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Mountain View school officials, bracing for months of closures, shift gears to online learning

Original post made on Apr 7, 2020

Mountain View Whisman School District administrators are set to unveil a comprehensive roadmap next week for how to teach more than 5,000 students remotely through the end of the school year.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, April 7, 2020, 1:52 PM

Comments (29)

48 people like this
Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 7, 2020 at 2:35 pm

God.. all that paper. What a waste.

My coworkers' kids are all learning online. Most meet daily with their classes at least briefly to check-in. This has been going on for weeks now.

Our district is behind. Time to get caught up. If 5% of the district doesn't have internet access you don't hold the other 95% back.


26 people like this
Posted by Curious
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Apr 7, 2020 at 3:00 pm

So let's see, Cupertino, Palo Alto and Sunnyvale were doing Distance Learning before the official shut down? I would fact check this, because when I checked the Santa Clara County of Education website, it said all schools in their jurisdiction would be taking the same action at the same time. So, no I don't believe MVWSD is behind. Can't be when then the State Superintendent of Education Tony Thurmond said to go with Distance Learning approach back on April 1st Web Link#

Now is the time to support our schools.


11 people like this
Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Apr 7, 2020 at 3:00 pm

Please answer the district's call to help bridge the digital divide. If you are a Comcast customer, please view your Xfinity home router settings to see if public access is on (on is the default setting). As long as that's on, your router serves as a public access point, unless you the customer actively turned it off. I hope MV can encourage all Comcast customers who actively turned off their public access setting to turn it back on during this crisis to help their neighbors. It has no impact on your home network's security or privacy. Please help students by checking if this feature is on, more info found here: Web Link (reversing the directions found at the link)

Meanwhile, if you have spare time or old laptops/tablets resting around, some volunteers and I are trying to organize a computer drive to help fill the small remaining digital gap -now-, not later, more info here: Web Link


33 people like this
Posted by Gaby
a resident of Whisman Station
on Apr 7, 2020 at 3:07 pm

You can't get your taxes back, but you can withdraw from the district legally as a vote of no confidence. All you need to do is send a certified letter: Web Link

If you want some guidance and even $$$ to use toward your child's education, you can register with Ocean Grove, a homeschool charter that sends a CA certified teacher to meet with you once a month to go over work samples in all of the major required subjects. Ocean Grove has an extensive and deep repository of curricula in every subject that you can sample and preview before purchasing for your child. They even GIVE YOU over >$2000/year to spend on online and in-person third-party educational vendors and equipment such as microscopes or lab gear. Web Link

High quality online learning is available through providers such as Athena's Advanced Academy Online, OnlineG3, Thinkwell, the Well Trained Mind Academy, Art of Problem Solving, and Outschool.com. These vendors charge per class, and the prices and formats vary considerably--pick what works for you and your kids! Many offer the first 2 or 3 wks of their program for free (you can get a full refund from some of these vendors if the classes don't meet your child's needs).

Even math games such as Prodigy Math are FREE to use and offer detailed standards-based reports to parents.

Ted/Ed, Kurgesagt, ASAP Science, and Crash Course offer educational and often very short videos on a host of topics. FREE

Of course, Kahn Academy has always been FREE.

My early elementary-aged child has exploded educationally since the shut down and it has me wondering what I'm paying his private school for?

Over 1 million books are available here through the national archives: Web Link

If you have a kindle and a young kid, Sesame Street just made over 100 ebooks free: Web Link

Time magazine made their kids' magazine free: Web Link

Many of your favorite museums and zoos are offering free classes, some taught by live teachers: paleontologists, evolutionary biologists, natural historians--free!

If you're tired of our district's incompetent leadership, know that you have options (some of which are exceptional)! If this school district isn't working for you and the board is not listening to you, the only way to send them a message is by withdrawing. You might be surprised at how amazing the educational opportunities outside of school can be. I understand that not everyone can or is willing to do this. If you have a computer and internet service, this could be a good time to send Rudolph a wake up call.


53 people like this
Posted by Common sense
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 7, 2020 at 3:08 pm

Once again, MVWSD board is sitting flat footed while our Sup sits and focuses on the very small minority of those who might not be able to participate, while the vast majority of students are left hanging and should have started real online learning almost a month ago. It should not take this long to get online learning up and running. What have they been doing for the last month???


