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Parents react to new school attendance boundaries

Original post made on Dec 16, 2016

More than 150 families went to school Monday night to weigh in on new attendance boundaries designed to balance enrollment among the Mountain View Whisman School District's neighborhood schools.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, December 16, 2016, 12:29 PM

Comments (47)

18 people like this
Posted by Parent and home owner
a resident of Rex Manor
on Dec 16, 2016 at 2:53 pm

I'm glad for the rezoning even though I won't be impacted. I personally think people are mad because it'll decrease their home value. These people don't care about their kids. They just realized they overpaid for their home. If they really cared, they'd understand that kids can't trive in overcrowded schools.


40 people like this
Posted by HAHAHA!!
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Dec 16, 2016 at 3:01 pm

Do you have a single name or are you just making stuff up when you speak about these imaginary people in your mind: "These people don't care about their kids."
it's funny how some people dream stuff up when they don't get enough interaction in the community.

We'll wait for the name...Can I get you some coffee?


20 people like this
Posted by Prioritizing kids
a resident of Shoreline West
on Dec 16, 2016 at 4:47 pm

Since when do housing prices have anything to do with children's education? There is nothing intrinsically or magically "better" about most of these schools -- the fact that some are "high-performing" vs. "lower-performing" (often referring to the GreatSchools score) has to do with testing scores, which in turn are largely due to demographics. Take a look at the scoring breakdown at GreatSchools.org. If the demographics of a school change dramatically, it is likely its score will as well. If your child is redistricted with the neighborhood to a "lower-performing school" (which is not, in all reality, that much "lower") then it is likely your school will become a "high performing" school.

The soaring prices of homes in Mtn View is a reality, but not necessarily something to be prized/cherished (unless, perhaps, you personally profit from it): what is means is creation of a socioeconomic bubble and thinning out of our community's diversity. This is happening, and so (unfortunately, if this is the reason) the test scores of all schools WILL likely change as demographics change due to housing prices. Test scores are not everything, and the resultant reduction in economic/cultural diversity will have its own adverse consequences; still, parents can be reassured that if there child would have done well in one school, they will probably do similarly well in another... assuming the school board can assure all class sizes and school resources are EQUALLY favorable for the children.

Of course, no parent wants their child to have to switch back and forth between schools, this is disruptive and should be minimized/prevented. Outside of this, though, parents ALL come to cherish their school community, regardless of which school it is, and if ALL schools are assured the appropriate resources (which we ALL should work to assure) then any child should do equally well at all. Also note, this is ELEMENTARY school...at that age, what kids take home and learn from parents/at home, gaining a love of school/learning, and understanding how to be a good citizen/person are probably the most important.


11 people like this
Posted by Team D sets policy?
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Dec 16, 2016 at 5:01 pm

Are members of the Task Force, set up by the Superintendent really trying to set the policy and ignore the Board? Two members of Team D seem to be doing that, I think. (realtor Smith + another not quoted) They don't seem to like the directions that they were told to work under. So now they are going to 'tell the Board' what they think should be the policy? Independent of this whole committee thing? Who elected them, Team D, to set the policy for the whole darn community? Answer = no one elected them. Let them make their comments like everyone else.


31 people like this
Posted by Keep real estate out of it
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Dec 16, 2016 at 5:52 pm

Sorry but realtors should not be driving this discussion or this decision. I totally agree with Prioritizing here-- do what's right for students based on safety and access to neighborhood schools, not adult greed.


15 people like this
Posted by Maria
a resident of Shoreline West
on Dec 16, 2016 at 5:57 pm

I think that if the goal is really neighborhood schools then the choice programs (DI at Mistral and PACT) should give priority to those families living in the neighborhood.


10 people like this
Posted by True
a resident of Rex Manor
on Dec 16, 2016 at 8:56 pm

I agree, Maria. I believe that the DI program does actually give some type of priority to the kids living in that neighborhood as of 1-2 years ago. The big question is how PACT parents have been able to stop something similar from happening in the neighborhood where PACT now lives. It was suggested a few years back by a consultant that kids living a few blocks from PACT should get priority, but PACT parents quickly claimed that wouldn't work for their school, and the district listened to them over parents in the neighborhood. So instead our neighborhood has to get divided up and have a large group of people driving in from outside. The Castro neighborhood gets a better deal as they are able to stay more united.


7 people like this
Posted by Castro is a Failing School
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 16, 2016 at 9:51 pm

Castro is a failing school. Just look at the test scores. Why would any parent want their kids there? Unless of course they do not value education.

Let's shut down Castro completely. At least the kids formerly attending Castro will have a chance at an education.

