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Stevenson PACT principal resigns

Original post made on Jun 17, 2015

In a decision that appears to have caught some by surprise, Stevenson PACT's principal, Tyler Graff, announced last week that he would be stepping down for the opportunity to head an alternative school in San Francisco.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, June 17, 2015, 11:49 AM

Comments (56)

34 people like this
Posted by Greg Coladonato
a resident of Slater
on Jun 17, 2015 at 1:29 pm

Greg Coladonato is a registered user.

All three of my children had the good fortune of having Tyler Graff as their principal at PACT. He knew all his students' names and went out of his way to make children feel known and valued at school. The kids are going to miss Mr. Graff.

The parents are also going to miss Mr. Graff. He is a strong leader who puts his values into practice every day, and it shows.

Good luck to you in your future endeavors, Mr. Graff! We were fortunate to have had you on our team and in our lives for three years.


18 people like this
Posted by mr_b
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 17, 2015 at 2:52 pm

First off, I wish Mr. Graff well. It sounds like Mr. Graff has found a great way to merge professional opportunities with personal goals and needs. I hope the project based learning and professional development continues. Lucky guy. Many people liked him and it will be a loss to many.

That said, he is not the first administrator, teacher, parent, or board member I've heard hint at the questions of equity surrounding Stevenson PACT.

The communication problem needs to be solved ASAP. As Stevenson begins to request increased funding and support, they need to recognize their responsibilities to the community. Too much energy has been spent with the community arguing over things that could have been clear from the beginning.

Beginning to correct misinformation is pretty easily solved. Come up with terminology that is legal (e.g. don't ever say or even hint at "required of parents" when you can't), descriptive of what actually goes on (e.g. regular newsletters on web site), isn't so exclusive sounding (e.g. "selected by the lottery" instead of the less humble and more divisive "won the lottery"). Most important, keep that terminology and tone consistent across all channels - don't tell one group one thing and present another elsewhere. I don't think there is any terminology that could be used instead that wouldn't still reflect the "PACT philosophy".

As for transparency and accountability: keep track of data! It's pretty irresponsible to not know where your funding sources are coming from - especially if you anticipate changes in enrollment numbers, location, changes in leadership, or demographics in your future. It's also irresponsible to not keep track of volunteers and their hours. You need to always know who is on your campus and when. You also need to know how many hours are being contributed for the same reasons of change above. You don't need to track people so that you can pester them directly, but to gather accurate, aggregated data to regularly check/report on the fidelity of the program and, potentially, to give the opportunity for other administrators at the district and other sites, as well as parents (of children still in MVWSD or even to those who may have left) to see what's working and what isn't.

In reaching out to the SED community, Stevenson should be focused on plain old accessibility, not just targeting certain racial groups (could look like tokenization). While there is some overlap (i.e. a large representation of certain racial groups in SED), you can get into trouble if you favor one group over another, and with outstanding questions about this going on already there (intentional or not) it's best to cast your net broadly. Know what you need, what you get, and what you can ask for, to eliminate concerns.

I've never seen clumsy communication, or hidden data (absent from collection or not) such as what we've seen at Stevenson, benefit any school site. It makes me wonder where the problem is coming from: the parents, the PACT Foundation, the administration, the district office?? It almost feels willful. Hopefully the new superintendent and new principal will take these issues as priorities as the district tries to gather its senses again.

The next principal for Stevenson should be someone who has prior administrative experience and not someone right out of an administrative degree program. There are some special challenges that are present at Stevenson and it may benefit everyone more to have a principal with more administrative history in the public school system and in dealing with the community. Someone from outside the district wouldn't hurt either (for a fresh perspective) if the district office has become too insular; we're already doing that with a superintendent.

To Mr. Graff,
Best Wishes and Happiness


4 people like this
Posted by @Mr_B
a resident of another community
on Jun 18, 2015 at 12:01 am

Whatchyou talkin' about Mr_B? Why/when/how has Stevenson requested extra funding?

But, by the way, the entire school district will get a bump of about $1000 per student next year. How will the money be spent. This is from the state budget just adopted. MVWSD also will likely see a bump in funding from the Shoreline Community District alternate funding, tbd. Over and above the $1000 per student from state budgeting though.

And finally, expect a $3 Million "Pay-back" of deferred funding from the state dating back to 2009, over this summer.

Not too shabby, funding wise, though nothing to do specifically with Stevenson. God Bless Stevenson, but maybe it's enough money to open YET ANOTHER school, without shatting on Stevenson.


3 people like this
Posted by Confused
a resident of Bailey Park
on Jun 18, 2015 at 1:05 am

I fail to understand how low income students will benefit by being recruited to Stevenson. Why are they being mandated to reach out to and include more disadvantaged kids? Theurkauff has similar facilities, teacher and classroom amenities. The scores are higher at PACT because the kids come from homes with educated, involved parents. Dragging families into PACT that are otherwise happy at Theurkauff makes no sense. The outcomes of the low income children will not change by switching schools. Besides, the whole philosophy of PACT ( Parents And Children Together) is to involve the parents in their kids school experience. If uninvolved parents are recruited (I assume uninvolved because otherwise they wouldn't need recruiting- they'd be signing up on their own) that either reduces the parental involvement or puts an unfair load of participation on the remaining parents. Leave the PACT school alone. It's a good program with happy parents and kids. If it's not broken don't fix it...


5 people like this
Posted by Confused
a resident of Bailey Park
on Jun 18, 2015 at 1:09 am

I fail to understand how low income students will benefit by being recruited to Stevenson. Why are they being mandated to reach out to and include more disadvantaged kids? Theurkauff has similar facilities, teacher and classroom amenities. The scores are higher at PACT because the kids come from homes with educated, involved parents. Dragging families into PACT that are otherwise happy at Theurkauff makes no sense. The outcomes of the low income children will not change by switching schools. Besides, the whole philosophy of PACT ( Parents And Children Together) is to involve the parents in their kids school experience. If uninvolved parents are recruited (I assume uninvolved because otherwise they wouldn't need recruiting- they'd be signing up on their own) that either reduces the parental involvement or puts an unfair load of participation on the remaining parents. Leave the PACT school alone. It's a good program with happy parents and kids. If it's not broken don't fix it...


13 people like this
Posted by mr_b
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 18, 2015 at 3:07 am

@ @Mr_B a resident of another community

"Whatchyou talkin' about Mr_B? Why/when/how has Stevenson requested extra funding?"