32 people like this
Posted by big disappointment
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2020 at 3:26 pm

Both the Superintendent and the Board are a big disappointment. They do not understand the giant Digital Divide and do not seem to be allowing the workforce = TEACHERS to experiment and use the examples of surrounding districts. The Superintendent has been sitting on this no-internet-for-ALL problem for the last year. The two richest elementary schools have raised their own money - other schools/families have been left out.

Reporter - is it 600 or 200 kids who do not have access to home-internet instruction? The MVWSD posted that it was 200, with Castro, Mistral and Monta Loma getting "priority" for new access.

Web Link


25 people like this
Posted by Great Ideas
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 7, 2020 at 3:51 pm

Hey everyone, I think it would be great to have you all go ahead and share your plans for how to do these things. Please share time line, how you provide same level of education for the kids learning english and special ed, plus how to fix the wifi, etc. If you can do that, it would be a huge win for the community. People here can then vote on what plan they like best, then you can share it with the school district, problem solving from the ground up.


48 people like this
Posted by Sup letting perfection stand in the way
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 7, 2020 at 4:07 pm

Until every single kid is on the same level, NOBODY LEARNS?
The 96% will suffer until we have 100% perfection?

The superintendent is letting perfection stand in the way.
I WANT A REFUND!
MVWSD is being run by a DO NOTHING IDIOT!!!


29 people like this
Posted by Facts Only
a resident of Gemello
on Apr 7, 2020 at 4:12 pm

Actually no, the requirement for equal access and service of education for all students is both fed and state law.


29 people like this
Posted by @Gemello
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2020 at 4:16 pm

So the other schools are 100% on board or are they in violation of these laws?
Somewhere other's have figured it out. Not here though, and no communicated plan with a timeline either.

Just drifting in the breeze and hoping seems like the current plan.


17 people like this
Posted by Just a mom
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2020 at 4:30 pm

They are hoping they would drag their feet until summer while getting paid and doing nothing.
Our teachers have been better than most - they listened and implemented online zoom classes (which are not much use 3x/week and for the whole class but better than nothing).
Gaby made a great point above about free resources. I wish could stay at home and homeschool my kid or afford to hire someone to homeschool him, but neither is an option. I have been working from home and now am laid off and looking for another job.
Our school is a lottery school so I am worried if I withdraw him I lose the spot. But I swear, if next year it’s the same bull with distance “learning” I am pulling him out and hiring someone to homeschool as soon as I have a new job.


31 people like this
Posted by Common sense
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 7, 2020 at 4:43 pm

@facts only -- there is a reasonableness element built into the law. The district could have easily been making plans to support online learning for low-income students, including providing ipads with cellular service or working with local ISPs to arrange for no cost (or district funded) in home service and providing ipads. The cost would be a drop in the bucket. MVWSD Sup simply doesn't want to dig in a do the real work - much easier to stand around making speeches and excuses.


27 people like this
Posted by @ Curious
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2020 at 7:55 pm

Hi Curious,

Yes, to answer your question, other districts did start distance learning right away. Schools closed Friday. But they’d already been planning for this so all of our teachers had already created virtual classrooms on Google Classroom, started filming welcome videos, and setting up their classrooms. Monday and Tuesday were prep days and the entire Virtual Learning rolled out on Wednesday. The kids had 2 day break before school started back up in full-force Wednesday after the closures were announced.

We meet with our teachers every morning at 9:30am for morning meeting, all teachers have office hours and check in at least once a week. It’s amazing. I am shocked that MVWSD hasn’t adopted this yet but am hopeful they will. We can’t lose the 95% as we can loan Chromebooks to the 5%. We have them in their (and our) classrooms to loan out. This is what our district did as well.

One thing we have to consider is that, while yes, the country’s students will all be somewhat behind, kids from Crittenten and Egan are meeting up together at LAHS in the fall. If MVWSD doesn’t roll out distance learning, how big will this divide be?


12 people like this
Posted by @ Great Ideas
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2020 at 8:00 pm

Here are the two best ideas, IMHO:

1) call Cupertino and ask how they have been doing it for 2.5 weeks (before spring break).

2) call Los Altos and see how they have been doing it for 2.5 weeks (before spring break)

3) vote on which one you like better.

FWIW I think San Carlos has been in the game since the beginning as well. I sincerely pray your student(s) receive what they need and is required by law.