But to send SWAN kids to Castro only assures these kids will receive a poor education.

Superintendent Ayinde Rudolph has already proven to be a big fan of Castro and he does not care about SWAN kids. So long as his pet school get's higher performing kids, he thinks he can trick everyone into believing he "fixed" Castro.

This is all a ploy to improve test scores at Castro. But here's the truth: kids who go to Castro today will continue to have low test scores in the future. That's just the facts folks. No matter how much you rearrange the deck chairs at Castro, it's still taking on water.

But by then Ayinde Rudolph will have moved on to his next job, and we will be left the mess he left us with.


9 people like this
Posted by Jim
a resident of Slater
on Dec 16, 2016 at 9:58 pm

How can both these statements be true?

"At least the kids formerly attending Castro will have a chance at an education."

"kids who go to Castro today will continue to have low test scores in the future"

The previous commenter is heavy on accusations, but light on facts and logic. Maybe the school they went to wasn't very good...


12 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Dec 16, 2016 at 10:02 pm

@ "true" meaning false and Maria meaning confused.

For the record, NEITHER Mistral NOR Stevenson "gives" "priority" to anyone to get into those choice schools. The entire district has an equal chance to get into those choice schools, IF they wish to apply by choice.

First, because the schools themselves do NOT set attendance policies, the district does that.

Second, both Mistral and Stevenson, from the beginning of each school, have been EQUALLY open to ANY K-5 child in the district regardless of where they live. That's the whole point of "choice"! Each choice school has a non-traditional educational style and parents need to buy-in to that alternative style, NOT simply because they happen to live nearby.

Mistral may "seem" to give local priority, but that's a false impression. The Mistral style requires as close to a 50-50 split of kids whos primary home language is Spanish and 50% of kids who do not speak Spanish and they all learn together with their lessons taught in both Spanish and English. They of course also address the needs of kids whos primary language is something else. Mistral is open to Spanish speaking kids from all across the district, it's just that the bulk of them live near Castro, some live in other areas.

Stevenson has a whole set of non-traditional teaching methods which includes highly organized parental involvement. Again, Stevenson does NOT force it's methods on people who just happen to live in an area, but rather to give EQUAL access to kids from all over the district. And by the way, this year the largest portion of Stevenson kids do in fact live in the Theuerkauf boundary. This has not always been the case, prior year the biggest portion was from Landels boundary.

The hybrid boundaries "true" was mentioning were NOT proposed by the Theuerkauf neighborhood people and it had nothing to do with helping kids. Those proposals were aimed at closing Stevenson.

As far as the "better deal" Castro "gets", again, that's a false perception. The main problem Mistral has is recruiting enough native-Spanish-speaking kids to get up to the needed 50-50 ratio. Mistral can get plenty of non-Spanish speaking kids from all across the district.

The only truly "divided neighborhood" has been Whisman/Slater because some of their kids go to Huff, some to Landels, some to Theuerkauf, some to Stevenson and some to Mistral. And again, those kids who go to Mistral or Stevenson are there by CHOICE, not by district dictate.

Whatever new boundaries get chosen by the Board of Trustees, the choice schools need to remain equal opportunity for all the kids of the district.


27 people like this
Posted by Foster Parents
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 17, 2016 at 12:15 am

My husband and I are foster parent and are zoned to Landels. Most of the kids we care for struggle academically and drag down the GreatSchools rating.

I know we are destroying our neighbors property values, but I don't think that makes us bad people.


15 people like this
Posted by Huh?
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2016 at 9:56 am

@Maria and True,
Why should kids living in the neighborhoods near Mistral and PACT get priority over non-neighborhood kids? Both of those neighborhoods have neighborhood schools (Castro and Theurkauf) so it's not as if they're forced to drive to some other area to attend school. Choice schools should be equally available to all kids in the district.


8 people like this
Posted by Equal Access to Choice Schools
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 17, 2016 at 1:38 pm

If you do want choice schools equally available to all children in the district, you could consider changing Mistral to a Spanish Immersion program rather than a Dual Immersion program. This would remove the need to have 50% of the student population being Spanish home language speakers. It may also allow Mistral to grow, if it is currently constrained by the number of Spanish home language speaking students that wish to apply in a given year.



13 people like this
Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Dec 17, 2016 at 1:51 pm

Posted by Prioritizing kids
a resident of Shoreline West
16 hours ago
"Since when do housing prices have anything to do with children's education?..."

You gotta be kidding me. In California, it has everything to do with this.
signed, A Palo Alto resident


8 people like this
Posted by Maria
a resident of Shoreline West
on Dec 17, 2016 at 2:21 pm

Why should kids living near Mistral and PACT get priority? Well, for the simple fact that the goal for all this switching around is to get kids to go to their neighborhood school.