Check the video of the 6/4 Board Mtg. around 1:19 here:
Web Link

Text is also on the Voice Site:
Web Link

and also discussed here in a voice article:
Web Link

Funding request or no, PACT still needs to be more forthcoming to the district, prospective families (potential lottery applicants), current families with students enrolled, and to the larger community that supports them as I've explained in the previous post.

Some issues I had with the request:

It is unclear how much of the "PACT vision" would be threatened by giving neighborhood preference as they don't appear to keep participation metrics on the program and so can't explain at what marginal levels of participation the program would suffer. There is also an assumption that they wouldn't get (or couldn't draw out) enough participation from neighborhood preference enrollees' families in Whisman/Slater.

Another claim is that by staying where they are keeps them close to SED families, yet they have one of the smallest (if not the smallest) enrollment of that group in the district. They've been next-door neighbors to a *very* large SED population at a neighborhood school for years and only lately have been recognizing this diversity issue, bringing forth questions and skepticism regarding their motives. The threat from SED inclusion would, of course, be the low participation rate as SED families have less time and money to volunteer. Remember, those are the same fears they would face (albeit for different reasons) from serving Whisman/Slater families on a more developed site.

The "success" of the program is also somewhat debatable because a similar demographic group is performing on par with PACT just on the other side of the district in a neighborhood school environment. So just how much is attributable to the program and how much to the kids is unclear.

It's also worth considering that as more and more districts expand their use of project based learning (PBL) in their non-choice, neighborhood site programs, how relevant is PBL as a major selling point for Stevenson? This leaves the real differentiation as parent volunteers replacing paid classroom aides coupled with several hundred dollar annual per student donations - in other words, money.

The threats of leaving the district if PACT is unavailable don't come off as very community minded either. Those making the threats aren't displaying a deep commitment to the district which teaches their kids selfishness. I understand wanting to protect your kids, but threats and ultimatums to abandon your district and the schools that could use donations and volunteers is unseemly.

Maybe if PACT had the kids do annual service projects for the neighborhood schools they would have attended as part of their PBL, the choice program could show more community minded behavior while exposing the kids (and their volunteering parents) to the concept of commitment to the greater diversity of the district.

Commitment to the district, issues of equity, transparency, administration, communication, legality... there's an awful lot going on at Stevenson.


21 people like this
Posted by unbelievable
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 18, 2015 at 5:27 pm

To the new superintendent, I hope your reading posts here from PACT families
. @confused is a perfect example of the arrogance of this program.


17 people like this
Posted by @confused
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 18, 2015 at 7:41 pm

Confused:: Wow. I'm speechless. I'm guessing you don't realize just how arrogant and entitled you sound. Yikes.


6 people like this
Posted by Confused
a resident of Bailey Park
on Jun 18, 2015 at 11:53 pm

@ @confused - I'm neither entitled nor arrogant, just realistic. Recruiting lower income families for the PACT program is just a feel-good, PC token to give the appearance of embracing "diversity". Please advise me on how lower income students will benefit more from the PACT program than from the programs at Theurkauff, Monta Loma or Castro. All of these schools offer similar and excellent programs.

On the other hand, the low income students might feel more alienated and disenfranchised by sitting next to their wealthier counterparts at PACT as opposed to joining their socio-economic peers at one of the other schools. This should be about what's best for the kids - not about what makes the parents and district administrators look good.


12 people like this
Posted by equally confused
a resident of another community
on Jun 19, 2015 at 2:20 am

Confused - If the schools' programs are so "similar" why keep PACT? PACT kids should perform just fine at those other similar schools. Or are you saying that only wealthy students benefit from being in a school with more resources?


15 people like this
Posted by Geek
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 19, 2015 at 8:40 am

Geek is a registered user.

Confused:"low income students might feel more alienated and disenfranchised by sitting next to their wealthier counterparts"
Why does it sound familiar? Because it was one of the segregationists' arguments:
Web Link
"But because black children were still living with the effects of slavery, it would take some time before they were able to compete with white children in the same classroom."


5 people like this
Posted by @Confused
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 19, 2015 at 10:47 am

I am glad that you ADMIT you are confused.


25 people like this
Posted by @Confused
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 19, 2015 at 11:00 am

You: On the other hand, the low income students might feel more alienated and disenfranchised by sitting next to their wealthier counterparts at PACT as opposed to joining their socio-economic peers at one of the other schools. This should be about what's best for the kids - not about what makes the parents and district administrators look good.

I say: On the other hand, the kids might get along great, learn from each other, embrace each other's differences, learning real life-long lessons that will take them into adulthood. Learn to not look down on others, and learn to be inspired by others.

I know a bunch of straight A SED kids "book smarter" than the "wealthy kids".


14 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 19, 2015 at 11:08 am

@Confused of Bailey Park

Confused, I'm very busy these days, but I think I need to say something here.

There is nothing to fear, but fear itself, in spite of the rumor-mongers best efforts.

"I'm ... just realistic."

Can you accept there may be more ideas than you have yet digested?

"Please advise me on how lower income students will benefit more from the PACT program than from..."

Sure,
One of the core principals of the PACT philosophy is that every child is unique, every family is unique. The PACT approach is a "whole-child" educational style. While most children and families will do their best in traditional school settings, some children and families will do their best in the Stevenson setting and methods.

This is utterly unrelated to the economic level, or English language ability, or cultural background, or etc...

These kids, regardless of other factors, can indeed benefit from attending Stevenson.

There are some roadblocks.
The biggest block is convincing families to take that leap of faith or even the time to carefully examine and consider the opportunity Stevenson offers. Most people have faith in Traditional education and they shy away from anything unfamiliar. That's hard to overcome. DI is having the same problem.

For transportation issues or severe time restrictions. This problem is strictly practical in nature and we should be able to organize practical solutions for.

The "fear" that some families might "feel" uncomfortable because they assume what other people "might" be thinking, that's just a self-defeating thought. I have not seen any such behavior nor heard any such words spoken at Stevenson which would justify that fear. People at Stevenson are very sensitive to accepting all as equal parents all there for the kids. NOT to show-off or judge others.

The "fear" of "tracking" hours or donations is a totally phoney. A ridiculous fear based on rumors created by people who either don't know better or are intentionally spreading misinformation, NOT based on any facts. Any family able to come to Stevenson but who have not for fear of their hours or donations being "tracked" have fallen victims to the rumor-mongers_b.

"the low income students might feel more alienated and disenfranchised by sitting next to their wealthier counterparts at PACT"

HOW would the kids have a CLUE who was wealthier than who?
Maybe other school have family income labels on the kids' shirts?, but not at Stevenson.