7 people like this
Posted by @ Curious
a resident of North Bayshore
on Apr 7, 2020 at 8:36 pm

Can you share which district, sounds like a very good roll out, Thank you.


26 people like this
Posted by Unhappy parent
a resident of Gemello
on Apr 7, 2020 at 9:28 pm

I'm disappointed that MVWSD is not following the path of neighboring school districts. It's hard to believe that only Mountain View has families which don't have internet access. Can't the superintendent talk with neighboring school district superintendents to see how they are tackling this?


32 people like this
Posted by Disappointed
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 7, 2020 at 9:34 pm

Terribly disappointed with the District’s leadership and sad excuses for not launching a full fledged online learning program. They should have been thinking of these when there was a possibility of a shutdown. You don’t have to wait a month after schoolS close to start thinking about what to do, train teachers etc. and even then come up with a half-baked no good plan. We might as well be in a small backward distant village in Africa not in the heart of Silicon Valley!!


36 people like this
Posted by Unacceptable
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 7, 2020 at 9:36 pm

Google's headquarters are in Mountain View and our district cannot come up with Chromebooks for 200 students. Xfinity has free wifi across MV and our district cannot find a way to give families access to free wifi. Khan Academy, THE name in online learning is headquartered in Mountain View and the district is lagging behind most others in coming up with a Distant Learning Plan. Totally unacceptable.


25 people like this
Posted by Woohoo!
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 7, 2020 at 9:38 pm

Way to bring housing prices down in Mountain View! Our kids will lag behind and this will no longer be considered a good school district, thanks to this administration's lack of vision and implementation!


25 people like this
Posted by LATE
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 7, 2020 at 9:45 pm

Too little too late. No thank you, Rudolph!


22 people like this
Posted by Office worker
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Apr 7, 2020 at 11:10 pm

Suppose there's a shortage of food in MV, but there's a small percentage of residents can't come to get free food. If the MVWSD were in charge of distributing food, they would deny food to all residents regardless, so all residents would starve equally. The bad news is, all residents would starve; but the good news is we all starve together. Very politically correct.


27 people like this
Posted by Standing Ovation
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 8, 2020 at 8:27 am

Is any one surprised this school district is leading the way once again in failure and falling behind? It's a direct reflection of continued and constant failed leadership and activist board members with few original ideas who have been now largely hiding in silence for more than a year. Guess what folks? They have no plan and no idea how to get out of the mess they've created.

It began with the Teach to One fiasco and a lack of accountability and ownership of the failure by Superintendent Rudolph. Then there was the mass firing of first-rate principals that would have rallied and known what to do with the current challenges. Instead the superintendent and his district office cronies have created a tall, narrow silo of incompetence and and inaction. Add on top of that thrown in the lack of accounting for hundreds or thousands of dollars and the district office's failing of handling sexual harassment complaints and the double-barreled lawsuits now under way. And throw in dismal project management and no electricity for how many months at Vargas Elementary? All the while we are represented by the so-called leadership of Gutierrez, Blakley and Wilson. For God's sake they all have been utter and complete failures!

So seriously, are we supposed to be surprised that there is no real plan for real school work now? All we get is a bunch of mealy mouth whiny about how there is no equity and if one can't get it all must go without! In the meantime districts all around us are improvising, adapting and over coming the exact same obstacles? And exactly how does proclaiming that assignments will be entirely voluntary and will not be graded produce any positive effect for the disadvantaged other than provide an excuse par excellence for such parents and students to completely blow off school work and their education? This will only guarantee that once there is finally a return to normalcy, Mountain View schools will fall even further behind with even less attention be paid to the upper half of those students who seek to learn and achieve. Mark my words, the district will become even more of a disaster zone. And all while everyone stood by, watched it unfold and let it happen.

This is all just nuts. Plain nuts, plain and simple. Recall the board.


29 people like this
Posted by big disappointment
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2020 at 10:11 am

The MVWSD has literally hundreds of Chromebook computers SITTING ON CARTS - unused - within each elementary school. No need for Christopher Chiang to pull together a hodgepodge collection!