It shouldn't be that hard to figure out that if you want your kid at PACT, you should live near that school (same for Mistral). If there's another hidden agenda that keeps neighborhood kids from going the PACT or Mistral, I don't know about it but they should have priority over someone else coming from across the city. I understand there are different teaching methods and parental responsibilities at both schools, but the parents for those neighborhood kids should understand that and be ok with it if they want their kids to attend those schools.

I don't see what is wrong with this picture if the goal is to get all kids to go to the schools in their neighborhoods and the two choice programs shouldn't get excluded from the constraints that the boundaries would impose. If there is room after all the neighborhood kids make their "choice", then it would be open to other kids from the city.

I think this is the only fair way to do this.


16 people like this
Posted by Huh?
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2016 at 4:41 pm

@Maria- I think you are very confused as you aren't making any sense. The reason for the boundary changes are that some schools (Huff, Bubb, Landels) are impacted/over-enrolled while others (Monta Loma, Castro, Theurkauf) are under-unrolled. Changing the boundaries should even out the enrollment. The goal is not to "get" everybody to go to their neighborhood schools. The choice programs are not "neighborhood" schools- they are additional schools for parents who desire an alternative program to that offered at their neighborhood school and are equally available to all district kids.

Every kid in Mtn View has a neighborhood school (except the Whisman kids for whom Slater is opening) but some kids can't attend their neighborhood school because there's not room. By moving kids that are somewhat distant from their neighborhood school to a closer school, spaces are opened for kids to attend the school that they live closest to (i.e. The Shoreline West kids live a few blocks from Castro School yet are crossing El Camino to attend Bubb which isn't at all nearby and are sometimes displacing kids that live very near to Bubb).

Everybody in the Theurkauf neighborhood has a nearby school to attend- there's no shortage of space there nor is there space shortage at Castro so those parents have no legitimate reason for expecting priority attendance at either Mistral or PACT.


6 people like this
Posted by Maria
a resident of Shoreline West
on Dec 17, 2016 at 8:11 pm

@Huh?
I'm confused? I don't think so. You are essentially saying the same thing when you say that "some kids can't attend their neighborhood school because there isn't any room", So if you take the kids out of these schools and shift them to their neighborhood school, there will be room. Why does this seem confusing?

If there are enough kids in the neighborhood who want to go to the choice programs they should be given the priority. There's no confusion in that. If there aren't enough kids to make up the adequate numbers for that school, then they can take kids off a waiting list. Again, not confusing.

The problem is that when families move into their million dollar homes and don't want to go to their neighborhood school either because they are judging just by test scores, or what the students look like...the schools don't get the numbers they need. These people then either put their kids in private school or into the choice programs...which isn't in their neighborhood.

If enough parents still refuse to send their kids to Castro or Therkauf, then those schools need to be closed and those students should be bused to other schools.

Nothing confusing about any of this.


17 people like this
Posted by Huh?
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2016 at 9:56 pm

@Maria- I give up trying to explain to you but fortunately I think most people get it...


6 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Dec 18, 2016 at 7:48 am

@Equal Access to Choice Schools

"...you could consider changing Mistral to a Spanish Immersion program rather than a Dual Immersion program. This would remove the need to have 50% of the student population being Spanish home language speakers."

The whole point of "Dual-Immersion" is that the very best way to learn a foreign language is from people who are natural primary speakers of that language.

For kids who mainly speak Spanish at home, they will learn English far better by learning it from kids who are native-English speakers during ordinary daily conversation. NOT from a standard Spanish textbook, but by conversing with native speakers every day about every thing.

Same goes for the native Spanish speaking kids, the best way to learn English is from other kids who speak English. The Spanish kids end up sounding like native English speakers when they speak English, NOT like a kid who is clearly an English as second language kid.

With half the population speaking one language like a native and the other half speaking the other language like a native and both groups incrementally learning the other groups language you get the best result.

Each group learns how to speak the other language as if they were also native speakers.

Text books and bi-lingual teachers are not remotely as effective.


8 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Dec 18, 2016 at 8:10 am

@Maria => totally confused person

"I'm confused?"

Maria, you are indeed confused, you have some personal agenda and are grasping at irrational arguments to fit your agenda.

"some kids can't attend their neighborhood school because there isn't any room"

Because the old boundaries have been in place too long so that the ever changing population has drastically over-crowded 3 schools while starving the others.

The Choice schools help by allowing those people who are sick of going to an over crowded school another option of where to go by choice.