In any case,
That fear is no excuse for Stevenson to stop trying to reach out to them and do whatever we can to convince them otherwise. Fearful people wont stop being fearful until they see for themselves that there is nothing to fear but fear itself. To coin a phrase.

"This should be about what's best for the kids"

Exactly, and for some kids our non-traditional teaching methods ARE what's best for those kids. PACT is about including the kids and families who are better suited for our methods than for traditional school methods. The roadblocks can very difficult to over come, but that does not mean we should stop trying.


7 people like this
Posted by mr_b
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 20, 2015 at 10:04 am

While terminology is beginning to be actively corrected and made clear that PACT does not "require" its students' families to donate resources, any discussion that clings to a protection of a program's dependency on extra resources will continue to face scrutiny and questions regarding whether or not the practice of that part of the philosophy is in conflict with others' (including the state's).

Why fear accountability and transparency?


19 people like this
Posted by It's a start
a resident of North Bayshore
on Jun 20, 2015 at 2:11 pm

The school district is FINALLY taking PACT's illegal activity seriously. I noticed that the Parent Participation document has been taken down: Web Link. I'm assuming that the lawyers are working on a new version.

While I'm glad that some action has been taken from my exposure of documentation proving an obvious and illegal barrier to entry ("volunteer" service hours and tuition), I'm concerned that what is actually happening is simply a coverup and then it's back to business-as-usual. The district should force the school to issue a press release apologizing for years of the consistent and loud message "We only want students whose parents will work for free in our school!". Thousands of prospective parents did not apply, as they could not afford the time for what they thought was a requirement for enrollment.

Then, I'd like to see the PACT website to clearly state, "We do not require ANY service hours or donations from our families. If you would LIKE to volunteer, there are opportunities to do so."

MVWSD--you are being watched. Please do the right thing!


7 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 20, 2015 at 3:56 pm

Stevenson Principal Tyler Graff - every time I happened to come across some parent "requirement" language, and mentioned it to Tyler or the DO staff or A PACT Foundation leader, it got taken off the site wording (or newsletter). Now that the State Superintendent has brought this 'pretty big' legal problem to light at hundreds of public magnet and charter schools throughout the state, it should rather quickly (but not immediately) go away.

Like Trustee Coladonato, I always found Tyler an administrator who tried to keep high ethical standards for himself and his school. I wish him well in his San Francisco position.

Trustee Steven Nelson


9 people like this
Posted by Nora S.
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 21, 2015 at 4:27 pm

@ equally confused: you ask, "Or are you saying that only wealthy students benefit from being in a school with more resources?"

A good question. But can we examine the assumption that Stevenson has more resources? In fact, Stevenson students are crammed into tiny classrooms that do not meet District standards. The playground is practically nonexistent. The library is miniscule. The meeting room does not hold the entire school, so performances have to be held outside or given twice in order to reach all of the students.

Yet the enrollment of this school continues to expand -- due to popular demand -- while the already inadequate facilities remain static.

I don't think it's fair to grouse about Stevenson students grabbing a disproportionate share of resources.



15 people like this
Posted by Really
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 22, 2015 at 1:44 pm

Enough already bring all the kids under one umbrella,
MVWSD. It's ridiculous to continue the division. One group shouldn't be considered elite over other children in the same district.


8 people like this
Posted by Me
a resident of Willowgate
on Jun 22, 2015 at 6:02 pm

@Nora S "But can we examine the assumption that Stevenson has more resources?"

People can't complain about resources they get from the district or MVEF, but Stevenson most likely does get more resources they get from/through the parents than some of the other schools in the district.

The assumption is that higher income parents can and do donate more, and a lot of tech companies match employee donations.


3 people like this
Posted by Really
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 22, 2015 at 8:47 pm

Question, do Pact student utilize summer school in the district.


3 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 22, 2015 at 9:26 pm

I would expect the Stevenson students that are sufficiently behind academically - are going to the summer academic programs. I know one is held at Castro, where there are many such students (DI and neighborhood). Tyler Graff - and I think his School Site Council if I remember the meeting, were concerned that there was a LCAP (Accountability Plan) that was more centralized - and focused on madated spending that would not work well with the small numbers of Stevenson students needing an academic lift.
I don't know if there is bus between ST/TH and summer programs.

SN is a MVWSD Trustee, these are his opinions


6 people like this
Posted by Really
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 22, 2015 at 11:20 pm

nice try, but your answer to my question is malarkey. Why should Pact children be permitted into district summer program if they are so exclusive. Doesn't seem right to me.

Look I'm for all the children I'm just making a point as to your pact program isn't fair across the board. Never has been fair never will be.


9 people like this
Posted by equally confused
a resident of another community
on Jun 26, 2015 at 10:05 am

Nora S. - Think per kid resources. How many field trips do PACT kids go on compared to others? How much is spent per student in PACT vs. other sites (what the district provides + per pupil "donations"). What would it cost to add aides to classrooms across the district to provide a similar adult/child ratio as exists in PACT? Clearly, PACT students have access to more resources than others in the district.

The facility resources are different. The facilities PACT occupies are made for a preschool. PACT voices in board meetings and on the Voice have stated their desire to stay put and recently demanded even more money to develop that site into something else rather than use existing resources the district already owns and would need far, far less to develop - a greater share of resources is another way to look at that since you brought it up.

One feature of choice programs is that their location is not set like a neighborhood school. If PACT parents are so devoted to the program, they could survive a move south as they'd get the better facilities they desire at a more reasonable cost to the district (the other schools).

Money to make facilities safe should be spent so that PACT or whoever leases that site can have a safe place to conduct business. Still the district should be frugal and spend the money on the kids who would benefit from the help the most raising the district as a whole.


10 people like this
Posted by Local mom
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 26, 2015 at 11:15 am

I'm hoping the new superintendent takes note of the PACT 's selfishness. This district needs an overhaul any district that allow preferential treatment needs to be looked at closely.


22 people like this
Posted by A Mom who Volunteers many hours
a resident of Jackson Park
on Jun 26, 2015 at 11:34 am

I'm so heartbroken at the number of people who feels PACT gets preferential treatment just because we are a school built on the philosophy of collaborative learning. The reason we have the resources we do are only because we have many parents giving a lot of their time, love and energy to give our children the best education we can. Not all of us are 'wealthy'.

I've been a parent at both Theuerkauf and PACT and both schools are lovely and have amazing teachers. But the parent community at PACT is so special to me. I don't have family in the area, but the PACT community has become my family. I volunteer countless hours not just for my children, but for all children to have as many experiences as possible. I have to imagine that anyone who speaks negatively about PACT hasn't truly been a part of this community. And as a reminder, not ALL PACT Parents on these forums speak to what PACT is truly about. I really wish everyone would stop pitting school against each other. Each school and community is unique for it's own reasons and should be respected.

