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Bullis seeks to open school for low-income kids

Original post made on Feb 16, 2018

One of the highest-performing charter schools in the state has quietly staked out plans to create a second school in Santa Clara County, aimed at enrolling low-income children.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, February 16, 2018, 12:00 AM

Comments (60)

Posted by Harris Cole
a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 16, 2018 at 8:55 am

I would be ecstatic if the Bullis school created a school in my neighborhood of Monta Loma. We have a wide variance of learners, including many lower-income students at our neighborhood school. Our school could become a neighborhood school again instead of most parents currently sending their kids to private schools.

Posted by Way to take the initiative
a resident of The Crossings
on Feb 16, 2018 at 4:47 pm

Good for Bullis to be thinking out of the box and effectively franchising their charter model. I could see this being very attractive in Redwood City, Santa Clara and other areas. Ironic that LASD is so petty and so "old school" to want to limit BCS and restrict their own residents from availing themselves of this opportunity - and other families in nearby towns may have access to the program sooner.

Posted by Do the Right Thing
a resident of Slater
on Feb 16, 2018 at 10:00 pm

"To whomever much is given, of him will much be required." I'm glad the folks at the charter school understand that their mission is not only to serve their affluent students. I hope the community decides to move past their pettiness and do what's best for our community's children.

Posted by MV Parent
a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 17, 2018 at 12:35 pm

@Harris Cole: Monta Loma is already a neighborhood school. You’re implying that by taking out the low income students it will become a better one and attract private school folks... in other words, parents that don’t want their kids going to school with low income kids. I don’t want families like that in our school or our district, they can stay in their ivory towers; I think this Bullis proposal is segregation in disguise and shouldn’t have any place in Mountain View.

Posted by Harris Cole
a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 17, 2018 at 12:45 pm

MV Parent,
Please re-read the article. The proposed school being is SPECIFICALLY targeted for lower-income students. If Bullis were to be located at Monta Loma, I am certain it would also attract parents who have left Monta Loma due to its declining test scores. YOU are the one being narrow-minded by implying this is due to low-income students with your racist assumptions. YOU are the one stuck in an ivory tower if you think Monta Loma parents shouldn't be interested in trying something to help ALL our students.

Posted by RWC
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 17, 2018 at 3:59 pm

What I'm hearing is that while BCS says it's interested in working with Santa Clara and opening a new school in the MV area (eg Monta Loma), they are getting more bites and interest from San Mateo County and Redwood City.

Many of the BCS leadership feel burned by Santa Clara County (for not standing up to LASD as much in recent years). And given that LASD has not resolved a long term campus solution for BCS and that LASD is co-opting MV with a ridiculous eminent domain proposal, MV and Santa Clara is probably the last place in the world that BCS would like to expand to.

Look the other commenter from the Crossings said, it's going to be very ironic when BCS opens up a new school in RWC in the next few years. And to think we in MV could've had more but for LASD.

Posted by Location
a resident of Whisman Station
on Feb 18, 2018 at 2:55 pm

I think they will locate in East Palo Alto. That's San Mateo County but closer.

Posted by GoodAnswer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 18, 2018 at 3:49 pm

I do like that Bullis has decided that opening a new school is much easier than mixing the various students together.

And everyone knows that separate is indeed equal.

Posted by Location
a resident of Whisman Station
on Feb 18, 2018 at 5:51 pm

Mountain View has 10 times the low income kids as does Los Altos but EPA has 20 times the rate of low income. Los Altos is a separate school district for elementary age but all the kids mix together in high school. These programs can't cross school districts without somm special mojo but making two is easier.

Posted by GoodAnswer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 18, 2018 at 6:11 pm


Well, a couple of minor corrections:

1. Bullis is a Santa Clara County charter school, and could actually handle everyone in the county as they desire,

2. Even given the restriction of Los Altos, according to the article, they are only handling 1% of the low income vs the 5% representation.

3. And Bullis has the option of offering a preference to meet this parity.

However, as I pointed above, Bullis has chosen the time-proven answer of keeping the lower income students separate -- in order to not cause any issues in mixing these two populations. And this, of course, is a very Good Answer.

Posted by Homer Plessy
a resident of another community
on Feb 18, 2018 at 7:52 pm

What a fantastic idea: a separate but equal education for low-income students. Oh wait.

Posted by Oliver L. Brown
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2018 at 7:57 pm

@Homer Plessy - Yes, I might need to take this up with the Board of Education... the Santa Clara County Board of Education, that is. The same one that chartered Bullis. They must know economic segregation is no remedy for economic discrimination in public education.