Stevenson is next to Theuerkauf and about 125 kids from Theuerkauf area already go to Stevenson, and almost as many from Landels go to Stevenson. The old Theuerkauf boundary does not have enough kids to reasonably fill Theuerkauf. Theuerkauf has about 30 classrooms, which could in theory support 600 kids, but TH only has 300 now.

"So if you take the kids out of these schools and shift them to their neighborhood school, there will be room. Why does this seem confusing?"

The point is that the old boundaries no longer balance the population to make it possible to have enough seats in all neighborhoods so that the kids can attend their neighborhood schools. Pulling them out of their neighborhood school and sending them to a choice school by parental CHOICE is fine. The district requiring the unlucky kids to get shipped off to some other random school in a different neighborhood is not fine.

"If there are enough kids in the neighborhood who want to go to the choice programs they should be given the priority. There's no confusion in that."

That is exactly the opposite of equal choice and equal opportunity.
The choice schools teach differently and that's why every seat needs to be by parental choice regardless of residence.

"If there aren't enough kids to make up the adequate numbers for that school, then they can take kids off a waiting list. Again, not confusing."

You're confused, what you're talking about is taking away an option for the rest of the district to push it onto 2 specific neighborhoods, most of whom don't want it.

"If enough parents still refuse to send their kids to Castro or Therkauf, then those schools need to be closed and those students should be bused to other schools."

No, all we need are new boundaries that encourage a balancing of enrollment at our 9 schools.

"Nothing confusing about any of this."

Everything you've said has been confused.


8 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Dec 18, 2016 at 8:17 am

@Maria of confusion

"Why should kids living near Mistral and PACT get priority?"

They should NOT and never have. Such a priority would violate the whole point of having non-traditional schools available.

"Well, for the simple fact that the goal for all this switching around is to get kids to go to their neighborhood school. "

WRONG! The goal is ONLY for the neighborhood schools NOT for the choice schools.

The goal for the choice schools is that every parent who chooses to apply to either choice school is doing so specifically because they believe that the alternative educational style being offered will fit their own child's needs better than ANY of the neighborhood schools.

I know many parents who live right across the street from Huff and others across the street from Bub who still choose to send their kids to Stevenson or Mistral because they believe their kids are better suited to those non-traditional schools.

Choice schools have always been open to every child of the district to have equal opportunity to get in.

Choice schools are NOT neighborhood schools and do not operate the same way and should remain equal opportunity for the entire district.


7 people like this
Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Dec 18, 2016 at 11:25 am

This issue has been made too complicated for a long time.

I hope the community considers a few factors:
1) whatever change should be "grandfathered in"
2) district-wide choice programs are just that, district-wide, and should have no claim to any neighborhood
3) cost savings of ensuring each school is exactly the same size (when the physical lots aren't even uniform) places bureaucratic idealism over being flexible and pragmatic.
4) demographics and state-test scores are changing so rapidly, the only thing that does not change is the number of feet from your door to your closest school.

In the long term, we need to find better ways of measuring our schools beyond state test scores, so each community has a real sense the quality of each school. The lack of a full picture of each school has been a constant wrench in boundary discussions. I don't blame parents and residents when all they have is test-scores to look at. It's the district and board's job to create a better, more holistic metric.


6 people like this
Posted by Maria
a resident of Shoreline West
on Dec 18, 2016 at 9:22 pm

Changing the boundaries will not work because parents won't send their kids to certain schools in this district. So certain schools will never have the numbers they need.
Parents who are in the Castro/Therkauf boundaries should be able to send their kids to Mistral and PACT. The kids in those neighborhoods should have priority In attending these schools. I'm not the only one here who thinks this is the way it should be.
I'm done with this argument.


9 people like this
Posted by @ Christopher
a resident of Monta Loma
on Dec 19, 2016 at 7:56 am

I'm curious why you feel changes should be grandfathered in. Should existing families be able to stay at current schools? The whole family, even siblings not yet attending (or born)?

I know you have a lot of history and knowledge so I'm curious on your opinion regarding grandfathering.


5 people like this
Posted by Me
a resident of Willowgate
on Dec 19, 2016 at 8:21 am

moving children to a new school is a big change for them, and having children go to different schools is a pain. Trying to avoid these two at the cost of delaying the effects of redistricting for some years sounds like a reasonable thing to do.