We will miss Principal Graff tremendously, but we are grateful for all that he has taught us and we will find someone who believes in the PACT philosophy.


9 people like this
Posted by Local Mom
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 27, 2015 at 10:28 pm

My question to @
MOM WHO VOLUNTEERS MANY HOURS.
You say you were a Theruerkauf mom. Were you recruited because that's been a practice of the Pact to seek out parents. A terrible pact tactic. You state
"built on Philosophy of collaboration." What does that mean? Are you claming traditional schools in MVWSD don't collaborate? That other schools don't phone or visit and engage in activities that it's not seen in our other schools? You say your Pact has resources only because you have many parents giving a lot of time,love, that you wished people wouldn't speak negatively about PACT.
Well that's not going to happen because PACT is not respectful of all the children in the entire MVWSD. Pact is funded by our dime the tax payers. Someone at the Santa Clara County of Education needs to see the impact of this program.


11 people like this
Posted by Nora S.
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 28, 2015 at 1:50 pm

So, the critics here seem to be saying that even though PACT's facilities are substandard, and despite the fact that PACT does not get more resources from the district, the fact that PACT families contribute time and money to their children's school is somehow unfair and elitist? I suppose that such an argument could be made, but you know, all public schools these days do a lot of fundraising among parents and the community. If it is unfair, then make it illegal. I'm sure that the parents at Huff and Bubb are unfairly contributing disproportionate amounts to their children's schools as well.


4 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 28, 2015 at 2:12 pm

@A Mom who Volunteers many hours of Jackson Park

Dear "Mom...many hours",

The hate-mongering began many years ago, before PACT was moved to Stevenson.
Years before I ever heard of PACT, probably years before you did too.

For proof, just look back into the MV-Voice archives to see the same garbage being spewed by the haters back then. Many are the same exact people as today spreading the same hate-speech year after year after year.

Also, the "wealth" myth is just a red-herring excuse, the families of Huff and Bubb are far wealthier than Stevenson families, just check the home prices near those schools.

The haters wont change their script no matter what. They wont meet with Stevenson families. Their agenda-driven-hate-speech is all they care about.

Measure-G kicked-off a whole new round of hater attacks. Even though the Stevenson families put in massive efforts to make sure Measure-G was passed, but Stevenson has gotten ZERO and is currently NOT even on the list of schools to get Measure-G money.

"I'm so heartbroken at the number of people who feels PACT gets preferential treatment just because we are a school built on the philosophy of collaborative learning."

The educational philosophy of PACT is irrelevant to the haters.

"Not all of us are 'wealthy'."

The bulk of Stevenson families live north of Central Expy in lower-income areas. The Huff and Bubb schools are south of Central where the high concentration of the most wealthy families live. Stevenson has relatively few such families compared to Huff or Bubb.

Of course, don't forget the Huff-A zoned families over in the Whisman/Slater area. That area used to be low-income, but when it got assigned to the Huff School, the low-income folks got driven out and replaced by wealthier families who now enjoy the Huff School with other wealthy families like themselves.

When the Huff-A families heard they might get assigned to Theuerkauf, only one Huff-A family was willing to go to Theuerkauf, the rest said they would move away from the district, send their kids to private school or anything but go to Theuerkauf.

Nice that those W/S families are so well-off that they can arbitrarily make such choices, most of us cannot.

"I volunteer countless hours not just for my children, but for all children to have as many experiences as possible."

The haters don't care and will only twist your words and your good deeds to suit their agenda.

"I have to imagine that anyone who speaks negatively about PACT hasn't truly been a part of this community."

That is certainly true.

"I really wish everyone would stop pitting school against each other."

Blame the school Board for that political tactic, it's the one they used in 2005 to get away with closing the Slater School.

The Slater families (including PACT) argued that NO SCHOOL should be closed, but the Board set the schools and families against one another to take the heat off themselves so they could close Slater and rent it out to Google.

"Each school and community is unique for it's own reasons and should be respected."

The haters have no interest in such concepts, only in their agenda.


4 people like this
Posted by Local Mom
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 28, 2015 at 7:57 pm

My question to the Pact 'families. Do you recurit from other schools into your program. Anyone out there been approached to join.


5 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 28, 2015 at 9:15 pm

@Local Mom of Old Mountain View

"My question to the Pact 'families. Do you recurit from other schools into your program."

How about trying to be logical? Since you refuse to believe the truth you are told by people who KNOW it first-hand.

Each year the vast majority of new kids for EVERY elementary school come into Kindergarten at that school. Ask any K-5 public school administration.

So, what "other schools" would Stevenson recruit these Kindergarteners from?

The Preschools?

This fall Stevenson will have 3 new Kindergarten classes of kids. At least 25 per Kinder classroom. That accounts for the vast majority of new families who will enter Stevenson this fall.

Logically, what other K-5 public school do you fear they got "recruited" from?

Be logical... Ask the District Office.
Since the random lottery for enrollment is run by the district, NOT Stevenson, and the waiting list is always very large, what would be the point of "recruiting" kids who have already attended Kindergarten in another district public K-5 school?

Be logical...
The odds of a specifically "recruited" kid above Kindergarten age of actually "winning" the random lottery for a 1st to 5th grade spot is tiny. Not many such spots open up each year. Once families get in, they tend to love it here and want to stay through 5th graduation.

What we do, like other schools do, is to set up big open meetings where any interested families (or members of the general public) can come and learn about Stevenson and our educational style and ask questions of current parents.

Basically a series of "open house" dates and tours of the facilities are offered. These date are posted in much the same way as other schools do.

It was actually at a Theuerkauf "open house" date where we first heard of PACT from the Theuerkauf tour guide.

Stevenson has no need to go around poaching kids from other K-5 schools. Every relevant public information outlet where parents go looking for information about the local schools, shows excellent reviews for Stevenson.

This is why Stevenson theoretically could have enrolled well over 500 kids last fall, based on the number of kids who applied to the random lottery.

We encourage any families, INCLUDING SED families, to come to a meeting, take a tour, ask questions and learn about Stevenson and then decide if our educational style is right for their kids.

Not that I expect you would ever bother being logical or finding out the truth directly, but just in-case you surprise me.


