Office and the physical limits of the facilities we had.

"and other options like BMV (keep it a 2 strand school). Why?"

WHY?
I thought I explained that BMV is fine where it is UNLESS BMV demands to expand it's campus beyond the physical limits that allow the play field to be used by the public for soccer and baseball. IF BMV stays at 2-strands, then BMV can have a full set of standard facilities on that site that will be proper for a 2-strand school.

IF BMV were to expand to 3-strands, then the only way to accommodate that expansion would be to eliminate the soccer field (which the contract with the city parks dept requires) and probably eliminate one of the baseball fields as well.

"Why should some kids get a great education and other kids not?"

Glad you agree Stevenson provides a great education. By the numbers Stevenson scores even better than Huff. Huff has almost the same percentage of Free/Reduced Lunch Program kids as Stevenson has, so the comparison is fair.

"Why should some parents have a true choice in their kids education and others not?"

ALL parents of MVWSD have an EQUAL choice as any other in applying to Stevenson. Stevenson has no control over what the district office does on enrollment. Stevenson CANNOT pick & choose kids, NOR can anyone at Stevenson even suggest that certain kids should not be enrolled there.

Stevenson has NEVER had enough physical room for the 600 kids of the families who want their kids in Stevenson. Even the newly built Stevenson facilities will be stretched to it's limits next year.

"It's total rubbish."

Yes, most of what you've said is total rubbish.

"If the district had found a way to create space at Stevenson or a new similar school at another school site years ago there wouldn't be such demand for Bullis."

The district did create more space at Stevenson, but it took years to figure out how to do it.

"It's too late for my children, but I'm very happy to see that other families in my neighborhood won't have to sit on the Stevenson waitlist going no where."

Again, Stevenson was built in a rush for $2million and NEVER had enough room to fit all of the kids who applied for enrollment. NOTHING Stevenson itself could do about that.

Sour grapes don't change the facts. Just because your kids did not win the district lottery does not mean it was the fault of anyone actually at Stevenson.


2 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 27, 2019 at 12:37 am

ST parent is a registered user.

@Nora S.

According to the BMV charter petition, as long as BMV was 0.01% "better"
than one of the other MVWSD schools, then BMV considers that a success.

See the video of the Board meeting yourself and listen to how hard the Trustees had to push to even get BMV to admit this was the fact.

The MVWSD voted that BMV had to add requirements to meet certain percentages of "better" than the district as a whole and certain percentages of Free/Reduced kids and some added visibility to the internal processes of BMV. If BMV does not meet the requirements added by the MVWSD, they will not get re-auth in 3 years.

BMV may be a great school for some kids, may be a great school for most kids may even be a great school for the kids of parents with no high school education, I hope that will be true. I hope they get 40% Free/Reduced Lunch
Program kids too.

I have every confidence the educational methods BMV has said they will use are great teaching methods because they are the very same methods PACT has used for 21 years. BMV will be using about half the methods Stevenson PACT is using.

That's not the problem.

Given that ALL of our schools get EQUAL funding and equally qualified teachers and that Theuerkauf and Castro get EXTRA money to target the kids who need help the most, HOW EXACTLY are the lower test scores the fault of those schools?????

We also have MVEF that takes huge donations mostly from Stevenson and Huff families and redistributes those funds EQUALLY across all the schools for various educational improvement programs based on what each school needs most.

"if Bullis takes all of Theurekauf's students, then they can have the buildings as far as I am concerned."

OK, then lets just be honest about that as the goal?
Let's blame the school for the lower test scores of the kids and sweep it under the rug, right?

"Why prop up an under-performing, under-enrolled school—for sentimental reasons?"

I see no reason to believe the Theuerkauf school itself is at all "under-performing", but rather that the bulk of the students who attend TH are at a huge disadvantage due to issues at home. Primarily the educational level of their parents.

"I don't buy your argument that Bullis won't attract low-income students."

Why not? Stevenson has not been able to attract the Free/Reduced Lunch Program families either. And we have a 21 year history of top results.