Posted by Mary
a resident of another community
on Feb 18, 2018 at 8:32 pm

@GoodAnswer. This is how it would play out if BCS changed the enrollment priority for students who qualify for free and reduced lunch. Right now, LASD students have priority enrollment over out of district students, yes? If that changed, then LASD students would no longer have priority enrollment. I assume LASD parents would have a fit. What if all CA students were on equal playing ground for the lottery? The elephant in the room is that the number of low income families living within LASD boundaries is very low compared to other communities. When people say BCS is for rich kids, its comical. So is Loyola, Oak, Covington, and all LASD schools because majority of LASD residents are not low income. Who can afford to rent or buy in the district these days? Certainly not free and reduced lunch students. So, if a school would like to actually serve low income students, then they have to reach out BEYOND LASD boundaries. BCS has not chosen to keep the low income students separate, per your comment. Quite the contrary. As the article mentioned, BCS runs two summer programs SPECIFICALLY for students who quality for free and reduced lunch in and OUTSIDE of district boundaries. Is LASD doing that? No. BCS uses corporate donations and grants to fund these programs. BCS' philosophy is to share their teaching practices and program with any educators who are interested. There are people visiting from all over the world to learn how to implement an innovative program. Why not share with other communities outside of the school district or even SCC?

Posted by GoodAnswer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 18, 2018 at 8:55 pm


Yes, you are agreeing with what I am saying -- keep the schools as separate as possible from the rest. The fact that they run summer programs for the low income students is a great demonstration of their restraint -- Bullis demonstrates that it could bring lower income students to the campus and teach them, but then chooses only to do that in programs that aren't impacting the regular students.

This is a very good thing, and I applaud Bullis for keeping true to the liberal ideals of equality and education by making sure that the lower income students are given their own separate and equal facilities for learning.

Posted by Old timer
a resident of Bailey Park
on Feb 18, 2018 at 10:53 pm

Good answer, keeping the kids apart by family income is best for everyone, we all have to learn our place in life. This will reduce strife. Let the natural leaders lead. There will be jobs for every caste

Posted by Umm
a resident of Whisman Station
on Feb 19, 2018 at 12:49 pm

Bullis is overseen by the county but they are an LASD charter. This affects where they get funding and facilities. This was approved 15 years ago. LASD turned down the oversight role. Changing these charters is not easy even if the oversight board wants it.

Posted by GoodAnswer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 19, 2018 at 1:08 pm


Good point! However, maybe we could help Bullis and the Los Altos district by encouraging the RVs with children living in them to move into the Bullis charter district, and claim residency. That way, no need for any charters to change, and everyone is happy!

Posted by Bullis or Stevenson?
a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 21, 2018 at 8:58 am

Mountain View already has it's own Bullis, it's call Stevenson Elementary. Separate but "equal". Either get rid of Stevenson or open another school like it so that families don't get turned away and any Mountain View family who wants to join a school like that is able to without having to win a stupid lottery. This idea of giving access to only a lucky few makes no sense for a public school system funded with public money. I don't know why Mountain View parents have tolerated our school district treating us this way for so long.

Posted by Sadly amused
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 21, 2018 at 9:55 pm

This is laughable. Who are the geniuses spending time coming up with this brilliance? Are they planning to bus these low-income kids in from the Central Valley? This doesn't make any sense. Families who qualify for the free and reduced-fee lunch program CANNOT AFFORD TO LIVE HERE!!! If you want these kids to have access to a great education, provide their parents with stable and affordable housing. If they are in a state of constant stress about the uncertainty of one of their basic needs being met, it doesn't really matter where they go to school...they will not be able to concentrate and learn at an optimal level. It is hard to believe these educators don't get this.

Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Feb 21, 2018 at 9:59 pm

Having spent a lot of time at Bullis, they do many wonderful things, and I'm grateful they exist to inspire innovation (as any good charter should), but there isn't anything they do that neighborhood schools can't, and the point of charters should be to inspire traditional public schools.

At any school:
1) families with the means to donate to their school can donate as much as they can
2) students and teachers can use the design thinking process to break away from the march through rote standards, and inspire everyone to be innovative
3) school can embrace experiential learning though intersession/deep dives (BSC kids sew, etc) and field trips (BCS goes to China, etc)

A great TED talk based on a great book of a handful of parents and one principal transforming their school together:
Web Link

Dream boldly for your neighborhood school, put in the work (faith, time, and money), and you'll be amazed.

Posted by Bullis or Stevenson?
a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 22, 2018 at 9:10 am

"Dream boldly for your neighborhood school, put in the work (faith, time, and money), and you'll be amazed."

