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PACT program gets its own campus

Original post made on Jan 19, 2009

With Castro Elementary School at full capacity, trustees decided last week to move the school's popular PACT program to a new building, giving other students on the campus a little more elbow room.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, January 19, 2009, 2:31 PM

Comments (130)

Posted by Rosanne
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 19, 2009 at 2:52 pm

This is wonderful news. It's about time something was done about the overcrowding at Castro.

Posted by Jane
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jan 19, 2009 at 5:27 pm

Another victory for the PACT. Screw everyone elsa.

Posted by withheld,
a resident of Whisman Station
on Jan 19, 2009 at 9:33 pm

Jane, why do you say that? If you had come to the meeting last Thursday you would know that the issue is about overcrowding at Castro, not the PACT program. Someone has to vacate the Castro Campus to make room for the regular classes and Dual Immersion, which did not offer to move, nor does it make sense to move Dual Immersion given the support for the program in the Castro community.

Parents at the study session on Thursday evening all supported the move, and they included parents from Dual Immersion and the English Only classes, as well as PACT. Safety, a good education for Castro children and teacher retention are at the heart of this matter.

Comments like those you made only spread confusion and alienation. PACT is a wonderful program that any child in Mountain View would greatly benefit from. Your bitterness should be directed at the Board and school administrators. Why have they not properly planned for the spike in overall school enrollments and why have they not funded or planned for PACT or DI style programs to accommodate the demand of the entire MV community?

Posted by Proud Slater Gator
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 20, 2009 at 7:32 am

This IS the definition of insanity!! The incredibly poor planning and lack of foresight that preempted this drastic, expensive decision to be made is an insult to the North Whisman neighborhood that lost a great school because the district didn't think the enrollment would carry it and because we "needed the rent money". PACT suffered for two years. Our neighborhood and our children continue to suffer. UNBELIEVABLE.

Posted by WARNING
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jan 20, 2009 at 7:35 am

New parents take note-this is how the district has always operated and will continue to operate. You would be wise to send your children elsewhere.

Posted by seeing clearly now
a resident of Castro City
on Jan 20, 2009 at 7:46 am

Well, PACT, you really are "separate" now and definitely not "equal"! No wonder you caved so quickly when they took Slater. How kind of you to make this "sacrifice".

Posted by this is cowcrap
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jan 20, 2009 at 7:48 am

What about diversity? Not important anymore?

Posted by Jane
a resident of Whisman Station
on Jan 20, 2009 at 10:59 am

withheld there is no confusion on my part. i saw the pact from there first days at slater public money for a private school. All the students should receive the same education in a public school shame on you all for spreading these children all over town.

Posted by Gisah
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jan 20, 2009 at 12:16 pm

I had no doubt that PACT parents would get what they wanted from the beginning, their own school or at least to leave Castro. What I would like everyone to keep in mind is that the kids who are left at Castro cannot be ignored. These kids are just as bright as any PACT student and they deserve to get as good an education as the other students who are lucky enough to have parents who speak out.
The principal at Castro came up to me recently to thank me for the volunteer work I have done there and we both agreed that we need many more people to come help. Now that we will not have a diverse population at Castro, these kids will need other ways to look ahead. This will only come from the hard work of parents, teachers, administrators and volunteers who still have faith that they will succeed and get ahead.
If any one has any free time please come forward as many others have, to help those who truly need that extra help to read, write and become literate. As our new President mentioned, we all need to be responsible for the world we live in. I want my neighborhood to be full of smart kids who will have bright futures. Since their parents cannot give them the help they may need to get ahead, it is up to those who can to help. It is the only chance these kids have.

Posted by Frances
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 20, 2009 at 12:20 pm

I honestly don't understand the negativity towards PACT (and I don't have a kid there for the record). Why is overcrowding at Castro suddenly PACT's fault? Why is PACT being maligned for having parents that contribute in the classroom? I would be willing to bet any of the elementary schools in Mountain View would welcome parents volunteering in the classrooms. Why is it a bad thing to do it at PACT? And what does diversity have to do with it? Honestly, enlighten me. I don't get it.

Posted by had to be there
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 20, 2009 at 1:02 pm

You weren't there for the school closure process were you? You didn't have a child in the neighborhood program at Slater either. You don't have a child in either of the other programs at Castro, right? Well when you get a look from the inside, you know more. Look into the history if you are really interested. Otherwise, you can tell by the passion on this board that there are legitimate reasons people are reacting this way. No it is not PACT's fault Castro is overcrowded, but they sure went there easily when Slater was closed. And now they have exactly what they want. One of the overarching goals in the decision making process of which school to close was "diversity". PACT having a significant percentage of non-hispanic studetns provides diversity to other campuses. Well it was really important two years ago, but obviously not now.

Posted by Frances
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 20, 2009 at 2:23 pm

Had to be there,
I've lived in MV for 10 years, but my kids aren't in school yet. I remember Slater closing but I do not know how PACT ended up at Castro. I do think the closure of Slater was premature and that the district did not do due diligence in predicting enrollment. There are something like 30 kids under 5 on my block when 10 years ago there were none. Mountain View has built a lot of high density housing in the last 5 years and in turn has attracted a lot of families with young children. And look at how many housing projects are still in the works, enrollment is only going to grow.

BUT, I still fail to see why PACT is getting criticism. Do people think PACT somehow got Slater closer, then offered to move to an already overcrowded campus so that in the future they could make a move to get their own campus? Seriously?

I have to enroll my oldest in kindergarten next year. PACT is an appealing choice. Much more so than our neighborhood school.

Posted by been there
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 20, 2009 at 2:55 pm

Is Landels your neighborhood school? Are you basing your choice on standardized test scores? With good leadership, well supported teachers, involved parents and a caring community ANY school can be a good school. You are lucky you still have a neighborhood school!! We have lost two....Good luck with whatever you choose!

Posted by been there
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 20, 2009 at 3:00 pm

It isn't negativity towards PACT so much, it is disgust at the incompetency of the school board and administration to make choices that truly are for the betterment of ALL children and families.

Posted by Mandy
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 20, 2009 at 3:12 pm


I too wonder why there is some much vitriol directed at the hard working PACT parents. My children do not attend PACT but I sure admire the dedication of the parents whose children do. PACT is a wonderful program and it is open to all.

It appears there are some in the district that were happy to see Slater closed to get Google's rent but are unwilling to see any of that money spent to accommodate the children displaced. The children in the Castro school are supposed to endure substandard facilities in the name of "diversity" and to save money for better preforming schools.

I doubt any of us will ever understand the twisted reasoning of the parents who choose not to enroll their children in PACT only to be able to rail against it. I suppose we're going to have to get used to hearing their rants without any explanation of what is really bothering them.

Posted by Helen
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 20, 2009 at 3:48 pm

Jane, why do you say what you say? I honestly don't understand. Can you please let us know what you mean? PACT is not a private school. Why is it a bad thing for parents to participate in their childrens' education? Different children learn in different ways why must all children be forced to have the "same education"? All parents should be allowed to choose a traditional style of education or a more hands on PACT style for their children. Why is that a bad thing?

"seeing clearly now", I don't understand you either. I remember when Slater was closed. I don't remember anyone at Slater being happy. Why is the resulting overcrowding at Castro PACT's fault? PACT is not separate. It is open to all. Why are you so angry?

"cowcrap" if the issue is diversity then why not try to grow PACT to accommodate a diverse PACT. Is it really good idea to keep Castro overcrowded so it can be diverse? Do you advocate similar diversity for Bubb and Huff?

Gisah I understand you the least. If you are concerned about the neighborhood kids at Castro why do you want them in an overcrowded school? If you want to see more volunteers then you should be for PACT not against it.

I have lived in the district for the past twelve years and my eldest child will start school in 2010. I understand you are all angry but despite all your postings I honestly don't understand why. Can somebody please educate me?

Posted by Gisah
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jan 20, 2009 at 3:55 pm

Frances and Mandy- there is no "twisted reasoning" to want the School Board to support all our schools in Mountain View, even the ones that are under-performing. I am not against PACT or parents who are only wanting the best for their own kids.
For those of you who still believe that PACT is truly open to all, why don't we have more people wanting to be in the program? Why don't we have hundreds of kids and parents swarming to the program? Could it be that some parents do not know about the program, maybe some who cannot give the hours of volunteering that is necessary? Think about it, if it is such a good program, why aren't hundreds or even all children being enrolled?
For those of us who live in the more diverse areas of Mountain View, there needs to be programs like PACT because otherwise the only option is enrolling kids in failing schools. If you live in an area that doesn't have a problem, you cannot understand what the frustration is all about. My husband and I spent a lot of money to purchase our home in Mtn. View, why shouldn't I have to same options that you do for your children as far as schools go?
Also, there are some of us who want to improve educational opportunities for ALL of Mtn. View's children. We do not want to have failing schools no matter what area they are in. So this isn't about "railing" and "ranting" because we choose to not put our kids in PACT. This is about being fair, and that is what is "really bothering us".

