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Last-ditch effort to re-open Whisman school

Original post made on Jun 9, 2015

With only a week to go before the Mountain View Whisman school board decides on whether to open a new school in the district, members of the Whisman and Slater neighborhood area came out in full force to make one last appeal to the board.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, June 9, 2015, 12:02 PM

Comments (121)

18 people like this
Posted by Canela
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 9, 2015 at 12:20 pm

Our neighborhood also gets torn apart, because we have two schools, one of them having the image of not being very good. Those who get into Stevenson get to continue to be a part of the community and go to school with their neighbors. Those who don't either move or do private school, thus this neighborhood also has no overall community like other neighborhoods in Mountain View. It's not having a school in the neighborhood that is important. It's having a "quality" school, however that is defined, in which most people in the neighborhood want to attend. Just opening "a school" in Whisman will not be enough.


13 people like this
Posted by Me
a resident of Willowgate
on Jun 9, 2015 at 1:44 pm

What are the socioeconomics for North Whisman area? Are they similar to Theuerkauf? If they are, then what's the point of adding a new school?


22 people like this
Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 9, 2015 at 2:42 pm

People want a school near their homes. I get that.

But Whisman school closed for a reason. Not enough students. That's still true today and doesn't look to be improving.

You can question the "data" all you like but reality is sitting in each new kindergarten every August. Schools that had 4 kinder classes went to 3 a couple years ago. That's real world data. Whatever the reason there are less kids coming to Mountain View public schools.

Opening an entire additional campus just doesn't make sense.

And if Whisman did reopen what would keep it from becoming another Theuerkauf? How about we spend the resources on improving Theuerkauf? Prove it can be done at least before opening Theuerkauf II.. I mean Whisman. We'll just end up with two under producing schools no one wants to put their kids in. Sounds great.

Or what if we, GASP!, add capacity to Huff instead of telling families they can't send their kids there? I'm sure Huff parents scream in horror at the idea of course.


22 people like this
Posted by Cfrink
a resident of Willowgate
on Jun 9, 2015 at 2:56 pm

Cfrink is a registered user.

The Parcel tax helps all the schools, including the schools the Whisman/Slater neighborhood kids currently attend. So, it makes little sense to campaign against a policy that helps us provide more resources to all of our schools.

As for the data, the data doesn't say that enrollment is dropping. The data suggest that enrollment is flat. There is a bubble of children working their way through middle school after which enrollment falls to current levels with no expectation of an influx of additional students. If the brilliant minds (and I mean that seriously) around town who work at various the companies have knowledge of an expected 500+ students who will be entering the district and attending public schools over the next two years, that's great news. But we don't currently have any data to suggest that 500+ school aged students are going to magically appear over the next two years. Our best bet is to improve the schools we have and get back some of the 2000+ who live in our school district but attend private schools. Getting some of those children back would necessitate opening a new school.

When we started this process I firmly believed that we could and should open a new school for the Whisman/Slater Neighborhood. But after months of meetings and pouring over the data we have concerning our current finances and current and future enrollment it is not only not possible, but it's also not responsible to open another school at this time. Opening a school just to say we did it is not an option and I applaud a Board who is willing to accept public irritability long enough to wait and do this the right way. It will happen, I'm sure of that. I will certainly be among those working to make it happen. Opening a school cannot happen at the expense of other schools, other neighborhoods or upsetting the current educational trajectory of our current students. Opening a new school can and should happen and I'm ready to move on from this debate and get to work on figuring out how to best open a school without damaging our other schools and other neighborhoods.


27 people like this
Posted by Cfrink
a resident of Willowgate
on Jun 9, 2015 at 3:01 pm

Cfrink is a registered user.

First, Theuerkauf is no longer an underperforming school. In fact, I think that school simply suffers from a lack of branding rather than performance. It's only going to get better at Theuerkauf. Second, I agree that even if we opened a new Whisman school that there's little guarantee that kids would leave their current schools across the district to attend. I find that most of the people lobbying for a new school don't have school aged children at this time which makes that issue of little concern to them. Finally, Huff is at it's expanded capacity already. Expanding it further does not fit the protocols we have for traditional schools in our City. Sure, that could be changed but I'm not sure what the advantage is to the students or the community. In our community at some point, it's just too many students at one school. I prefer the idea of improving all our other schools. That's an accomplishment that's within reach.


27 people like this
Posted by Vince
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 9, 2015 at 3:19 pm

Judging a school solely on test scores is simplistic and does not provide a complete view of the school or the education a child will receive there.


38 people like this
Posted by Liz
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 9, 2015 at 3:26 pm

The Whisman area is one of the areas with the highest number of students currently attending public school, over 600 elementary aged students currently enrolled. This number justifies reopening one of the two neighborhood schools that are currently bringing millions of dollars of revenue to the district. Our children are being sent all over the district to bump up the number of students at other schools where the neighborhoods do not have enough students to support their current schools. There are hundreds of additional houses slated to be built in this neighborhood that will bring in even more families.

Parents driving their children all over Mountain View every day is expensive and adds unnecessary traffic to our streets. Redistricting Huff A to Theuerkauf does nothing to solve this issue. It is the same distance as Huff and does not have a bike path like the route to Huff does. This proposed redistricting would only temporarily reduce the overcrowding at Huff as families want to send their children to a school that is performing so well. It does not solve the problem of additional unnecessary traffic and will not increase enrollment at Theuerkauf. Do you really think parents who bought in an area districted to the highest performing elementary school will be willing to send their children to the worst performing school when the Romero Act allows these parents to send their kids to another school in the district? The proposal will only force more parents to consider sending their children to private school.


20 people like this
Posted by did the math
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 9, 2015 at 3:27 pm

Whismnan school closed around 15 years ago. SLATER closed because there were not enough students in the district, not the neighborhood...and Slater was chosen to bear the weight. Castro was five seconds away from being chosen(Ellen Wheeler). We had 8 schools, and we closed one, and we had 7, and then we opened one, and now we have 8. So I guess we could afford another school, just not one in the Whisman neighborhood.


28 people like this
Posted by district parent
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 9, 2015 at 3:36 pm

First, I don't know why the Whisman/Slater parents kept crying foul over not having representatives on the boundary committee. The district sent out notices for months to solicit volunteers. Those from the area who currently attend other schools (Huff, Landells, or Theuerkauf) should have seen the notices at their schools. There were even calls to our homes, emails sent from the district, & notices in the Voice.

Second, what "is systematically destroying" their neighborhood is not not having a neighborhood school, but it's people who refuse to go to their schools in favor or moving out or attending private schools.

Third, I'm not sure why a trustee would go on record to say that he would find "ways to block the district from seeking out new revenue sources from the public" if he doesn't get his way. Aren't trustees suppose to represent the whole community to do what's best for all students in the district?


29 people like this
Posted by Great Auntie
a resident of Slater
on Jun 9, 2015 at 3:37 pm

The demographics of the Whisman/Slater area have changed quite a bit in the time since Slater Elementary, not to mention Whisman Elementary, were closed. Slater closed in 2008 - a lot has happened in those 7 years. Google, LinkedIn, etc. have opened offices in the North Bayshore area which is within a couple of miles of our neighborhood. There is easy access from this neighborhood to North Bayshore via the Stevens Creek Trail. Even if you drive to North Bayshore, you don't have to get on the freeway. Many new condos, townhomes and even some single family homes are being built in the Whisman/Slater area to accommodate employees of the businesses going up all around us. I look out my windows every day and see lots of babies in strollers and toddlers being walked on our sidewalks. When the time comes, these families will be forced to send their kids to private schools or move out of the area because the other schools will be overcrowded. We deserve a neighborhood school before the Pact and DI programs (which are programs, NOT schools) get their own schools. Pact and DI are great programs, but they should be integrated into regular neighborhood schools.


40 people like this
Posted by Christina Oran
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 9, 2015 at 4:22 pm

The only reason enrollment is "flat" is because the number of kids going to private school is rising. There are currently over 2000 K-8 students attending private schools. That's 30% of Mountain View kids (compare to the national average of 10%). What we need is a school to entice these families back into the district.

When Huff opened, the total number of students enrolled in the district shot up. It rose again when Stevenson opened. If we open an exceptional school, the students will come (back).

And it only makes sense to open that school in the fastest-growing part of Mountain View, which currently has no school.


17 people like this
Posted by Old Steve
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 9, 2015 at 4:45 pm

Ms. Orans,

Schools grow to be exceptional. If you know how to Make One, please enlighten our board, supported by research and data of course. Those parents will all want "somebody else's kid" to go there until it is "exceptional".

By the way, how do we define exceptional for so many different families? Do you really believe that methods are so different across our district so as to "make" one school "more exceptional" than the others. If we could guarantee "exceptional" schools, wouldn't we already have them? If we improve ALL our schools, not only do current students get a better education, but enough new students might be attracted to allow us to open a school that can grow into an "exceptional" school. If we had money, but not more students, we could open a "STEM" school and hope for students. But 75% of our money comes "per student", so we need students first, or the education of all has to sacrifice the money.


33 people like this
Posted by local parent
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 9, 2015 at 4:45 pm

I noticed in one of the other articles that there were 77 rising kindergartners turned away from PACT this year. That seems like a pretty good seed for a new school, if PACT can't grow to accommodate them. Has anyone polled the families of the 2000+ kids who don't attend local public schools? What do they want? Were there kids turned away from PACT or DI and they went looking for other options?

I homeschool my kids, and have since they were in Kindergarten. I would consider putting them in PACT, and would consider enrolling my youngest in DI, but I'm unlikely to put them in any of the other schools. I'm not looking for a regular public school education for my kids. I'd guess that others are also looking for something outside the norm.


37 people like this
Posted by Mountain View Parent
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Jun 9, 2015 at 5:02 pm

What are the socioeconomics for North Whisman area? Are they similar to Theuerkauf? If they are, then what's the point of adding a new school? - Um, yes the socioeconomics for North Whisman are similar to Theuerkauf, just like any other school in the WORLD - CHILDREN THAT NEED AN EDUCATION! In all honesty, what is wrong with Theuerkauf? Is it the scores, the rumors, the demographics? All of the above? It is easy to believe the rumors and the scores, well they just don't lie, life is based on scores! Put your money where you mouth is and volunteer at the school for a month in a classroom and see that they are all children, just like anyone else's and need and deserve an education. The world is filled with Spanish speaking people! Everyone needs to learn to live together, respect each other and be supportive of each other. Don't you want all children to succeed? We are all in this world together, you know. This saddens me. No one is forcing you to go anywhere. Have you really given it a fair shot? Maybe those "scores" that you so worry about will go up because "your" kids attend Theuerkauf. Change the demographic by putting your kids in Theuerkauf. When I read these words, I feel like racism is alive and well in Mountain View. Oh no, you are giving weight to rumors and hiding behind the guise of "education and what is best for your child." Open a new school or not, one should not bad mouth Theuerkauf unless one has had a bad experience at Theuerkauf. Theuerkauf is a MV school, let's all work together to improve your opinions about it and put the fears and rumors to rest without forcing any children out! Start with all of the parents that speak poorly about the school and the parents that are being "forced" to send their kids somewhere else. Parents, send your child to Theuerkauf, learn about it, volunteer, get involved, make a difference, be the change and make it happen. Do you have what it takes to put the negativity to rest? Invest in and make your neighborhood school, Theuerkauf, what you think it should be!!


3 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 9, 2015 at 5:22 pm

@Kevin Forestieri of the MV-Voice

Whisman or Slater?

First, I greatly appreciate the extensive coverage of these vital events in our MVWSD and for the archives of past MV-Voice issues which have been so informative as well. I'm sure that the drama itself sells, but your coverage continues to do quite a valuable service for our city far beyond the drama value, thank you.

Second, maybe I needed glasses, but I was pretty sure the group called themselves "Reopen Slater" not like the below quote from the article:
"...members of the "Reopen Whisman" group..."
They were giving out buttons and stickers that read "Reopen Slater" in the background of a school house.

Perhaps a trivial detail, but I thought I'd mention it.


25 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 9, 2015 at 5:28 pm

@Mountain View Parent: I don't have to be a racist not to want my kids to go to Theuerkauf. The school is >70% one race, and >70% reduced lunch. These children deserve an education like any other children, but it's not crazy for me or anyone else to want our kids to be in a school with a meaningful proportion of kids from other parents who are similar to them. Not _all_ of them have to be similar, but some (half?) do.


4 people like this
Posted by Kevin Forestieri
Mountain View Voice Staff Writer
on Jun 9, 2015 at 5:37 pm

Kevin Forestieri is a registered user.

@PACT Parent

It was indeed Reopen Slater, not Whisman. The story has been amended to reflect that. While a small point, it is more consistent with the group's support for a STEM campus at Slater.


20 people like this
Posted by Canela
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 9, 2015 at 5:38 pm

@ Mountain View parent

Please don't jump to conclusions and assume people avoid Th due to race. I have found this not to be the case. I am Mexican and my children don't go to Theuerkauf, nothing having to do with race. Yes, I have attended info sessions, yes, I have met with the Principal and gone out of my way to look for anyone who I can find that goes to that school to hear about their experience. There are valid reasons we chose not to go there that have nothing to do with race. The district wants to blame it on race because that is easier for them, but there are other factors which I won't list here.

It is easy to say "volunteer at your school and make it into the school you want it to be" but in practice I have found that to be very difficult. The administration and teachers have the control over the school, and will not make changes simply because some parents say so. This may vary by school, but TH does not seem to have teachers and staff willing to make changes that I and many other parents would like, thus we go elsewhere. This may change (hopefully) with the new principal, but that remains to be seen.


23 people like this
Posted by Puzzled
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 9, 2015 at 6:40 pm

I didnot find anything wrong with Theuerkauf. My kids went in first and second grade last year. I volunteered several times at both of my kids classrooms and the kids were very well behaved and eager to learn new things. We had a school wide hour of code session from grades 1-5, Chess club, Computer Club, STEM club, excellent PE program.

Its a great school and we are Asians btw. I am not sure what are parents really looking for in elementary education. MVWSD curriculum and resources are all the same at all schools.


6 people like this
Posted by Canela
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 9, 2015 at 7:20 pm

@ Puzzled

So glad to hear you like TH. Are your kids still there?

Just to note, the PTA's raise a different amount at every school in MV to supplement the basic MVWSD curriculum, so again, it's not really true that the resources are all the same at all the schools. Some schools are much better funded and can provide a lot more "extras".


3 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 9, 2015 at 7:44 pm

@Great Auntie of Slater
You wrote:

Don't people teach their kids that two wrongs don't make a right anymore?

Remember, the Board has also threatened to close Castro, Theuerkauf and Monta Loma at various times in the past decade.

"We deserve a neighborhood school before the Pact and DI programs (which are programs, NOT schools) get their own schools. Pact and DI are great programs, but they should be integrated into regular neighborhood schools."

First, PACT has officially been a school for many years.
DI may have already gotten it's official designation, I'm not sure.