In my experience this is completely not true. Unless the school district initiates something itself and hires teachers accordingly, it is incredibly, incredibly difficult for even dedicated parents to change the culture of a public neighborhood school. Teachers and administrators are very reluctant to change unless it is a full effort communicated from top down to everyone. Stevenson works because it has a stated agenda. Teachers and administrators know the agenda before they are hired, and are willing to support it. This does not happen in a neighborhood school. I know because I've tried to do this at two different neighborhood schools in Mountain View (Theurekauf and Monta Loma). We finally gave up and are in a great private school getting exactly what we wanted, that we were denied time and again by MVWSD. But we are the lucky ones because we can afford private school. How many others are relegated to their neighborhood school, hitting a stone wall with their neighborhood schools yet unable to "win" a spot at the only experiential learning school the district offers. If this district wants to give parents a choice, then make it a real choice, not something they have to win.

Posted by equityforallstudents
a resident of another community
on Feb 22, 2018 at 9:52 am

equityforallstudents is a registered user.

@Bullis or Stevenson- as a BCS parent, I was impressed to drive by Theurekauf recently and see that MVWSD is building an actual school building for Stevenson on that property. Wow. I don't know all of the politics but was really happy to see one school district accepting a choice school and building a facility for it and providing equitable space. There seems to be ample play space and grassy fields surrounding the entire campus. Wow. It would take a miracle in Los Altos School District. Thumbs up, MVWSD. I am happy for Stevenson families.

Posted by Bullis or Stevenson?
a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 22, 2018 at 10:29 am


I'm not sure why your addressing your comments to me. I've said nothing against building a campus for Stevenson. I'm happy for Stevenson parents as well. The point is the district should be expanding Stevenson or opening up another Stevenson-type school at one of their other facilities so as to truly offer families a choice. It's not a choice if you have to win a lottery. Bullis has also expressed an interest in expanding to take people off their waitlists and have not been able to. That's what I'm talking about.

Posted by Real question
a resident of another community
on Feb 22, 2018 at 2:07 pm

An interesting question is the disparity in free and reduced price lunches between Mountain View Whisman and Los Altos school districts. LASD is under 5%, and they have to work hard to keep it that high. There are free and reduced price lunch students at the schools serving their most expensive areas, such as Oak, Loyola, Gardner Bullis. However, it gets down to below 1% in these areas. Where do you find 5 low income students in an area like that served by Oak? It's also interesting that in Jr high numbers are so different. 238 FRPL kids in the whole district. 25% of enrollment is split between 2 junior highs. 47 of 650 students at Egan Jr High and only 11 of 500 kids at Blach get FRPL.

Anyway, contrast this to MVWSD. There are 45% or so free and reduced price lunch in MVWSD across all schools fairly evenly. Of course they have been picking attendance area components to bump up the total at Huff. Some kids there come from the Whisman area.

Anyway, the point is that some of the people commenting here make it seem like Bullis could recruit a lot of FRPL kids if they only tried. It's not like MVWSD. There aren't 3000 to draw from. District-wide it's only been a number like 238, 25% in the Jr Highs.

If you look at the family income from LASD students compared to Bullis, it's about the same. Both are way way more than in MVWSD. The real "crime" is the disparity between MVWSD and LASD.

Posted by MV Parent
a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 22, 2018 at 4:38 pm

Just to comment on neighborhood schools being singled out here, our experience at Monta Loma has been great, we have gotten what we needed out of teachers and administration when we needed it, and we have been well-prepared for middle school as measured by actual grades once there. We had a choice to go to private school as well as Stevenson, but ultimately decided not to, and we haven’t had to spend extra on academic enrichment outside of school (frankly I think it’s a waste... go to the library and get a book, it doesn’t cost anything other than the taxes you already pay!). It’s been great to see the school take special steps for low income students like making sure they have access to computers for online learning, and the community engagement person is very committed.

My experience with culture change has been that despite best intentions, some parents may not have the right approach to effecting change (for example, yelling at office staff or jumping right into lawyer-up mode). Ultimately, teacher quality is what matters and the arrow is clearly up in that area, especially with the moves MVWSD has been making to improve teacher compensation, and increase focus on teacher development. Looking forward to what the next round of test scores has to say.

As for improving success for low income students, fully fund preschool for all. Multiple benefits for parents and kids.

Posted by New Wave Dave
a resident of another community
on Feb 22, 2018 at 6:27 pm

Some of you obviously don't know this so I will let you in on a little secret. The entire BCS model is predicated on pandering to the moms of high achieving asian students. Some of you may know them as "Tiger Moms".