Posted by Jack
a resident of The Crossings
on Jan 20, 2009 at 4:01 pm

Frances, Helen,

I'm with you. I don't have any children of school-going age so I only have a casual interest in this issue. I have read and re-read the posting of the anti-PACT folk and though their anger is palpable I cannot decipher the cause of that anger.

Posted by USA
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 20, 2009 at 4:10 pm

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]

Posted by Helen
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 20, 2009 at 4:36 pm


Thanks for your response. Unfortunately I still don't understand. From talking to other future kindergarden parents at my neighborhood park there is huge interest in PACT. (There are 160 people on the Yahoo PACT future parents email group. I think that must mean something.) The future parents I talk to are concerned that unless the overcrowding at Castro is addressed the district will limit the number of kindergarden children allowed into PACT.

So are you for PACT or against it. Are you for PACT but only in schools with more diverse student populations? Don't you have the same options as me? I can't get my kids into Bubb or Huff so I need to find something better than the underperforming neighborhood school for my daughter. Shouldn't PACT be an option for me?

Of course we should try to improve the educational opportunities for all MV children. PACT alone won't do that, but isn't it one step in the right direction?

I can't help but think there is some other unspoken reason for you hostilities because I really don't understand what you want.

Posted by Gisah
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jan 20, 2009 at 5:35 pm

First of all I don't think I am being hostile. I already said I am for PACT and an NOT against any parent who is only looking after his/her own kids' best interest. PACT is not even the issue for me. The only reason I was against it moving out of Castro was that it was the only shining light in that school (besides the hard working administrators and teachers). The issue for me is having failing schools in our district.
When I first heard about PACT getting its own school, I was upset because I wanted my tax dollars to go towards helping the failing schools (one of which happens to be in my neighborhood). I was quickly informed that the money was coming from a special fund although I'm not that naive to think that this move is not going to take away money from some other interest, say, helping the failing schools.
Why is it so hard to understand that all I want is for the school in my neighborhood to excel? And guess what, I want the school in your neighborhood to excel as well. Why shouldn't your kids be able to go to the school in your neighborhood and feel good about it? Why aren't Castro and the school in your area doing as well as Bubb and Huff? And why shouldn't money be directed towards the goal of getting these failing schools up to par? I want ALL the schools in Mtn. View to be on the same level. Why is that so hard to understand?
I work with some really bright kids at Castro and I happen to think they are no less deserving of a good education as any other kid in the district. There's no other underlying issue here.

Posted by Frances
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 20, 2009 at 6:07 pm

Gisah, don't you think taking care of the overcrowding issue at Castro helps students there? I truly don't understand your reasoning, would you be happier if PACT took over the Castro campus and the money was spent moving DI and the neighborhood students to Stevenson? It makes no difference. And FYI, there is tremendous interest in PACT. There was a wait list to get in last year. One of my neighbors sent her kid to private school after not getting in to PACT. There are only so many slots and current facilities do not allow for adding more classes. I'm interested to see if the board expands the program with the new campus.

Been there, yes Landels is our neighborhood school. I have yet to meet a mom in the neighborhood who sends her kids there. That is more telling to me than the test scores.

Posted by Gisah
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jan 20, 2009 at 6:29 pm

Frances- why won't you or the other moms in your neighborhood send your kids to school at Landels?

As one teacher from Castro mentioned, Castro was overcrowded before PACT came on site. Yes, moving the hundred or so PACT students helps in overcrowding (a bit and for the moment) but it does not help in other aspects that have been mentioned.

I would be happy if PACT or any other good program that improves learning stayed or came to Castro.

Posted by Janis
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jan 20, 2009 at 7:28 pm

The PACT program sounds like its more trouble than its worth.
Anything that is devicesive cant be good.

Posted by greenie
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 20, 2009 at 8:08 pm

I find it disturbing that this intense anger is directed to the families in the school district, rather than those who have made the past decisions that compromised the education for all Mtn View students-- the School Board.

Despite many, many recommendations against it, the Board closed Slater and this is why we now find ourselves in this mess. If anything, we should all be calling for the recall of the Board, who has made grave errors with no accountability. Let's put our energy where it belongs-- to forcing our School Board to take responsibility for their mistakes and to right them for the sake of our children!!

Posted by Gisah
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jan 20, 2009 at 8:47 pm

Greenie- I'm not sure where you're seeing "intense anger", we're just having a discussion here. But I do agree that we need to make the board accountable for their actions. I plan on being involved to make sure my neighborhood school doesn't fall on the wayside when it comes to planning for the future.
It is obvious that persistence pays, as the PACT parents have shown us. I hope that those who feel the board is accountable to ALL students and parents, make it known to them.

Posted by dofo
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 20, 2009 at 11:00 pm

OK - I'm a dad with two kids at Castro. I don't know about all the politics around this, but I do know that my kids don't have time to sit down and finish their lunch half the time because they are ushered out of the luch room as the next round of kids are ushered in. If moving PACT off of Castro will give the all the kids something so basic as time to eat lunch, how can that be such a bad thing? It may be only 160 students now, but with a new site, perhaps they will have room to allow for all the folks who apply to actually get in, which will help not only the Castro campus with it's overcrowding, but all the Mt. View schools which are also at capacity.

How can this not be a win for everyone. We have got ourselves in a hole and if the board does not spend 2 million to move PACT, they will spend it on another (probably less attractive) proposal/solution. We can blame the board all we want, but I'd rather focus on a solution and how we can fix this mess.

"Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America." (Mt. VIew).

note to the Voice: think you can add "St. Francis Acres" to your pull down list of neighborhoods?

Posted by Annie
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jan 20, 2009 at 11:16 pm

Well said Dofo.

Gisah you're not making any sense. Keeping PACT at Castro hurts everybody there.

Posted by hey
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 20, 2009 at 11:57 pm

Ummmmm - I was at the board meeting and the Voice is wrong - the decision isn't made until this thursday. They did express their support of moving PACT after 8 people got up , plus the past and present principals of Castro and said that Castro has $200,000 dollars to spend on help for the neighborhood kids and they can't spend it because there is NO PLACE to put the tutors. The computer lab can't be used. The conference room is filled up, the library is cut in half and the 5th graders can't even get a whole class into the library because it's so small. The resource book room for teachers is a storage trailer that doesn't even have any lights or electricity. The neighborhood parents want parent education and English classes during the day and they can't have them because there's no room. One day someone counted 35 kids in line for the monkey bars on the playground!! It's ridiculous and who do you think suffers most - PACT? No - the neighborhood kids. By the way, there is still diversity there because half the Dual Immersion kids are not Hispanic. I am a Dual Immersion Parent and I am really happy that PACT has been there because they have brought all kids of help to us at Castro - they volunteer for the school, they brought new fundraisers that raise more than we have ever made, they have helped us organize to build school gardens and a beautiful mosaic. Actually, they taught us how to be a community. I understand that about a third of their program is Spanish speaking and low income and that most of them are choosing to go with them. Good for them. They are good people, but we need out space back. Please don't criticize what you don't know about - come visit Castro some day.

Posted by What ?
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 21, 2009 at 12:22 am

How dare you complain about overcrowding. You asked for this! Slater would have gladly accepted this " crowding" and we would have made it work. ????????

Posted by We know
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 21, 2009 at 12:27 am

Gisah, thank you for your honesty.

Posted by Dish
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 21, 2009 at 12:32 am

Gisah, thank you for your honesty.

Posted by hey
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 21, 2009 at 2:21 am

I'm sorry if I sounded like I was complaining. I guess it's wrong to complain. But my oldest child went to Slater and I loved it - it was absolutely the most wonderful school community I've ever seen and it was terrible that it closed. It's just that at Castro, the children are suffering because of overcrowding. Reallly, it's about children. I agree that the district should be ashamed for closing two schools in one neighborhood, and I fought against it , but the tragedy of Slater closing doesn't make it right to deprive other disadvantaged children in the district to be deprived of basic services. There are 650 students plus 4 preschools on Castro campus and it's just too full. The only classroom that could be eliminated is the computer lab, which is already not accessible most of the time, and there are 3 5th grade classes leaving and 7 kindergarten classes and there are already 15 portable classrooms on the campus. Maybe there was another solution, but I don't know what it would be.