21 people like this
Posted by Maria is right
a resident of Rex Manor
on Dec 19, 2016 at 9:57 am

Sadly, the district can redraw lines all they want, but they will still struggle to fill schools that parents don't believe in. People will move, or switch to private schools. There are currently more than enough students living in the TH boundary to fill TH. You don't actually need to redraw lines, you need to attract the current families living there. A big chunk of those kids attend ST, then another big chunk attend Mistral. Those two schools are probably the biggest problem to filling TH, however, even closing those schools would not mean that all those kids would attend TH or CA. The majority of those parents will look for other alternatives.

Looking at the numbers, I'm pretty sure even with ST and Mistral, there are still enough kids in the Th boundary attendance area to fill TH, but so many parents in that neighborhood move or opt for private schools. But don't blame the people in this neighborhood. Blame all of Mountain View. I live in the neighborhood, and every year there is an exodus of families moving to another part of Mountain View, conveniently when their oldest child turns 4. I have other friends who were house shopping and told their real estate agent, "We only want to look in X neighborhood so our kids can attend Z school." I'm not saying this is wrong, this is very natural.

But the point is we ALL have played a role in neglecting certain schools, not just the families who decided to continue staying in an otherwise great neighborhood. Also, the district cannot fill the empty schools by changing boundaries. They need to be far more creative. For example, I bet if you converted TH or CA to a theme-based choice program like Stevenson, maybe a STEM or Science-focused program, or even just a project-based learning program like Stevenson, within a few years you'd have a full school again. Just redrawing lines will have zero impact and will only serve to force more MV families to move or attend private.


11 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Slater
on Dec 19, 2016 at 2:49 pm

I live in the Wagon Wheel area and my oldest child goes to Huff, my younger will be going to Huff in August. When and if Slater opens on schedule my oldest will be going into 5th grade and i think it is highly inappropriate and disruptive that he may be forced to move to Slater for 1 year and then have to move again for 6th grade. I am fine with my younger child to transition from Huff to Slater since she will have a few more years until she has to change again. Yes I know that will mean 2 kids in two different elementary schools but it would only be 1 year earlier than planned which is fine.


11 people like this
Posted by Bottom line
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Dec 19, 2016 at 3:21 pm

The bottom line is that if you want your kids to attend the top schools then you have to pay the big bucks to live in those neighborhoods. If you can't afford the move then put your kids in private school or take your chances, like everybody else, in getting into the choice schools. If those options don't work then send your kids to your neighborhood school (which YOU'RE complaining that nobody else will send their kids to). Be the change you'd like to see...


7 people like this
Posted by Me
a resident of Willowgate
on Dec 19, 2016 at 4:03 pm

if you want special programs in your neighborhood school you need to work for them. It isn't going to happen by posting on the MV Voice forums, you need to organize parents. Unfortunately the schools most needing these special programs seem to have a lack of parents able/willing to do the effort.


8 people like this
Posted by Bil
a resident of Monta Loma
on Dec 19, 2016 at 4:35 pm

let's keep it real here, PACT has always been the districts priority. They'll continue to get what they want at tax payers expense. Privet school in a public system. Hopefully soon at least will be done with common core. Save your breath PACT will never be anything other than a self serving bunch of parents expecting everything for them and them only.


8 people like this
Posted by Maria is right
a resident of Rex Manor
on Dec 19, 2016 at 5:31 pm

I agree with you "Bottom line" and "Me". But it's hard to be the change you'd like to see when you are one of the only ones. For any big change, there needs to be a quorum of people ready to do the work. One person will have a very limited impact and will get discouraged quickly. Thus, if the district wants to fill those schools (part of their justification for moving all the boundaries, not mine) I'm suggesting they do more than just move lines around. That is not enough.

I already pay the "big bucks" for a private school that we are incredibly happy with, so I have no skin in the game when it comes to boundaries and public schools. (And no, I don't care about my property value, my home is for living.) But I've been around long enough to see the dynamic of the neighborhood, and if the district made different decisions, they could achieve their goals much faster.


8 people like this
Posted by Huh?
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2016 at 6:07 pm

@Maria is right - I don't believe the goal of the district is to fill the under-enrolled schools (although balance would be nice). Rather, I think room needs to be made for kids living close to the impacted neighborhood schools and the only way to do that is to move those kids that have been assigned from distant neighborhoods back to their appropriate "home" schools (i.e. the Shoreline West kids attend Bubb although they live right next to Castro, some kids on the other side of Middlefield attend Huff, etc). Since there's not room for all, it seems more apprpropriate that kids living in Cuesta Park attend Bubb than kids living in Shoreline West. That's why the boundaries need to be adjusted. It's true that some of the parents shifted to Castro or Theurkauff won't send their kids there but at least they'll shift out of Bubb and Huff.