"In fact, the District has placed some wise restrictions on their ability to cherry-pick students."

Well, NO, the state LAW places restrictions on a public school.
The state LAW FORBIDS any public school from cherry-picking students.
What the MVWSD has done is required BMV to keep it's enrollment process more open to district observation and required BMV to meet the goals BMV has claimed if it wants to get reauthorized in 3 years.

"Studies consistently show that excellent teaching can boost student achievement to levels that will allow disadvantaged students to succeed as well as or better than their wealthy peers."

NO, studies show that, in any given public school district, the educational achievement of students tracks most accurately with the educational background of the parents (and mostly to the mothers education).
And this tracking is consistent regardless of income level.

Even the kids of wealthy parents without high school education don't fare as well (statistics speaking) as the kids of highly educated poor parents do.

The key is always education, not money. Money can help, but education is the biggest influence.


8 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 27, 2019 at 1:26 am

ST parent is a registered user.

Fixing the "achievement gap".

If any school district, state or the Feds were serious about "closing the achievement gap" they would focus attention and money on effective ADULT PARENTAL EDUCATION.

Teaching English (speak/read/write) and basic math (Common Core Math has made this far more difficult, but far more important) to the parents who are not fully fluent in English or Math is essential if we're serious about improving educational performance.

This would allow parents to fully engage with their kids educational process at all levels. As things are, parents without English fluency are basically flying blind as far as their kids education goes. They cannot understand what their kids are learning, let alone provide any support for their kids, like helping explain homework problems.

Wealthy parents, who don't speak/read/write English well, do have the option of spending their money to get themselves educated or to hire tutors to provide home support for their kids.

If poorly educated parents (or any parents for that matter) assume that everything is 100% up to the schools and they blindly assume that the "rating" of a school will determine the achievement of their specific kids then they are crippling their own kid's education. You can't just send your kids to school and assume you can be detached from the educational process without seriously limiting your kid's achievement.

When any school has a high percentage of poorly educated parents who are not fully fluent in English and math, that school has no chance of being a high-performing school. Adding more highly educated parents will make the school itself "look better", but the outcome for the kids of poorly educated parents wont be improved.


16 people like this
Posted by Jordon
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jan 27, 2019 at 6:34 am

@ST Parent

So you are then saying Dr Rudolph was "interpreting" or "analyzing" the data at Monta Loma that shows a clear problem with the leadership there, based on past standards for wiping out half the principals in the district last year, but now he was using Bullis as the whipping post as possible example of outside factors potentially causing a climate survey results to be skewed? That still doesn't explain the poor performance of English Learner students or the low percentages showing a problem with principal-staff leadership.

And then you are saying that Wheeler/Blakely jumped to a false assumption, which they seem to do a lot of when Rudolph throws out one of his crazy assumptions, and then they responded to it by blindly rushing to Higgins's defense???

Yes, that does indeed sound like exactly what's been happening. Thanks for the clarification.

Perhaps you can also explain Board Member Gutierrez's refusal to even consider any options at all for Bullis. Is his plan just to flaunt the law and invite a lawsuit? He doesn't seem to have any clue what he is doing and just takes advantage of meeting to stand on a soap box and throw out larger social issues not within the mandate of the school district. I guess he likes to watch the videos after the fact and hear his voice.


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Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 27, 2019 at 5:52 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@Jordon

"So you are then saying Dr Rudolph was "interpreting" or "analyzing" the data at Monta Loma that shows a clear problem with the leadership there, "

NOOOOOOOOO, NOT what I said, Rudolph was NOT "interpreting" or "analyzing" the data.

This was NOT about test scores, it was about personal opinions of how people "feel" about certain things at the moment they answer the survey. As such, these surveys are not exactly scientific and no "why" can be drawn from the data.

If you bother to watch the video you would hear that the mention of Monta Loma and BMV was simply used as an example of what sorts of EXTERNAL factors MIGHT cause the results of a climate survey to get skewed.