Second, the Whisman/Slater advocates have said all along how terrible it was to close a school. How much disruption it caused. How some people are still angry about it a decade after the Board cast the votes in 2005 to close Slater over the vocal objections of the traditional families AND the PACT families of Slater. Even a street demonstration and Board meetings with hundreds of families objecting could not convince the Board then that closing a school was a terrible thing to do.

The Board that closed Slater believed that what they wanted was more important than the damage that would be caused by closing a school.

Basically, "the ends justify the means".

And NOW you also are also saying that your ends justify the means and you are willing to close TWO schools to obtain your goals.

Closing Slater was a tragedy, but if we fail to learn from that history and just go do it again to more hundreds of families, the tragedy of Slater will have been meaningless and for nothing. The tragedy of Slater will be compounded, not healed.

Or is it that you ONLY accept that closing YOUR school was a tragedy, but closing any other schools is just fine by you?

PACT families want all 10 public schools open, but NOT at the cost of closing any currently operating school. Because closing a school is ALWAYS a terrible thing to do.

FYI, correction of the years of events.
The decision to close Slater was made in 2005, perhaps was already in the works in late 2004. Slater closed in 2006. PACT was tossed to the far side of the district into Castro in 2006. By 2008 it could not be ignored how badly overcrowded Castro had become, so PACT was again bounced out, this time to Stevenson starting in 2009.


27 people like this
Posted by Puzzled
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 9, 2015 at 7:58 pm

Yes, my kids are still at Theuerkauf and I love it. Beautiful spacious campus, nice teachers. I have not found anything missing here yet. I am not sure what extras are you talking about. They have all the funding, great library, computer lab, field trips. What other extras are we missing? I am still puzzled why people are so afraid of sending their kids to Theuerkauf?


6 people like this
Posted by Canela
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 9, 2015 at 8:09 pm

@ Puzzled.

Good to hear. Sure wish we could talk offline. I still have a list of concerns that I've compiled from others who go there (concerns that have nothing to do with racial demographics or API score), but don't want to list them here to bias anyone unfairly.

As a note for the future, it would be great to have more TH parents attend the parent info nights. We went two years in a row to get more information and the room was basically empty, giving us the impression that parents are not involved at the school and of course not giving us the ability to talk with currently enrolled parents who ARE happy there. That might have helped counter what we heard that was not so positive from the few neighbors we could find who have tried to send their kids there. Just a thought for next year.


15 people like this
Posted by Did the math
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 9, 2015 at 8:26 pm

@PP


We would just like a school back. We had two. We have none. Other neighborhoods have two. We just want one. Back.


23 people like this
Posted by Old parent
a resident of North Bayshore
on Jun 9, 2015 at 8:59 pm

The big problem is that the PACT school has violated the law by mandating parents to donate hundreds of hours of their time. With residents barely able to make ends meet, adding this massive burden is unacceptable. This is a public school and as such ought not to charge tuition, even if it is a non-cash donation of services.

Here is an excerpt from the PACT website:

"What kind of participation is required in Stevenson PACT?

The following are the parent commitments for the current year, and these are subject to change as the school’s needs change year over year:
Work in the classroom two hours per week, per child
One classroom "job" (coordinator, calendar, pet care, etc.)
Chaperone or support two offsite learning excursions (field trips) per year, per child
Serve on one committee (Publicity, Arts Focus, etc.)
Work in support of the school (library, yard duty, etc.)
Attend a 10-hour course on aiding in the classroom (new parents only)
Submit updated TB test result per district requirement"

Of course charging tuition via cash or services would cause a filtering of students and create an exclusivity. I'm sure these parents LOVE being separated from the less affluent in the district! Besides being downright illegal, doesn't this put into perspective the great injustice against the Whisman neighborhood?

Closing the illegally ran PACT school would easily allow the tax paying Whisman neighborhood to re-open their school. How quickly can we get this accomplished?


19 people like this
Posted by District Parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 9, 2015 at 9:23 pm

How quickly can we inform people in the district that PACT does not REQUIRE any of those things. Much like Huff, Bubb or Monta Loma cannot REQUIRE you to join the PTA, fundraise for the Walkathon, or pay for field trips. EVERY SINGLE SCHOOL in the district raise money, some much more than others. Take a look at the total budgets of the PTAs and how much they take in. PACT is somewhere in the middle.

I'm so tried of misinformation being spread about so many MVWSD schools. No wonder people opt for private. For parents of young children looking in this must look like a hot mess.

The much quoted example above isn't even on the PACT website. I have no idea where that is from.


18 people like this
Posted by Old parent
a resident of North Bayshore
on Jun 9, 2015 at 10:11 pm

Mis-information???

Really???

It's been on the PACT website for YEARS!!!!
Here's a link: Web Link

It's the last FAQ letting potential applicants what the mandatory duties could be.

Notice there was no FAQ like, "Are the parental volunteer and participation duties mandatory? Answer: No."
Why do you think that is? Was school was intentionally rejecting applicants whose parents did not indicate a strong willingness to contribute hours? I don't know. What I do know is that their website stated very clearly that there were mandatory duties for the parents. There is no doubt that many parents who could not afford the time did not apply thinking that those hours were truly mandatory.

Now we have a situation where a neighborhood would like to have a school back and are told that there is no money in the budget for one. Well, maybe it's because we have a school that has operated illegally for years siphoning off taxpayer funds to have their "choice" program. Choice is great, but not at the expense of Whisman.

Closing the illegally ran PACT program would solve this problem.


21 people like this
Posted by Ann
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 9, 2015 at 10:20 pm

When I read this:

District staff and the architects working on the school improvement plans have consistently argued that millions of dollars in "opportunity costs" are lost in Measure G bond money every time projects are delayed...

I'm thinking, "I am paying for this opportunity cost as a tax payer".
I'm also thinking "Why would I ever support another tax for the school district with such mismanagement of my tax dollars?"


14 people like this
Posted by District Parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 9, 2015 at 10:27 pm

@OldParent, Stopping the spread of misinformation about the PACT program would solve this problem.

Pulling up an old link on the wayback machine doesn't make it true. It is NOT REQUIRED. Call the school and ask for yourself. Ask a parent. Ask a board member. They cannot require donations or time. It is requested, just as every other school has requests of parents in the district. But not REQUIRED. Got it?


20 people like this
Posted by Old parent
a resident of North Bayshore
on Jun 9, 2015 at 11:02 pm

I see. So, you guys put up a FAQ that asks the question:

"What kind of participation is required in Stevenson PACT?"

And rather than clearly stating that participation is NOT REQUIRED, you provide a list of duties that the parents can perform:


"The following are the parent commitments for the current year, and these are subject to change as the school's needs change year over year:
Work in the classroom two hours per week, per child
One classroom "job" (coordinator, calendar, pet care, etc.)
Chaperone or support two offsite learning excursions (field trips) per year, per child
Serve on one committee (Publicity, Arts Focus, etc.)
Work in support of the school (library, yard duty, etc.)
Attend a 10-hour course on aiding in the classroom (new parents only)
Submit updated TB test result per district requirement"

It doesn't matter what is on the site today. This FAQ has been up there for YEARS! In fact, this FAQ was only taken off the site a very few months ago when an astute observer on this site blew the whistle on PACT.

So, really it's not mis-information, but rather INFORMATION.

And what is your response? That if a parent reads this FAQ, they should make an appointment to see a member of the board the confirm that the website is correct???
So, if I see a Stop sign on the road, do I just blow through it until I meet with our mayor to confirm its validity?

The internet archive is an excellent resource to see how companies and, I guess, schools attempt to hide their malfeasance.

Time for PACT to move over and make room for Whisman's neighborhood school!


7 people like this
Posted by District Parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 9, 2015 at 11:50 pm

Nope, merely suggesting they not believe a commenter on the MV Voice website, but rather check out the TRUTH themselves. No matter how much you want it to be true, it simply isn't required.


22 people like this
Posted by Old parent
a resident of North Bayshore
on Jun 10, 2015 at 12:23 am

"They cannot require donations or time."

You are correct. They CANNOT require donations or time. That would be illegal.

Then, how would you explain that the website clearly REQUIRES parental contributions of time? (services)

It clearly states: ""What kind of participation is required in Stevenson PACT?"

and it clearly answers that question with a list of possible duties.

It does not state: "No parental participation is required."

I don't understand how you can defend this. It really makes me question the ethics that PACT students are learning, when their parents have no problem with violating the law to filter out parents that cannot afford to donate time or money.


21 people like this
Posted by Scott
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 10, 2015 at 2:41 am

What the city needs to do is shut down a school in another neighborhood such as Rex Manor which has two schools right next to each other. Stevenson can take the students that live in its boundry. Open Slater back up and tell Google to go elswhere so Slater can have a campus. Bring all the North Whisman students back from Huff and enroll them in Slater. Google is a key factor in the downfall of the local school district. Why are they not obligated in the funding of city schools? Could it be that they could care less because they have their own school system for only children of Google employees. Therefore unless they're forced they do not make any contributions for the community or its education. Especially in North Whisman where folks are working class and cant afford to send their kids to private schools. Not everyone works for Google or can afford alternative education so what is the sense in depriving this community even more by not having a Neighborhood school. Google needs to be held accountable and show some support not just for its employees and their families but the community of North Whisman and its families.


10 people like this
Posted by mv parent to be
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 10, 2015 at 7:18 am

@Mountain View parent, and Cfrink

Did anyone explain why even Rex Manor neighborhood itself fail to change the reputation of Theuerkauf? Please read Web Link

It says clearly, "Kindergarten requests showed that over the last two years, only 32 percent of parents from the Theuerkauf attendance area requested their own neighborhood school for kindergarten enrollment". Perhaps you think it is going to change but the reality is this school doesn't even attract people in its own neighborhood. Now it becomes W/S community's issue. Why you think rezone will improve this situation if when it's own neighborhood not even sending their kids to the school? What has been proposed or promised to improve this school? It makes more sense to me to open a new school in W/S to pull students back to MVWSD.


8 people like this
Posted by Why the lies?
a resident of another community
on Jun 10, 2015 at 9:02 am

@Old Parent - my goodness, Distric Parent is correct! I looked at your web link, then read District Parent's comment that your information was not on their website so I checked the Stevenson website. The Parent Participation section doesn't say any of those things you mention- it says parents MAY volunteer. Web Link
Shame on you for deliberately misinforming. I'm not part of this debate- my kids are grown and I don't live in Mtn View but I'm appalled when people outright lie to further an agenda.


5 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 10, 2015 at 9:07 am

Old parent of North Bayshore

"They cannot require donations or time."
"You are correct. They CANNOT require donations or time. That would be illegal."

Correct, as these links clearly prove:
Web Link
and
Web Link

Do try to read for yourself.


8 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 10, 2015 at 9:37 am

@mv parent to be of North Whisman
You asked:
"Did anyone explain why even Rex Manor neighborhood itself fail to change the reputation of Theuerkauf? Please read Web Link

It says clearly, "Kindergarten requests showed that over the last two years, only 32 percent of parents from the Theuerkauf attendance area requested their own neighborhood school for kindergarten enrollment"."

If you looked further, you would have seen nearly identical numbers for Monta Loma and Landels and Castro schools.

So, your assertion is that ALL those schools should be closed and ONLY the Huff and Bubb schools should be allowed to operate. OK, sure, lets just pile our entire K-5 enrollment into the Huff and Bubb campuses. That will certainly make the API of the district skyrocket, right?

The API scores only match the educational background of the parents and tells us nothing about the school itself.

The problem is the simple-minded public perception and the utter failure of our MVWSD leadership to fight the perceptions and showcase all of our schools as educationally strong and always improving.

The only ones who benefit from trash-talking our public schools are the politicians, the private schools they prefer to support and real-estate agents who get rich off the turnover of homes.

The bigest losers of perpetuating the negative view of our schools are the Whisman/Slater families themselves. As long as the MVWSD looks like a big dysfunctional mess, the families of W/S will continue to lose out on what they say they want.


6 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 10, 2015 at 9:49 am

PACT program is not allowed to require parent hours or donations. That, in the past, was not strictly and entirely clear in their wording (on the mvwsd.org site) but THAT HAS now LONG BEEN FIXED!

PR? I have seen realtor advertisement in the PA Daily Post that distinctly showed Stevenson's sign as Rex Manor neighborhood school. PACT started aggressively recruiting (a great/fine effort) in 2006, when they were only 250 students (100 less than CBO Goldman's target). High #s want into K? Does lots of PR & recruiting make a difference?

There used to be something like a 30+ wait-list for TH (2006)?. The TH API scores have only increased since that time, and new learning programs added. Both the "turnaround $Millions /district money" and the LAFF state Supplemental Grant $ (20% per pupil more $ for almost All Kids at TH) will start to even out the PTA $ / parent free-time disparity across District & the entire State. { Gov. Sun-beam and prof Krist are my ed. heroes }

There is this continuing Urban Myth that "the board" wanted to close Monta Loma, Theruerkauf, Stevenson or Castro. Since the election of 2012 - there HAS NEVER been a board policy or discussion to do this! The Board sets policy, by a majority vote! The District Office staff - has often mentioned this 'Close A School' however. 'Have to close Monta Loma' was a staff favorate last year. I really wish it would stop, but apparently it won't! So Board and District get hammered for "staff comments". I really, really wish it would stop!

thanks for keeping the civil in civic discussion

SN is an elected member of the MVWSD Board (1 of 5), these are his own opinions


5 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 10, 2015 at 9:51 am

@Scott of North Whisman
You wrote:
"What the city needs"

Correction, what the Whisman/Slater advocates say they want...is more important than anything else that the entire district needs.

"to do is shut down a school in another neighborhood such as Rex Manor which has two schools right next to each other."

Right, because shutting down Slater was such a "good" thing, shutting down Slater did so much "good" for our district, lets shut down another school,
because shutting down Slater worked out so well, right?

"Stevenson can take the students that live in its boundry."

Right, because anything that gets a school for Slater is worth any damage done to the rest of the district.

"Open Slater back up and tell Google to go elswhere so Slater can have a campus."

Google is only "evil" when they sit on Slater grounds, but when they are hiring loads of new workers who may move into the Whisman/Slater area, then Google is an angel, a savior of W/S, right, I get it.

"Bring all the North Whisman students back from Huff and enroll them in Slater."

By FORCE? We have already seen many W/S advocates state that they will move away or go to private schools if they cannot continue at Huff.

"Google is a key factor in the downfall of the local school district."

Until they bring loads of families into the W/S area, right?

"Open Slater back up and tell Google to go elswhere so Slater can have a campus."

Because all that rental money Google provides the district is of no interest to the W/S advocates who only have one goal in mind by any means required and no matter what damage is done.

You have not carefully thought through your own confused positions.


5 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 10, 2015 at 10:04 am

@Ann of Old Mountain View
You wrote:
"When I read this:
District staff and the architects working on the school improvement plans have consistently argued that millions of dollars in "opportunity costs" are lost in Measure G bond money every time projects are delayed..."

You need to ask yourself WHY things in our district get delayed, it's due to the political wars being orchestrated by the district when they pit one group of families against another. A tactic that was used against the Slater school back in 2005 to blunt the objections from the Slater families, including PACT families.