I don't know how the district can better administer to all district kids other than opening fabulous gifted programs in the low scoring schools (and perhaps those already exist?) but that only helps a portion of the kids so not really a solution. They'd need to drastically increase staff in order to work with small groups of kids and that's unaffordable for a public school.

As for grandfathering, one of the problems is that some parents move into a rental in the home school of their choice for the first six months of their oldest child's first school year, then move to a more affordable neighborhood. Should that kindergartener + all his younger siblings be allowed to continue in a neighborhood school where they no longer live?


10 people like this
Posted by JW
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2016 at 7:25 pm

@ Maria is Right- I could not agree with your first post more. Regarding the second one, needing a quorum is right. It is the same 6 people that show up at the lower performing schools each time, for everything, and they burn out quickly. To even think of exciting those same 4-6 people to get the ball folling on a new program at that school is exhausting.

@Huh? While I certainly agree with your point about grandfathering, you do have to prove residency with each child. So you'd have to re-rent for 6 months for each child entering kindergarten, according to your example- but I wouldn't put it past some people. People get desperate. Even in the "poor" areas of Mountain View (where you could buy a mansion in another state), people can't always afford private school.

I think allowing another PACT, a Mandarin Immersion, or a Spanish Immersion (as opposed to Dual Immersion) at CA, ML, and TH would do wonders for the district. Can the Board step up. Can Rudolph?


5 people like this
Posted by Huh?
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2016 at 10:30 pm

@JW- my mistake. I thought siblings got priority regardless of their current residency status but maybe they don't. However I know that the district has voiced that renting for a short period to gain admittance was an issue being "looked at". I think it's okay to grandfather kids in if there's room in the school but not if they're displacing neighborhood kids. Neighborhood kids should always have first priority.


14 people like this
Posted by Cfrink
a resident of Willowgate
on Dec 19, 2016 at 11:49 pm

Cfrink is a registered user.

I think there are many, many people here who aren't really as plugged into our school district as they need to be. All our schools are equally resourced, funded and capable. The schools aren't performing any differently from each other. All of our principals get together and share best practices and ideas regularly. Things that Huff does well, are sometimes processes they took from Theuerkauf or Landels, for instance. Heidi was very clear about this fact in one of her last Board appearances as Principal of that school. The difference between the schools is almost purely socio-economic. If each school is infused with children and families of new and different neighborhoods, there will be new and different energy in those schools. And certainly, some won't attend. And that's fine. Our district has committed to running all our schools no matter how low any numbers get. So, if we have small schools, we'll have small schools (which will become best kept secrets).

I firmly believe that we have to create the change we want to see. Students that do well in our district do so because of parent involvement. Students who struggle often have struggling parents at home. It's partly that simple. So, none of our schools are problematic. At this time, only policy. We can fix that and there will likely be some belly aching for a time, and then we'll all get back to educating our children, participating in our PTAs and making the schools in this community the best they can be. That's really all that matters.


14 people like this
Posted by Maria is right
a resident of Rex Manor
on Dec 20, 2016 at 8:21 am

@Cfrink - I love your positive energy, I really do. Just be careful it doesn't come across as being tone-deaf. You should still be willing to listen to what families say about the schools, even those families who decided to leave, or not to enroll to begin with. I think I would rather hear people acknowledging the problem and thinking of way to fix it rather than pretending it doesn't exist. You can't fix a problem you don't acknowledge. That would make me more comfortable. The district does some of that with it's 5 year plan. Let's see how far they get.

What worries me more is the hidden message in your comments - we could care less about families who choose not to attend our schools. In most cases, these are the very families that would be the most helpful to you in helping to improve all the schools. On average, they are better educated, have more money to donate to supplement school budgets, and have more time to volunteer which helps their children, but also helps the children in their classes who don't come from the best homes. In your online comments at least, you seem perfectly fine dismissing these families, and that worries me for the future of MV schools.

I find most families in Mountain View to be pretty forward-thinking and open-minded. With a little incentive (and not a lot of work or money), I think you could attract more of these families in all of the schools, which would help all the kids at those schools. I think we want the same end result, we just might have different ideas about how to get there. Please don't be so quick to dismiss the MV families who express concerns about the schools. With a little push, they can become the district's greatest assets.


7 people like this
Posted by Doesn't count
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Dec 20, 2016 at 3:30 pm

Maria is the same lady who says she isn't going to support the parcel tax because he kids didn't get in to ST, so her opinion carries zero weight.


9 people like this
Posted by Cfrink
a resident of Willowgate
on Dec 20, 2016 at 6:01 pm

Cfrink is a registered user.