Rudolph could just as easily chosen some other school and give as an example that the survey at that school was given a couple of days after the teachers all learned they were getting a big raise. Such a factor coming right before an emotion-based survey was taken would be highly likely to skew the results.

"when Rudolph throws out one of his crazy assumptions,"

Rudolph was NOT assuming ANYTHING, he was simply giving one example that came to mind of what sort of factor might skew the results of an emotion-based survey simply because of the timing of the factor.

"Perhaps you can also explain Board Member Gutierrez's refusal to even consider any options at all for Bullis. "

Sure, no problem. There is a long history of elected officials at every level voting against something just to make a point to the public. It's a common practice of making a statement of principal in cases where they have no means to change the results.

Prior Trustees Greg Colodonato and Steven Nelson fairly often did exactly the same thing, voting in opposition to the rest of the Board to make a statement of principal.

Nothing weird or improper about it, this is a well understood thing politicians do.


19 people like this
Posted by @ ST Parent
a resident of Willowgate
on Jan 27, 2019 at 10:52 pm

> By the numbers Stevenson scores even better than Huff.

The numbers actually show the opposite. Not economically disadvantaged students perform slightly better at Huff than they do at Stevenson (Web Link). Students with college graduate parents perform much better at Huff than they do at Stevenson (Web Link).

Stevenson performs better than Huff for economically disadvantaged students, but that is where you would expect the selection effect to be the highest. If we could compare apples to apples economically disadvantaged kids with involved parents, I would expect that difference to vanish.


> As I said all along, we know what BCS and BMV will do, as far as teaching methods, because PACT proved them out for 21 years.

The difference is that BCS actually performs better than its comparable schools in Los Altos and does so without making the parents do a lot of extra work. There is still the $5k donation selection effect to account for, so we can't say for sure that the school is better than the LASD schools, but it does have a stronger case than Stevenson.

One reason we might expect different results versus Stevenson is that their pedagogy does actually seem different from PACT, in spite of what you've said all along. First, and most obviously, there is no parent participation requirement. Secondly, they have a longer school day, and there is some evidence from Florida's Extended School Day program that this increases literacy for disadvantaged students. Bullis says they will also spend more time on competency based learning, though there is as yet not enough evidence that this will work for the targeted students.

> Stevenson has not been able to attract the Free/Reduced Lunch Program families either.

The parents of economically disadvantaged kids often do not have flexible schedules that work for parent participation schools. Many parents of ESL kids would not feel confident helping in the classroom even if their schedules permitted. Stevenson's model results in segregation, whether the founders intended it or not.


24 people like this
Posted by Grew Up Here
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 28, 2019 at 8:52 am

Grew Up Here is a registered user.

With respect to the idea that negative comments about Bullis are based solely on rumor and misrepresentation, I for one have based my opinion of BCS's impact and entry into MV on BCS's own statements and actions. It's quite easy to evaluate the actions that BCS has taken (or the lack thereof) because it's documented in the BCS charter petition and BCS's own statements before the school board. There is also some limited data available with respect to BCS's work with low-income students and families in Los Altos. In any event, it is possible to form a realistic opinion of BCS's actions with respect to Mountain View based on BCS's own actions and statements.


5 people like this
Posted by ResidentSince1982
a resident of another community
on Jan 28, 2019 at 4:41 pm

ResidentSince1982 is a registered user.

There are a lot of different features to the program for Bullis between Mountain View and Los Altos. Clearly, a lot of thought has gone into addressing the achievement gap and providing services to appeal to the lower income families. There's no history at all to describe the Mountain View program specifically or any of these added services. It amazes me how little the observers seem to comprehend these added features of the program. It's a big thing to overlook.


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Posted by ResidentSince1892
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 29, 2019 at 9:04 am

ResidentSince1892 is a registered user.

outside this balkanized bubble people are laughing hysterically at the morbid drama. when will you people learn? charters have absolutely nothing to do with students and learning and everything to do with hyper-parents and expectations. regardless of ability or need every time a parent thinks their precious snowflake should be "doing better" in school, they look for someone to blame. charter laws empower and embolden insane helicopter parents to denigrate an entire profession and fracture an otherwise sound public education system. imagine how broken these parents will be when they can no longer smooth the road for their snowflakes and there's no one left to blame. undermining professional educators and coddling children and parents must end. follow the money.