"I'm thinking, "I am paying for this opportunity cost as a tax payer".
I'm also thinking "Why would I ever support another tax for the school district with such mismanagement of my tax dollars?""

Why? Because as long as the potential K-5 families see that the district is still massively dysfunctional to the point they can't even pass school funding bills at the ballot box, those families will RUN AWAY from our district. That's why!

My wife and I moved to Mountain View in the 1980's and even though we had no kids and no intention to have kids, we still ALWAYS voted to support school funding. We chose to tax ourselves, our property taxes, taken from us to pay for a public service we assumed we would never make any direct use of.

Why? Because that's how you bring families INTO a district rather than frightening them away.

How do you suppose it looks to young families when a Trustee openly calls for the defeat of school funding initiatives? What do you think they will do in reaction?

Will that help or hurt the cause of W/S?


5 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 10, 2015 at 10:20 am

@Old parent of North Bayshore
You claimed:
"Mis-information???

Really???"

Yes, really.
If your cause was really supportable by the facts, why do you feel the need to lie?

"Notice there was no FAQ like, "Are the parental volunteer and participation duties mandatory? Answer: No."
Why do you think that is? Was school was intentionally rejecting applicants whose parents did not indicate a strong willingness to contribute hours?"

Why do you feel the need to spew total LIES?
The enrollment lottery results are NEVER conducted with ANY information from the parents about their ability or willingness to participate or donate.

NO family has been refused their enrollment due to ANY participation or donation factors. The district itself runs the lottery for seats WITHOUT any information about the intentions or abilities of the parents. Once your kid gets selected by the district, they are "in" and NOTHING could EVER be done by PACT to expel them for lack of participation or donations.


24 people like this
Posted by Jeanie Light
a resident of Slater
on Jun 10, 2015 at 10:28 am

All -
When you present information and opinions in an accusatory way it puts the respondent on the defensive and leads to a less productive conversation. I wish that those commenting and providing data on the forum would speak to others respectfully; we all want great schools for our kids. The passion and energy of the parents and community should be focused on solving the very difficult problems at hand.

The Stevenson PACT website may or may not have said participation is required. Rather than focusing on what is said, its constructive to look at the district demographic numbers:

From the front page of the mvwsd website:
- Our mission is to "demonstrate, daily, a relentless commitment to the success of every child."
- Socio-economically Disadvantaged: 44%

Reduced lunch numbers form school-ratings.com
Huff: reduced lunch: 9%
Stevenson: reduced lunch: 13%
Bubb: reduced lunch: 28%
Theurekauf: reduced lunch: 72%
Monta Loma: reduced lunch: 59%

Stevenson is a choice school - so in theory anyone in the city could attend. Its in a fairly central location. It may be clear why the demographics are skewed towards more affluent families for Huff since its in the most expensive neighborhood. But why would they be this skewed for Stevenson?

Regardless of what Stevenson's website says, Stevenson is not actually an option being chosen by lower income families.

If this is by design - then the argument stands: Is Stevenson really a public school? Is it assisting the district's mission towards the "success of every child" ?
If this is not by design - then contributing ideas and energy towards increasing diversity at Stevenson would be beneficial.

If having too many families enroll who can't contribute the needed hours will undo what PACT is striving for, then there is still a valid argument as to whether our city can afford the privilege of offering this choice. 44% of our students are on a reduced lunch program - its reasonable to expect a choice program working for the good of the whole community to represent a larger percentage of those students.

In the end - we all want our children to go to a great school, learn to think and be creative, and grow up to find a successful place in society. The story told by the above numbers is one of socio-economic segregation. Even if there is equity in monetary resources and teaching quality across the district, this segregation hurts our community.

So again... The passion and energy of the parents and community should be focused on solving the very difficult problems at hand - we need to show the community that we are united in the goal of building great public schools that serve the entire community.


11 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 10, 2015 at 10:39 am

Why are parents allowed to "request" a school for their kids? Why doesn't Mountain View just have school boundaries that define which school is the neighborhood school and expect the students to attend that school?


5 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 10, 2015 at 10:51 am

@Christina Oran of North Whisman

"The only reason enrollment is "flat" is because the number of kids going to private school is rising."

This is a result, not a cause. The causes of lower enrollment runs deeper and has many contributing factors.

"There are currently over 2000 K-8 students attending private schools."

Ask yourself why, the full list of why, not just the one factor you choose to focus on, but all the factors. Like the behavior of our dysfunctional Board for example. Like how the Board in 2005 voted to close Slater.

"That's 30% of Mountain View kids (compare to the national average of 10%)"

Uh, if you have not yet noticed, there is very little about our SF Bay Area which is "average" compared to the national stats.

No static comparisons between different places is of any scientific validity and no meaningful conclusions can be drawn, just anecdotes which don't inform any understanding of any other local conditions.
Not for crime stats, not for school stats, not for population stats.

The only way to compare is to look at changes in the specific area over long periods of time and for large numbers of details. Local trends tell you something, IF you look at the full scale of time and all relevant details, but low-res snapshots really don't help.

"What we need is a school to entice these families back into the district."

Well, that's one theory of one specific potential draw for new kids.
Certainly not the only one, but it is the most expensive and least certain way.

"When Huff opened, the total number of students enrolled in the district shot up."

Check the timing there, Huff was not a "miracle school" when it first opened it's doors. It took time and the "miracle" is 100% due to the families, NOT something magical done by the school.

"It rose again when Stevenson opened."

Now you got one right, PACT already had a LONG history of families who strongly believed in the PACT methods and there was major word of mouth which created major pent-up demand, so of course Stevenson caused a huge improvement in district enrollment. The public had strong reasons to trust PACT with the education of their kids even before the doors opened.

A new W/S school will be a totally unknown quantity. And again, the results have 100% to do with the parents, not the school itself.

"If we open an exceptional school, the students will come (back)."

How quickly? will you get 500 ADDITIONAL K-5 kids lining-up to join our public schools the first or second or third year? Will it take 5 years?

And HOW exactly do you build a school which will in fact be seen by the public perception as "exceptional" from the day it opens? Or even within 5 years?

Please tell us how that's done and let's do that.


18 people like this
Posted by mv parent to be
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 10, 2015 at 10:56 am

@PACT parent

I did NOT mention: shut down TH. or close TH. That is what you are saying. Also, I find a lot of your response offensive and destructive. Is this the perception you want to create to MV residents about parents of Stevenson PACT school? I find it pathetic.


3 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 10, 2015 at 11:05 am

@parent of Sylvan Park
Asked a good question:
"Why are parents allowed to "request" a school for their kids? Why doesn't Mountain View just have school boundaries that define which school is the neighborhood school and expect the students to attend that school?"

A couple of different reasons, first there have always been the choice of private schools where parents have always been able to request a seat there.

Second, there is a complicated law called the "Romero Act" which was INTENDED to force school districts to make all schools excellent schools. This act provides that families may "request" to change to a different public school if they can show just cause. The details are too complicated to discuss here. The intentions may not have worked out as well as the politicians may have expected.

Third, families grow and move to bigger homes in the same district. The district does not want to have one kid of a family going to one K-5 school and the other K-5 kid in the same family going to a different K-5 school. This is understood as a massive problem for families. So, various events can create a situation where families would end up being split up to different schools, if not for the ability to request a change.

Fourth, we have 2 different district-wide "choice" schools where the entire student body are only there because they "requested" enrollment in these schools and they are allowed to request enrollment no matter where they live in the district. There is a lottery system run by the district to see who gets their request honored.

There is also, 2 situations our district has where families can actually choose to send one of their kids to a traditional neighborhood school and their other kid to one of the "choice" schools. In both cases, our "choice" schools are located right next door to a traditional school. This allows for even greater freedom of choice for parents who feel that one of their kids would fit better in the choice school and the other kid would fit better in the traditional school.

I hope I have answered your question?


7 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 10, 2015 at 11:24 am

@mv parent to be of North Whisman

"@PACT parent

"I did NOT mention: shut down TH. or close TH."

What do you think the results would be of pulling back kids from all across the district and require the all to fill up the new unknown quantity Slater school?

Have you not been paying attention for the past 6 months?

The district has targeted Theuerkauf more than once to sacrifice for the benefit of W/S.

Your assertion was nothing but a trashing of Theuerkauf as yet another excuse to get a W/S school and force people to populate it regardless of the damage done to other schools.

"That is what you are saying."

No,that's what the district says and what the enrollment numbers say.
The enrollment problem is where we all should be focusing our efforts.

"Also, I find a lot of your response offensive and destructive."

And having your most vocal advocate and Trustee of the district repeatedly stating that if he does not get what he wants he will actively campaign to defeat school funding initiatives, how does that look to the public?
The general perception of your most vocal advocate is absolutely offensive and destructive. AND on video it's even more clear!

"Is this the perception you want to create to MV residents about parents of Stevenson PACT school?"

The reputation and popularity of the Stevenson PACT school is quite secure. The families who want the PACT methods are NOT distracted nor confused by those who criticize PACT, either out of their own self-interest group or out of simple ignorance.

"I find it pathetic."

And having your most vocal advocate and Trustee of the district repeatedly stating that if he does not get what he wants he will actively campaign to defeat school funding initiatives, how does that look to the public?
He wanted to stop Measure G and now he wants to stop a new parcel tax.

I find that rather pathetic.

Without Measure G, there would not even be a discussion possible of opening Slater because there would simply NOT be the 30million required to do so.
If I were you, I would worry more about what your advocate as been dong than what I do.


4 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 10, 2015 at 11:57 am

@pact parent - The Palo Alto school district, which has 3 choice schools, also has neighborhood boundaries that designate where a child goes to school. If a family moves, the kids can stay in the same school and siblings get priority for also attending. Why does it work there but not here in Mountain View?

As far as the "Romero Act" NONE of the schools in MV are on the list for this year as being eligible to request a transfer to a school with a higher API. And the only school eligible in 2014-2015 was Theuerkauf.

And I realize parents can "choose" both private and choice schools instead of their neighborhood school.


5 people like this
Posted by Canela
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 10, 2015 at 12:07 pm

@parent - I just looked and Theuerkauf is still on the list for 2015-2016 school year.

I know people hate this law. I was really hoping it would encourage school districts to innovate and offer something different at a Romero school in order to attract families back. We all don't care about API, in fact many of us care very little about API. If a school was offering a unique program that I thought my kids would enjoy, I'd be more than happy to enroll in a lower API school. However the district has continued to offer more of the same and really missed the opportunity to make Theuerkauf desirable to a broader range of families.


4 people like this
Posted by @parent
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 10, 2015 at 12:08 pm

@parent: It looks to me like Theuerkauf is still on the list of Open Enrollment/Romero Act schools, using 2013 data while the new system is put into place.

Web Link

Click on the link and open the Excel spreadsheet.


3 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 10, 2015 at 12:13 pm

@Canela and @parent - you are both right about Theuerkauf still being on the list. So why do other schools get to ask for a transfer?


7 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 10, 2015 at 12:49 pm

@Jeanie Light of Slater

Hello again. I have found much if what you have said in the past to be a delightful breath of much needed fresh air. Lets stop the unproductive political wars and focus on actually improving total district K-5 enrollment. A rising tide floats all boats.

I want to answer your most vital question fist:
You asked:
"It may be clear why the demographics are skewed towards more affluent families for Huff since its in the most expensive neighborhood. But why would they be this skewed for Stevenson?"

The exact same reason why the Castro Dual-Immersion school has had such a difficult time trying to attract native Spanish-speaking families into DI.

The people who have the least are also the most risk-averse. They have faith in what they know, the traditional schools. They are not willing to take the risk that their kids may not do their best at a non-traditional school. They go with what they know well because they feel they cannot afford to take risks with their kids education.

Those who have more are also more willing to take even huge risks because they have confidence that even if they find they made a mistake, they feel they will be able to recover from that mistake.

Those who have the least are also least able to recover from any mistakes. Thus, they take the safe path which they know well.

How do you suppose the SED families react when the see that the W/S advocates, including Board members, have been repeatedly calling for the closure or moving or disbanding of PACT? Do you really imagine the SED families are going to take the risk that their kids may well be displaced because the critics of PACT may get their way?

The never-ending campaign to destroy PACT will simply prevent SED families from taking the risks to gain the benefits of the Stevenson PACT School, because they cannot cope with the potential loss they would suffer.

PACT is a very non-traditional school. The public has been deeply misinformed about many things. The people with less ability and time or have poor English are simply not going to be able to spend all the time it takes to dig deeper and make an informed decision to the point they are convinced enough to overcome their natural aversion to risk.

PACT has stood up to many years of attacks and mis-information campaigns and still 533 kids had requests for enrollment in fall 2014, and 390 kids are enrolled for fall 2015. The campaigns to trash-talk PACT accomplishes nothing but further scare the SED people away.

The people who make a big show CLAIMING they want to see more SED families at PACT are by their own behavior making that goal more and more difficult. People who have less are naturally afraid of any controversy.

"When you present information and opinions in an accusatory way"

Rather ironic considering your later remarks.

"it puts the respondent on the defensive and leads to a less productive conversation."

Indeed, not to forget calling for the destruction of a whole school, like closing Stevenson PACT and disbanding PACT all together as many here have done.

That also puts the families of an entire school on the defensive and leads to a less productive conversation AND these attacks simply drive away SED families because they naturally fear any controversies.

"we all want great schools for our kids."

Sure, but PACT ALSO wants ALL the schools in the district to be great schools, not just our own. PACT cares about the entire district.

This is only natural because the PACT families live all over the district and we ALL know friends or neighbors who attend other schools.

"The passion and energy of the parents and community should be focused on solving the very difficult problems at hand."

Yes, like focusing on long-term sustainable enrollment growth by addressing ALL factors we have the ability to effect. Not just focusing on one wish of one neighborhood in the hopes that a miracle will follow. The "if we build it they will come" theory. But we can't populate our K-5 schools with ghosts walking out of a cornfield.

"Stevenson is not actually an option being chosen by lower income families."

It IS an option, but they have to be willing to take risks and those with less to lose do the math and decide not to take the risks. It takes quite a lot of log-term effort to convince the SED families to take the chance.

"If this is not by design - then contributing ideas and energy towards increasing diversity at Stevenson would be beneficial."

Lets start making PACT more attractive to SED families by STOPPING the political war to destroy it! That would certainly serve to make the SED families feel more comfortable.

If the Dual-Immersion school can figure it out, then that method might also be useful when applied to Stevenson PACT. After all, the DI school is basically a traditional school with two main differences, the teaching of both English and Spanish lessons together and the side-by-side education of native English and Native Spanish speakers.

The Native Spanish families are so risk-averse that they wont believe that the DI method is actually far far BETTER for them than the English-only traditional school right next door.

If DI can't break-through that risk barrier even though their school is fundamentally operated as a traditional school, what do you expect PACT to do to solve that problem?

"If having too many families enroll who can't contribute the needed hours will undo what PACT is striving for,"

Ah, but what is "too many"?
If PACT went to 75% SED families who ALL choose NOT to do anything more than bring their kids to/from Stevenson and nothing more, then, yeah,
the benefits of the parent participation part of the method will not be able to provide much of a benefit. HOWEVER, the other aspects of the overall methods will continue, like the whole-child approach and progressive learning, the project-based learning, team learning,mixed-grade projects, etc...