Posted by Gisah
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jan 21, 2009 at 8:46 am

Annie- I meant having a PACT-like program or any other program that addresses the need to get kids reading/writing at their level. Or else we'll be seeing more kids like the ones I've seen who are in 8th grade and reading/writing at 2nd grade level...yes, it does happen.

Posted by Parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 21, 2009 at 11:04 am

I don't understand why PACT is a program that needs its own campus.

Why not have one PACT K-5 classroom at every school? If there is not enough interest at a given school to support a full grade level classroom, create mixed-grade classes where needed (K/1, 2/3, 4/5).

If there is a waitlist, that would seem to be the way to solve it.

(And, I also agree, there needs to be a way for parents who cannot devote time in the classroom because of work demands to more easily participate in a committed program.)

Posted by Slat3r
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jan 21, 2009 at 12:41 pm

There seems to be some thread here that claims or assumes that PACT wanted to pull out of Slater, or was happy to see it closed. That's the complete opposite of what happened. PACT and the neighborhood Slater programs functioned extremely well together, and when the board said it would close Slater, PACT parents gave tremendous amounts of their time and hard work to try to change the board's mind, and present evidence which would convince them that closing NONE of the MV schools was the best option. It was through these efforts of PACT and other Slater parents that the board was convinced to delay closing the school for a year. Unfortunately the board ultimately went along with the original plan.

I agree with the notion many have expressed that the real problem here lies with the school board. They made some extremely bad choices and were frankly too lazy to rethink those choices once clear evidence was presented to them about how wrong they were.

Posted by Millie
a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2009 at 2:44 pm

No! The general popualation at slater had to tolerate the PACT.
Slater school was there first. Can someone please tell my why the pact always gets what they want at the cost of everyone else.

Posted by Frances
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 21, 2009 at 3:07 pm

Tolerate it? What was the issue? I keep seriously asking this and I don't think anyone has really answered it. I have a child who will soon be entering kindergarten. We are considering PACT. What are the issues that cause this rift between PACT and non-PACT parents? What do I need to be aware of? I feel like I am missing something here. How is PACT robbing non-PACT students of resources?

Posted by Stacy
a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2009 at 3:35 pm

Frances, ok you asked first of all parents are not credential teachers.
I for one want my son taught by teachers not by parents with a lot of time on their hands. I can tell you most of these parents want to control the class and playground. These parents are a distraction in the class 3 or 4 parents in a room can cause lots of confusion to children i for one wonder who's in control the parents or the teacher.

Posted by Educate our kids
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jan 21, 2009 at 3:50 pm

Stacy, that's a bunch of bull. Part of learning is by setting an example and being "involved". The parents are there to supplement and support the teachers. Don't diminish the value of having the parents there. As for Slater, that was a huge mistake to close it and sell out to Google. I'm sure they regret it now.

Posted by Lyn
a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2009 at 4:02 pm

Stacy, I think you are very misinformed about how the parent participation works. It sounds like you have too much time on your hands. Have you actually ever seen a PACT classroom and how it works? There is typically only 1 or 2 parents in the classroom during a particular shift; and the teacher is in charge of the overall classroom.

Posted by Stacy
a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2009 at 4:32 pm

To Frances just read how the pact parents are always working overtime to defend their program. Its not about the children its parents with toooo much time on their hands. Oh so you have 1 or 2 diffrent parent in the classroom. Thats 10 different parents in the classroom every week. No thanks

Posted by Educate our kids
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jan 21, 2009 at 4:50 pm

Stacy, you're probably an absentee parent too. Let the teachers parent your kid. You'd rather be at the mall or getting your nails done. Have you ever volunteered your time for a good cause or do you have to be paid in order to do anything?

Posted by hey
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 21, 2009 at 6:24 pm

Let's remember that we are constant role models for our children in how we handle disagreements, conflicts and assumptions. Seems to me we need to be open minded and gentle with each other if that's how we want our children to be. Let's not make assumptions and sling mud at each other. Our children have enough conflict in the world to contend with. :)

Posted by Frances
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 21, 2009 at 6:31 pm

Wow Stacy, I don't get your argument at all. Parents involved in their child's education is a bad thing? Parents in the classroom assisting teachers is a bad thing? I guess that is why PACT is a choice program, because those sound like GOOD things to me.

Posted by Bob
a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2009 at 6:48 pm

I'm coolbeans, dudes.
My pal, beans.
Says hello..w

Posted by Stacy
a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2009 at 6:52 pm

I resent that you'd make such a judgement on me without knowing anything about me. I have seen my children through school, and though I work hard to support my family, any time I could be there I was. I worked nights so I could be there for parties, and field trips and anything else I was needed for. But I was cautious enough to never overstep my boundaries and to allow the TEACHERS do to what they are paid to do; teach. It isn't fair that other classes are deprived of the spceial treatment the PACT classes are given, and that is my opinion. I don't think a difference of opinions warrants such a personal attack against my abilities as a parent or myself as a person. I've done everything that I've can, my kids have grown up in the MVSD and I am entitled to speak my mind just as you are.

Posted by just a thought.
a resident of Whisman Station
on Jan 21, 2009 at 7:07 pm

I remember being a student in elementary school and feeling really confused about the PACT program. I didn't get why some kids got to go on field trips but my class didn't. Why certain kid's parents only talked to other kids but never me. I can speak first hand of the experience I had with a sense of segregation and inequality that the PACT presented to me as a kid. Now that I'm older and I'm learning about the politics of it, I still don't think it's right. A fact of the matter is a lot of kid's parents work full time in order to provide for their families, and this is by no fault of their own. Why should their children be deprived of special parent-student attention and help? Why can't the PACT make an attempt to unite the school rather then creating a sense of division? Maybe those parents who have the time to help out in classes should concentrate a portion of their time to helping kids who's parents can't be there. It is evident that children in PACT classes are given opportunities that other classes are not, and I don't think I've ever heard a legitimate reason for why that is. I'm not surprised that the PACT is getting it's own campus because for as long as I can remember, that is what they've wanted. They seem to have no interest in the good of other children, just those in their program which to me seems to leave some more disadvantaged then others. It seems that this move is making some happy, but is the real reason because you're doing Castro a favor? Or because you're finally getting what you've wanted all along?

Posted by blank
a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2009 at 7:23 pm

I think the PACT sounds so condescending! not being at school with your kids all the time means that you must be getting your nails done? cause the idea that some people have to work is just unfathomable right?! how ridiculous.

Posted by Andrew
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 21, 2009 at 7:47 pm

Hey what happened no comments from the PACT?

Posted by Boris
a resident of The Crossings
on Jan 21, 2009 at 9:49 pm

Hey "just a thought" though I did not grow up in this country and I have no kids of my own I know exactly how you feel. Like you my parents didn't love me as much as other kids' parents loved them.

I was always made to feel that lack of love when other kids' parents took them to movies or the zoo and mine did not. The Dad next door played basketball and baseball with his kids but my Dad went golfing with his buddies and pretty much ignored me. When I played baseball in high school my teammates' parents would show up but not mine.

It galls me that the parents who loved their kids more than my parents loved me didn't include me in their family activities. Why did my neighbors not include me in their camping trips? Why didn't the neighbors' parents help me build a treehouse also?

Clearly the PACT parents cared more about their kids education than your parents cared about yours. That is obviously not right. The only possible solution is that PACT should be disbanded and PACT parents should be forced to be as disinterested in their kids future as your parents and my parents were in ours.

But now we're on to you dastardly PACT parents! We know you real motivation is not to help your kids but rather it is to make poor pathetic "Just a thought" an me feel unloved. You SHOULD be putting other kids (the unloved waifs like us) before your own.

Alas and alack, woe are we -the children you loved less than your own. African Americans living in Mississippi knew nothing like the segregation we endured. Lucky you Nelson Mandela your suffering couldn't hold a candle to the anguish of "just a thought" and me.

But PACT parents, your evil ways will end. We are determined to end PACT once an for all and will not rest until the day your kids have as many hang-ups as "just a thought" and me.

By the way "Just a thought" how old are you that you can remember PACT during you elementary school days? Please don't say your entire posting is based an a fabrication. That would be REALLY messed-up.

Posted by Maisy
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 21, 2009 at 9:57 pm

Dear "Just a thought", I have been operation a psychiatrist practice in Mountain View for the past 27 years. You clearly need my help. I am willing to see you "pro bono". I'm leaving my contact information with the Voice. Call me! I CAN help.