This model works great in Los Altos. No way they can make that work in Redwood City or East Palo Alto. It will never happen.

Posted by Let's be thankful
a resident of another community
on Feb 22, 2018 at 7:46 pm

This is interesting. Of the 7 LASD schools 5 have less than 1% low income students, one has 2% low income, one has 11% LI and one has 13% LI. BCS has 1% LI as well so they're on par with the majority of schools in the district yet are being crucified for not tending to the LASD low income population. The fact is there isn't much of a low income population. Isn't it VERY possible that the low income students are not applying to BCS and that's why they're slightly less represented there than the average across all schools? Can't we just be excited that BCS is attempting to bring innovative programs to kids that otherwise might not experience such? Too many negative Nellies here exerting lots of energy spouting that good intentions don't exist and that Los Altans are racist bigots because their schools aren't socioeconomically diverse. You can pontificate all you want about diversity but the kids will be better served in a school that caters to their specific needs.

Posted by Doug Pearson
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 22, 2018 at 8:21 pm

Doug Pearson is a registered user.

To Let's be thankful: Your question, "Isn't it VERY possible that the low income students are not applying to BCS and that's why they're slightly less represented there than the average across all schools?" Is right on the money, and I believe it's because Bullis "encourages" its parents to donate $5000/year to its foundation.

Can you see a low-income family doing that? I can't.

Posted by Let's be Thankful
a resident of another community
on Feb 22, 2018 at 9:04 pm

@Doug Pearson - No, I don't think the money is the reason. I think that low income families tend less to seek out innovative programs for their kids. Education is not their focus- they're just trying to eek out a living. Besides, nobody is forced to pay the $5000/year and I'm sure that BCS does't pressure low income families to contribute.

Posted by Bullis or Stevenson?
a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 23, 2018 at 9:11 am

@MV Parent

I'm glad to hear you have had a great experience at Monta Loma. I just wanted to respond to your post as it sort of implies that I yelled at staff or threatened to "lawyer up" which I'm not even sure what that means, but anyway, nothing of the sort happened. I met multiple times with district staff as well as the principal at Theuerkauf, our neighborhood school, and Monta Loma. Both schools have a reputation of needing some TLC, but I was willing and able to volunteer time so I wanted to see if I thought it could work for us. The overall message from both schools and the district was they were not willing to try innovative approaches like more learning through doing, asking more parents to volunteer so that the kids could go on more field trips, have more art classes, etc. All things that contribute to making Stevenson a great, high-demand school. One principal even told me she wished she could cut out the art and music classes the kids got once a week so she would have more time to increase the test scores. NOT my idea of a great school.

The video that Chris posted is great, and I think parents can create great change by supporting their neighborhood schools which benefits all kids attending that school, but districts have to be open to accepting that support. Ultimately, I felt all they wanted me to do was volunteer in the class and tutor children behind in reading. Any other type of volunteering or change they weren't willing to support. District staff (and several board members) seem to have an antagonistic relationship with educated parents willing to volunteer. They don't seem to recognize how helpful these parents can be.

For those of us who don't get into Stevenson, we are told "volunteer at your neighborhood school and make it great" but then when we try to do that, we are told, "just sit here and help this child read, that's all we need from you."

Obviously this was just our experience. I'm glad to hear you had another, but please don't imply that I mistreated teachers or staff. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Posted by run for school board
a resident of another community
on Feb 23, 2018 at 9:47 am

If one thinks the priorities and/or culture of the district need change, they should run for school board and be part of making the change.

Posted by kehlar
a resident of another community
on Feb 23, 2018 at 1:24 pm

BCS requests over $5000 "donation" per child each year in order to fund their special program. They're not going to be able to do the same at their "separate but equal" campus for low-income families. Will the families at the rich campus have to subsdize the other campus?

Posted by BCS Parent
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Feb 23, 2018 at 3:38 pm

One of our kids is already through BCS and now at a local HS, and the other is at BCS in one of the older grades. The $5k per kid "ask" is absolutely true, however there have been several years where we couldn't afford that, so didn't contribute at that level (instead donating what we could).

There is absolutely a model underneath how BCS operates, and how the teachers there help develop the students. It is different than what we experienced at Springer (which is why we moved our kids). When we moved our daughter (3rd grade) to BCS, she was almost 6 months behind the rest of the BCS class in math (coming from Springer) - the expectations were just higher at BCS, and the students were expected to put in the extra effort (with teacher support) to learn at an accelerated rate. For grades 1-6 our experience has been consistent, BCS focuses more on some of the core fundamentals (at the expense of some other parts of the "school experience" like sports, music, etc.). For 7th-8th grade the program becomes very personalized (mostly due to the number of kids who leave to go to Egan & Blach), and for some kids that works (opportunity to explore multi-disciplinary subjects) and for others it doesn't provide as strong a learning environment (our son being an example - he needs more structure).