If too many parents opt-out of actively supporting the parent participation portion of the methods, yes, the school will not be able to reach it's full potential and as the burden of supporting the entire school gets to be too high for those who choose to participate, they will be force to opt-out too.
All the kids lose then. For 20 years there has been enough parents who choose to participate. We can survive just fine with families who opt-out, but at some point, things get more difficult for the parent participation part.

"then there is still a valid argument as to whether our city can afford the privilege of offering this choice."

Given the 533 kids who wanted in to PACT for the fall of 2014, what do you suppose would happen to enrollment trends for the district if PACT got closed?

Would that really help our district or hurt it?

"In the end - we all want our children to go to a great school,"

Yes, but PACT also wants ALL kids to go to great schools and wants ALL the schools in our district to be great schools and wants ALL our schools to be safe from closures.

PACT wants everyone to be happy, not just our own kids.

"The story told by the above numbers is one of socio-economic segregation."

Just as with DI, it is the result of self-segregation due to the natural risk-aversion of those who have less and are thus less willing to take any risks.

That's NOT the fault of non-traditional schools, it's just human nature. Unless we are going to REQUIRE the SED people to attend schools they see as risky, what exactly are you going to do? Destroy anything different just because it is basic human nature to avoid risks when you already have so little as it is?

"Even if there is equity in monetary resources and teaching quality across the district, this segregation hurts our community."

Public perception hurts our community. Self-segregation occurs whenever something "new" or "different" comes along. The early-adopters are always the trail-blazers who find new paths which others will eventually come to follow, when they can get over their fear of the unknown.

"So again... The passion and energy of the parents and community should be focused on solving the very difficult problems at hand"

Correct, NOT by fomenting suspicion and accusations and denigrating the people who are actively exploring new and valuable educational methods, but rather by working together to solve the true problem, the faulty public perceptions of our schools AND the unstable behavior of our district, the constant threats to close a school, the orchestrated animosity between groups of families, the Trustees stating they will sabotage public school funding for the entire district if they don;t get what they want, etc...

All these things we COULD control, that's what scares families away from our public schools.

"- we need to show the community that we are united in the goal of building great public schools that serve the entire community. "

Yes, and STOPPING the attack campaigns against PACT would certainly be a great place to start.


3 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 10, 2015 at 1:14 pm

@parent of Sylvan Park
You wrote:
"@pact parent - The Palo Alto school district, which has 3 choice schools, also has neighborhood boundaries that designate where a child goes to school. If a family moves, the kids can stay in the same school and siblings get priority for also attending. Why does it work there but not here in Mountain View?"

Simple, that school district chooses to BEHAVE differently than the MVWSD has done for the last 10-15 years (or more, I have not researched much further back).

The Temporary-Super and Board of our district decided in late 2004 or early 2005, for it's own reasons, to close Slater torent it out to a wealthy company. This was in spite of massive protests from both the PACT and traditional families AND with clear numbers to prove the supposed "benefits" would NOT materialize and unmanageable over crowding would almost instantly be created and etc...

When the Board started to feel it's pre-determined opinions were being threatened, they pulled out another old political tactic, they threatened another school with closure instead. The Board threw Castro under the bus to take the wind out of the Slater families efforts to save their school.

The district has a long history of creating political wars between different groups of families in an effort to silence opposition to their exercise of arbitrary power.

PACT is a very non-traditional school and thus an easy target for critics.
PACT has been the focus of a decade of misinformation designed to make PACT the scape-goat and easy target for the politicians to distract the public from the Board's desire to exercise arbitrary power without interference from public opinion. The more we fight amongst ourselves, the more the district can get away with doing exactly what they wanted all along.

Just exactly how they closed Slater.

"As far as the "Romero Act" NONE of the schools in MV are on the list"

I thought Theuerkauf was still on the list?
Perhaps I am misinformed on that?


4 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 10, 2015 at 1:23 pm

@District Parent of Old Mountain View

You wisely explained:
"I'm so tried of misinformation being spread about so many MVWSD schools. No wonder people opt for private. For parents of young children looking in this must look like a hot mess."

All I can say to that is...
What "District Parent" said.


6 people like this
Posted by Canela
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 10, 2015 at 1:52 pm

@parent

I don't think other schools get to ask for a transfer. My understanding of district policy (and I'm not an official rep here, so please verify if you need to rely on this info for your child) is that the district allows everyone to "request" a school. Everyone gets one request. You can us that one request to request a choice program, or any of the other district schools. Choice programs will run a lottery, if you don't get it, you are assigned back to your designated neighborhood school. If you select another neighborhood school and there is space, you will be admitted. If too many people request, say, Huff, they will run a lottery if there is space after neighborhood kids. If there is no space at the school you request, or your not selected through the lottery, you get assigned back to your neighborhood school.

I think it's a fair policy. When I was a kid my city had a similar policy, people could request a different school. Back then, the schools each offered different programs, usually via afterschool programs - one school had a well developed video production program, another had a well developed performing arts program, etc. All got the basics, but each specialized a little different. Maybe 70% of people in one neighborhood just requested their closest (assigned) school. Maybe 30% asked to transfer because their child was interested in a particular program. Rather than compare schools on test scores alone, parents were able to pick from different programs if they wanted, or just picked the school closest to them. Really wish we could get back to that. In a community like Mountain View that has some very wealthy neighborhoods and some very poor neighborhoods it would be a great way to mix the kids up a bit and let them attend a school offering something they were passionate about.


6 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 10, 2015 at 2:03 pm

Intentional Misinformation? - the person posting above that has a link to PACT illegal "requirement" is using disinformation! For shame? Or is it OK to use old web page link (archive.org) to try to make your point? I don't think so! Please clean up your act (if this was intentional) or clean up your references and apologize- if you didn't understand the difference.

Thanks for good data link Monta Loma Parent!

everyone entitled to their own Opinion, not their own Truth (C.F. ref. :)


7 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 10, 2015 at 2:41 pm

I am surprised to see that even though the schools are stacked with more than the basic teaching resources, we still want something unusual or different for our kids.

I come from a third world country and believe me we worked so hard as kids even in elementary schools. Here I see, the elementary schools are more relaxed and playful environments. We had no parent volunteers at school. We got evaluated through tests every month and got ranked twice a year based on our progress. It was a competitive environment and we excelled in it. If I compare kids from US and those countries, they know far more. We have to change this relaxed behavior, so that kids develop the passion to do better than others.

Just being average is just not good enough, be the BEST!

Socio economic disadvantages or poverty has nothing to do with being good at studies! Its all about the attitude and passion we build in the kids.


9 people like this
Posted by Jeanie Light
a resident of Slater
on Jun 10, 2015 at 3:54 pm

@PACT Parent, a correction and a question.

Correction: The Slater-Whisman community group (we're the ones wearing green) that has rallied and is focusing significant effort and communication towards reopening a school in Whisman Slater is not campaigning for PACT or any other school to be closed or moved. In fact we actively helped circulate a "don't move PACT to Slater" petition when the PACT foundation reached out to us. We are however questioning assumptions and looking at the data and problems with a fresh set of eyes.

Question: I believe you are saying that it is actually very hard to get SED families to choose a program like PACT because its outside of their comfort zone and too risky. I haven't seen this perspective expressed before; is it based on actuall attempts in the past to bring in SED families and finding that they in the end didn't apply for the lottery? One of the big factors I had assumed was that lack of transportation or lack of time to transport students would lead to inability to attend anything but the closest school (or school where busing is provided). Does PACT have concrete data around factors that lead to the current socio-economic distribution of Stevenson?


14 people like this
Posted by Old parent
a resident of North Bayshore
on Jun 10, 2015 at 4:19 pm

Steve,

If you can read English, then you would have seen that I clearly indicated that this was from an archive site. Since I presume you can, then you must be deliberately misunderstanding what was written to make a point.

Earlier you wrote, "PACT program is not allowed to require parent hours or donations. That, in the past, was not strictly and entirely clear in their wording (on the mvwsd.org site) but THAT HAS now LONG BEEN FIXED!”

Let’s look at the internet archives and see how long the PACT school has not been “strictly and entirely clear in their wording”:

Here is a link to the November, 11 2012 archive: Web Link

This is even worse than what was up last year. In no uncertain terms are parents told that if they pursue an application to the PACT program, they would be committing to some significant time committments through the mandatory parent participation. This is not mis-information. This is INFORMATION:

"What kind of participation is required in Stevenson PACT?
The following are the parent commitments for the current year, and these are subject to change as the school’s needs change year over year:

Work in the classroom two hours per week, per child
One classroom "job" (coordinator, calendar, pet care, etc.)
Chaperone or support two offsite learning excursions (field trips) per year, per child
Serve on one committee (Publicity, Arts Focus, etc.)
Work in support of the school (library, yard duty, etc.)
Attend a 10-hour course on aiding in the classroom (new parents only)
Submit updated TB test result per district requirement


It isn’t until the April 15th 2015 archive capture of the school website that shows a change to take out some of the incriminating verbiage. h ttp://web.archive.org/web/20150408214134/Web Link.

Next, let’s review your assertion that this has “now LONG BEEN FIXED!”

The archive: h ttp://web.archive.org/web/20141031204358/Web Link on Oct 31 2014 shows the usual offending FAQ that outlines the parental commitments, so sometime between Oct 31 and April 15th, the text has changed. The archive clearly shows a consistent mandatory parental participation message from 2012 to late 2014. At most, this text has “LONG BEEN FIXED” for seven months out several years at least. Let’s see if we can look a little further to see when this text changed:

Ah-ha! Thank you Town Square for being a repository of history. In this thread Web Link on March 22, 2015 a “@Pact Parent” of Whisman Station quoted the aforementioned FAQ "What kind of participation is required in Stevenson PACT?”, with the long-published answer of listing a set of duties that the parent can choose from. And the infamous “PACT Parent” then goes on to say:
"Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 22, 2015 at 9:31 pm
@Whisman Station,

As has already been covered in prior posts, this regrettable mis-information was corrected by Nelson himself and the Principal and Superintendent. Wording changes are underway.

Sorry for the confusion.”

So, now we have documented evidence from the fanatic “PACT Parent” that the so-called “mis-information” was actually written by the PACT school THEMSELVES! There is even an APOLOGY! This is an admission that on March 22, 2015, the website contained the contested statement indicating parental requirements for this public school.

But, back to the matter at hand. Steve called me out and said that this problem has “now LONG BEEN FIXED”. Steve, Steve, Steve… it has only been 10 weeks! (March 22-June 10) How in any stretch of the imagination does this qualify as “LONG BEEN FIXED”, especially since the offending material has been on the site for YEARS???


15 people like this
Posted by Old parent
a resident of North Bayshore
on Jun 10, 2015 at 4:27 pm

One of the questions is: "How do I participate in the school?” The answer is merely a link to the Parent Participation page: Web Link

Let’s review some excerpts;

"This is a reminder of administrative tasks every family needs to complete at the beginning of every school year.”

So, EVERY family NEEDS to complete the following tasks, which are then enumerated:

1. Classroom Support

PACT parents may choose to volunteer an average of 8 hours a month. This may include a combination of the following areas (all hours, classroom jobs and field trips are assigned based on teacher needs.):

2. Committee Support

PACT parents can serve on one of Stevenson’s committees, such as School Site Council, PACT Foundation, Arts Focus, Garden, Parent Education, Fundraising, Social, etc.

3. Annual Family Donation

To cover the costs of Stevenson PACT’s progressive education program currently not fully funded by the District, the school relies on the generous support of every family. To meet the needs of our growing school, the PACT Foundation requests an annual family donation of $300 per child enrolled at Stevenson PACT. (We do not send endless fundraising slips home with your children.)

Please give what suits your family's budget. The goal is 100% participation. Regardless of the amount, your donation will have an immediate and tangible impact on all of the students here at Stevenson PACT. THANK YOU for your kind support! "

etc…

Notice it does not say the parent can opt out of classroom, committee or the annual donation. Even worse, the annual donation requirement specifically says: “...the school relies on the generous support of every family.” and “The goal is 100% participation.” What do you think this means to the average parent who is reviewing this school? The school says it RELIES on the donation from EVERY family. The implication is either that it is truly a mandatory “donation” or that if a parent doesn’t hand over the “donation”, then the school will collapse.

So, even while the PACT addicts admit that the previous website wording was “unclear” (read: illegal), the improved version is not much better. In fact, I would say it’s worse since there can be no question about lack of attention to the writing of it. It’s new and has been reviewed by (at least) a PACT parent and a board of trustee member. So, yeah. We get it PACT. You want our tax dollars as a public school, but insist that parents MUST work unpaid within the school throughout the year.

And Whisman DOESN’T get a school.

Yup. That’s fair!


6 people like this
Posted by Did the math
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 10, 2015 at 4:39 pm

@Old Parent

Well done, and thank you for taking the time to find the emperor's clothing.


7 people like this
Posted by Old Steve
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 10, 2015 at 4:46 pm

@Old Parent,

Whisman had a school, had two in fact. Decisions were made to close them. I get that you feel picked on. Both schools have now been closed for at least two cohorts of K-5 students. Those kids have finished high school by now. Why does keeping a school closed hurt kids who are not in district schools?

I don't usually agree with Trustee Nelson, however, your fine points about old web language prepared by volunteers don't really advance the current discussion. Has any PACT student ever been removed due to lack of volunteer hours or donation amounts by their parents? If not, it seems mostly a PR blunder on PACT's part, and as noted, has been corrected moving forward. If the district were turning away or over crowding students due to lack of a W/S school, I'd have an easier time supporting the cause. The only other school that is packed is Huff, and only because too many parents believe API defines a good school. It only defines (according to research) highly educated Mothers. That is why it is being replaced. As for OLD, I was here for the closing of both Whisman & Slater. Were you? If you are acting as a spokesperson for your newer neighbors, your drive for honesty should compel you to admit same.


15 people like this
Posted by Old parent
a resident of North Bayshore
on Jun 10, 2015 at 4:59 pm

Oh, no. It goes even deeper! "Old Steve", you really think that this is just a mis-step from "volunteers" (read in-kind tuition payers)? Let's see how institutionalized this is:

On their shiny new page down at the bottom: Web Link, it states, "The actual commitment terms may change from year to year. Read and sign the Commitment Form in your registration package if you are registering for the first time, or look for it in your mail if you are a returning family.”

What is the “Commitment Form” in the “registration package”? I couldn’t find it on the site, but...I did find this newsletter: Web Link which states, "A family at PACT should expect to spend about 120 hours in support of the school.”
Wow! This reminds me of my University days where the school would tell us what our parents should EXPECT to spend on room, board and books.

Even more alarming is: "My work-life perspective changed when my daughter started school,” says single-dad Yuan. “When I was looking for a job, travel requirements were out of the question, for example. After I landed this job, I made sure that my boss was comfortable with my school engagement. Given my situation, I can only fulfill the minimum hours in classroom. So I try to do more school-wide work that can use non-work hours, such as Garden Work Days and publicity work.”