5 people like this
Posted by mr_b
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 28, 2015 at 9:35 pm

@A Mom who Volunteers many hours

"... the number of people who feels PACT gets preferential treatment just because we are a school built on the philosophy of collaborative learning"

That's oversimplifying the philosophy or practice a little isn't it? The in-class parental involvement is a key twist of PACT's collaborative learning model. That along with the $300 annual family donation request rubs people the wrong way because it is dancing very close to the law that doesn't allow for schools to require volunteered resources. This closeness has been a source of great confusion and is still not completely palatable for others exactly because of it's closeness to the law.


Really stop and think about why the state has prevented schools from requiring donations of those kinds. This wasn't an arbitrary part of the Ed Code that was just slapped together - there is a reason for it.


Dance up against that line and you will make people uncomfortable. Have sloppy text on the web site and in official documents that hint at the practice and you will make people mad. [To be clear: I'm not laying this one on Graff. This is a D.O. FAIL. Someone at the district office level should be catching these issues and should not have just relied on a first-time administrator.]

So it may not just be as simple as a difference of philosophies. Maybe, just maybe, it's also how those philosophies are marketed and carried out. Put well thought energies into understanding: why is there so much controversy; question if you can't change some things and keep your philosophy in tact; and then enact effective, consistent changes and many of your detractors could fade away. Mind you, if the program still dances on that line, it will still have people uncomfortable.

"The reason we have the resources we do are only because we have many parents giving a lot of their time, love and energy to give our children the best education we can."

Are you saying other parents don't love their children as much as you do to give them the best education they can? I'm sorry but it's hard to read those words and not detect a certain lack of empathy for those in different situations than yours.

And to talk of loving your children to give them the best you can ... I think it's this tone that doesn't resonate with others who believe they are doing just that. It's judgmental and that's one of the main problems with the defenders of PACT. I understand taking pride in what you believe is best for your kid, but I refuse to believe that your love is any greater than parents who are going down different paths - by choice or not.

"Not all of us are 'wealthy'."

Consider that your ability to volunteer time instead of go to work is a choice that a person with more resources can make and that there are others in your community who do not have that luxury. You are wealthy when you can make that choice. I know this is a difficult concept for many in Silicon Valley - "wealth" is a very relative concept. The wealth gap is even clearer when you consider that there are some in our community that also have a hard time coming up with $7 for a field trip much less a $300 annual donation. As poor as I feel I am (in Mountain View terms), I realized just how wealthy I was when I was able to donate extra to cover other kids' field trip costs.


What if there were a school I could send my kid to where nearly none of the kids needed that kind of help, where there were several teacher's aides in every classroom, where almost no one was on free and reduced lunch, and where there were extra programs and field trips available to my student? Would I consider that a wealthier school? Yup. Regardless of philosophy, would I consider the kids at that school to have advantages that kids at other schools didn't? Yup.

"... I don't have family in the area, but the PACT community has become my family. I volunteer countless hours not just for my children, but for all children to have as many experiences as possible. ..."

I am so glad for you to have found a group of people you feel close to. It is always important to feel a part of a community and it gives one a feeling of security to have others to lean on or just share experiences with. There are other caring communities out there too.

"And as a reminder, not ALL PACT Parents on these forums speak to what PACT is truly about."

This seems to bear repeating all too often. Well meaning as certain ones are, resorting to name calling and distraction doesn't help either side.

"Each school and community is unique for it's own reasons and should be respected."


That's a tricky statement because there are many similarities shared as well. It depends on what angle you are looking from. Every school does many things right and yet they all leave room for positive change.

"We will miss Principal Graff tremendously, but we are grateful for all that he has taught us..."

I'm sure he's a great guy, so many kind comments toward him. Consider that some of his last comments were about his search for equity. Perhaps he was trying to communicate one last lesson to your community.


5 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 28, 2015 at 9:36 pm

@Really of North Whisman

"Question, do Pact student utilize summer school in the district."

WHY exactly should ANY officially "SED" families of Stevenson or Huff or Bubb or ANY other school be denied entry into "summer school in the district"???

Just because most of the people who live in the Huff-zoned areas are far wealthier than most of the families who live near Castro or Theuerkauf, WHY would that justify excluding every child of Huff from access to summer school?

I thought the whole purpose of summer school was to help those kids who had significantly lower PERFORMANCE during the school year and thus need some extra help during the summer so they don't fall even farther behind.

If the wealthiest of Huff/Bubb families can afford private tutors for the summer, fine by me, but for the rest of us, IF ANY family at ANY school has a child in clear NEED of summer school expertise, why would anyone deny that child the special help they need?

Why would you punish a special needs kid just because you "feel" some of the parents at a school you know so little about might have an income above some arbitrary line you have drawn in your head?


3 people like this
Posted by Old Steve
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 28, 2015 at 9:52 pm

@PACT Parent: You quote from 2005 as if you were there but admit you were not. I do not have time to research a decade. That board HAD to close a school. They chose the school that made sense to them. As board members that is their responsibility. If you want 9 schools, we need 4,000 TK-5 students. Until we have them, a ninth school might be important, but it is NOT necessary. Governing on behalf of the loudest is rarely the best for all of us. Remember, in the next five years our state revenue will likely go down per ADA. Our local revenue may also go down if Trustee Nelson succeeds in shouting down parcel tax renewal. Shall we increase expenses at a ninth school, and then allow Nelson and the state to reduce our revenue? What financial sense would that make?


3 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 29, 2015 at 9:30 am

@Old Steve of Rex Manor

You keep talking about issues I was NOT arguing about.

OMG, STOP DEFENDING the decision to close Slater, I was NOT arguing about that point. I said it does NOT matter if that was a proper decision or NOT.
I was also NOT arguing about current expected trends nor funding needs.
I agree the enrollment trend are not good and the parcel tax is critical.
NONE of that was my point.

"@PACT Parent: You quote from 2005 as if you were there but admit you were not. I do not have time to research a decade. That board HAD to close a school."

Wow, once again, you are utterly missing he point and ignoring what I said. You're arguing with yourself on points I was NOT even addressing.

I have ZERO interest in WHY Slater was closed. I don't care if it was the proper choice or a mistake or an actual injustice. NONE of that makes any difference today.

I have been saying for over a year that enrollment is the real factor that need to be drastically improved as the ONLY factor that helps everyone.

My ONLY interest in a 9th school to be put in Whisman/Slater is to keep Stevenson safe from being closed/moved or other school from being closed. If it were not for the LOUD W/S advocates trying to close Stevenson or some other school so they can steal away those kids and resources for their own "walking school".

The LOUD W/S advocates also have 2 powerful single-agenda politicians who have the bully-pulpit of being on the Board. They only need to push one more vote to totally dominate every action of the Board and force the closure of Stevenson and send hundreds of Stevenson families over to W/S.