The teaching model at BCS and the expectation setting can (and should) be exported to other schools (including other local schools - but the school board has to be open to "learning"). In addition, it's a worthy effort to offer this to a low income set of students to see if the same level of academic success can be replicated.

I would be very supportive of taking the model to lower income areas to see if it can work - just as I would be supportive of having other schools in both Mountain View and Los Altos borrow some of these best practices and implement them locally.

Posted by LASD Parent
a resident of another community
on Feb 23, 2018 at 9:06 pm

Let's all keep the kids in mind as our top priority. Critical to address diverse student needs, coupled with incredibly fast change in the world, is CHOICE. Not every school nor every teacher fits every student. While it would be ideal if each student could have their first choice and the optimal school and teacher, traditional school districts are not designed to do so. Charter public schools are specifically established to experiment and innovate without the huge bureaucratic burdens (e.g.: tenure in 18 months) that are faced by traditional school districts. The primary job of school leaders should be to put great teachers in front of our children, whether traditional or charter public schools. We as a community should also ensure that funding is equal for each public student, regardless of their school choice. The only reason a charter school needs to ask for (voluntary) contributions is that the local district is not sharing funds equally with all public students. Charter public schools typically receive about half of the public funding vs. traditional public schools (both locally, state-wide and nationally). Let's all come together and work to bring choice, equal funding and great teachers for every child.

Posted by Free Preschool?
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2018 at 3:28 pm

@MV Parent:
“As for improving success for low income students, fully fund preschool for all. Multiple benefits for parents and kids.”

Studies show that all academic advantages gained by Head Start kids are lost by 3rd grade. Free childcare is an expensive entitlement (especially if mom is not working) that won’t improve long term outcome. The main purpose of preschool is socialization anyway and most low income kids have extended family/ social spheres.

Posted by psr
a resident of The Crossings
on Feb 24, 2018 at 6:19 pm


"Ridiculous eminent domain proposal"? Are you serious?

Mountain View is building hand over fist in the northern part of the city. While they are happy to be collecting all that tax revenue, they are equally happy to be passing on the burden of dealing with all the new schoolchildren to LASD. That "ridiculous proposal" you refer to is the only way to obtain a piece of property large enough to construct a campus for all the children Mountain View is sending to LASD. Otherwise, where, exactly, do you expect those kids to go?

Incidentally, I happen to be a MV resident who is completely disgusted by the behavior of the Mountain View city council in their deliberate ignorance of the problem they are visiting on adjacent communities who don't like this rush to build without the least consideration for infrastructure. Not one of them shows the least amount of common courtesy in dumping problems THEY create in the laps of other local entities. They should all be ashamed of themselves.

Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Feb 24, 2018 at 6:37 pm

Gary is a registered user.

According to the article, one percent of Bullis Charter students are from lower-income families. That would be 9 out of 900 students currently. And the City Council is proceeding to support this privileged semi-private "charter" school to the tune of $100 million for a site on California near San Antonio. What is wrong with this picture? What is really going on?

Posted by equityforallstudents
a resident of another community
on Feb 26, 2018 at 2:45 pm

equityforallstudents is a registered user.

Just to clarify, the 5k ask at BCS is to cover the gap of funding that LASD does not "share" with BCS. BCS parents pay taxes to LASD just like everyone else in the district. It is up to the district to share parts of it or all of it. LASD has chosen to not share all of it. The latest Measure GG that passed is only giving a bit more to BCS but they are certainly not turning around and giving 100% taxes paid by BCS parents to BCS. BCS runs an amazing program on a very small budget for an enrollment of around 900 students including a middle school program, which is expensive to maintain. I challenge LASD to do the same. There is no pressure to pay the 5K. It is just what they call the gap. LASD spends I believe $1500 more than BCS per student and of course they have a much larger income of local and state funds. You all should really read up on this stuff instead of just proclaiming what you have been taught to repeat without much thought about it.

Posted by equityforallstudents
a resident of another community
on Feb 26, 2018 at 2:53 pm

equityforallstudents is a registered user.

@kehlar: there are grants out there for schools who want to serve low income students. Look it up. No, parents won't be asked to donate 5k if they are in a school district that wants to participate in sharing the funding in addition to grants that would financially support the school. BCS asks for 5k because LASD does not share 100% of the tax dollars. Maybe other districts would be more willing to share the tax $ with a low income charter school.