Whoa! Here we have written testimony from a PACT parent that there are “minimum hours in classroom”, but that those minimum hours can be fulfilled with other WORK for the school. Um. Wow. Smoking gun. Even the PACT parents openly admit in a school publication that there are mandatory volunteer/working hours to be enrolled there.

So, now I’m sure that Steve and PACT Parent will defend this by saying that the article was unintentionally misleading, or the parent in question was in error. Uh-huh. Maybe we can clear this up if we can find that darned “Commitment Form” in the “registration package”:

After more searching, I’m pleased to thank Google for indexing search content and making it available to truth-seekers. Here is a cached version of the “Commitment Form” that each parent must sign when registering their child for the PACT program: Web Link (Right now, MVWSD Steve is frantically trying to get Google to remove this from their caches.)

This is the form that each parent must sign and return with their registration package. It requires the parents to pledge a certain amount of hours of working in the school! (Oh, and some cash $$$ too!)

(Uppercase added to highlight especially egregious statements.)

"Creating an exciting, engaging, and successful learning environment REQUIRES a commitment of time and resources from parents, teachers, and children. Consistent with this philosophy, our family would like to participate in the PACT (Parent, Child, Teacher) School on the Castro Campus in the Mountain View/Whisman School District throughout the 2007-08 academic year. I/We AGREE TO FULFILL the following PARENT PARTICIPATION REQUIREMENTS:

Weekly Commitment:

WORK 2 HOURS PER WEEK IN EACH CHILD’S CLASSROOM, as directed by the classroom teacher.

Work ½ hour per week in support of the greater school community (total of 2 hrs/month or 20 hrs/year).

Monthly Commitment:

Attend one 2-hour evening meeting per month (either PACT General Meeting or Classroom Meeting)for the purpose of planning, communication, and ongoing parent education.

In addition, work approximately 2 hours/month to fulfill a classroom job in each child’s class (such as field trip coordinator, book orders, cooking parent, garden parent, photographer, etc.).

Yearly Commitment:

Fulfill a PACT committee job (s uch as social committee, newsletter, publicity, operations, Arts Focus, garden – there are many options that fit different interests); time commitment varies.

Support at least 2-3 field trips per child by driving, chaperoning, providing snack, or babysitting the younger children of driving parents; about 8 hrs/year.

Participate in 1-2 school work days for a total of 4-8 hrs/year.

MAKE A DONATION TO PACT FOR THE ANNUAL FUNDRAISING DRIVE; NO TIME COMMITMENT – SEE OTHER PAGE.



Once, upon entering:

Meet state tuberculosis (TB ) testing requirements; repeat every 4 years.

Participate in the parent education class provided by PACT; total of 6-9 hours spread over several

weeks.



I/WE HAVE READ AND UNDERSTAND THE PACT COMMITMENT AGREEMENT AND AM/ARE WILLING TO FULFILL ALL OF THE

REQUIREMENTS DESCRIBED.

========

Unbelievable, huh? The parents must sign this as part of their child's registration package. Isn’t this a public school??? in the Yearly Commitment section, that there is an option to write a check, which is highlighted as “no time commitment”. So, the parent can BUY their way out of the service! This is TUITION, folks! This school is receiving cash, in-kind (service) contributions AND their full share of public school taxpayer funds.

Steve and PACT Parent. Can you now please come clean and admit that the PACT school is operating outside the bounds of the law?


13 people like this
Posted by Cfrink
a resident of Willowgate
on Jun 10, 2015 at 5:05 pm

Cfrink is a registered user.

I really, really love all this debate. I love all this parent and future parent involvement. This is what makes great schools. This kind of commitment is what makes a school successful and sought after. My sincere hope is that all these folks commenting here show up at meetings (at least once in a while), volunteer on task force committees, and get in and volunteer at a school of your choice.

I hope these folks join me and others in the quest to find the resources necessary to open another school. No matter what you think about any of our schools, opening another school in our district at this time will cause at least one school to be closed in the future. There's no fiscally responsible way around that reality at this time. Our school district is not wealthy enough to fund 9 schools with only 300 students, or two classrooms per grade per school. In addition, only having two classrooms per grade greatly reduces our ability to continue to challenge accelerated students (a concern I've heard from some parents), bring up struggling students and provide a comfortable place of learning for the kids in the middle. We have to keep focused on the overall goal which is to improve education district wide.

Having moved here not long ago, I come from a school district much too large for parents to have this kind of involvement. I'm really excited and honored to be here and have the ability to have a voice in how our education system works here. I trust that you all can respect how accessible your Board members are here in MV, how much your schools appreciate your involvement, and how much our children benefit from your help.


12 people like this
Posted by Cfrink
a resident of Willowgate
on Jun 10, 2015 at 5:10 pm

Cfrink is a registered user.

Also, this attempt to smear the PACT school (which is not where my child attends) is pretty silly. PACT is a fabulous program with a fabulous administrator. They don't require hours, they don't require tuition. They have an active and capable PTA and a very active group of parents who, not only advocate for their school, but the learning philosophy at this school. Rather than come here and write half truths and misinformation, please go down to the school and ask to see it's Principal. Get the truth straight from the horse's mouth. It's a small town so the school is close by. Everything you need to know about the PACT school is available at the school and I'm sure they'd be happy to tell you all you need to know. When I wanted to know how they do what they do there, that's what I did.


11 people like this
Posted by @Old parent
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 10, 2015 at 5:21 pm

@Old parent, are you aware that PTAs regularly hit up parents for donations? Have you heard of the Mountain View Education Foundation? They request a donation from every family in the district. If you don't pay, they will call you on the phone.

It's all part of public education in an underfunded district, no matter what school you go to. If you can afford it, you make a donation. If you can't your kids still reap the benefits. It pays for arts and music, which kids would not otherwise have access to. This is a *good* thing. Parent volunteers in schools-- another *good* thing.

Why are you picking on PACT?

Should I file a lawsuit because my kid's school walkathon raised less than they get over in Los Altos? Crittenden got a grant from a private corporation, but another school didn't--should I call Jerry Brown? What about the fact that it's harder for English-speaking kids to get a spot at Castro DI because more of them sign up? Who can I sue?

Why don't you put your energies into stopping child trafficking or you know, an actual problem?


7 people like this
Posted by Old Steve
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 10, 2015 at 5:22 pm

@Old Parent,

If you really believe PACT operates illegally, perhaps you should challenge them rather than wasting space on a thread about a new school. If every past, present, and future parent (and Trustee) could conduct themselves here and in public to the example set by Cfrink above, we would be over most of this. Arguing over the past is not nearly as useful as working together for the future.

Threatening to "leave the district" or work against future funding initiatives does not solve anything, it only makes one "part of the problem".


5 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 10, 2015 at 7:33 pm

Jeanie Light of Slater

Hello again Jeanie.

"@PACT Parent, a correction and a question."

Always glad to try to answer sincere questions.
I also have a sincere question for you that nobody on the W/S groups have ever yet chosen to reply to. Perhaps you will?

"Correction: The Slater-Whisman community group (we're the ones wearing green) that has rallied and is focusing significant effort and communication towards reopening a school in Whisman Slater is not campaigning for PACT or any other school to be closed or moved."

I am willing to accept that your goals were not intentionally designed to have that outcome, but from our history and what we've seen in the past 6 months, that quite an ask of faith. And we see the likely consequences quite differently.

"In fact we actively helped circulate a "don't move PACT to Slater" petition when the PACT foundation reached out to us."

Funny, I never heard of that and I try to keep connected to what's going on. I guess I missed that one. I'll have to see what it says before I can comment on it.

However, I did long ago become aware of the old Slater petition from many sources.

I am also aware of years worth of Whisman/Slater advocates calling for the total disbanding of PACT, many such remarks posted today in fact.

"We are however questioning assumptions and looking at the data and problems with a fresh set of eyes."

Nothing wrong with that, but the data has been openly available for many months.

So, my question is:
Why did you guys wait until the BATF and DFC process was done before you suddenly decided to start objecting to everything?

Many people have asked this question, but never have we gotten an answer.

"Question: I believe you are saying that it is actually very hard to get SED families to choose a program like PACT because its outside of their comfort zone and too risky."

I was taken a bit by surprise when I was told of that problem some months back by the DI teachers. But, then thinking of the people I grew up with (my family were always on "free-lunch" and "government cheese", we just barely got by), and remembering all the people I have known over the years it has been something I have also observed and it is quite logical besides.

"I haven't seen this perspective expressed before; is it based on actuall attempts in the past to bring in SED families and finding that they in the end didn't apply for the lottery?"

Well, let me give you one data-point I personally observed.

Sometime early this past school year (sorry I don't recall the date) the Stevenson PACT leadership tried all sorts of ways to reach-out to the Spanish-speaking community and ask them to come to a Spanish-centered meeting to explain the PACT methods and invite them to apply for the enrollment lottery for the 2015-2016 year. Those involved were really excited about this meeting and they prepared for a large turn-out. They had set up baby-sitting and everything else to be welcoming. Translators, native Spanish-speakers, etc...

But, I think only one family showed up and they didn't even want to put their kids in the baby-sitting either.

We were all shocked and disappointed. How to get a serious turn-out became a serious matter for us to solve for next time.

"One of the big factors I had assumed was that lack of transportation or lack of time to transport students would lead to inability to attend anything but the closest school (or school where busing is provided)."

Oh, don't get me wrong, we totally understand this point, but the "risk-aversion is the point most people don't think about, so it's the one I focused on.

One of the standard things we do at PACT is to try to form small support networks between new and returning families and we think this existing mechanism may well be a solution to the transportation problem. It seems possible that we could organize car-pools between interested families who don't have a car and families who do. This seems like a potential solution to the transportation issue. Other ideas are certainly welcome.

"Does PACT have concrete data around factors that lead to the current socio-economic distribution of Stevenson?"

All we know is what the district tells us. Obviously, we cannot read the minds of people who don't even show up at the public meetings to offer information about PACT to the general public. We can't exactly go around knocking on doors asking people their SED status.

The DI people have a much better handle on the problems because they have both groups of people already on the same site and they know who is who. Both the native-Spanish-speakers who choose traditional and those who have been convinced that DI is even more beneficial are available to talk to.

That was who opened my eyes to the issue, the DI teachers.

I hope that helps?


14 people like this
Posted by sick of pact
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jun 10, 2015 at 8:43 pm

I'd gladly sign a petition to dismantle the Pact.
Everyone pays taxes yet PACT continue to expect every child to suffer. To our new superintendent end this madness. Stream all the PACT kids into our community.
Our taxes pay the salaries to all the educator. Extending the lease to the German school and Google is an outrage.


5 people like this
Posted by mr_b
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 10, 2015 at 10:01 pm

I see the question of exactly how many students are attending schools in the District over and over again but it seems like we don't have a definitive answer.

If the District is responsible for reporting truant students, then they should know pretty definitively just how many student-aged children are in their boundaries, how many are attending MVWSD, and how many have opted out to attend other schools or are simply truant. Can someone provide these numbers? If it is known which non-MVWSD schools are drawing attendance, could those numbers be posted as well? Perhaps for the last three years?

The State Superintendent of Public Instruction supposedly knows where every child is attending -private or public- and we should too (at least in terms of numbers + demographics) to help us understand where our community is sending their kids.


5 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 10, 2015 at 10:36 pm

@mr_b of Monta Loma

"I see the question of exactly how many students are attending schools in the District over and over again but it seems like we don't have a definitive answer."

I would suggest you start with the demographic studies at this MVWSD link:
Web Link

There are some really good tables full of data.
A lot of good data is also available here:
Web Link


6 people like this
Posted by mr_b
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 10, 2015 at 11:54 pm

@Pact parent

Thanks but I've read much of this before. For example, in the first link:

"The remaining estimated 2,122 students are assumed to be attending private schools and/or charter schools located within or outside of the MVWSD school
district boundary."

"Estimated" and "assumed" aren't what I'm after. California is a state with compulsory education - you must be enrolled somewhere. Those that move mid-year or are homeless are the only reasons for blurry numbers I might accept, but even then that would be for mid-year numbers only. Once the year is completed, you should know where the students were.

And again, what are the names of the non-MVWSD schools and their numbers? If we don't know what programs MVWSD is competing with for students, how do we even know if MVWSD can offer anything to them. I don't think MVWSD is ready to participate in programs designed to support international baccalaurates.


3 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 11, 2015 at 12:25 am

@mr_b of Monta Loma

@Pact parent
"Thanks but I've read much of this before."

Sorry, that's the source of all the district data I have.
It's all been somewhere inside those various full agenda packages.

While I certainly applaud efforts to get useful information, what do you see as the use for the specific detailed information you seek?

If it's about trying to increase the K-5 enrollment, then I would love to hear ideas about how we can do that.

Perhaps you could email Superintendent Skelly to ask where that info could be found. He still is the Super for a few weeks yet.


9 people like this
Posted by Jeanie Light
a resident of Slater
on Jun 11, 2015 at 12:47 am

@PACT Parent
Responses in-line

"I am willing to accept that your goals were not intentionally designed to have that outcome, but from our history and what we've seen in the past 6 months, that quite an ask of faith. And we see the likely consequences quite differently."

I'm not the best person to recap things said over the past 6 months or who from the neighborhood agreed with what was said. I can tell you what I've seen since the time the BATF findings were reported in the Voice, which is when I became involved.

When the BATF findings were published, the neighborhood rallied and became much more organized and worked to focus on a goal we could all get behind. It was clear that if everyone was shouting different things, no one would be heard. We surveyed the neighborhood (and in fact canvased the neighborhood with flyers to try to get the word out more broadly) around the idea of attendance at a neighborhood school, PACT school, and STEM focused neighborhood school. This gave data that the majority of families would be excited about a neighborhood school and especially a STEM focused school. In the absence of these options, many would turn to private school or leave the neighborhood. These results were presented at the last board meeting. We've learned a huge amount in a short time - crash course in school district demographics, politics, and the complexities our district faces and are actively working to personally connect with more members of the MVWSD community.

All that said - anyone can post their opinion here on this forum, and not all opinions represent more than the person making the comment.


"So, my question is:
Why did you guys wait until the BATF and DFC process was done before you suddenly decided to start objecting to everything?"

This decision matters the most to those of us who don't have kids in school yet (which is true of over half of the families who've joined our group); we aren't already established somewhere and we won't be grandfathered into an existing school when boundary changes are made. But because our kids aren't in school, we are also the least likely to realize that there is a school political scene - let alone that we need to participate in it years before our kids would attend. We aren't affiliated with any existing school where this type of information would be sent out. We might or might not see it in the Voice or even realize what the task force's role would be in our kids future.
This all reminds me of the start of the Hitchhikers Guide...
"You were quite entitled to make any suggestions or protests at the appropriate time you know."
"Appropriate time?" hooted Arthur. "Appropriate time? The first I knew about it was when a workman arrived at my home yesterday. I asked him if he'd come to clean the windows and he said no he'd come to demolish the house. [...]"
"But Mr Dent, the plans have been available in the local planning office for the last nine month."
"Oh yes, well as soon as I heard I went straight round to see them, yesterday afternoon. You hadn't exactly gone out of your way to call attention to them had you? [...]"
"But the plans were on display ..."