Again, I don't CARE WHY Slater was closed, but the political tactics used in 2005 (according to quotes in the MV-Voice archives) to divide the district up into groups of families and force them to fight it out to distract from the plans of the Board.

Again, I am NOT discussing WHY Slater was closed, but the political tactics used in the process. The Board made their decision long before of what they wanted to do and everything else that took place was political cover to ignore any objections and do it anyway.

AGAIN, I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT THE WHY OF CLOSING SLATER, NOR IF IT WAS PROPER TO CLOSE IT NOR IF IT WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER TO CLOSE A DIFFERENT SCHOOL NONE OF THAT MATTERS NOW.


4 people like this
Posted by Old Steve
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 29, 2015 at 9:43 am

I got it! But don't rely on a local newspaper and pass of HOW as Fact either. The saying is too old, but apparently still bears repeating:
"YOU CAN'T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ IN THE PAPER!"

Trustee Wheeler suggested putting PACT back. Not worth getting worked up over. Trustees can only discuss business with each other in public, so she through it out there! Way too much hysterical overeaction for my taste, but it is after all a free country.


11 people like this
Posted by Mel
a resident of another community
on Jun 29, 2015 at 4:45 pm

Why would any parent want a child in a program that is run by parents and a weak staff. This district needs outside help.. I'm for public schools but, get counseling folks. Jordan Middle School mom.


14 people like this
Posted by @Mel
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 30, 2015 at 8:45 am

Best to stick to commenting on your PA schools and not ours. You have no idea what you are talking about. Stevenson staff is not weak and parents don't run the program. Stevenson is very similar to your Ohlone program, which is incredibly popular even in Palo Alto.

We are a district with less money than your incredibly wealthy PA district and we are doing the best with what we have. And many parents are perfectly happy, by the way.

Also, Palo Alto schools have their own problems, different, but problems non-the-less to the extent that we refuse to move there and put our kids in PA schools. Please do not make comments when you clearly have no real knowledge of the situation.


6 people like this
Posted by Mel
a resident of another community
on Jun 30, 2015 at 10:38 pm

1. If Stevenson is similar to the ohlone program, why are you guys caught in so much controversy and why does the aroma of segregation still linger?

2. This is the voice...I have one and am entitled to express my concerns. Thank you.


6 people like this
Posted by Old Steve
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 30, 2015 at 11:51 pm

@Mel of Jordan,

Maybe you should ask your former assist principal, Ms Westover. I guess she officially takes over at Stevenson tomorrow.


3 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 1, 2015 at 12:29 am

@Mel of another community

Politicians know they are immune to the damage they do, only the innocent suffer the consequences of what the politicians do with their power.

"1. If Stevenson is similar to the ohlone program, why are you guys caught in so much controversy and why does the aroma of segregation still linger?"

There has been a long-standing political tactic used by the Board in the MVWSD to intentionally pit groups of families against each other for political purposes.

Pretty much every significant decision made by the politicians over the last 15 years was done by forcing the families of one school to fight-it-out against the families of another school (or neighborhood) in front of the Board and in the media.

If you look back at the MV-Voice news articles for the past 6 months and compare the stories from this year to the stories from 2005, you will find almost a one-to-one duplication of events and tactics used by the Board.

The Board forces the families of our district to waste countless thousands of person-hours every year on wars no family wants to fight and nobody can ever really "win" except the politicians who keep the wars going.

If you download and read the documents available on the MVWSD web-site you can see a pretty clear pattern of the Board creating serial-wars between schools or between schools and neighborhoods.

When one war seems to be stalling-out, the Board either changes the paring of the "contestants" or come up with a way to toss gasoline on the fire to keep the blaze going.

Granted, Trustee Nelson loves to throw around provocative and offensive accusations and was doing so for many years BEFORE he got himself elected to the Board. He's been making accusations of racism, segregation, elitism and other repugnant claims out of one side of his mouth and out the other he's been reminding everyone that he is "a very wealthy guy".

So, although Nelson has been screaming such accusations for many years, the chosen methods of the politicians in our nightmare district have been deliberately creating havoc for 15 years now.

The documentation is all there, the videos and agendas and news stories are all available to anyone who cares about the facts. The hate-mongers will latch onto any excuse to express their hate-speech and the politicians, especially Nelson are all too happy to encourage them because all the wars they create help the politicians, but nobody else.

Does that help?


4 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 1, 2015 at 5:17 am

@Local mom of Old Mountain View

Slater gets $30million lock-box funding, Stevenson NOT on any list to get any Measure-G money.

"I'm hoping the new superintendent takes note of the PACT 's selfishness."

Really? Then explain why Stevenson is NOT even on the list of schools to get ANY of the Measure-G money for critical repairs or any upgrades at all!

And yet the Slater Advocates on the Board (Nelson and Coladonato) have taken $30million out of the general fund and tied it up in a reserve fund for the exclusive purpose of building a new district standard 450-600 school in Whisman/Slater.

Slater gets well over $30million, Steven gets ZERO, yeah those "greedy"...
wait, WHO is being greedy?

Slater assured $30million budget already and Stevenson ZERO, yeah, see, that proves how "greedy" the Stevenson families are we want NOTHING from Measure-G and would be happy with NO construction MONEY at all. See, there is the proof of how greedy the Stevenson families are....uh,,huh? Did I read that right?

The $30million the Board voted to be specifically set aside in a special reserve account for the Slater School at the above Board meeting didn't even get mentioned in this article. (That $30million number is rounding down.)

That seems very odd, since this huge Slater set-aside also takes away from district funds which could be spent on other things.

The Slater School now has a $30million budget (which is 3/4 the budget of the whole Castro 2-school project) and yet still Stevenson is NOT even on the LIST of schools getting construction money.

Well, I guess if that's the price the Board decides we must pay to stay at Stevenson, we'll find a way to make due with what we have. As long as we can stay where we are, we will find a way to survive until the next bond measure, whatever year that may come in.


7 people like this
Posted by @Mel
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 1, 2015 at 10:59 am

1. If Stevenson is similar to the ohlone program, why are you guys caught in so much controversy and why does the aroma of segregation still linger?

What??? The answer is because PA has no where near the level of SED kids that Mountain View does. PA has around 10%, right? And many of those are bused in from EPA so are not likely to complain about what school they get assigned to. PA is much more homogeneous than MV. There simply aren't enough SED kids in PA to create a controversy!

MV has 45% SED kids. If PA had 45% you'd probably see the same thing happening at Ohlone.