Posted by MV Parent
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2018 at 3:34 pm

BCS is able to provide a quality education for less money because they have a much more homogeneous student population. They do not have a special day class, they do not have students who need remedial English and math, they do not have students with serious disabilities who require full time aides and therapies provided by specialists. Don't kid yourself into thinking they are somehow smarter with their money than the LASD.

Posted by Sheri
a resident of another community
on Feb 26, 2018 at 4:17 pm

BCS has very similar demographics to the rest of LASD. Their test scores are similar, if a little bit better in elementary grades. However, their middle school scores are much higher than LASD. That is really the more interesting question, what is it about their program that creates the big difference? Look up grades 6-8 to see the disparity. I seriously doubt that LASD changes it demographics from 5-6 grade so what is going on?

Posted by Not Gonna Happen Here
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 26, 2018 at 8:40 pm

I actually think @RWC is on to something. See how much emotion this topic flares up between LASD and BCS camps and then Los Altos vs MV with this post? It's precisely the reason why BCS is going to go to RWC or East MP/PA. Those towns don't have a decade plus of baggage that we do around here. Talk about a tremendous opportunity to clean slate it and work with a new community that doesn't come to the conversation with an axe to grind?

Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 27, 2018 at 9:12 am

1% economically disadvantaged at BCS vs. LASD area of 5% clearly shows the distrust BCS already has with the disadvantaged in their own preferred attendance area (LASD boundaries). Why is the BCS board just sitting on their rear ends on THIS ISSUE (brought up by the County Office of Education in their last BCS charter review)?

BCS has one of the highest standardized test score rankings IN THE ENTIRE STATE because - demographics. They have one of the most economically affluent parent base of ANY SCHOOL IN THE STATE. Pretty simple. They have students from affluent families - and a 5X deficit of families from their own preferred attendance area that are economically disadvantaged. ("SED")

10 of 10 "comparative schools" rankings (deciles on the old API) does not make sense when you are comparing the top 1% of economically wealthy-family students, against the top 10% of economically wealthy-family students.

BCS administration and board, IMO, do not have the trust of the disadvantaged. The wealthy rarely have the economically disadvantaged as a priority! And BCS as an institution, over the last decade, has shown it's inability to seriously change its bias. That means Current ACTION not words discussed in committees.

If I was economically disadvantaged - I certainly would not trust BCS with the education of my children.

SN is a retired Trustee of the MVWSD,
which continues to have it's own well documented problems with a gigantic Academic Gap White-Hispanic.

Posted by 1% or 5%
a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2018 at 4:23 pm

The LASD elementary schools have 0% low income students at 4 of 7 elementary schools. They use their own definition of low income as they don't participate in any federal funding for the lunches. They pay for it with parent donations so they give the free lunches to more kids than the federal rules would allow. You can't even compare the numbers between LASD and MVWSD because MVWSD would have many more eligible under the LASD criteria.

So just bear this in mind.

Posted by Trust
a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2018 at 4:26 pm

The charter school has tried each year to be able to make a presentation at the LASD back to school night targeting the 2 schools with >5% low income kids. But LASD won't let them. BCS already has a long wait list, so the lack of this presentation only affects the low income interest. The low income parents aren't really aware of the option, and LASD thwarts the effort to reach them.

Posted by Elephant in the Room
a resident of another community
on Feb 28, 2018 at 1:40 pm

Steve Nelson, you are flat out wrong.Your claim: "BCS has one of the highest standardized test score rankings IN THE ENTIRE STATE because - demographics. They have one of the most economically affluent parent base of ANY SCHOOL IN THE STATE."

If affluence is so intrinsically tied to performance, why are Gardner Bullis' scores one of the lowest in LASD?! Shouldn't it be the highest since this school's enrollment comes mostly families from residing in Los Altos Hills?

Posted by BCS model
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2018 at 2:43 pm

I have a child a BCS and I live in Mountain View. I totally disagree that BCS cannot be trusted with the best interests of less privileged students. I find the organization to be thoughtful and intentional about working with students of all kinds. Our family is middle class for this area and live in MV, and we don't feel less-than at BCS.

My personal observations are that kids enjoy school more in an environment with lots of interesting ways of learning. BCS offers close connections with teachers, foreign languages, interesting (and free) before- and after- school options, a longer school day, intercessions, high quality arts experiences, and project-based learning. When kids enjoy school more, they are more engaged and do better academically.