The recent Teacher Of The Year, Patterson, is retiring at the end of the year. She should be PUT IN CHARGE as CZAR of REMOTE TEACHING. (But I think the Superintendent is unlikely to ever let anyone else be in CHARGE)

PAY NEIGHBORS FOR school related internet Wi-Fi access. Christopher Chiang's idea is not so bad. BUT the District has literally MILLIONS OF DOLLARS SITTING IN RESERVE. Is this Not An Emergency? Apartment buildings with high-need students could be Wi-Fi surveyed. Offer $$. Spend $$. Don't be a stingy Board, because we are not a stingy community.

@Great Ideas I thought they only came from the Great One / the One In Charge?


20 people like this
Posted by Dave
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Apr 8, 2020 at 10:20 am

I'm really not surprised by the districts lack of response or plan. My expectations from MVWSD are exceedingly low given their past performance. Sadly I'm in a no-choice school district with my ONLY choice being CASTRO, the worst school in the MVWSD, if not the entire bay area.

Yes, I applied for Bullis (not worth mentioning my position in line, its depressing) and Stevenson same thing.... I've watched one family after another forced out of this district or resort to private school because of the poor management of this bad school district that forces you into a single school without choice (lottery with 1 in 100 or worse odds is not a choice). It doesn't matter how much money is approved or thrown at this problem, the administration is incompetent and needs to be replaced before anything positive will happen.


20 people like this
Posted by Who are really the whiners
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2020 at 2:58 pm

I think you all missed the main point that this district is NOT like the other districts. Cupertino doesn't have 33% reduce and free lunch kids. Los Altos doesn't have 33% free and reduce lunch kids. Palo Alto doesn't have 33%. And they have way more money. I think you missed the point that there is a LAW mandating fair and equal access. If they flout that they will get in real trouble. If you wanted the type of resources and demographics and the neighboring districts offer (who are also way better funded and levy more taxes - atleast Los Altos) then you should bought a house there, pure and simple. If you didn't want the poor kids holding back your kids back, then you should not have moved to a district with so many poorer kids. Should have done your research before you bought a house. [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]
People are working hard around the clock to fix this mess that trump and Xiping administrations created and you guys just wha-wha-wha, "recall the board", and "fire them all." obviously that hasn't happened yet so its obvious that you are in the minority.

I think you missed the point that they DID get the chrome books out that they had at schools and bought 200 more with corporate help but there is an ordering backlog. I think you missed the point that they DID get the xfinity hot spots out but there is no coverage around Castro but are trying to figure it out.

[Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


And just because Google chose this city as headquarters doesn't mean all the inequality that holds kids back and has for decades in this city magically disappears. That is not how stuff works - can't believe I have to point that out.


38 people like this
Posted by We can do better
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 8, 2020 at 5:49 pm

We can do better for our kids.

I have been incredibly frustrated by the district's lack of action. San Carlos has been on it since the beginning as have many other districts. Learning isn't "optional", they have to check in, and they have structure. My middle schooler is getting none of that.

Why are we so behind??? While MV may have different demographics than some of the more affluent districts, we also have had tremendous help by Google in terms of access to equipment. We have the resources to fix the gaps.

As for those suggesting we come up with solutions, you are missing the point. We have a superintendent that we pay to do that, and he's doing a terrible job. It's bad enough the burden of my kid's learning is falling on me, don't try and tell me I should do the SI's job too.


16 people like this
Posted by See TransparentCalifornia.com
a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 8, 2020 at 8:21 pm

See how many administrators are on the payroll of this district and what they received as of 2018 at TransparentCalifornia.com


23 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 8, 2020 at 9:55 pm

If I am expected to teach MVWSD curriculum to my 5th and 1st graders then I expect to be paid from the school district while I watch my child’s teacher post videos of her dancing and out on walks during normal school hours!!! 1 hour class zoom call and then 1 hour of office hours is only 2 hours out of. 6 hour school day!! Either these teachers actually hold online classes that mimic a school schedule or just say school is out for summer!! All work is optional anyway!!!!


29 people like this
Posted by Disappointed Parent
a resident of Waverly Park
on Apr 8, 2020 at 10:59 pm

It’s sickening how poorly the district has handled the crisis.
Took weeks to get going with class, and we still don’t have full schedules. My son in gets 2 hours a day at best. And all school work is optional? Where’s the accountability?
My brother’s kids were in full remote learning two days after the shelter in place order went into effect.
We don’t care about the administration’s excuses. Other districts prepared and executed. Our kids ultimately will have to complete with kids in other districts... the administration is failing them.


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