Posted by Joyce
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jan 21, 2009 at 10:00 pm

Clearly having a campus just for PACT is a bad idea. It would deprive people like "Just a thought" the opportunity to feel deprived.

Posted by Carolyn
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jan 21, 2009 at 10:21 pm

I was trying to think of a response for Just A Thought but I think Boris really nailed it. Maybe we can go after the private schools next!

Posted by just a thought.
a resident of Whisman Station
on Jan 21, 2009 at 10:32 pm

how did any of what I said warrant such immature responses? and from adults for that matter? if I had children I certainly wouldn't want any parental participation in their classroom from any of you, you are clearly hostile and unwilling to participate in any kind rational discussion. without calling in for a pity party, I merely attempted to remind everyone that a school is a place of learning, where equally opportunities should be presented and care should be distributed to everyone, not just a selected few who were lucky enough to have parents with a lot of free time. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your children are not the only children that deserve the benefits of an excellent education. just because people who have parents that have to take on multiple jobs to put food on the table, does not mean that they are any less worthy of having that kind of one on one attention. also, no one answered any of my questions? why is it wrong to call for equality and fairness and make sure that everyone gets off the the same start? it's lovely that you all are there to be so active in your childrens lives but really? does that give you the right to be condescending and judgemental, when I was just trying to shed some light on the fact that maybe it is unfair, and that while your child is going to be your first priority, what about the well being of others? who speaks up for the kids who's parents can't be there all the time? the fact that you are all so rude and defensive leads me to believe that this really isn't about the children, this is about you. defending your program and trying to bring down anyone who doesn't agree with it, all the while casting judgement on others for their bad parenting method, and patting yourselves on the backs. bet the views nice from that high horse eh?

Posted by just a thought.
a resident of Whisman Station
on Jan 21, 2009 at 10:36 pm

and I am 17 year old. with a good memory too.

Posted by Educate our kids
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jan 21, 2009 at 10:44 pm

Time to shut this blog down. It's getting too personal and atagonistic.

Posted by sue
a resident of Castro City
on Jan 21, 2009 at 10:44 pm

The issue is too many students at Castro. This was caused by the closing of Slater, which PACT Parents fought and warned against (see past voice articles in the archives). It does not matter which program moves from Castro, it is just that a program needs to.

Posted by emma
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jan 21, 2009 at 10:47 pm

Alright well
The PACT had always had privileges other kids didn't have, and maybe that has an effect of the kids? Did anyone ever consider that? What makes this issue so frustrating is that we are not talking about private schools, public schools should mean equal opportunity for everyone. Regardless of how much their parents love them? Geez...

ya better run.

Posted by sharon
a resident of The Crossings
on Jan 21, 2009 at 10:50 pm

wow boris. that was really unnecessary and down right rude.

Posted by Carolyn
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jan 21, 2009 at 11:03 pm

Wow just a thought, you are quite well spoken for a 17 year old. Hard to believe you are 17.

The idea of putting down a school because it offers more than the norm is ludicrous. Should we take the English speaking students out of DI because learning Spanish is unfair?

And for the record there are plenty of parents at PACT who work full time.

Posted by Heather
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jan 21, 2009 at 11:09 pm

I'm still trying to understand the anti-PACT folk. This is the best I can come up with so far.

Gisah sounds like she is against PACT but is really for it. However she is only for it at the overcrowded, overstressed Castro campus, because somehow it would be unfair to the EO, DI, pre-K and adult-education students at Castro if PACT moved away. None of them want to move so PACT shouldn't either.

Jane believes in a one-size-fits-all education system. PACT is different ergo bad.

Stacy isn't comfortable with the level parental involvement in PACT. She only wants qualified teachers teaching her kids. She believes all other kids should only get what she wants for hers.

"Just a thought" thinks there isn't enough parental involvement. Somehow PACT parents should be able to distinguish between Stacy's kids and him. They should involve him also but not Stacy's kids. Sharing an elementary school with PACT made "Just a thought" feel deprived so PACT should not be moved to a separate campus in case it deprived him of the opportunity to feel deprived.

Did I get something wrong?

The most common argument I'm seeing is something along the lines of:
"Parent volunteers are good in school but if you volunteer you need to help other peoples kids before you help your own. Anything else would be unfair. Since PACT parents volunteer in their own kids classes it is an innately unfair program. So any solution to the overcrowding at Castro that doesn't hurt PACT should be considered. Better that everyone at Castro continue to suffer so that PACT can suffer too."

Posted by s
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 21, 2009 at 11:14 pm

January 28, 2005
Fearing that the task force was zeroing in on their school, dozens of Slater parents organized a march last week to ask that their campus remain open.

"It just seemed we were destined to be the school to be closed," said Sue Lampkin, who teaches kindergarten and first grade at Slater. "I don't think any school should be closed. I don't think they've [district officials] made a good enough case."

December 16, 2005

However, there are some parents who are not completely pleased with the new board policies, specifically those regarding how the district drew boundary lines to reassign Slater students.

Slater and PACT parent Diane Tom, one of the few to attend the Dec. 8 study session, expressed her concern about the potential overcrowding of Castro, which will experience the most growth under the new plan -- from 338 to 576 students. (That's about 20 students under capacity, with 20 students per classroom.)

"I hope we still value small schools," Tom said, addressing the board.

Under the new enrollment plan, some Slater students and parents may have to travel nearly three miles to get to Monta Loma, even though they live closer to Landels, said parent Robyn Rymer.

"What I'm worried about is that they're taking away any chance of parental access to the school," she said.

Rymer says this decision affects 30 Slater children in her immediate neighborhood who live in the area bordered by the Bayshore Freeway, Tyrella Avenue, Middlefield Road and the district's western boundary.

Posted by Sally
a resident of Whisman Station
on Jan 21, 2009 at 11:16 pm

Get a grip Sharon. Boris has a point. We shouldn't get rid of PACT just because "Just a thought" wasn't enrolled in it. I drive a beaten-up Honda Civic does that mean we should ban BMWs from all public roads?

Posted by Mike
a resident of Castro City
on Jan 21, 2009 at 11:25 pm

Yes Sharon, Boris was rude. Rude to a fictitious 17 year old. Better to be like the anti-PACT folk - be rude to real people.

Posted by Stacy
a resident of another community
on Jan 22, 2009 at 7:52 am

to "just a thought" well said.

Posted by Dave
a resident of Castro City
on Jan 22, 2009 at 10:00 am

My children are EO students at Castro. Over the past year I have come to know quite a few of the PACT parents and none of the ones I know remotely resemble the awful people that the anti-PACT lobby would like us to believe they are.

Stacy do you know of a single PACT parent who has a lot of time on their hands? I do not and I'd say I know more of them than you do. Most of the PACT families I know have two parents working - some have two parents working multiple jobs - yet they somehow manage to make time in their very busy days to do something positive for their school.

To know the PACT parents is to admire them. They daily make herculean efforts to do what is best for the children, the schools and the community. Through it all (and despite the constant sniping of the malcontents) they manage to stay upbeat and positive.

We all feel overwhelmed by life sometimes. It's easy for any parent to believe that their spread too thin. But some parents have an amazing ability to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and soldier without malice or self-pity. That's what the PACT parents I know do on a daily basis. Like Stacy, Gisah, Jane and the supposed 17 year old just-a-thought I could say that it's unfair that God gave some parents more energy and a more positive view of life than me. But rather than complain about the PACT parents I, for one, hope to emulate them.

Thank you PACT parents. You are an inspiration to us all.

Posted by Mary
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jan 22, 2009 at 10:10 am

How could any of you doubt that a 17 year old wrote in to speak about something he or she knows first hand? What makes you think this isn't a young adult's words? Do 17 year old PACT children not write this well? I think it is a very well spoken opinion, commend this student for being involved and would love to hear more from students in the district that have first hand experience. Pick yourselves up if you wish, dust yourselves off too, BUT respect the right of every citizen to express their opinion.

Posted by T
a resident of another community
on Jan 22, 2009 at 10:51 am

The way I see it now is that parents attend PACT because their neighborhood school isn't "good enough". Why not go to your neighborhood school and make it better?

Posted by dofo
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 22, 2009 at 11:20 am

Heather -

There is clearly too much bitterness on BOTH sides of this issue in this thread to get much further value out of it.

If you really want to know about the program, go to one of their information sessions or arrange to observe a class. Talk to some of the parents involved and see what they like or don't like about it. I'm sure it's not perfect.