2 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 30, 2019 at 1:53 am

ST parent is a registered user.

@@ ST Parent

ST parent wrote:
We seem to have 2 government sites giving slightly different data in wildly different formats. I saw the new California Student DASHBOARD and you saw CAASPP, but in both cases, if you look at the overall scores, ST is still ahead, though the DASHBOARD is more obvious about this.

Just offering "more time" is NOT a new teaching method, it's simply an advantage of hiring non-union teachers.

You also seem to have missed how close the SED percentages are this year. Wait until you see the percentages of SED kids for the 2019-2020 school year, Huff will be significantly lower than ST.

FYI, at Stevenson no child has ever been rejected or asked to leave (both of which would be illegal) because the parents did not give either donations or volunteer hours.
What's more, NOBODY actually tracks how much volunteer hours any family gives and the donation info is totally confidential.

ST parent wrote:
> By the numbers Stevenson scores even better than Huff.

@ST parent replied with cherry-picked data:
"The numbers actually show the opposite. Not economically disadvantaged students perform slightly better at Huff than they do at Stevenson (Web Link). Students with college graduate parents perform much better at Huff than they do at Stevenson (Web Link)."

My statement was based on the new California School DASHBOARD results available here: "www.caschooldashboard.org"

At the recent MVWSD Board meeting the DASHBOARD results clearly showed Stevenson was ahead of Huff. The Dashboard site shows each school with 6 factors and numerical values. Anyone can downloaded the full reports on ST & HF to compare.

However, your links go to a different government site, so I looked into that data. The data at your links offered the opportunity for people (you) to "cherry-pick" specific and narrow categories to find cases where Huff is slightly ahead of Stevenson for those details.

When I ran the stats for ALL STUDENTS and ALL GRADES I found this data:
Math
Standard % ST HF
Not met 2.89 4.18 ST better
Nearly met 6.36 9.76 ST better
Met 21.97 17.42 ST better
Exceeded 68.79 68.64 ST better

English
Standard % ST HF
Not met 4.05 4.17 Near tie
Nearly met 6.94 6.25 Near tie
Met 23.12 18.75 ST better
Exceeded 65.90 70.83 HF better in one section of one category

For students who at least met standards on Math Stevenson is clearly ahead and for English it's an overall near tie.

"The difference is that BCS actually performs better than its comparable schools in Los Altos"

BMV leadership says that if BMV is "better" by even 0.01% over one of the other schools, then that's proof that BMV is better and worthwhile. I see that BCS has the same standard of "better".

The fact is that LASD has so few kids in the "Free/Reduced Lunch Program" category that regardless of the data it's basically meaningless for the whole district and even less meaningful for BCS.

"and does so without making the parents do a lot of extra work."

For the bulk of the families that apply to Stevenson the parental involvement is considered an opportunity, not a burden. We find that having parents in classrooms is like giving teachers more time to teach and giving kids more individual attention. For those parents who can't volunteer much, or at all, the rest of us compensate by volunteering more.
NOBODY is keeping track of volunteer hours.

"There is still the $5k donation selection effect to account for, so we can't say for sure that the school is better than the LASD schools, but it does have a stronger case than Stevenson."

ST asks $300 donation and we keep all donations confidential.
I have heard a troubling claim that BCS does NOT treat this info as confidential.
I hope that is incorrect?

And MVEF asks $500 each year.

"First, and most obviously, there is no parent participation requirement."

"Requirement" is NOT true, opportunity is true.
Nobody may be "required" to volunteer nor donate.

I always said BMV was only about HALF of what ST does, the Parent participation was that missing half. Once you remove the parent volunteerism, the rest of PACT is basically the same as BMV says they will do.

"Secondly, they have a longer school day,"

That's not actually a change in teaching methods. I accept that can be helpful, but non-charter schools cannot offer that.