My understanding is that BCS is interested in testing their model in a less affluent setting with an eye to sharing lessons with other schools and districts. The idea that there is some kind of untrustworthy reason for wishing to expand is absurd (like much of what comes out of Mr. Nelson's mouth). Any parent lucky enough to be able to send their child to BCS would be smart to do so.

Posted by Both right
a resident of another community
on Feb 28, 2018 at 3:01 pm

So what if BCS benefits from easy demographics. The question is, how would this work on a less privileged demographic. Not going to find such a demo in LASD. If you got 100% of the (expanded LASD definition) free lunch kids from LASD, that would only be 200 kids. It's unreasonable to think that the parents of these kids are going to transport them from all over the district each day, bypassing whatever school is closer to their house. So there's the rub.

Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 2, 2018 at 1:21 pm

The statistical unit of the CDE found that in the API years the socio-economic status of the parents of students accounted for 80% of the final school API. The correlation coefficient, in other words, was 0.8 It would be (historically) interesting to see what the "comparative schools ranking" of the LASD's Gardner Bullis school was in the last two years of the API.

I assume the Mountain View resident family attending BCS is a LASD resident. It also seems that the parent self-identified as NOT Economically Disadvantaged. Here is the question - in my mind - if BCS is so darn attractive to the 5% of LASD residents who have priority in the BCS entrance lottery and are Economically Disadvantaged - why the heck are They NOT applying for the BCS lottery? [Stevenson choice-program in MVWSD also has the same problem BTW)

@Both Right, BCS having a high score for their current demographic, is interesting - but totally not unexpected! They have, by their current disinterest in actually increasing their LASD Economically Disadvantaged percent to 5%, not shown that they (Admin + board) have a clue how to serve that SED type of student-parent community.

Lots of Charter Schools do a reasonable job with this SED population (many just so-so, some same as district public schools, a few charters MUCH BETTER than the average public district school). BCS is not one of these MUCH BETTER than types of charter schools for SED!

by the numbers (I don't think Fake Data! As of Jan '18 DOE data-base))
2017-2018 SARC 0.8% ED, number or percent academically proficient? -- too small to statistically sample
No DATA - No reason to conclude BCS knows anything at all about ED student success (IMO)

Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 2, 2018 at 1:39 pm

@Sheri, good question on why BCS middle school average academic achievement is better than LASD. Part of it is surely a "selection effect" - if you look up the SARC 2017-1018 for BCS, you will notice that there is a drop by about 50% in the enrollment of 8th, vs the enrollment at 4th-5th. This means that there is some very large demographic difference, that is 'confounded' into the BCS achievement averages for the middle schoolers.

Without the demographics on the 7th and 8th graders at BCS it would be hard to study this. Even then, the BCS middle schooler enrollment numbers are very very low for doing any statistically meaningful quantitative analysis (even for sort-of-brain dead "standardized testing" numbers)

Posted by Steve Nelson is Wrong...again!
a resident of another community
on Mar 3, 2018 at 11:39 am

Steve Nelson, you are wrong. Read the actual data from CDE and get schooled...

School API 2013 API2012 Low SES 2012 ELL 2012
BCS 990 994 .88% 9.76%
Gardner 947 958 .48% 8.57%
Covington 974 981 2.99% 16.17%
Loyola 954 965 .94% 8.9%
Springer 955 961 2.93% 13.33%
Oak 987 983 2.28% 6.27%
Santa Rita 941 956 10.05% 27.27%
Almond 955 954 9.8% 20.17%
LASD 965 969 4.11% 13.63%

*API no longer published after 2014, and test format changed after 2015.

By Steve Nelson's assertions, Gardner Bullis should be at the top for all schools and Oak at the bottom (based on averge home values for district boundaries). These test results proved otherwise.

Posted by Here's the data again
a resident of another community
on Mar 3, 2018 at 11:46 am


*API no longer published after 2014, and test format changed after 2015.

Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 3, 2018 at 1:25 pm

The statisticians at the CDE never asserted that there was a 1.00 correlation coefficient with one of their student parent wealth/socio-economic indicators (definitely NOT general residential home price BTW) and the API.

If you don't understand statistical thinking, you probably don't understand what a 0.8 correlating coefficient means? It just means, not necessarily that there is a causal connection, but there is a statistical connection between one parameter (or variable) and another. In this case- across California, 80% of a school's API could be statistically projected by just the CDE's parent economic parameter.

Take your real data from above, all of it, and plot it out on a X-Y plot, with first say LOWSED2012 as the X axis. That simple metric is not the CDE's for parent wealth/income, but probably close-enough. You don't have enough real data for a statistical whisker plot (ask a 7th grader), but the API2012<>API2013 data should work for the Y data.