You'll also find that not all parents can work in the class, and they help out in other ways. Some parents take time off of work to come in once a week and others make personal lifestyle sacrifices to be more involved in their child's education. It's not for everyone, which is OK - that's why it's a choice.

If we can't accept that there are different learning styles and philosophies which can all be beneficial to our community, I guess we got bigger problems than overcrowding schools.

Posted by Nick
a resident of another community
on Jan 22, 2009 at 11:22 am

Mary, I don't think anyone doubts that a 17 year old could write at least as well as just-a-thought. What is surprising is that typically these discussions are between current and future district parents. Typically 17-year-olds have moved on to issues more pertinent to their new (dare I say more exciting) lives and leave this kind of petty bickering to parents.

It is of course possible that just-a-thought is just who he/she says they are, but I see from the above discussion that I am not the only reader for whom just-a-thought's posting rang false.

Posted by Amy
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Jan 22, 2009 at 11:24 am

Well said Dofo!

Posted by Sandy
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 22, 2009 at 12:25 pm

Gosh, after reading all these posts I am thankful we decided to send our son to St. Joseph's after our neighborhood school (Slater) shut down. It's a shame so many parents are so divided. I was very sorry that Slater was closed and have the utmost admiration for all the teachers and hard working parents who try to contribute. If we all turned our ideas and anger (in a positive light) towards the school district rather than on each other, perhaps we could get them to listen. We all pay property taxes and I am sure every parent out there wants nothing but the best education for their child (ren). Believe me, I would love to quit my job, save the money we spend on tuition and gladly volunteer if needed. It sounds like there are a lot of great ideas out there! Wishing you and your children the best resolution. I'd love to see this work out for you all!

Posted by just another thought
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 22, 2009 at 12:27 pm

Why then was Castro so happy to accept PACT two years ago? And now ready to pack their bags for them? Because they got a good taste of what a program like this does to an existing community. It probably is a good decision to put PACT at its own location. But for the money spent and lost on this move-2 million in repairs and over 350,000 in rent/year, we could easily still have Slater( and don't give me any garbage about restricted funds). So now PACT has what it always wanted which is fine, and Castro has its school back which is great, but all this at the North Whisman neighborhood children's, families and community's expense and that has been a HUGE expense. We are now a growing community with NO neighborhood school. Our two schools(that we cannot use at all) provide well over a million dollars in rent to the district. But who has been asked to pay double for busing now at the cost of two dollars a day? Us. Who doesn't have a place to hold community
events.Us. Who doesn't have access to playgrounds in their neighborhood. Us. Whose children are spread all around town, many so far that parents don't have even basic access to their children's school? Ours. And now with this move, we have been guaranteed that it will not be Whisman School that is considered for reopening in 2011(when there is a clause in the 20 year lease for reconsideration). No we will continue to go without, so that PACT and Castro can have plenty of space. Thanks for thinking about ALL the children.

Posted by Barb
a resident of another community
on Jan 22, 2009 at 1:39 pm

Whats going to happen to the Y kids?

Posted by Sam
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jan 22, 2009 at 1:43 pm

I dont think ten diffrent parent in a class is good for the lads.

Posted by Fred
a resident of Jackson Park
on Jan 22, 2009 at 3:42 pm

What galls me most is that the district just put up a nice, shiny "MVWSD" sign at Slater Elementary, when there's not even a school there any more.

At the recent Mountain View 2030 Visioning meetings, the importance of "a city of villages" was set forth. Each MV neighborhood needs to have, within walking distance, the basic things is needs -- its own store, park, and elementary school, for example. The Whisman area is short on all accounts. Although I realize MVWSD is not under Council control, this needs to be taken into account.

And do you mean to tell me there is **NO** break lease clause in the Slater contract? Who writes such a long-term lease with no ability to break it (Can Google break it on their side??)

Posted by Bob
a resident of Jackson Park
on Jan 22, 2009 at 3:47 pm

"On Jan. 27, the City Council will consider a plan to replace the city's oldest business with a high-density apartment complex.Almost 100 years after Minton's Lumber and Supply opened up near the downtown train station, the council will consider a preliminary "gatekeeper request" for 200 apartments on the 3.5-acre lot. The 57-units-per-acre project would be among the highest density residential developments in the city."

I sure hope that apartment complex is planned as a 55+ only senior center. We should not approve any more large-scale developments until the Mountain View Whisman School District works out their overcrowding problems.


Posted by K. Slater
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 22, 2009 at 4:13 pm

Kenneth Slater is rolling over in his grave...

Posted by Frances
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 22, 2009 at 4:51 pm

Fred, there's a new sign outside "Stevenson School" as well. Does anyone know when that school closed?

For those who think parents in the classroom are a bad idea, it happens at every single public elementary school in MVWSD. If you think parents in the classroom every day are a bad idea then you don't have to select PACT ;) If you think learning Spanish is a bad idea then you don't have to select DI. It's nice to have the choice though, no?

Posted by Baylerina
a resident of The Crossings
on Jan 22, 2009 at 5:00 pm

The PACT has done nothing but separate these children, and making them wonder why they couldn't have their own garden, their own school, their own field trips,and even their own art program. Don't you think having PACT parents hover over their children day after day is going to make them too dependent on their parents? School is our getaway..the PACT makes it hard to actually get away..

And instead of making slams about whether or not his/her parents love "just a thought", we should be listening to the kids dealing with this whole ordeal and focusing on the real issue. I thought adults were suppose to be mature. Sounds like regular highschool drama with an economic twistt.

So ya better run

Posted by Steven
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 22, 2009 at 5:07 pm

Baylerina is right.
Why'd we close Slater in the first place, if we were just going to fight over opening a new PACT school?
Makes no sense to me

Posted by none for you
a resident of Castro City
on Jan 22, 2009 at 5:34 pm

I am pretty sure the other existing campuses could use some "remodeling". Sorry, no can do. It's already been allocated. Gotta move that garden!

Posted by PenguinLover
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 22, 2009 at 6:59 pm

In hindsight (hindsight is 20-20) it was a mistake to close a school. We now know that the enrollment projections made three years ago did not prove to be correct, possibly due to changes in the economy that were not foreseeable three years ago. We need to go forward from here. Moving PACT to Stevenson would not only alleviate overcrowding at Castro but at other near-capacity schools as well, as there would now be space for Castro neighborhood kids who are currently having to attend other district schools. PACT never wanted to move from Slater but was forced to do so. DI, EO, and PACT have co-existed on friendly terms for the past 2 1/2 years at Castro, to the mutual benefit and idea sharing of all programs. But it has been decided to grow the EO program--to allow that program more flexibility in assigning children to classrooms (before, there was only one per grade) and more space for neighborhood children. The DI program is becoming increasingly popular, only to have their kinder classes cut from four last year to three this year, despite the demand. With all three programs continuing at Castro, enrollment would be almost 800 in two years. Something had to be done, and representatives from all three programs as well as the current and past principals are in favor of PACT moving--not because of animosity toward PACT but because it is the only program willing to move.

I admire our district for providing choice programs in response to its constituency. These choice programs are not for everyone, but it is great to have the choice! As for "failing schools", each school in the district has very dedicated and hard-working teachers, administrators, parents, and community members. It is possible for children to receive a good education at all the schools, in all the programs. While our schools are not failing, it has been shown that children thrive if their parents are involved in their education, whether it be in programs like PACT, DI, or in a neighborhood program.

Posted by buddy
a resident of The Crossings
on Jan 22, 2009 at 7:20 pm

i think its kinda messed up that anyone who disagrees with the pact gets attacked. like so far the only rude comments ive read are in response to anyone who voices some concerns about the program. isn't everyone allowed to speak their opinion without people being rude?

Posted by Ned
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 22, 2009 at 7:54 pm

It seems that the time has come for the community to organize take back what is theirs. Mountain View needs more schools. The will of the people should be heard by the board, and another school should be opened up in the Whisman area. If the board doesn't agree, vote them out of office. If the district administration disagrees, work to get them fired. The people should be in control of their schools. Period.

Posted by Continuous Improvement
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 22, 2009 at 9:39 pm

I think the district should get a professional opinion because it does not seem like they know how to fix the mess it created when it chose to close Slater School. That is how a business would do it.

Posted by Dave
a resident of Whisman Station
on Jan 22, 2009 at 10:08 pm

Where is Eleanor Yick when you need her?