Sigh - and so here we are.


5 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 11, 2015 at 12:50 am

VERY interesting time-line facts about the BATF and W/S advocates.

PACT families got first notice of BATF.
Weekly Newsletter of 12-17-14:
"Boundary Advisory Task Force (BATF)
The Mountain View Whisman School District is seeking qualified and interested persons to serve on a task force of community leaders, which will serve as the District’s Boundary Advisory Task Force to provide input and recommendations regarding District Boundaries. Interested individuals must submit an application by 4:00 pm on Wednesday, January 7, 2015"

NO indication of the critical work the BATF was to do.

The membership closing date was Jan 7th 4pm.

By Jan 9th, the Whisman/Slater had a letter about BATF published which may interest the Huff-A and W/S families.

Published in the MV-Voice on Jan 9th 2015.
"Open letter to Superintendent Skelly
...
The current school attendance boundaries that you inherited are an anachronistic patchwork from the district's previous attempts at
...
Our school attendance boundaries desperately need resetting
...
what is paramount for the community is the openness and transparency of the process. The parents and taxpayers need to feel included in every step taken by the task force for the end results to find acceptance in the community.
...
However, if the process is open, transparent and subject to the Brown Act, the district will have gone a long way toward rebuilding bridges with the community.
...
Robert H. Weaver Tyrella Avenue

Feb 13 Super Skelly Newsletter
"What's Happening With School Boundaries?
The BATF has begun meeting
As the student numbers in our neighborhoods has grown and shifted, it's become increasingly apparent in recent months that it's time to review school boundaries. Thanks to interest from around the district, a strong, representative Boundary Advisory Task Force, composed of parents, school employees and community leaders has been formed. Read more."

"read more" sends you to a mention of a "specific project" to give W/S a school. NOT about closing schools.

Feb 23 a parent emailed:
"WHAT HAS BEEN PROPOSED:
All 5 scenarios being discussed by the BATF mention Stevenson.
Only 1 of the 5 considers keeping Stevenson at its current location.
The District is recommending PACT be moved to 1 of 3 sites, each under slightly different conditions for the move."

Feb 26th Principal Graff called a parents meeting for March 3rd.

Skip forwards a few months...

W/S advocates started complaining about the process and screaming "bias" at the BATF AFTER the BATF and DFC gave their final reports.

Weaver claimed that if the process was open and transparent the community would accept it ad "build bridges".

Really? Seems to me W/S rejected the whole open process and burnt the bridges pretty quickly.


3 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 11, 2015 at 1:45 am

@Jeanie Light of Slater
Hello Jeanie I love TV too.

"I can tell you what I've seen since the time the BATF findings were reported in the Voice, which is when I became involved."

Where were you for the past 6 months? Weaver and other W/S advocates knew all about what was going on from the start. Why didn't they choose to spread the word 6 months ago? Why did the W/S community stay so silent until immediately after the final reports were presented?

Don't you see how it looks to everyone else?

"When the BATF findings were published"

The whole process was being published at the MVWSD web-site.

"It was clear that if everyone was shouting different things, no one would be heard."

The BATF and Board meetings took public comments one at a time and each group had open email addresses for more detailed remarks. They read those too.

"We surveyed the neighborhood"

As suggested by various people from the first meeting I attended.
Why the delay?

"many would turn to private school or leave the neighborhood."

I accept that, but don't you accept the enrollment problem is the result of far more factors than just that one?

"All that said - anyone can post their opinion here on this forum, and not all opinions represent more than the person making the comment."

Sure, but do you understand why PACT has been so concerned when virtually every plan suggested significantly damages PACT?

"This decision matters the most to those of us who don't have kids in school yet"

Again, a point raised in the first meeting I attended and known to W/S advocates.

"...school political scene - let alone that we need to participate...
years before our kids would attend."

If your families are so young, then most of you knew the situation when you chose to live there. Or, are these families mostly older people having kids late, so they moved in prior to 2005?

"We might or might not see it in the Voice or even realize..."

The PACT families were surprised too.

"This all reminds me of the start of the Hitchhikers Guide..."

I know it well. The HUGE difference is that the "notice" was impossible for Dent to know about at all.

The BATF work was known from the start by highly motivate W/S advocates who then inexplicably chose NOT to spread the word.

"Sigh - and so here we are."

Yes, sigh. PACT has lost our school twice and been under focused attack for 2 years. For 6 months most of 40 plans require damaging PACT to give W/S something most young families knew was not available when they moved in.

And still I ask, the fact is, various W/S advocates knew all about this from day one, why didn't we hear from the W/S families until right after the reports were given?


13 people like this
Posted by Comcerned citizen
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 11, 2015 at 5:48 am

Why are we listening to this Pact parent? I read with horror the case made against the pact school. I pay taxes that fund the damned place and now I see proof of its exclusionsry practices. What happens to the whistle blower? He or she is attacked! The case has been made and the anti-Whisman people have no defense other than to "go talk to the principal!"

This is like having a "Whites Only" sign on s drinking fountain and then explaining that the sign s not enforced. "Show me ONE person of color that was asked to stop drinking!"

Shame on Pact! All that money wasted on this extra "choice" school could be used to re-open a school for Whisman.


36 people like this
Posted by Different PACT Parent
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 11, 2015 at 7:47 am

@ PACT Parent,

I appreciate the time and effort you put into your thoughts and arguments on this topic. However, I don't believe you represent the views of the entire PACT community. Though well-intentioned, and at times helpful, I'm concerned your constant debating is doing more harm than good. Please consider your methods as much as your message.

@ everyone else,

Speaking only for myself, I urge you not to paint PACT with the same brush as you paint PACT parent. If we've learned anything, it's that communities are made up of diverse individuals with different opinions and perspectives. In my time with PACT, it's true, I've met one or two people who are very challenging to work with. But, I've met hundreds more who care ALL children just as much as you do.

The issues around facilities and boundaries are complicated to say the least. We won't solve them on a comment board. Whatever the outcome, someone, perhaps everyone will not get what they hope for. Regardless, our children will get as good an education as we support at whatever school our they attend.


18 people like this
Posted by mr_b
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 11, 2015 at 8:20 am

@PACT parent

"Sorry, that's the source of all the district data I have."
Well, I didn't really ask you alone. I asked the community reading the thread (which often includes MVWSD board members).

"While I certainly applaud efforts to get useful information, what do you see as the use for the specific detailed information you seek?"
As I stated in the same post: "If we don't know what programs MVWSD is competing with for students, how do we even know if MVWSD can offer anything to them."

In business, where there is competition for customers, you regularly examine what your competition is doing to lure customers away to try and understand why. If we have some 2,000+ students going somewhere else, it is worth looking at what those students are getting that they supposedly can't get at MVWSD so we need to start by knowing which specific schools/environments we are losing students to. There will be things that public school cannot legally/financially offer, there will be PR issues uncovered, there will be simple parental needs that public school cannot meet (religious, super small classes, etc.), there would likely be other opportunities for change uncovered. There could also be issues that are uncovered that help to justify what we already do. In any case, it would also give us an understanding of how many of those issues *could* be addressed in MVWSD and then we can stop discussing the portion of that 2000+ kids that we can *never* reach because of legal/financial/religious constraints.

At the very least, we would know our community better and be in a better place to make decisions going forward.

"If it's about trying to increase the K-5 enrollment, then I would love to hear ideas about how we can do that."

It's difficult to give novel ideas about enrollment without this specific information being released. Perhaps someone else already knows. Perhaps an active board member could help provide this clarity. Perhaps as you point out, someone in administration can release this information.

Without that comparitive information ALL opinion on why those students aren't staying in MVWSD is merely speculation and any actions based on that, using public funds, would be considered irresponsible. If this information isn't being collected and reviewed by the district/board at some regular interval--especially when you consider the number of students involved--something's very wrong. There could be reasons to contact the State Superintendent instead.

As a side note, I've always been put off by your self-righteous tone, attempts to proselytize, and domination (only in word count) of all school threads. It's as if you feel you are so right or in-the-know that all commentary should go through you first. Others have frequently complained as well, and some have gained negative views on PACT because of your actions alone. I'm surprised someone from PACT hasn't contacted you to calm it down or take a break every once in a while. It's something you don't seem to reflect upon.

The PACT program is about parents helping the kids by being active in the school, not .


11 people like this
Posted by mr_b
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 11, 2015 at 8:23 am

... not spending hours upon hours online acting as unofficial PR for the program.


27 people like this
Posted by Yet another different PACT Parent
a resident of Willowgate
on Jun 11, 2015 at 8:25 am

@mr_b

He has been asked to cut it out. He doesn't listen in person either.


3 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 11, 2015 at 8:59 am

@mr_b of Monta Loma

"If we don't know what programs MVWSD is competing with for students, how do we even know if MVWSD can offer anything to them."
"In business, where there is competition for customers, you regularly examine what your competition is doing to lure customers away to try and understand why."

You're assuming a zero-sum-game limited to within the district.

May I make an additional suggestion?
Is is not also a business view that the way you draw new customers is to offer them something that NONE of the competition has thought of offering?

Is it also not a business practice to figure out your own strengths and core competencies and play these up to the hilt so that nobody can match you in quality of your offering even if they try to copycat your idea?

Is it also not a business practice to seek totally new customers from other areas to come to your local area to seek out the variety of offerings you have. To find a combination of things which cannot be copied elsewhere?

I think keeping an eye on the competition is a good thing, I think seeking to switch the brand loyalty of those 2100 "missing" kids is fine.

But I think we are missing the real and much bigger opportunity of becoming the "destination" K-5 district by examining each school we have now to discover their best core competencies and exploiting those to build a brand around what they already can do, but which has not yet been fully exploited.

If we carefully examine each school and find what it is best at and boost that into a high-profile "feature" of the school, then all of our schools will look like the best thing for some parents and together the whole set of different focused style schools will combine to attract most types of families.

I think that by focusing solely on the 2100 kids, and copycatting the schools they have gone to, we are missing the bigger catch.

Is not that how forward-thinking businesses operate?


12 people like this
Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 11, 2015 at 10:27 am

Sorry, an additional school just is not the right move.

With that school comes all the additional overhead. Another Principal, admins, janitors etc. All that overhead.. no thanks.

Let's be smart with the money rather than emotional.


17 people like this
Posted by Justice
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Jun 11, 2015 at 11:34 am

@Canela to Puzzled - Good to hear. Sure wish we could talk offline. I still have a list of concerns that I've compiled from others who go there (concerns that have nothing to do with racial demographics or API score), but don't want to list them here to bias anyone unfairly.

Dear Canela,

*May I suggest instead of trying to discourage a happy Theuerkauf parent, why don't you bring your list of issues to the principal or the PTA or ELAC or all? This is the reason rumors don't go away. It's like you did not hear that this parent is happy at Theuerkauf, you want to prove that he/she shouldn't be. You are not listening to the things that she says he/she is happy with and love about it. Have you spoken to other parents that love Theuerkauf? How about spreading some news about that happy parent instead of spreading negativity?

*As far as your judging the families after only attending 2 meetings, I have been to many meetings over the years and from those meetings I understand the bigger picture of the families at Theuerkauf. I understand that parents pick up their kids, have to go home and feed them and try to make sure they get their homework done, whether or not they can help them with it. I understand that these parents work 1, 2 or 3 jobs to make ends meet and maybe they can't come to meetings because they are exhausted. I understand that there are single parents that volunteer at the school, giving it all they got, trying to squeeze in any time they can to help. I know parents that devote their lives to their children, to the school and to the teachers. If you gave Theuerkauf a chance, maybe you would too, but instead you sit on the sidelines and judge from a few...I don't think that is fair. I would rather you spread truths from both sides, but I know your mind is made up. If you do not have anything nice to say about a school you don't attend, then please don't speak on behalf of the families that you say are unhappy. Advise them to speak to their principal, to their community members, to their district, instead of continuously adding fuel to the fire of negativity that surrounds Theuerkauf.

Administrators cannot help if unhappy parents do not voice their concerns, yet badmouth in the background, causing serious damage to, ultimately, Theuerkauf students and faculty. Suggest they be that volunteer to help make the changes they want in the school. Please don't make it worse by continuously spreading negativity. Tell that parent not to give up! It is easy to say, "hey, I don't like that" amongst each other, but once you actually take the time to speak to a school leader, you may learn a lot about what you "thought" you knew, you may realize that you judged unfairly or without knowing all of the facts.

Don't be the person that attends a meeting to discuss how to make things better, say nothing at the meeting and then after the meeting is over, talk amongst a few and complain. It defeats the purpose and nothing gets done. Bring the complaints, along with a few suggestions on how you would fix the issues too and be prepared and willing to become a part of the team to work on the fixes. I hope you will consider this.


14 people like this
Posted by Me
a resident of Willowgate
on Jun 11, 2015 at 11:58 am

"I don't think MVWSD is ready to participate in programs designed to support international baccalaurates."

I don't think people are ready for this either. Just look at the venom people spew towards non-traditional programs.


8 people like this
Posted by Sour grapes
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 11, 2015 at 12:12 pm

I'm on a diet so YOU can't have cake


5 people like this
Posted by Dried Grape
a resident of Whisman Station
on Jun 11, 2015 at 12:15 pm

the cake is a lie!


15 people like this
Posted by Yet another PACT parent
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 11, 2015 at 12:45 pm


I also agree with "Different PACT Parent". (to fellow PACT Parent, appreciate your effort and time but the main focus here is not about Stevenson, I don't think it is necessary to jump in every single comment to trigger a war against PACT program)

For unknown reason, some people leave comments here just to judge PACT programs even though the primary focus should have been to address the need of Whisman area. It also seems people are judging PACT programs without understanding the philosophy. Parent involvement is just one of the aspect. I am hoping that everyone stop criticizing this program and focus on how to improve what we have in MVWSD, every child counts. Every parent is working hard to raise their family and provide good education for their children.

I live in Whisman area. I can also understand how the community is impacted without a local school. I believe most people recognize the potential need for re-opening the school. it is just the matter of time. Unfortunately if the rezone decision is made, it is very unlikely that people will actually send their children to TH. (I've heard many similar comments from friends in both Whisman and Rex Manor neighborhood). My fear is not only the rezone decision will help TH but that in worst case it will just push more kids away from MVWSD. Later on, we still have to set up another BATF and bring back this discussion of having another school or close down the school. This is just waste of tax payer's money as well as everyone's time. If rezone decision is made, what would be the convincing reason that everyone will attend TH. Even some comments in MV voice don't sound that positive about TH.

Anyway, I just hope everyone can stop the bitterness and criticism. Focus on things that matter


16 people like this
Posted by TH
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 11, 2015 at 1:16 pm

Making all schools the best should be the goal here.