"and there is some evidence from Florida's Extended School Day program that this increases literacy for disadvantaged students."

I would love to see the district offer free after-school for all Free/Reduced Lunch Program kids to have specialized English teaching time and even offer the general (non-FRLP) ELL kids any seats not taken by the FRLP kids.

"Bullis says they will also spend more time on competency based learning,"

Again, offering "more time" is NOT a new teaching method.

"Stevenson's model results in segregation"

You seem to ignore the fact that the MVWSD focus on "neighborhood schools" has created far more "segregation" than anything about Stevenson.

For SED kids, Huff is 8.8% while Stevenson is 7.2%.
Next school year, Huff will significantly DROP below ST in their SED percentages.

The District has NEVER allowed or assisted ST in recruiting low-income families and without such cooperation, there is no chance. And in the past Stevenson never had any rooms available for expansion of after school programs free to the FRLP kids. IF not for BMV, we might have been able to set up such a program next year.


8 people like this
Posted by @ ST Parent
a resident of Willowgate
on Jan 30, 2019 at 10:34 am

@ ST Parent is a registered user.

> @ST parent replied with cherry-picked data:

Sorry, this is my own fault for peppering my posts with terms of art like "selection effect" assuming the readers would know what I meant or will Google the terms, but I should not assume that everybody here will have the prerequisite statistics background to even understand that there is something they don't understand here.

Before we begin the statistics lesson, a quick note about cadashboard vs. CAASPP. Cadashboard's data is taken from CAASPP. The difference is that CAASPP presents the data in a form that is useful for decision making. Still, a clue that the overall "meets or exceeds standards" metric shouldn't be trusted appears on cadashboard: it shows prominently that Huff has nearly twice as many English learners as a percentage of the student population.

Now the lesson. Google's average AdWords cost per click (CPC) steadily declined in the early 2010s. Despite this, Google's AdWords team celebrated because average CPCs for both desktop searches and mobile searches were increasing. How can this be?

Readers of Google's earnings reports were seeing an example of Simpson's Paradox (Web Link). In this decade, the number of searches from desktop browsers increased slowly, while the number of mobile searches rose from almost nothing to ultimately surpass the number of desktop searches. CPCs on mobile are lower than CPCs on desktop because to the ad buyer, converting clicks into customers on mobile is harder than it is on desktop. Even though both the desktop CPCs and the mobile CPCs rose, the fact that mobile clicks were now a higher percentage of total clicks and still cost less than desktop clicks made the overall average CPC decrease.

The analogy to school test scores is straightforward. Comparing overall test scores in schools with different demographics will give you a misleading result. A district administrator who wants a single metric will need to do covariate adjustment on the test scores, but for parents, there's something even easier to do that gives an even better metric to use for decision making and that is to simply look at the metrics for the demographic that your child belongs to.

This is why I posted the results for not economically disadvantaged students and students with college graduate parents. This is also why I explained the difference in test scores for economically disadvantaged students to explain why the overall scores would not match up with the scores within the demographics that the readers of these comments are interested in.

In explaining why Stevenson performs better than Huff for economically disadvantaged students, I used the terms of art "selection bias" and "selection effect" (Web Link). The reason this comes into play is that Stevenson's parent participation requirement skews its student population to those whose parents are already involved in their education. They would be involved whether or not their kid ended up at Stevenson. As I mentioned earlier, this skew would be highest among economically disadvantaged students. This is why I suggested using lottery results as a way to identify counterfactuals in order to compare apples to apples, but this data is not publicly available.

> BMV leadership says that if BMV is "better" by even 0.01% over one of the other schools, then that's proof that BMV is better and worthwhile. I see that BCS has the same standard of "better".

I am not speaking hypothetically. I posted a link earlier to Bored M showing that Bullis actually performs better than LASD schools for not economically disadvantaged students.

> For the bulk of the families that apply to Stevenson the parental involvement is considered an opportunity, not a burden.

The point is that despite all this extra effort, Stevenson does not show any gains even despite selection bias. It is wasted effort. Bullis, without requiring that effort does show gains, though we still cannot rule out selection bias.