Posted by greenie
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 23, 2009 at 1:07 am

The focus on parent participation in Pact misses the intention of the program. As Frances pointed out, there are plenty of parents at other MV schools who work in their children's classroom, including the spanish choice program at Castro. The difference between Pact and other classroom teaching is the open education approach, a philosophy in teaching. Parents working with teachers in the classroom is only one part of that model. Many other school districts throughout the State (and country, for that matter) have schools that use this model. In Palo Alto, Ohlone School (which does have it's own site) is the most desired school in the district, it always has a waiting list and has a lottery for its open spots every year. Their district is expanding the model to the middle school beginning next year. Pact could and should do the same for the MV district children. It is a shame that the focus on Pact is limited to a small part of the teaching model, clearly there is something that works well with it or so many other districts wouldn't be heading in the same direction.

Posted by terryv
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jan 23, 2009 at 1:14 am

Ned makes a great point. I agree that the Board isn't doing their job well and should be voted out, but this year there was only one person running (Fiona Walters ran unopposed) and she was one of the major proponents of closing Slater, so the Board is continuing on business as usual. People are apathetic until it is their issue which is addressed. That's why they're called "special interest groups"...

Posted by hey
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 23, 2009 at 6:49 am

Seems to me that this blog is a very easy way to sling mud, one anonymous person to another, hurl insults and make assumptions and judgements without checking out the facts. It would be much harder to have a real conversation in which one person actually asks questions (of the board, of PACT, of Castro) to find out the real story and then form opinions on that. I wish people would realize that there are actual people with actual feelings behind these words. Let;s have some courage and talk to real people who can answer some questions. I have already talked to 2 board members about the injustice of having no school at all in our (N. Whisman) end of town, except for Slater which houses MV autism classes, along with Google. I know there are kids in my neighborhood who don't go to school, and nobody even notices.

Posted by Cuesta Park Neighbor
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 23, 2009 at 10:36 am

Having read the extensive posts here I want to make a few points:

1) My neighborhood school is Bubb - an excellent school - but my child was not thriving there so I moved him to PACT. He blossomed at PACT because the educational philosophy and teaching were geared toward hands-on, small-group learning. He also loved the art program. The sense of community at Slater and PACT made his elementary school years a wonderful experience and I am grateful to the District for having the vision to support this type of educational option for families.
2) I, as a PACT parent, volunteered time not only in the PACT classroom but for the school as a whole. Among other things, I often did lunch duty and came to know many of the children. The school was excellent and the sense of community there was very high. The principal, Dr. Nikki Smith, was perhaps the best principal in the District at that time.
3) Although PACT has a philosophy of parent participation in the classroom (always supervised and directed by the teacher), in fact, no family was EVER turned away if they could not make this commitment. Our view was that this educational opportunity should be open to ANY family who wanted it for their child/ren. Some parents could not afford the time to volunteer and there were others who were not comfortable working directly with children in the classroom who supported the class in other ways.
4) I, along with many other PACT parents, was strongly opposed to the closure of Slater. I spent hours and hours of time researching the District's budget and believed that their decision to close ANY school was short-sighted and was driven primarily by concerns over the "No Child Left Behind" legislation. I attended numerous Board meetings and spoke out at every opportunity about the negative impact of the closure on the District and the unfairness to the children in the Whisman neighborhood. PACT never wanted to move from Slater and I remember shedding tears at the last school Walk-a-thon thinking about the impact on all those kids. To this day, every time I drive by Slater I feel a great sadness.
5) The Board targeted Slater for closure - although they delayed the closure for one year after we argued effectively that they DID have the money to continue to keep the the school open. PACT was told it was being moved to Castro. We had no choice in the matter and we made it work. Now, due to severe overcrowding at Castro that all of us foresaw would occur, PACT is being asked to move again. It is that simple.
6) Many who are posting appear to have no real understanding of PACT or how it actually works. If you are interested, I urge you to visit and find out more about the program, its progressive educational philosophy, its community values, its awesome teachers, its wonderful enrichment opportunities in art, gardening, etc. This program is OPEN TO ALL families in Mountain View and it is a public school so all these benefits come without a huge price tag. Your child may also thrive there and develop a real love of learning as mine did.

Posted by Harry
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jan 23, 2009 at 10:46 am

In hindsight closing Slater was a terrible idea, and the Slater neighborhood is justifiably outraged. What they warned would happen has happened. They have been wronged and obviously that wrong needs to be righted. I see many postings calling on parents to stop bickering among themselves and direct their anger at the board, but is the current board composed of the same board members who decided to close Slater?

I wasn't paying attention to school board politics at the time - partly because didn't have children at the time and partly because I live on the other side of town from Slater. So can somebody please let me know who was on the board when the vote to close Slater was taken and who voted which way. I don't want to help re-elect any board member who supported closing Slater.

On a different note, I understand why some parents don't think PACT is right for their kids. Children (like adults) are different and learn in different ways. Selecting the system that is best for your kids and forcing all other parents to choose the same system is NOT "fair". Providing different options to parents and allowing them to choose what they believe is best for their children IS fair. So please PLEASE stop the PACT bashing. I don't have any children in PACT and I doubt I ever will (I plan to put my little tikes in CEL when they're old enough) but I believe all this mud-slinging demeans us all. It is a waste of time and energy that could be used more productively in other ways.

Diversity is not simply just about accepting people of different ethnical, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. It is also about accepting children who learn in different ways and at different speeds. It is about accepting people (and parents are people too) who have different value systems and want different things out of life than we do. If we truly value diversity we would value PACT. Lets stop all the petty-negativity PLEASE.

Posted by withheld
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 23, 2009 at 6:28 pm

Talk about special interest groups-getting a whole new school when Whisman neighborhood has none!?!

Posted by eric
a resident of another community
on Jan 23, 2009 at 7:44 pm

PenguinLover should be commended for one of the few rational posts on this topic (I dont agree with everything s/he says, but its well said and level headed).

I dont hear anyone bashing the PACT program here--I'm sure that it is a good fit for many families and a benefit to many of our kids. What I object to-- and this is the view of many in the district-- is the demeanor of many (not all) PACT parents. They are far too willing to anonymously bash the district when they dont get their way. I think that many of the more brutish ones who have posted here would be happy to see the district fail if they dont get what they demand. The suggestions that the district acted with some sort of malice in closing Slater is just silly.

PACT families-- we all benefit from a strong district. If you turn your vitriol towards something positive, PACT will benefit and so will the wider district community.

Posted by there
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 23, 2009 at 10:08 pm

There may have been absence of mailce but there was presence of stupidity.

Posted by Sophie
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jan 23, 2009 at 10:09 pm

Eric, I'm interested in this subject since my daughter is starting kindergarden this year. I know little about PACT or the other options but must decide by Feb 27. I think my only options are CEL, PACT or private school. I would like to understand the pros and cons of all 3.

People appear to be 2 problems with PACT:
1. The Slater community is upset because their school was closed and now PACT is getting it's own school.
2. A personal dislike of some of the current PACT parents.

Am I missing something else? So far I have read a lot of negative comments about PACT but nothing that would influence my decision one way or another. Can somebody please help me?

Posted by common sense
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 23, 2009 at 10:11 pm

Choice programs should not take priority over neighborhood schools.

Posted by eric
a resident of another community
on Jan 24, 2009 at 1:17 am


I know little about the specifics of the PACT or CEL programs. I think you should reach out to parents in both. The neighborhood schools in our district are mostly quite good full of engaged kids and very involved families, and I would strongly encourage you to go observe classes and meet parents at yours before abandoning the public schools- you may be surprised.

I have no personal animosity towards PACT parents (I know many). I object to the very negative tone that a small group of them take when they dont get everything they want from our district (I have no affiliation with Slater, by the way).

One of the reasons that the MV schools are exceeding enrollment expectations is very simple-- they're pretty darn good. Come check them out. Bottom line-- dont base your opinion on the district on a message board where a small group of angry parents post often under multiple anonymous handles.

Posted by QM
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 24, 2009 at 10:23 am

I think parents who had their school given to Google, just want their neighborhood school back. It is foolish to think that just because enrollment dips that you need to give up a neighborhood school.

Posted by susan
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 24, 2009 at 11:41 am

HARRY-board members that closed Slater:
Ellen Wheeler
Fiona Walter
By far Ellen Wheeler was the most outspoken person in having a school closed. At one of the meetings, in which Slater parents (both PACT and the neighborhood) argued against closing ANY school, Ellen introduced a new twist and said perhaps we should close Castro school instead. Slater parents were shocked, and they continued to argued that NO SCHOOL should be closed. In the end, some Slater parents said since there is no way you are NOT going to keep all schools open, then at least keep Slater open for one more year so that the children can be transitioned smoothly (at this point it was near the end of the school year).
Everything the Slater parents argued about increasing enrollment and schools filled to capacity, especially at Castro school, has come to pass. However the board members and the then superintendent, Eleanor Yick, was set on closing a school, and would not listen to reason.