@Maria is Right

Thanks for your comments. I have a child in Mountain View schools. I'm well aware of the challenges. And since I've been engaged in this work for a few years now (I sit on three task forces and sat on the previous boundaries task force) I'm fully engaged in the issues of our schools. First, people choose not to send their kids to our schools for a myriad of reasons...religious beliefs, prestige, family tradition, etc. There is little we can do to stop any of that.

Other parents send employ other options because they want something specific like a language program, or something else. We simply can't control that. All we can do is say, "hey, we've provided a spot for your child if you decide to change your mind or experience a change in fortune." That's what we do. It's not that I don't care about those families. It's that I care more about the folks who are supporting our schools. Most of these families aren't just sending their kids to our schools. They're also volunteering countless hours, running PTA organizations, raising money, tutoring kids and doing after school programs, working as lunch monitors.

These efforts are what improves our schools. In addition, the folks who send their children to our schools are very involved in their children's education. Not all families can be as involved, but the majority are very involved. These people make a huge difference in the strength of our programs because they reinforce at home what we teach in school. I think they are more important to the district than the folks who make other choices.

But there are also a lot of parents who are simply being wrong headed about all of this. They will send their kids to other schools because they don't want to send their kids to Theuerkauf or to Landels. They only want to send their kids to Huff. The reality is that it's not going to happen. Our district is small enough that all of the schools could be spectacular at one thing or another. It will take all of us working toward that to get there. That means people need to have skin in the game. Bring your concerns with you to meetings, address the board, participate in task forces, be engaged in the school....and you can find the improvements you seek. Standing out on the curb shouting this or that and driving across town to a private school gets very little sympathy with me. That's just how I feel as a parent busting my own butt for our schools.


8 people like this
Posted by Old Steve
a resident of Rex Manor
on Dec 20, 2016 at 6:23 pm

Old Steve is a registered user.

Once again Cfrink writes much better than I would have the patience for. For me, as a father of two Theuerkauf & Crittenden kids who now have UC degrees, his next to last sentence above really says it all.

I'd ask Dr. Rudolph for an appropriate bumper sticker, but I think he is too nice a guy for that. Secretary Clinton has been wrong about many things this year. Years ago she was right about one thing. It does take a village to raise a child. We are lucky here in Mountain View. We have choices about how our village will raise our children.


4 people like this
Posted by Wondering
a resident of Monta Loma
on Dec 20, 2016 at 9:01 pm

@cfrink - which school does your child attend? Perspective is usually based on experience so I'd be curious to know where you've been involved.


16 people like this
Posted by Maria
a resident of Shoreline West
on Dec 21, 2016 at 8:48 am

@Doesn't count-
I do support the parcel tax and I would put my child in any other school other than PACT.

The teachers and the programs are not the problem at the schools. There are awesome teachers at Castro- I know because I've been volunteering on and off at that school for over 10 years.

The problem is the behavior issues and the parents who don't have time or the inclination to be involved in their kids' education.

So you can throw time and effort into re-drawing boundaries, you can throw time and money into programs...that will never change what's going on in the homes and the students' lives. Some people will be ok with sending their kids into that classroom atmosphere...others will not.



10 people like this
Posted by Cfrink
a resident of Willowgate
on Dec 22, 2016 at 1:41 am

Cfrink is a registered user.

@wondering

My child attended Landels and attends one of our great middle schools now. And again, as I've been involved in this process (boundaries) for a couple of years now, I'm pretty knowledgeable about all of our schools.

@Maria

Children have absolutely no control over their parental fortunes. It is not up to the parents to educate children. We can certainly hope for the best environment for children at home. But we cannot depend on it. We have to find a way to educate the children no matter what their socio-economic challenges are, be it homelessness, no english spoken at home, or hunger. It is our job to educate the children no matter what challenges they come with. We cannot excuse failure of this challenge by saying it was the child's or the parent's fault. We need to do our jobs and our community will benefit from this work.


16 people like this
Posted by Maria
a resident of Shoreline West
on Dec 22, 2016 at 8:04 am

Cfrink- I beg to differ. Parental influence (this includes parents' education level as well as income and other factors) has a greater influence than a teacher's influence. There are many studies that back this up. It IS up to the parents to educate their children. There is a huge difference between kids who get support and enrichment at home, and those who do not.

The schools are for the most part doing the best job they can. If you have not been in a classroom where the teacher is distracted every five minutes due to behavior, you cannot see the effect this has on the teacher and the rest of the students. Scaffolding lessons is mandated but the execution proves difficult. If you have a kid reading at two to three levels about grade level, and one who is two to three levels behind it makes it difficult for the whole class to be on the same page. Makes it hard to have critical thinking discussions. While the teacher is working with a small group trying to get them up to speed, the rest of the class who are working at or above level are generally working on more and more worksheets or some program on a chrome book.