> [A longer school day is] not actually a change in teaching methods. I accept that can be helpful, but non-charter schools cannot offer that.

It doesn't matter whether non-charter schools can offer that. It is still expected to affect outcomes for economically disadvantaged students, which is my point.

> Again, offering "more time" is NOT a new teaching method.

This was in response to a sentence about competency based learning, which is a new teaching method, and which Bullis will devote more time to.

> You seem to ignore the fact that the MVWSD focus on "neighborhood schools" has created far more "segregation" than anything about Stevenson.

I do not ignore that. The fact that there is so much segregation in MVWSD that Castro doesn't even have enough not economically disadvantaged students to report test scores for is a travesty and should be a shame for the progressives in our community who protest a racist president while turning a blind eye to the institutional racism right here in our city.

Stevenson increases segregation above and beyond what would be there without Stevenson for the reasons I mentioned earlier, and you seem to acknowledge that.

> The District has NEVER allowed or assisted ST in recruiting low-income families

The district is also not assisting Bullis in recruiting low-income families, but they appear to be making the effort, just like Mistral.


6 people like this
Posted by @ ST Parent
a resident of Willowgate
on Jan 30, 2019 at 11:31 am

@ ST Parent is a registered user.

I forgot to mention one thing about the breakdown of test results that seemed obvious to me as a user of CAASPP results but I realize might not be apparent to users of caschooldashboard. Parents who care about which school their child goes to tend to be parents who want their children to continue their education at a university. Those parents would be interested in the percentage of students who exceed grade level standards (not merely meet them) as a proxy for how well the school prepares students for college entrance exams. That is the metric I used to claim "Students with college graduate parents perform *much* [emphasis added] better at Huff than they do at Stevenson." If you include the students who merely meet grade level standards, there is not much difference between the schools, but just like the overall test score metric, this is the wrong metric to use.


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Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 30, 2019 at 7:32 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@@ ST Parent

"I forgot to mention one thing"

Yes, I was stating the fact that overall Stevenson was now scoring better than Huff, you were cherry picking one detail in a pile of details as "proof" that my statement was wrong. I was talking about a snapshot of overall results to make a point about something else.

My statement was accurate and it had a point you ignored in your effort to claim I was wrong about something. I admit I was not aware of the other database and I am still confused as to why they seem to show slightly different data, but the difference does not actually make me wrong nor invalidate the DASHBOARD results.

"That is the metric I used to claim "Students with college graduate parents perform *much* [emphasis added] better at Huff than they do at Stevenson."

The difference in that narrow category was pretty narrow itself. Our whole district does not have enough kids to elevate such a narrow difference in one sub-category to drive parents to choose one school over another.

Now, when you have only one school in the district that scores higher in most categories than any of the other schools and has a near tie in one category at the next-best school, that is more valid.

What would be of scientific value would be to have a measurement process that remains stable over an entire K-12 cohort and then follows all the kids into college to see how many get what level of degrees.

NOBODY has done that as far as I know for California.


3 people like this
Posted by @ ST Parent
a resident of Willowgate
on Jan 30, 2019 at 10:32 pm

@ ST Parent is a registered user.

> Yes, I was stating the fact that overall Stevenson was now scoring better than Huff

My point was that while that statement is correct, it is grossly misleading due to selection bias. A college educated parent presented with a choice between Huff and Stevenson for their child should choose Huff.

> The difference in that narrow category was pretty narrow itself. Our whole district does not have enough kids to elevate such a narrow difference in one sub-category to drive parents to choose one school over another.

Both Huff and Bubb (and to a lesser degree, Mistral) outperform Stevenson by this metric (students with college educated parents exceeding grade level standards) year after year. It's true that there is still some chance of type 1 error, but the big takeaway is that Stevenson is massively more resource intensive with flat-to-negative results relative to other schools in the district for non-disadvantaged students, which is even more amazing when you consider that it has the advantage of selection bias and fewer disadvantaged students diverting teacher attention.