Posted by Frances
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 24, 2009 at 1:18 pm

If I lived in the Whisman area I would also be ticked off that my neighborhood schools were gone. But with the leases the district has there isn't any way to open those back up as neighborhood schools. At least not until the leases are up. Stevenson was literally the only feasible site.

And for someone upthread who mentioned CEL. CEL is no longer a choice program. Monta Loma is trying to spread the program to every student but if you apply for an intra-district transfer to Monta Loma you give up your right to the first lottery at your neighborhood school. Maybe not a big deal unless you live in the Huff or Bubb neighborhoods.

Posted by Sam
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 24, 2009 at 2:08 pm

There is a clause in the German School /Whisman School lease that the agreement can be ammended in the year 2011. I am sure the board and district aren't mentioning it, but someone should bring it up and have it looked into and considered as a viable option to relieve overcrowding in the district AND provide the Whisman neighborhood with a neighborhood school.

Whisman is a beautiful campus that should be reclaimed.

I am sure nothing can be done with the Google lease-they get whatever they want.

Posted by QM
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 24, 2009 at 2:24 pm

Any contract that involves giving away a school that was paid for by tax payers has a clause that can be used to reclaim it anytime. A predesignated warning time is probably written in to give proper notice to the lessee. I bet if you read both leases, the domain of the city is in tact, and they can take it back whenever they want.

Posted by Kimberly
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Jan 27, 2009 at 11:40 am

Please havent the pact families been hurt enough.
This progran alone has lifted up MVWSD. Isn't that right pact parents.

Posted by Dave
a resident of Whisman Station
on Jan 27, 2009 at 11:52 am

So we are now facing a possible funding freeze by the state(new article on Voice homepage) but our district wants to put all of our eggs into "one school". Be careful MVWSD, why don't you check your hindsight now, before the damage is done and more children are hurt.
Possible rainy days ahead.

Posted by Kimberly
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Jan 27, 2009 at 12:12 pm

Dave please its the pact we ony care about. As long as we keep the brown eggs and the white eggs separate. Right..............

Posted by Frances
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 27, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Wow Kimberly, you really think this has to do with racism? Have you toured PACT?

Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Jackson Park
on Jan 28, 2009 at 12:36 pm

The District speaks of diversity, preparing ALL our children for the world ahead and embracing collaboration. Yet, in a time of financial frailty our usually competent School Board is supporting spending millions on a group of families which have shown themselves to be self-serving. This is not a one-time cost. There is ADDITIONAL on-going yearly cost to administer the school, cafeteria and office etc. What fund is paying for these?
- The majority of PACT students are from outside our district. The district needs to be honest and show their enrollment data on the number of out-of-district families that are in PACT.
- PACT was formed by families from Sunnyvale because Sunnyvale was smart enough not to embrace segregationist.
- PACT Classroom enrollment is guarded by the district not to exceed the 20:1 enrollment. In fact, numerous classrooms in our district have been overcrowded while PACT classroom have 20 or less students. How cost effective is that??
Go over to Castro school and you will see blatant segregation. PACT Students have their own lunch time, side of the cafeteria and do not play with non-PACT students. There is rampant self-segregation. It is very sad to observe.
There is no need for this group. If they were concerned about the quality of education for children they would use their manpower to provide volunteers and donations to all classrooms.
I am disappointed that our district does not support the interest of ALL families and their children. "Action speaks louder than words"
Shame on you!!

Posted by MV Mom
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jan 28, 2009 at 10:55 pm

Concerned Parent, what would you suggest the school board to to alleviate over crowding? Honest question. Are there school that really have over 20 students in K-3 classes? 20 is the maximum by state law. And lunches are staggered because there isn't enough room for the kids to all go out at once. I don't have a child in the PACT program so I can't comment on your residency claims but I do know that no non-MV residents got into PACT (and maybe DI) for kindergarten last year. MV residents get priority, enrollment is only opened to non-residents when there is space. Many neighboring cities have alternative school choice programs, not sure why you seem to have so much anger directed towards MV's.

Posted by anonymous
a resident of Castro City
on Jan 29, 2009 at 12:48 am

i totally agree with concerned parent. what's going on is just de facto segregation, that seems to sadly be encouraged by some members of the pact program. EVERY child deserves the opportunity to succeed, and frankly, this "i love my child more then you love yours because i can volunteer in the classroom" nonsense just makes it all the more evident that parts of this program are selfish, and condescending. it's a shame that no one was willing to open their eyes and face this fact. all the comments have been very malicious towards anyone who disagrees with the pact and that is not right. the pact children are not the only children in the district, you should be doing things the better everyone as a WHOLE.

Posted by been around a long time
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 29, 2009 at 5:11 pm

1. the district claimed it would save $500,000 in administrative costs by closing a school. now it will only cost $350,000 per year to run Stevenson?

2. yes, go visit Castro sometime and you will see the "have's" and "have not's" are quite evident. PACT classes have parent volunteers, handpainted murals on their classroom walls, adorable touch-smell-etc container gardens outside their classroom door, their own art program, their own parent supervision at lunchtime, their own field trips, etc. English Only classrooms have 1 teacher who is doing her best to get 20 children (who grew up not being read to in English) to meet the state standards with NO classroom aides, NO extra supplies provided by parents, NO extra help, the entire rest of the school supervised by ONE lunchtime supervisor....and they NEVER say one word about it because it just isn't they style to whine about what they don't have. They just do their best with almost nothing while PACT lacks for nothing.

3. why is the district spending $2 million dollars for a separate campus for mostly affluent children, when the Castro neighborhood kids who attend other schools in the district can't even stay after school for chess club, honor choir, tutoring, etc because there is no "late bus" just the one that takes them back to their neighborhood school immediately after school is dismissed?

4. ask the district about money and all you'll get is answers about "restricted funds" that $$$$ can ONLY be spent on building, this $$$ can ONLY be spent on transportation, some other $$$ can ONLY be spent on technology, etc. And in the meantime the $$$$ for low-income, lower-achieving students at Castro is going unspent? WTH?

Posted by Lolly
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 29, 2009 at 6:18 pm

PACT = money and politically powerful parents.
Huff = money and politically powerful parents.

The rest of you just don't count.

Posted by nailed it
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 29, 2009 at 7:18 pm

Been around,
This is the same thing we saw at Slater when we had the PACT. Where is the money that can ONLY be spent on the children who really need it? To empower every child means EVERY child.

Posted by anonymous
a resident of Castro City
on Jan 29, 2009 at 10:16 pm

I wish someone from the PACT would address these concerns because as a resident of Mountain View I am appalled by what's been going on. The question is what can we do about it.

Posted by A Non White Non Rich PACT Parent
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 30, 2009 at 7:18 pm

I am truly saddened by all the racist talk about PACT. I just don't understand this. I have two children in PACT and find both of my children's classes to be diverse. My daughters class has 30 children and 17 of them are visibly nonwhite. Yes, 30. PACT was approached to move by the district. Not the other way around. We didn't ask to move we were asked to move because our students were more easily moveable. the other Castro programs had more Castro neighborhood kids in them. Many PACT families are affected by this move and will find it difficult to get their children to school. How is being asked to move wanting to be segregationists? I am not white so how do all these comments account for me and all of the other nonwhite families? They don't! People just want to take certain situations and make them seem like some deep seeded problem rather than just looking at the reality of the situation which is overcrowding. The District has a hard job and all of our children are affected by every decision that they make. So why spread all of this vitrol fan fare and make it something ugly?

I chose to put my children in PACT becasue I like the community and philosophy. I wish ALL parents at ALL schools were required to volunteer. This does give PACT an advantage and accounts for so many of our achievements. We have many parents that are both working and they spend their lucnh our one day a week in the classroom. That little bit makes a difference. No one requires parents to volunteer at Castro or the other schools. No one is stopping any of the parents so where are they? My children atarted out at another MV School and I found the teachers overwhelmed with out help. I was in their two full days a aweek to try and help but I found my children still suffereing from stressed out teachers.

I am not naive and do understand that there are some parents that may have some of the attitudes that are portrayed here but to tag it to all of us is more naive and downright cruel to us and our children.