We need to have honest discussions about what is happening in our schools if people are truly interested in helping the disadvantaged. I suggest you volunteer in East Palo Alto, or even our own high schools where you'll see HS seniors reading/writing at a 3rd and 4th grade level- I've seen it myself.

I see this area going the other direction where the rich are dictating what programs will be taught and what kind of schools they want in their million dollar neighborhoods. Pretty soon we'll have a charter school like Bullis where we'll all pay for the rich to get the education they want for their kids.


9 people like this
Posted by Ha ha
a resident of Rex Manor
on Dec 22, 2016 at 9:49 pm

Well, we already have Stevenson, that's close enough to Bullis!


13 people like this
Posted by Cfrink
a resident of Willowgate
on Dec 23, 2016 at 1:23 am

Cfrink is a registered user.

@Maria,

Thanks, but you assume very little. You don't know me, you don't know my situation. And again, as I've said a couple of times now, I am on several task forces for our district, and have been for the past few years, in this city, and I did the same at the previous district in which I lived. So, I'm quite well aware of the challenges we face in our school system, both here, and globally. I've participated in public and charter schools. I have a special needs kid....you know, the kind of kid the teacher has to constantly pay attention to.

And I say to you again, that children have absolutely no control over the involvement of their parents in their education. The school district's job is not to educate the kids who have the best, most involved parents. Our job is to educate the children. Period. We know this comes with challenges of varying difficulties. We know this means we'll need varying approaches. But it is OUR job to educate the children, not hope that they have great parents at home capable of supplementing the school system's work. That's just not the way it works.

This is our challenge, and it is the same challenge for all school districts. We can't just educate the kids that are easy to educate, or the kids who are the smartest, or the best learners. We've got to educate them all. We owe them that service.

The district realizes that we have programmatic needs at varying levels. We know that there are kids pacing up and t that there are kids well behind. There are strategies for addressing these needs and they are being worked on. If you were paying attention to the Strategic Plan for the district, you'd know that this is among the things that will be addressed district wide in the coming months. Additionally, each school already has systems in place to address these needs on a more local level. While these needs may not be receiving the attention you desire at this time, the district is aware of the need.

As for our high schools, I've read that the two high schools in Mountain View rank 20th and 29th in the nation respectively. That means that the students attending these schools are well prepared by the middle schools they attend. Sure, there are always going to be some struggling students in every bunch. You are somehow under the impression that this number is bigger than it actually is in reality in our district.

The great thing about our district is that our parents are so involved. At all our schools parents are running all kinds of programs, and volunteering countless hours. So, I'm encouraged by what I see here in this district, particularly since I come from one of the largest school districts in the nation where access to the folks planning for the district is very restricted. If you want to help, if you want to be a part of the solutions, we welcome your help. Just show up, and get involved. I lived here exactly two months before I was on a task force working for the changes I thought would help. I think you in advance for your participation.


11 people like this
Posted by Maria
a resident of Shoreline West
on Dec 24, 2016 at 8:11 am

@Cfrink- yes, you keep saying over and over again that children don't control how involved their parents are in their education. Of course they don't. I keep telling you that kids do better when parents do have a vested interest in their education and when they themselves are better educated.

Again, it won't matter how the boundaries are drawn, parents who have high expectations for their kids' education will not send them to a schools with low test scores, with little parent involvement and where the majority of the kids receive free lunch. No one wants to talk about the real issues of racism and classism. The fact that parents can and do change outcomes (mostly to benefit their own situation/kids) shows real privilege and most people do not or cannot confront those "isms".

You also assume little, I've been volunteering in this district for many, many years. I rather spend my time with the kids who are at the bottom rather than sitting around with parents strategizing and planning.


17 people like this
Posted by Cfrink
a resident of Willowgate
on Dec 29, 2016 at 2:02 am

Cfrink is a registered user.

@Maria,

The fact that kids do better when parents are well involved does not need to be discussed. You seem to be under the impression that if the parents aren't involved, then the kid should just be out of luck and the District should just focus on kids who have parents at home to drive success.

That's the point you seem to be making. If I see you on the street I'll tell you this to your face: It's BS. We are a school district. Our job is to educate the children no matter their circumstance at home. Our job is to make the test scores high no matter the challenges the kid faces. Our job is to prepare each kid to challenge themselves to the fullest extent of their ability and beyond.

If you're not willing to get on this bus toward that goal, you should probably get the hell out of the way because that's where the rest of us are going.


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