Theuerkauf has come a long way and has the potential to get even better. I have a strong belief that it will become one of the best in the coming years with strong emphasis on STEM and Science education. The kids are exceptionally good at Math and they take full advantage of computer resources for project research. I think parents make a big mistake when they choose not to go there. You will see the difference with the new testing scores that will be posted next year.

Please do not underestimate it!


7 people like this
Posted by Canela
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 11, 2015 at 1:28 pm

@ Justice,

Wow! I think you totally misunderstood what I was trying to say. I'm certainly not trying to convince a happy TH parent otherwise. Why would I do that? What would be the point? My desire to speak with them offline represents my desire to learn more about the school and get some questions answer from a different perspective before we make a final decision. It has nothing to do with trying to change someone else's mind.

Unfortunately, I don't have any stories to spread about happy TH parents. I believe they are out there as occasionally I see posts online, but I have yet to actually be able to speak with any. I wish I did, thus my interest in connecting with this parent so I can learn more. My suggestion to have parents attending the info sessions was meant as a way to help counter what I hear in the neighborhood (rumors or not). It was not meant as a slight against the school, but a suggestion that might help, as others have suggested, to get a more balanced view of the school out there. That's all. I completely understand if parents are double booked and cannot attend evening meetings, but even once a year? No one from the school can attend a meeting even once to talk with prospective families about how much they love their school?

I have spoken to the previous principal extensively, Connie knows me. I will try to connect with the new principal once he starts to learn more about his vision for TH. Why you assume I've only attended 2 meetings and have had no other involvement with the school is beyond me.

My mind actually wasn't made up, (thus why I was wishing for more information from this other parent) however after reading your diatribe against me, you are helping me make up my mind. I hope that you are not representative of parents at TH. If you are, then I don't feel my family would be welcome as any suggestion for improvement for the school would just be met with resistance.


3 people like this
Posted by Canela
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 11, 2015 at 2:01 pm

@TH

Can you talk more about the strong emphasis on STEM and science at Theuerkauf? Is this done through projects (hands on learning)? I have not heard about that either in the info sessions or from the previous principal and it sounds great. Is there anyway I can get more information on this before school starts? Thank you.


18 people like this
Posted by TH
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 11, 2015 at 2:20 pm

A group of scientists from Science is Elementary visit each classroom every month to teach about different science concepts inline with common core standards. They do experiments with kids in groups and all of them record their observations in a science notebook. I got to look at it at the end of the year in detail and it was amazing! Even first graders learned many new concepts like levers, bridge structures, pulleys etc.

Every child has access to his/her own chromebook that they use to do project research, ST Math, Lexia etc. 4th and 5th graders go to several science field trips and this time a group of kids were invited to attend Google I/O conference in San Francisco.

A lot of after school science activities are being planned this summer for next year. Please talk to the new principal.


5 people like this
Posted by Canela
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 11, 2015 at 2:51 pm

@TH

THANK YOU! Thank you for posting this info. It is so great to hear this. I will talk with the new principal next year to learn more. Sounds very exciting.


7 people like this
Posted by Justice
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Jun 11, 2015 at 4:33 pm

@Canela

Dear Canela, thank you for your response. I am glad to find out that I misunderstood the post. I sincerely apologize. I am tired of hearing misconceptions about our school and just like every other person on these posts, am responding to and defending our schools. FYI:There is a district meeting tonight at Theuerkauf to discuss our schools. You should go. I would, but alas, I have to work evenings and can't attend meetings anymore. Good luck.


11 people like this
Posted by What do we do?
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 11, 2015 at 5:10 pm

I keep hearing that we can barely squeak by budget-wise with the schools we have. Since most of us agree then that Whisman deserves to have a neighborhood school just like every other neighborhood in the district, then that means another has to close.

Closing another neighborhood school wold simply transfer the problem Whisman has to another neighborhood.

So, what can we do? Perhaps we are spending too much money somewhere? A review of budget items are in line. Let's figure it out and get it done.

I think the idea of cutting PACT comes from the fact that it is a just solution for the school district overall. Sure, the parents in PACT will be upset, but we have many more parents in Whisman that are impacted by doing nothing.

It was a mistake to grant the PACT program the status of a school, given the economics in the district. It should have remained a program that could be more easily scaled back or terminated to satisfy budget constraints.

Anyway. let's CONSTRUCTIVELY find a solution that would give the Whisman families their school back by school year 2017. If we can't come up with a solution that is no-impact, then we need to make the tough call. If that impacts PACT, so be it.


6 people like this
Posted by Canela
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 11, 2015 at 5:28 pm

@ Justice

It's always hard to understand exactly what someone means when comments are written. Face to face is so much better, right? Sounds like there are some interesting programs in the works that TH school isn't talking much about but that prospective families would really like to know more about. Hopefully we can bridge that communications gap in the future. Good luck and thank you for the work you do to support our kids.


6 people like this
Posted by mr_b
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 11, 2015 at 9:31 pm

@PACT parent

“You're assuming a zero-sum-game limited to within the district.”
I didn’t say that. That characterization is incorrect.

“May I make an additional suggestion?
Is is not also a business view that the way you draw new customers is to offer them something that NONE of the competition has thought of offering? …”

To your question: Not interested.

Why? Because of your comments that followed. We can’t compare MVWSD to something we don’t know. Business or no.

You run on and on about “branding” and “core competency” “exploitation”, cavalierly overextending my simple analogy. Even using your extended analogy, it wouldn’t make sense for a business to tout how great they are at selling music if they didn’t know iTunes or Pandora exists and/or if they were in a weaker position. Businesses research competitors *before* marketing and investing. It also doesn’t make sense to try and make MVWSD so “distinctive” that, after changes, you still only appeal to “some parents”.

It is worth restating that this is a school district-a public service-and not a business. Many of your behave-like-a-business suggestions have ethical and legal issues attached to them. If you were trying to be funny, you wasted our time. If you were serious, I’m offended.

My analogy was simple (and meant to be). I think it valuable for us to know, at least, where these 2000+ students are going. There is much that could be learned from that data being released. There would still be some speculation as to why families have opted-out of MVWSD (every family is different), but we would be far less blind than we are right now.

Maybe take a hint from some of the other posters here and actively choose not to chime in on every post, or at least wait 24 hours between and try to edit it down and stay on point. Many of us work, have children, and don’t have time to follow you down (or bring you back from) every rabbit hole you create.


11 people like this
Posted by mr_b
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 11, 2015 at 9:52 pm

@Canela
I'd like to confirm what positives TH and Justice have said about Theuerkauf. Not one single school in MVWSD is perfect, but there are so many great programs going on there with wonderful parents and teachers, I often see Theuerkauf in stock terms: undervalued and a buying opportunity.

I think, one of their biggest challenges (as you've identified) is that they need to work on effective communication. Not just in letting prospective parents/interested parties know about all the great things going on there, but to parents of Theuerkauf students who rely on correct, thorough, available, and timely communication. From experience, I don't feel Connie took this as seriously as it needed to be. Perhaps the new principal will spearhead changes in better communicating with parents, the community, and other stakeholders. It's a good time for change there.


13 people like this
Posted by OMG
a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2015 at 12:18 am

I just saw a posting that blew me away! I've copied it below. How can a public school set up such barriers to entry as to exclude students that have every right to attend? Well, a school in Mountain View has made it happen:

"The big problem is that the PACT school has violated the law by mandating parents to donate hundreds of hours of their time. With residents barely able to make ends meet, adding this massive burden is unacceptable. This is a public school and as such ought not to charge tuition, even if it is a non-cash donation of services.

Here is an excerpt from the PACT website:

"What kind of participation is required in Stevenson PACT?

The following are the parent commitments for the current year, and these are subject to change as the school's needs change year over year:
Work in the classroom two hours per week, per child
One classroom "job" (coordinator, calendar, pet care, etc.)
Chaperone or support two offsite learning excursions (field trips) per year, per child
Serve on one committee (Publicity, Arts Focus, etc.)
Work in support of the school (library, yard duty, etc.)
Attend a 10-hour course on aiding in the classroom (new parents only)
Submit updated TB test result per district requirement"

Of course charging tuition via cash or services would cause a filtering of students and create an exclusivity. I'm sure these parents LOVE being separated from the less affluent in the district! Besides being downright illegal, doesn't this put into perspective the great injustice against the Whisman neighborhood?

Closing the illegally ran PACT school would easily allow the tax paying Whisman neighborhood to re-open their school. How quickly can we get this accomplished?"

Good luck Whisman parents! It sounds like your district is covering this atrocity up. I would hire an attorney or at least call the State Attorney's office and ask for an investigation.


20 people like this
Posted by Jennifer
a resident of Whisman Station
on Jun 12, 2015 at 10:44 am

Here is a link to PACT parent requirements as of 1040AM on June 12:

Web Link

Does Stevenson PACT charge tuition?
No. Stevenson PACT is a public school, so it does not charge tuition. However, like traditional PTAs, the PACT Foundation asks parents to make a voluntary contribution annually in order to support the costs of the program such as field trips, classroom supplies, technology, special projects, parent education, teacher development, and community events. The PACT Foundation strives for 100% participation from parents in its fundraising goals. Suggested donation may change, but any amount a family can contribute is appreciated.

1. Classroom Support

PACT parents may choose to volunteer an average of 8 hours a month. This may include a combination of the following areas (all hours, classroom jobs and field trips are assigned based on teacher needs.):

Classroom Hours: Aid in a classroom and/or play yard in a regularly scheduled shift during school hours in support of the classroom. Shifts are usually 1 to 2 hours in length except for Arts Focus full-time volunteer shifts, which consist of twelve 4-hour shifts.
Classroom Job: Support a classroom job, such as field trip coordinator, garden parent, book orders, science coordinator, etc.
Offsite Learning Experiences: Support field trips by driving, chaperoning, or babysitting the younger children of driving parents. Field trip drivers will need to provide a copy of clean DMV record, proof of insurance, and fill out the District Driver Authorization application each year.


6 people like this
Posted by Me
a resident of Willowgate
on Jun 12, 2015 at 12:14 pm

Ever wondered where all the missing socks go? They all go onto the internet to start a career as sock puppets.


7 people like this
Posted by You
a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2015 at 2:11 pm

"Has any PACT student ever been removed due to lack of volunteer hours or donation amounts by their parents?"

A few years ago I wasn't able to donate money and nobody demanded anything. And we do not put up a list of who donates how much for all to see.


18 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 12, 2015 at 2:34 pm

We have been at PACT since 2010. I am a single parent, working fulltime. We joined because we supported the philosophy at PACT. We were at a traditional school for two years prior and were very happy there. Many of the parents volunteered their time; the teachers and administration were extremely good and we loved the community. But ultimately, I felt that the educational philosophy at PACT was a better fit for my family.

No one has ever questioned my commitment, despite my inability to give all of the hours asked, or, for that matter, the entire requested donation.
As far as I know, all schools in the district ask for donations, one way or another. Some ask in the form of classroom supplies and fees for field trips. At PACT we are asked once. I prefer it this way. I don't feel the humiliation of having to admit that I can't afford it all before receiving assistance.


10 people like this
Posted by Recent PACT parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 12, 2015 at 4:22 pm

I had a child at PACT for 5 years, graduated recently. I would like to echo the previous poster's points.

I was not always been able to volunteer the full requested time at PACT, and I was not always been able to make the full donation. No one has *ever* brought that up, disparaged me in any way, or made me feel less-than because I'm a working parent. As far as I know, there is no tracking of volunteer hours.

Having said that, if there aren't enough volunteers, certain things can't happen. If not enough parents are able to drive, the field trip gets cancelled. So there's a certain reality that you live with-- if you want to be able to do all the things you want to do at that school, you need committed parents.

It's an absolutely wonderful school but without parents in there every day, it doesn't work.


8 people like this
Posted by Problem with PACT
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 12, 2015 at 4:54 pm

Is there a shortage of teachers at PACT? Why do they need so much parent involvement? Except for kindergarten, I don't think you need a lot of parents to go to field trips. I still do not understand why are so many parents needed. Can you please give an example? It seems like the teachers are not doing their work. Sometimes I feel parents are useless in classrooms, they are not trained to teach 4-5th grade students.


11 people like this
Posted by Non-pact
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 12, 2015 at 10:41 pm

In my opinion parents in the classroom are a distraction. Parents haven't the training to teach. I wouldn't want my child taught by little Jimmys mommy. Along with bringing younger siblings in tow. No thanks. It's not unusual to see parents lingering and socializing after the bell rings.
Pact parents let your kids breath they don't need you to ffight their battles in the playground .
Do pact parents follow their kids to middle school?


11 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 12, 2015 at 11:04 pm

100% agreed with the above comments. If Nelson is also right "Nelson also referred to Stevenson Elementary as a "segregation program" based on the wealth of the families in attendance." PACT should be closed, it was the brainchild of corrupt Goldman.


7 people like this
Posted by Me
a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2015 at 12:15 am

"In my opinion parents in the classroom are a distraction."

You are free to feel that way and stay away. Nobody is forcing you or your children to be subjected to the horror of parents in the class room.



17 people like this
Posted by Divergent
a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2015 at 12:38 am

I trust that the board of trustees will make the right decision. The Boundary Advisory Task Force put forth a proposal that relieved overcrowding at Huff and posed the least impact to other boundaries. I hope that the trustees will find the courage and conviction to do the right thing. So, what is the problem?…the Reopen Slater Group has a problem sending their children to a school whose demographics are different from their own.

For example, I love this quote from a Resident from North Whisman (Web Link) on why they oppose having their child attend Theuerekauf, “but it's not crazy for me or anyone else to want our kids to be in a school with a meaningful proportion of kids from other parents who are similar to them. Not _all_ of them have to be similar, but some (half?) do.” Translation = “What’s so wrong about me wanting my kid hanging with kids (that are like me). It’s okay if there are some Hispanic students around. I’m good with half, but not more than that, please.”

Interestingly, residents of that area, or “those families” would rather send their students to private school than to attend public school with Hispanic students. Way to go Reopen Slater Group!

How does the Reopen Slate Group Respond?

Well, first they attack PACT. They would rather take PACT down before sending their kids to Theuerekauf or private school. You are on your way. You've had a hand in having their principal resign, and soon PACT will dissolve, you’ll feel all good about yourselves, because “it's not crazy for me or anyone else to want our kids to be in a school with a meaningful proportion of kids from other parents who are similar to them.” Way to go Reopen Slater Group! No, no one thinks you are racists or elitist.

Second, Reopen Slate Group shuffles their feet to the back of the room, stay nice and quiet, when their main man, Coladonato, threatens to undermine the efforts of the Castro Community (a Hispanic community) to close the achievement gap. “Cap Castro,” he says. “Don’t invest in that community,” he says. Clearly, I am paraphrasing and being a bit facetious. His message, however, in suggesting in capping the strands from three (3) to (2) is basically this, “Those people don’t need flexibility or resources to improve their quality of life, because it's not crazy for me or anyone else to want our kids to be in a school with a meaningful proportion of kids from other parents who are similar to them.” I wonder why he does not support the Hispanic community at Castro. [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]



Third, Reopen Slate Group ignores Nelson’s aggressiveness and bully tactics. Can you blame them? Nelson has said that he would join in any effort to block revenue sources if a new school were not reopened in Whisman-Slater. Wait. Wouldn’t additional revenue go a long way in opening a school there? Wouldn’t additional revenue go a long way in helping all of our children in the city? Ah, I see. It is the classic, “let me stomp my foot until I get what I want” tactic. And, “if can’t have any, no one can.” Now, I understand, my 5 year old has that same issue. Nevertheless, as I hinted at before, it is a good to have a bully on your side, and it is okay because, “it's not crazy for me or anyone else to want our kids to be in a school with a meaningful proportion of kids from other parents who are similar to them.” Way to go Reopen Slater Group! No, no one thinks you are a bully.