Posted by another non white, not rich full time workingPACT Parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 30, 2009 at 9:38 pm

I encourage everyone to come and visit PACT on the available tour dates. My Children are not white and we are not rich. I work full time and arrange my schedule to come in to volunteer. I volunteer in my child's class AND for the school as a whole. PACT is not for everyone. Some people do not believe in a progressive school philosophy. Nor do some people believe that parents should be in the classroom. Nor do some Children do well in that type of environment. That is why it is a ~choice~, and open to those who wish their children to be in the program. To dispel some myths: In one of my child's classes there are many, many parents who do not volunteer in the classroom, but rather help out in some other way, because their work schedule does not allow them to take off. Many of the Student's parents do not speak English. Many families are in poverty. The common bond however, is that parents have chosen this type of education for their Child, and are dedicated to making the program work, not just for their Child, but for all the Children.
Another myth is that PACT pushed the district for this move. The District asked PACT to move to relieve overcrowding. PACT already moved two years ago, and the interuption was not good for the Children.
Please go visit and see what PACT is all about.

Posted by missing in the discussion
a resident of Castro City
on Jan 30, 2009 at 10:44 pm

One thing missing from this discussion is not about PACT but why is there so many poor non english speaking families at Castro? I live within walking distance to Castro, and my neighbors are not all poor non english speaking people. The district's boundries are screwed up. Even though I live walking distance to Castro, my "neigborhood" school is Bubb. I can't walk to Bubb!

Posted by Toni
a resident of another community
on Jan 31, 2009 at 9:37 am

Why would the district need to ask pact iisn't the district incharge. Sounds like the pact call the shots to me. The pact is the most self serving program i have ever heard of.

Posted by Parent
a resident of another community
on Jan 31, 2009 at 6:49 pm

I have to say, the amount of misinformation I have read in this thread is staggering.

You certainly all have strong opinions which are, by definition, valid I guess (there can't be a "wrong" opinion); but so many of you are making statements that are just plain wrong. About PACT and their program, about it being full of all rich white kids, about the school closure process, about how the district allocates funds, why the boundaries are they way they are, just about everything.

Potential new parents should take everything they read about the District on these forums with a huge grain of salt. Visit your local school, get to know the principals, get to know a variety of parents there; visit the choice programs; check out all the test scores for the different subgroups on the state's education website.

I guarantee, if you were evaluating the Los Altos schools, which are all great, solely by the posts you can read online when there's a hot-button issue, you'd think they were hell-holes. The chronically disgruntled tend to post on any blog. Happy people generally don't bother. Doesn't mean that more people are unhappy than happy, just that the unhappy ones are more vocal.

Posted by Marco
a resident of another community
on Feb 1, 2009 at 1:15 pm

Why is it the pacts only response to nopact is everyone else is misinformed. The pact leaves such a bad taste. I dont think this is a good program. SORRY The pact sounds like they have the poor us syndrome. Please get some help people. Let your kids have some away from mommy time. they may just need time away from all you nutty parents.

Posted by Not unhappy, just "real"
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 2, 2009 at 9:45 am

Parent- "unhappy" yeah, the "unhappy" PACT parents who wanted their program removed from an "overcrowded" school. Give me a break! You want us to believe that anyone who is against PACT moving is "unhappy" just because we voice our opinions while all those for PACT are "happy" and certainly right all the time. Give me another break! You guys live in your little bubble and the rest of us will deal with the real stuff that happens in life.
BTW someone asked why there are so many poor English learners going to Castro, well it's because there are many apartment buildings on this side of town and that's where the poor people of Mountain View live since they cannot afford to buy a house.
Most of these parents put their children in Castro or Landels...and guess what, that's where no parent who looks at test scores or does their "research" wants to put their children. So you have a problem with so many people wanting to put their kids in Bubb or Huff or in the PACT program. We've got everyone in a "huff" now because the district decided to go by a lottery system for enrollment. Now we're either going to see my "unhappy" people who fight for what they want...or they'll just put their kids in a private school and leave all the public ones for the poor kids. Isn't that how it works in the real world?

Posted by Sandy
a resident of North Whisman
on Feb 2, 2009 at 4:17 pm

Just curious but does it make sense that because of state budget cuts, MV schools may be laying off TEACHERS, but can afford to refurbish a school site for the PACT? (ee article in Town Square)

My second question is are the parents that participate in the PACT program screened (background checks)? Many schools require ANYONE that even remotely works with children in a school setting must be fingerprinted with the SCC SHeriff's Dept. I would not want to take a chance with my child!Are PACT required to do so? I'm just asking, not accusing...

Third point: The Summerhill Apts vacated a year ago, were going to be torn down, but are now being "refurbished" and rented out again. This is one of the few affordable complexes in the city and many children lived there before. Where will the children "fit" if all the schools are overcrowded and teachers are being laid off so PACT can have their own facility??

Posted by Terry
a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 4, 2009 at 2:15 pm

My eldest daughter is starting kindergarden this year so my wife and I have been trying to understand what options are open to us in the MVWSD. We thought our options were:

1. our neighborhood school
2. transfer to Monta Loma for CEL
3. Dual Immersion

We have taken school tours and/or met current parents for all 4 options and frankly we like all four. But reading the above postings we notice there is a fifth option: The secret white-only just-for-rich-kids-of-overbearing-parents PACT that we read about above. How different sounds from the PACT we visited and the PACT parents and teachers we met.

Can any of you tell me how to get into THAT PACT program? The district only gave us information on the other PACT program - you know the non-segregated poor-kids-allowed one. Which is odd because though we are not rich we are white.

Unless, perhaps, there is really only one PACT program. If that is the case one has to wonder if any of the people railing against PACT above have ever set foot in a PACT classroom or spoken with a PACT teacher. Though I cannot speak for the current PACT parents I have a very hard time reconciling the above comments with what both what my wife and I saw on our school tours.

Posted by Alice
a resident of another community
on Feb 4, 2009 at 2:28 pm

I too have been on the pre-kindergarden school tour circuit and I agree with Terry. The PACT I saw in no way resembles what the anti-PACT lobby says it is.

If all this energy that is being directed against PACT was being channelled more productively we would have an outstanding school district.

Posted by just wondering
a resident of Castro City
on Feb 4, 2009 at 3:21 pm

Terry and Alice,
Why don't you go to your neighborhood school?

Posted by Terry
a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 5, 2009 at 11:21 am

Just Wondering

Our neighborhood school has not been ruled out. I just want to find the school that is the best fit for my daughter. I may apply to the neighborhood school but I may also apply to PACT - I have until Feb 27 to decide.

I'm just wondering why you ask.

Posted by just wondering
a resident of Castro City
on Feb 5, 2009 at 12:37 pm

I ask because I feel that if all this energy that was being directed INTO PACT was directed towards neighborhood schools we would have a better school district.

Posted by member
a resident of another community
on Feb 6, 2009 at 1:32 pm

Wouldn't it be nice if all the kids could be treated equal. I'm new to the bay area and this would never happen back home.

Posted by Parent
a resident of another community
on Feb 8, 2009 at 3:53 pm

To "Not unhappy, just real", for the record, I'm not a PACT parent. I'm a Huff parent. Didn't transfer, it's my home school. And, I don't think you are unhappy and PACT people are always happy, nor do I think that everyone who is unhappy about something is wrong. My point was, people who are satisfied generally don't post on these blogs (some of us are just junkies, I guess), so if you only read online comments about any school or district, you will get a less balanced impression, because you are hearing the complaints and not the good stuff.

When you say, "Most of these parents put their children in Castro or Landels...and guess what, that's where no parent who looks at test scores or does their "research" wants to put their children." --not always true. I know parents from the Huff and Bubb neighborhoods who chose either Dual Immersion or Pact for their kids because they wanted what those programs offered, which Huff, great school that it is, does not offer. And I when you say that parents who do research never choose Castro or Landels, I say they aren't looking deep enough. They are just looking at the API and the percentage of low-income and/or Hispanic kids. If they looked at the scores by groups on the state website, they would see that the "white non-Hispanic" (to use the state's designation) kids from non-socioeconomically disadvantaged homes have test scores to rival Bubb and Huff.

When they were considering which school to close, I started thinking which school I'd choose for my kids if Huff closed. Bubb would probably be my new neighborhood school, but I was leaning toward Landels. The families I knew from there were very dedicated, the kids were really smart and very high achievers; I looked at the scores for kids like my kids, thought they had a great community. Same with Bubb, but I was definitely leaning toward Landels. So I just think people need to look deeper than the API score to decide if a school can serve your kid or not.

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