You can probably 'eyeball' the correlation for this particular school grouping. If not - well - over the entire state, over many years 20% of the API seemed to have nothing-at-all to do with student family income (I think that is used rather than what I earlier called a student family wealth-measurement)

I'd much rather read real macro-econmic research on this topic, that just look at a few numbers on your post.
So, excuse me if I leave the exercise as homework for someone else!

Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 3, 2018 at 2:15 pm

Argument by Respected Wise Old Elder's Opinion - When the Hispanic long-time school board member Juan C. Aranda Jr. retired, the local paper wrote an editorial about how he had the deep respect and trust of the Hispanic community from his years of public service. And - BTW - he is an old guy whose personal bravery was recognized by an Air Force Metal in 2013.
Web Link

If Juan thinks a BCS administration/board school would be 'a good idea' for his portion of this community, or any low-income community - I would defer to his opinion.


BCS-------990---------994---------0.88%----------9.76% * not LASD


Posted by Steve Nelson contradicts himself
a resident of another community
on Mar 4, 2018 at 10:08 am

Spoken just like a blowhard politician, you're conflating data when it's only convenient for you, Steve Nelson. In one post, you talk about sample size being too small to be relevant and yet you cite one single person's opinion on whether the BCS model would be beneficial to a whole demographic. I don't think the 100+ parents who send their kids to Bullis free preschool and summer camps would agree with your heresay from Juan Aranda. Lucky for the community, you are no longer in elected office!

Thanks for the useless lesson on coefficient analysis, but parents don't care about macro state-level CDE data trends. They care about specific data as it relates to their local schools over the last several years, and the data says BCS is doing a good job compared to other public schools in the area (esp Gardner Bullis). Period.

Posted by School Choice issues
a resident of another community
on Mar 4, 2018 at 4:02 pm

Look at the choice faced by the parents living along Del Medio Avenue. They are 1 mile away from their assigned school, Santa Rita. They could opt to apply to Bullis Charter which is only 1/3 mile away. But say they do get a chance to look at each option. They see Santa Rita as a 12 acre park in the woods with a huge playground and nice school buildings. It's a pleasant experience each day, even if they do have to walk 1 mile to get there (or drive). But if they look at the Charter school, the facilities are nearly squalid by comparison. A larger number of students is crammed onto 7.5 acres of land on a fairly busy corner along San Antonio Avenue. Trees have been cut down from Egan to make room. The all-portable classrooms are placed very close to each other. The K play space is right on the corner, hearing all the traffic noises.

Don't you think that appearance like this would influence the choices of families applying to the charter school? Wouldn't it be even more of a factor if the family live in an apartment building with practically no outdoor space for the kids to play in?

I just wonder what Steven Nelson thinks about this. Has he even taken a look at Santa Rita in all its glory?

Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 5, 2018 at 11:18 am

I have seen the BCS cramped facilities over the years, as they have gotten denser. Maybe that totally explains why Economically Disadvantaged families do not choose to apply there. If you are on the BCS committee that was referenced in the article - be sure you hold out for a Santa Rita-class school environment for any low-income version of BCS if you have any survey data on this!

The parent who doesn't really care about statistics (BCS is just great compared to an equivalent high-wealth LASD school nearby): What I learned going through life was that hard problems are best approached by understanding the many different data, and analysis, and also by informed expert opinion. I haven't asked Juan Aranda what he thinks of BCS taking over low-income Hispanic student education. He is much more of a community expert on that than the "data poster".

It is clear that the individual really is more concerned about A BIG AXE to grind and not the issues of LOW-INCOME student education. As a politician - I learned to just ignore loudmouths like that! -poppycock- They are really not that interested in data, or analysis, that does not support their idea. [BCS is Much better than the public schools nearby]. BCS and the public schools nearby do not educated any 'statistically significant' number of low-income students [Federal Free Reduced Student Lunch program regulations for designating low-income students, also used by CDE in Target Student designations in LCFF budgeting / the numbers in the state database are NOT on a LASD-based criteria]

Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 5, 2018 at 11:23 am

excuse me BCS is OF COURSE a public school (also)!
Legally and in every other way that a non-profit public charter school is. The differentiation, public/public charter, is what I meant, not the totally mis-informed view that public charters are not public schools.

Posted by Better to quit while you're ahead...
a resident of another community
on Mar 6, 2018 at 3:15 pm

Steve Nelson, you sound very sad - misguided and pathetic.

Posted by Logan
a resident of Slater
on Mar 14, 2018 at 5:06 am

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