2. This is the voice...I have one and am entitled to express my concerns. Thank you.

Great! I'll start commenting on all the issues the PA schools have had. Before I had mostly stayed out of it since I don't live there and I don't think I really understand the culture and circumstances enough to make reasonable, knowledgeable, educated and helpful comments, but hey, I have a voice too so I might as well use it.


27 people like this
Posted by Cfrink
a resident of Willowgate
on Jul 1, 2015 at 12:21 pm

Cfrink is a registered user.

Ugh...the childishness of the folks commenting here is really disheartening.

First, Slater does not have a $30 million dollar lock box. The board has simply decided to earmark potentially new funding toward building a new school so that existing resources in the general fund are not impacted by the the desire to re-open a school in Whisman/Slater. While I object to a permanent fund for any one school, I think it's fair to say that a permanent one school fund was not the Board's intention and that process will be sorted out later once the school construction can be determined.

Second, people just have to stop trying to make the PACT program sound like it's a segregated or well to do program. Choice programs, no matter where they are typically appeal to folks with more resources and more mobility. These folks simply have more time, more choices, more money to participate in non traditional school programs. Folks who have less mobility, who work two jobs, who don't have as many resources (family to do after school pick ups for instance) tend not to participate in non traditional programs because of the unpredictability or inflexibility of their lives. The PACT school's administration has really worked hard to figure out ways of attracting and enrolling students of varying economic and social diversity. There are rules that apply: There's the lottery enrollment system and the current sibling enrollment policy that make those efforts more difficult to name a couple. Creating more diversity at any choice school anywhere in the country simply takes more time than it does at traditional schools. I have participated in Charter schools similar to PACT in the past. In my experience I've found that it takes a couple of classes cycles to integrate a wider diversity of students. But those families must first decide to attend.

To most people, PACT is an unfamiliar program. Parents who are working multiple jobs want a sure, predictable educational experience for their children. It's difficult, particularly if the parent's don't speak english, to expect those parents to flock to non traditional schools they know very little about. The DI program presents a much easier transition for those kinds of parents. PACT doesn't suffer it's lack of diversity from any of it's own actions. The reality is that parents of lower SED situations are not attracted to the program. Blaming the school community for the choices of people who decide it's best for their families not to attend the school is the highest form of lunacy.

C'mon people. Whether or not you attend the PACT program, (and my child does not) that program is outstanding. Whether or not your child attends the DI program (and my child does not), that program is also outstanding. We should be doing whatever we can to promote fabulous learning opportunities of all kinds in our village. We have that ability. Those two programs don't require any educational or programmatic adjustment. Those two programs do need facility improvements that can be figured out. We should turn our attention to continuing to improve the programmatic excellence at our other schools. We should be focusing on singing the praises of our traditional public schools which are all very good today but can be better.

We are wasting our time on nonsense. Folks, please, get it together.


9 people like this
Posted by Segregation
a resident of another community
on Jul 1, 2015 at 1:29 pm

If you want to complain about segregation in the school district, it seems you are wrong to focus on the PACT program. Castro had 60.3% SED kids this past year, which has nothing to do with PACT. Castro has the dual immersion program which draws kids both SED and non-SED, or it would be worse. As I understand it, the limiting factor in growth of dual immersion is more reluctance on the part of the SED kids to participate. There are more Non-SED kids than can be accommodated.

The other school with a high SED component is Theuerkauf with 70.9%. Perhaps if a dual immersion program were to be started there, it too would draw more non-SED kids.

Do you really think many of the PACT kids would attend Theuerkauf if there were no Stevenson? Aren't they coming from all over?

How do you explain the fact that Huff has only 8.7% SED kids? Is that connected to PACT? As I understand it, the enrollment boundary changes will eliminate the source of a lot of the SED kids at Huff, who come from an area in North Whisman.

Of course, with the current school funding formula, each SED kid brings more funding to the district than does a non-SED kid. Do Castro and Theuerkauf get the benefit of all this extra funding due to their high SED population?

But however you slice, each year lately, the fraction of SED kids has been going down, as their parents are forced to move away due to the ever rising rents in our area.


7 people like this
Posted by Old Steve
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 1, 2015 at 1:31 pm

@CFrink,

Well and carefully chosen words my friend. Thanks as always.


9 people like this
Posted by Segregation
a resident of another community
on Jul 1, 2015 at 2:18 pm

More issues with segregation. Regarding SED kids, Graham is at 33.9% while Crittenden is at 58.4%. That seems like a pretty big difference. Why does that happen? Could it be that more families in the area served by Crittenden pay to send their 6-8th graders to Private Schools? Is it a problem? Does Crittenden get extra funding to serve the extra 20% of its student population coming from SED environments?

Overall, how much of the problem with high numbers of SED kids stems from 30% of the resident kids being sent off to private schools? How much of the private school problem is motivated just by not having a school in the neighborhood? Could the lack of local elementary schools serving the students eventually assigned to Crittenden contribute to losing the families that can afford private school? Do they just keep going to private schools in middle school because that's how they started?

It seems to me that opening a school up in the Slater/Whisman area should be a priority to address the encouragement of the non-SED families to leave the district and go to private schools. But I don't see the issue with PACT. It seems if anything that PACT also keeps students inside the district instead of off in private schools. There's no logic in saying that PACT is costing the district the ability to open a school up in Slater/Whisman. The worst argument of all is this idea that a smaller school is a bad thing. You have to have at least 80 students per grade so there can 3 different levels of classrooms. What a crock. Study after study shows that small schools are better. A 320 student school is better than a 480 student school, even if it does mean only 2 "levels" of class per grade. In between at 400 works too. Differentiated instruction can be done within one classroom, let alone between 2 classrooms. Maybe the school up by Slater has smaller class sizes. What's the problem? What's going to happen bad as a result? Will it draw students from other schools? Wouldn't that just bring up its enrollment.


4 people like this
Posted by Nora S.
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 1, 2015 at 4:22 pm

What are "SED kids"?


4 people like this
Posted by Nora S.
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 1, 2015 at 5:01 pm

OK, looked at the District website and found the answer. Thank god it means "socio-economically disadvantaged"! From my first web search I had concluded it meant "severely emotionally disturbed." Anyway, is SED defined at the state level or federal level? And what is the purpose of classifying people this way? Does it affect disbursement of special funds?


4 people like this
Posted by @Mel
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 1, 2015 at 5:20 pm

Well, this time @ Nora, but I can't change my screen name.