> Now, when you have only one school in the district that scores higher in most categories than any of the other schools and has a near tie in one category at the next-best school, that is more valid.

The reason this is not valid is due to selection bias. If you fill one school with more not economically disadvantaged children of college educated parents than other schools, its overall meets or exceeds grade level metric and overall chronic absenteeism metric will appear better than other schools even if the school performs worse for not economically disadvantaged children of college educated parents than other schools.

> What would be of scientific value would be to have a measurement process that remains stable over an entire K-12 cohort and then follows all the kids into college to see how many get what level of degrees.

That would be interesting, especially when coupled with lottery information. Even without that, we can do our best with the information we have and still draw interesting conclusions.


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Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 31, 2019 at 10:34 am

ST parent is a registered user.

@@ ST Parent

"My point was that while that statement is correct,"

At least you now admit that my original statement was correct, and it was you who was being misleading by claiming I was wrong. Your opinion was based on a narrow cherry-picked detail that matters to you while ignoring any other data.

"A college educated parent presented with a choice between Huff and Stevenson for their child should choose Huff."

A specific "college educated parent", meaning you, have your personal opinion that a parent like you "child should choose Huff."

That's nice for you, but the WAITING LISTS comparison between Huff and Stevenson tells a wildly different story. The waiting list for Huff has been maybe a dozen at most, but the waiting list to get into Stevenson has typically been 150-200 kids (across all grades).

Based on demand for Stevenson, we could fill up a campus built for 600 kids or more. If everyone knew there would be a seat, even more people would apply. The primary complaint has always been that Stevenson could not fit all the kids who wanted to go there. Parents used to line up at the district office for days in advance just to get a chance to apply for Stevenson.

And that was during the years when Huff had consistently better stats than Stevenson, but not by substantial percentages. When Stevenson was second place, it still had the highest demand.

Your chosen specific factor that drives your choice of schools is not the golden standard that drives all other parents.

I am happy to see you agree that the educational performance of the kids is mainly driven by the educational level of the parents. That is where the "achievement gap" comes from after all.


2 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 31, 2019 at 1:09 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

More Huff v Stevenson stats from the official California DASHBOARD.
Looks like ST is slightly better and improving while Huff is close behind and getting slightly worse.
Of course, next year Huff will lose half of it's low-income families, so maybe next year Huff will do better than Stevenson, due to lower SED percentage.

Of course, ST will continue to have a triple-digit waiting list.
Which proves the point about which school the public thinks is "best".

All of which was NOT related to my original point you ignored.

ST English results
91 points above standard
17.5 points increase over prior year

ST Math results
85.4 points above standard
6.8 points increase over prior year

ST other stats
2.3% chronically absent
0.00% suspensions as in no suspensions at all, pretty normal for ST
7.2% SED families (based on 5-year trend, this will increase next year)

Huff English results
100.1 points above standard
4.8 points increase

Huff Math results
84.8 points above standard
-3.2 points DECLINE over prior year

Huff other stats
3.7% chronically absent
0.6% suspensions
8.8% SED families (half of Huff SEDs will be gone in 2019-2020 school year, because of Board focus on neighborhood schools as priority.)


2 people like this
Posted by @ ST Parent
a resident of Willowgate
on Feb 1, 2019 at 8:20 am

@ ST Parent is a registered user.

> A specific "college educated parent", meaning you, have your personal opinion that a parent like you "child should choose Huff."

No, I mean everybody who cares about their child's academic performance.

> That's nice for you, but the WAITING LISTS comparison between Huff and Stevenson tells a wildly different story.

Like you, many other parents don't understand selection bias.

> ST English results....

I already explained why metrics computed on the entire student population are misleading. Please explain which part of that you don't understand or don't agree with, so we can stop talking past each other. Quoting it again here for simplicity: "If you fill one school with more not economically disadvantaged children of college educated parents than other schools, its overall meets or exceeds grade level metric and overall chronic absenteeism metric will appear better than other schools even if the school performs worse for not economically disadvantaged children of college educated parents than other schools."


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