Reopen Slater Group, you have two trustees on your side, one does not care about the underprivileged and another who struggles to maintain any sense of decorum as a publicly elected official (didn’t I mention all of the resignations?). Way to go Reopen Slater Group, you will go down in history as the group that… you decide.

Might I make suggestion Reopen Slater Group? If you invested just half the energy into making Theuerekauf a STEM school (or whatever), instead of this, what you are doing now, you would find that not only would your children have an awesome school, but you would actually help the district’s most neediest get the same quality education that you would demand for yourself. Don’t you want to play a role in closing the achievement gap, in playing a primary role in improving the quality of life for others? On the other hand, is this just about you, at the detriment of everyone else?


7 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 13, 2015 at 1:27 am

@Divergent a resident of another community

First, Divergent, do you know somebody, well 5 somebody's qualified to run for School Board? Anyone? Anyone?

"Might I make suggestion Reopen Slater Group?"
...
"Don't you want to play a role in closing the achievement gap, in playing a primary role in improving the quality of life for others? On the other hand, is this just about you, at the detriment of everyone else?"

No, NO, Divergent, you just don't understand at all!
It's really all about allowing a certain percentage of their community to walk or bike to a school for themselves, because, as one of their advocates Robert Weaver said at Board meeting many months ago, it's all about the "carbon footprint".

Yeah, Global Warming comes in politically handy yet again.

See, all they're trying to do by closing Stevenson PACT is to save the planet by letting some portion of their neighbors walk or bike to their own school. It's not about racism/elitism at all.

So, once they get the Slater school re-opened by closing Stevenson PACT, I wonder which other school they will target for closure next to make sure the rest of their community has an easy walk to the Reopened Whisman School?

I mean, consider the "carbon footprint", you can't save the world by reopening just ONE of the neighborhood "walking schools" you just GOT to Reopen them BOTH, right?

I mean, their group is just trying to save the planet after all.
It's not about being racist/elitist at all.


4 people like this
Posted by Non-pact
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 13, 2015 at 1:31 am

@"me"
Did I hit a nerve. subjected to the horror of parents in the class room.
Your words not mine. One last point, Pact parents driving my kid to field trips. No thanks.
To our new Superintendent, please take notice these parents could be a liability .


5 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 13, 2015 at 6:06 am

PACT line-item features NOT unique to PACT, magnitude and organization are.

In spite of various posts trying to educate people, some people just wont be educated.

At the moment, I cannot think of any specific line-item practice or method which is unique to PACT. Other public schools in our district include various bits and pieces which PACT includes. The unique part of PACT is the magnitude of these various methods and practices and the organization of them.

It is not unique to PACT that parents drive or assist as chaperones for field trips, for example.

An uninformed persons opinion:
"In my opinion parents in the classroom are a distraction."

As has been posted before, various other public schools have volunteer parents in the classrooms for a variety of purposes to aid teachers, including conducting standard lessons for small groups or for various other purposes. PACT just takes that practice to a more organized level we feel is the best balance and most useful for the teachers and kids.

If the teachers felt any parent was being a distraction they would correct the situation. The purpose it to aid the teachers and that's how the teachers keep it.

"Parents haven't the training to teach."

Clearly, you must NOT be a parent. If it's one thing parents do is to teach kids, constantly and daily. PACT again, takes this to the next logical level by conducting Parent Education classes to provide a set of standards to follow. And as has been said countless times, the teachers are always in full charge.

"I wouldn't want my child taught by little Jimmys mommy."

That's why people have to "opt-in" to be part of PACT. Parents know what to expect. If some parents are so paranoid and frightened of the other parents that they cannot mentally cope with this fact, they have the choice to go elsewhere with their kids.

There's no shame in being afraid of things you know nothing about. The shame is in the deliberate choice to remain ignorant and afraid when you could learn better instead.

"Along with bringing younger siblings in tow."

I've never once seen a pre-school sibling dragged into class during a parent volunteer shift. The teachers would never stand for it anyway. Nor would they stand for anything that disrupts their educational priorities.

"It's not unusual to see parents lingering and socializing after the bell rings."

And why not? When the kids are all in classrooms there are often things that parents need to talk about together, where's the harm in that? Parents pass each other on the way in or out for their shifts. They keep coordinated and organized with each other in a variety of ways.

"Pact parents let your kids breath they don't need you to fight their battles in the playground ."

They breath just fine. When parents are keeping watch during play times we are there to observe for safety issues. Like if a stranger comes on the campus or a kid goes running towards the street or starts some dangerous behavior which needs correcting, etc... We don't run around and play with our kids NOR do we go beat up kids fighting "battles".

In fact, UNLIKE most schools I've seen, there has been so little of anything I would call "bullying" going on (well, outside the MVWSD Board room of course), it's hardy ever come up in the past 2 years.

One typical Board meeting with Nelson has more bullying in it than I've seen between the children of PACT over 2 years now.

"Do pact parents follow their kids to middle school?"

Not in our district, but I hear that in some districts their PACT-like schools do extend K-8 and there may well be districts where such schools have PACT-like educations K-12.

Again, I can't think of any line-item of the PACT methods which are not also practiced in various other public schools in our district. It's all about the magnitude and organization.

There is no specific line-item that PACT does that could not be found useful in other schools. But, many parents are not comfortable with things they do not understand. Many have faith in the traditional approach. That's what "choice" is about.


9 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 13, 2015 at 7:53 am

I would like to publicly thank Ms. Light for privately mailing me about my bad public response to the Archive.com mailer that is trying to use obvious OLD information to skew the current public debate. I appreciate it when a reasonable person - privately corrects me (even in strong terms).

I would urge all to look at the links and excerpts by "Jennifer" up above. This reflects current reality - and has for several months! We all make mistakes in nuance - or sometimes, in our understanding of the legal limits that we are constrained by in public education. "assume good intent"

Like Trustee Wheeler, I am quite open to Choice programs, and perhaps spending a bit more per child for the overhead of keeping them (5%)? As a Progressive - you will always seeing me 'fight the good fight' to keep segregation by WEALTH out of the public education domain.

Since a majority of the Board and the DO do not seem able to encourage a reasoned - inclusive - wide ranging public discussion on this: Neighborhood - Exclusivity (wealth segregation)-Fairness Question, I am going to ask the City Human Relations Commission to start planning for such a dialog.

SN is a Trustee of the MVWSD, these are his own opinions


6 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 13, 2015 at 11:11 am

I see some wonderfully thoughfull discussion (just 2 above) and then I also see (a few more above) a real, what I would call "trash the views and values of the OPPONENTS" fight. I find it hard to reconcile that this is actually the same person. Perhaps two (and one URL)? So, I just dismiss the trash-talk, and try to internalize the good discussion points from some of the PACT parents.

If you grew up in educationaly-racially segregated Virginia in the 1960s-70s would you have noticed it? Spoken out? If you lived in 21st century Mountain View, do you even notice economic/wealth segregation? I think if you are Not a graduate-degree / college-degree parent, you probably do notice the problem more.

best, SN the opinion of one MVWSD Trustee


16 people like this
Posted by Worried parent
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 13, 2015 at 1:32 pm

No matter what please DO NO CLOSE PACT or DISRUPT TH. These changes are unfair to the current PACT family or TH family. Board, BATF or W/S group please please when you are making your wish, you do not have to destroy other's life. PACT has been successful. TH is catching up. It will be a shame to kill a working business for uncertainty. Whisman group. You want your school, we want our school remain as it too. Thanks


12 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 13, 2015 at 7:42 pm

@Steven Nelson of Cuesta Park

"I find it hard to reconcile that this is actually the same person. Perhaps two (and one URL)?"

I have only once seen a post under my moniker which was NOT written by me and I have said so when I found it today. I cannot say for sure that no other such posts exist, but none I am aware of.

"If you grew up in educationaly-racially segregated Virginia in the 1960s-70s would you have noticed it?"

The word "segregated" or "segregation" are a deliberately provocative terms which are chosen to suggest some sort of conspiracy designed to keep people down.

Children tend to have enough on their plates just growing up to notice such things UNLESS certain types of people choose to shove in it their faces as a means to humiliate them in order to make themselves feel better about themselves.

I myself was frequently bullied for any excuse, but being a "free-lunch kid" a "poor kid" were certainly common excuses various bullies used as an excuse. But, just being shorter and skinnier than the other kids were was another excuse bullies often used.

"Spoken out?"

Kids back then were just happy to get through the day without being physically or verbally assaulted. They certainly were not going to draw more attention to themselves by "speaking out" about how others are being mis-treated.

That sort of courage didn't normally develop until at least high school, but usually not until college.

"If you lived in 21st century Mountain View, do you even notice economic/wealth segregation?"

21st century, meaning the last 15 years?
I think we can assume we are all currently living in the 21st century.

The word "segregation" is a deliberately provocative term which is chosen to suggest some sort of conspiracy designed to keep people down.

This is not remotely the case in Mountain View, nor in California as a whole.

The fact is, that in the USA we have opportunity beyond any other nation in the world for people to rise above obstacles. The fact that at any specific point in time there will always be differences in the conditions of a person or family or group, is NO PROOF of any intentional effort to cause this. It says nothing but how dynamic our nation is and how mobile our society is.

People move up or down or sideways over time and families have no assurance of what future they or their kids will have. Wealthy families in one generation or even year can find themselves poor and poor families can find themselves wealthy in one generation or year. Something our city proves well.

I know a hispanic woman who had not even a high school education, no family, nothing to her name when she went to work as a receptionist at one of our Silicon Valley companies. She never really rose up in the organization, but due to stock options and purchase plans and good timing, her kids all went on to get advanced degrees she paid for and she ended up with a house that mine would fit in her garage.

I never begrudged her that great fortune, she earned it too with her dedication to her job and company.

"I think if you are Not a graduate-degree / college-degree parent, you probably do notice the problem more."

How does that work?
Why would being more or less educated lead one to be more or less able to "notice" the conditions of others around you? That would mean the very wealthy would be utterly incapable of seeing the varying conditions.

My wife did finally earn her BA, after years of night-school after a full hard day of work. Done long before she had our only child.

For myself, I have only a 2-year degree, but I have worked my tail off in high-pressure long-hours jobs for decades, as has my wife and we have well-earned everything we have and continually worry about the future of our child and how we will ever be able to retire.

We both paid our own way through college, nobody handed us anything, not that I find that a "sin" either.

And yet, people who hate Stevenson PACT are always trying to diminish us and our concerns by pointing fingers and "accusing" us of being "affluent".
WHEN exactly did it become a "sin" to work hard all your life to earn a better life for your selves and your child?


12 people like this
Posted by Parent of 2
a resident of another community
on Jun 14, 2015 at 10:28 pm

Why does Pact School refer to themselves as family?
After viewing your board meetings and reading several weeks of comments I've come to the conclusion, you all need therapy.
This districts is no longer a consideration for my children.


7 people like this
Posted by mr_b
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 15, 2015 at 8:00 am

@Steven Nelson

I read your "segregated" comments as to be taken as a civil rights commentary on access which certainly has some of us in the community concerned, so I don't find it inappropriate as some others might claim.

It's also very reasonable to say that those who are scraping by with less education, with few opportunities for stock option positions, are noticing the stresses of our economy much more than those of us who aren't currently walking in their shoes. No modern economic environment in Mountain View has been as difficult as what we have today.

It's hard to argue with you on these points; especially considering all of the debates going on at the city management level. Some will try anyway.

I'm not sure how stories about how one got to where they are today makes it ok to ignore others' current, real, all-consuming struggles. Worrying about retirement and homeownership is markedly different than worrying about food for today and rent for next month. It's also disappointing to see how others perceive affluence (given or earned) as a burden in spite of their ability to take advantage of more choices.


8 people like this
Posted by mr_b
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 15, 2015 at 5:18 pm

It's worth noting that Monta Loma, a neighborhood school, has already begun integrating project based learning (PBL). The principal, Angela Lyon, was principal at Stevenson PACT for a time (2010-12?). It's encouraging to see such programs adopted into and adapted for other school environments.

As to PACT's commumication difficulties, consider how terminology differs between the two sites. Here's an example from each site's 2013-14 SARC report, Parent Involvement section:

"Monta Loma Elementary School is a parent participation school. We believe that parents are an essential component of the school community. Monta Loma asks all families to commit to volunteering 30 hours per school year..."

"Stevenson greatly benefits from its supportive parents. As a parent participation school, Stevenson requires all parents to volunteer a minimum of 2 hours a week and join one of the school's committees..."

Both schools encourage parent involvement, but there are notable differences between "asks all families to commit to" and "requires all parents". There are important nuances between using "family" over "parents", and "asks ... to commit" and "requires" (illegal).

To be clear:
--"We encourage parents to volunteer at their schools, but we want to make it very clear that no school can require parents to volunteer in order for a student to enroll in school or participate in an educational activity," state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said in a statement.--
Web Link
January 29, 2015

As for tracking involvement, refering to the same article:
--Some Sacramento City Unified schools still have hour tracking forms on their websites, but Ross said that doesn’t mean a quota system is in place.
"Tracking provides an opportunity for schools to have a sense of where the level of engagement is, so they can work with the community as a whole to say, this is an area where we can improve and look for creative ways for parents to get involved," he said.--

Professional and *legal* communication matters in education and yet you can still have your participation and collect data for monitoring.


9 people like this
Posted by Good News
a resident of another community
on Jun 17, 2015 at 2:59 pm

Mountain View Whisman will be getting millions of dollars in unbudgeted funding over the summer! The one time portion concerns a debt repayment from back when it was Basic Aid. Temporary amounts of local property taxes meant for schools were instead sent to the state on loan. It's starting to be repaid now. Not only that but about an extra $1000 per student in funding will be provided next year!

See: Web Link

An excerpt:

One-time and ongoing appropriations for K-12 schools and community colleges will total $14 billion next year. This includes revised revenue estimates for the current year, after school districts’ budgets were already set. A third of the money will go to pay off debts to schools built up during the recession.


5 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 18, 2015 at 10:38 pm

@mr_b on the 15th. Perfect references to the CA State Dept. of Education on the "requirements" issue. I never even thought of looking at the wording in a school's SARC (School Accountability Report Card). I'm sure this is just 'residual boilerplate' that just got left in (Tyler Graff is a pretty straight shooting guy). I will check and have the District Office correct this (it also gets sent to the state) ASAP [if it hasn't already been fixed).

SN is a Trustee of the MVWSD


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