SED - socio-economically disadvantaged. I should have written it out, but it's so long I get lazy. But good catch. This is usually defined as any child on the National Free and Reduced Lunch Program. I don't know what the income requirements are for the program, but there is a qualification process that happens to get in the program. I believe this is really the only measure that schools have to define "low-income" children. The state does allocate additional funds for students with extra needs like English-language learners and I think SED, but I don't know the exact formulas.


7 people like this
Posted by Me
a resident of Willowgate
on Jul 1, 2015 at 10:59 pm

income level/household size for california are listed by the california department of education

Web Link

Eg, for a household of 4 the cutoff is 31,525 for "Free Eligibility Scale
Meals, Snacks, and Milk"

AFAIK PACT used to have a higher percentage SED but when they were moved from castro to stevenson they lost a lot, and the district allegedly was discouraging SED families to sign up for PACT, that can't have helped either.


10 people like this
Posted by mr_b
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 2, 2015 at 8:18 am

In our district we have two types of choice programs. One provides a different learning environment for the students: DI. The other, PACT, provides a different learning environment for the students while also relying on extensive resources provided by parents.

As Cfrink points out “families must first decide to attend.” If, while deciding, you have ever considered whether or not you have the resources to support enrolling your child in a public school – you have experienced the core problem with the way PACT is designed.

In California, you should not ever be thinking of your resources in this way as it pertains to publicly provided education.

It is illegal to require “voluntary donations” of resources and, while PACT claims not to practice this (and there isn’t really evidence to support this as a problem – most likely because of the demographics of the families in attendance not having extensive difficulties providing for enough resources) there is evidence that PACT has portrayed this need poorly and has on occasion been in direct conflict with Ed Code.

Let’s be clear, this hasn’t ever been problem with a collaborative learning environment, but how it is resourced and presented. There are some out there who may fear a different learning environment but I gather there are even more who are fearing the effects of providing those kids--whose parents have resources--a preferred, buy-in environment while using public funds to achieve that end (intentionally or not).

Put another way, if PACT could survive (as DI does) without the calls for parental resources as a part of enrollment, there wouldn’t be so many challenging questions about PACT. This seems to be the most difficult thing for PACT supporters to accept and understand.

There are also questions outstanding about accountability for those resources. If you depend on them, why aren’t they at least being tracked in aggregate and why isn’t there tracking of who is on the campus at all times (check-ins, check-outs) following standard guidelines for basic campus safety?

So while we aren’t seeing a great debate on collaborative learning, we are seeing a great debate about how schools are resourced, managed AND how public resources are prioritized for schools.

The prioritization part of the issue revolves around whether a program designed in such a way as PACT should receive preferential treatment over the basic service of providing neighborhood schools.

Here there’s a bit of a tug-of-war. Along with PACT’s resourcing structure, it is a choice school that unlike neighborhood schools is not by nature tied to a location. There is reason in continuing to support schools after they’ve been in operation so as not to be disruptive to their enrollees and their families. There is also good reason to provide a walkable, neighborhood school as a basic service to a neighborhood without one.

There are quite a few other issues floating about like:
- why does the district have so many students attending non-MVWSD school environments
- how could the district support another school site
- what is the true commitment to the district of parents who say they will only enroll their children if they are provided a specifically designed/located choice school and what is the district’s responsibility to respond to that level of commitment
- how much are neighborhood school programs/students hurt by the avoidance of parents who have time and money to volunteer
- if PACTs enrollment demographics are a problem, how can PACT’s design be altered to encourage enrollment that is more reflective of the district without damaging the program
- how effective is PACT considering neighborhood schools with similar demographics perform on par with PACT
- how could successful portions of the PACT program be integrated into neighborhood school sites lifting the district as a whole
- what does educational equity look like in MVWSD

Some helpful discussion is going on but there are efforts made by some to distract away from all of these issues by name-calling, blaming SED parents for being inflexible, claims that PACT parents are more loving/committed to their children than others, etc. Most of these aren’t helpful in coming up with solutions considering that education is already primed for emotional arguments.

Add in the confusing PACT supporter dismissiveness of W/S parents for wanting a walk-able neighborhood school while maintaining inflexibility in location of a choice school, and the previous claims that Stevenson is an acceptable location as it is (a pre-school site that can only handle minimal enrollment) and then claim the need to build it out to be a full school … it’s unclear that PACT’s more vigorous supporters are presenting a consistent motivation for cooperative change and improvement in the district.

Then we add to that a school board that has been distracting in its own activities by its lack of controls on bad behavior and our challenges as a district are compounded.

Along with the hope that we are able as a district to come to some resolution to the questions above, I hope there is some serious soul searching on the part of the board, the district office and superintendent, the parents, and other stakeholders about what should educational equity look like in MVWSD and how do we best serve as many of the communities as possible (SED, ELL, PACT, W/S, existing neighborhood school sites) with the funds we have available in a sustainable way.


4 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 2, 2015 at 9:12 am

There are some very good, reflective comments by Mr Frink and Mr_b. The "few other issues floating about" are also interesting. Like resources for Whisman/Slater neighborhood affecting the entire District, these questions are for the entire District, not just one school's parents.
- so many non-public students? We should look at PAUSD and LASD to see if that percentage is much different. Someone very familiar with PAUSD told me it's not. - If PACT's enrollment demographics are a problem ..." this has not been brought before the Board - (Public Policy) but apparently has been discussed by Mr. Graff and the School Site Council (and maybe PACT Foundation),.
- conclusive answer to "how effective is PACT considering neighborhood schools with similar demographics perform on par with PACT". Now it is the 7th decile! (7/10 ranking in comparable schools). Principal Graff and his staff were able, over the last three years- to bring up that 'bubble test' comparative ranking from worst in the District, to about the best! Similar to going from "1 Star", to "4 Stars." Understand the basics? Then you can figure out the right 'bubble' (besides being creative!) SARC (School Accountability Report Card) page 4 bottom [ Web Link ]. The much longer & detailedState DOE explanation [ Web Link ]


4 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 2, 2015 at 9:20 am

oops! disclaimer, SN is 1 of the Trustees of the MVWSD, and these are his own opinions

The MVWSD had no problem hiring an outside-the-district replacement for Mr. Graff, and this administrator was hired from the PAUSD. Story from the Voice - I'm sure is forthcomming!


8 people like this
Posted by Free online education
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 2, 2015 at 4:22 pm

Free online education for all!! Lets get the politics out of our schools and just concentrate on learning.


7 people like this
Posted by More Than Enough
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 2, 2015 at 4:31 pm

Believe it or not, we also have to educate those in our community who do not have ready access to the internet for on-line learning. If it was illegal for Real Estate folks to talk about schools in advertising, there would be much less politics in school boards.


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