Mountain View Whisman School District Meetings May & June 2018

Enrollment Priorities

Trustees approved the recommended enrollment priorities drafted by the Enrollment Priorities Task Force.  The new Administrative Regulation No. 5115 will go into effect in the 2019-2020 school year and give first priority for enrollment to students who reside in a neighborhood’s school boundaries.  Second priority will be given to students who are the children of staff working as .5 FTE or higher if space is available at a school site.  Voluntary transfers are allowed to under-enrolled schools – those with 25% or greater under-enrollment – on a year by year basis and not including siblings.  Special circumstances will be reviewed on a case by case basis for exemptions through a formalized process via the district office.  For the choice schools, Mistral and Stevenson, a parent is required to attend an information session before applying.

Boundary Exemptions

The board also voted to adopt one exemption for the roll-out of new school boundaries in the 2019-2020 school year.  When the new enrollment boundaries take effect, students entering fifth grade and their younger siblings will be grandfathered for one year.  All other students will move to their new school if they are in a different enrollment boundary.  After that first year, the younger siblings of the grandfathered fifth graders will transfer to their new school if they are in a different enrollment boundary.  If a student has special hardship circumstances in light of the transfer, they can apply on a case by case basis for an exemption through the district office.

School Naming

Jose Antonio Vargas Elementary School won support from the board as the name of the new school planned to open in the 2019-2020 school year.  Articles detailing the decision can be found in the Mountain View Voice and the San Francisco Chronicle.  Based on the list of names suggested during the community input process, trustees also voted to give the district’s two preschool locations the joint name of Barack and Michelle Obama Preschool and to rename the boardroom the Gail Urban Moore Leadership Center in honor of Trustee Gail Urban Moore who served on the Mountain View Elementary School Board for 29 years.  

Solar Power Planning

Over the summer the district will send out a request for proposals (RFP) for solar power installation across district school sites.  Sage Renewables presented the board with a projected cost benefit analysis of installing solar panels across all school sites or at three school sites with the most space and highest return available.  Board members also discussed funding sources, including the possibility of a new bond measure.

2018-2019 Budget Adoption (5/31)

The board adopted the final budget for the 2018-2019 school year after staff corrected an error that led to a miscalculation in the projected budget over several years.  In an accounting mistake, the district underestimated revenues and overestimated costs leading to a savings this year of  $1.6 million.  The savings this year mean the district will also be within budget for the next three years.  

LCAP

A public hearing was held and the final Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) was adopted by the board.  

— Devon Conley, Observer

Mountain View Whisman School District Meetings April 2018

MVWSD Board Meetings, April 5th and 19th, 2018

In April the Mountain View Whisman School District Trustees reviewed the first and second trimester benchmark assessment results and took an in depth look at the 2017-2018 English Learner Board Goal.

Benchmark Assessment Report

The Benchmark Assessments are created by the district’s Assessment Task Force, a group of over twenty elementary and middle school teachers.  In kindergarten through second grade, math and English Language Arts (ELA) benchmarks are given each trimester and assess the standards covered during the trimester only. In third through eighth grade, the math and ELA benchmarks are given in the second and third trimesters and include content from the entire school year.  There is also a writing benchmark and an additional literacy benchmark called Literably.  The benchmarks help teachers track student learning during the school year in a less formal setting than the annual state testing.

The benchmark assessments were revised for this year, therefore it is not possible to compare this year’s data to last year’s results.  For kindergarten through second grade, the first trimester and second trimester results are not comparable because they test different content.  For the third through fifth grade benchmarks, the first and second trimester tests cover the same content and track growth over the course of the year.  The benchmark data can be found here.

2017-2018 English Learner Board Goal Update

In January 2017, the board created a goal to address the achievement gap between English Learners (ELs) and their peers.  The 2015 District Quality Review found that “The provision for English Language Learners across the District is ineffective, inconsistent, and, in many cases, counterproductive.”  The District Quality Review and Schools Reviews laid the groundwork for the Strategic Plan 2021 and the board’s EL goal for the 2017-2018 school year.

Research on English language acquisition, “indicates academic English language proficiency at 6-8 years,” according to the presentation. The board’s goal is to “Revise the English Learner program to ensure a minimum of 80% of students who are enrolled in the program will reach competency in the English language on par with their peers within a six year period.” This goal focuses on English Learner students who are  Long Term English Learners (LTELs) or at risk of becoming LTELs.  LTELs are middle school students classified as ELs for more than six years.  Students at risk of becoming LTELs are fifth grade students classified as ELs for six years (discussed in more depth in the November-December observer report).  Across the district, Long Term English Learners and students at risk of being LTELs total 177 students or 15% of the English Learner population.

In October, the board discussed how to achieve their goal by adopting English language development programs for students in upper and lower grades (included in the October observer report). For the current school year, the district chose separate approaches for the upper and lower grades. For the upper grades, the district adopted the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP), an instructional model to support ELs.  For the lower grades, the district originally planned to implement an evidence-based early learning language acquisition program for kindergarten through third grade. Heidi Smith, the district’s Director of Federal, State, and Strategic Programs, recommended the district create its own program drawing from different models reviewed, and the board agreed.

In April, the in-house K-3 Early Language Learning Safety Net for English Learners was unveiled. Rather than implementing a program across the elementary schools, the district will have a nineteen-day summer school for K-6, with a total of eleven classes.  Using curriculum developed by the district, the summer school will foster language development through science content.

For the 2017-2018 school year, the district also changed the English Learner goal for individual schools’ Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA).  The SPSA are plans developed by principals and staff at each school using goals driven by the board and student achievement data from the previous year.  This year, schools were directed to focus on LTELs and students at risk of becoming LTELs.  The previous year, schools had focused on increasing the performance of all ELs in English Language Arts and mathematics.

The April 5th board discussion focused on how to track English Learner student progress in light of the board goal.  Dr. Rudolph asked trustees what data they want the district to gather to measure the board’s success.  Each of the data tracking options focused on students who enrolled in the district for six years, meaning that if an EL student arrived after second grade they would not be included in the data used to measure the board’s success.  There are challenges with the quality of data management software used to monitor student progress.

Trustees decided the district should track students by cohort, separating students new to the district each year into subgroups.  Each year, the district loses and gains students at different grade levels. Only students enrolled in the district for at least six years will be used to measure the board goal.

— Devon Conley, Observer

Mountain View Whisman Board Meetings Feb & Mar 2018

MVWSD Board Meetings 2018: February 1st and 15th, March 1st and 15th

The Mountain View Whisman Board of Trustees met on February 1st and 15th, and March 1st and 15th. Trustees reviewed curriculum, construction, budget assumptions for the 2017-2018 school year, and voted to pilot a full day preschool program next school year. The board also released and/or reassigned administrators, voted to close the independent study program, and heard two draft recommendations from the Enrollment Priorities Task Force. Due to the volume of items taken up in February and March, this report focuses on the latter.

Principal Release and Reassignment

During closed session on March 1st, board members voted unanimously to release three principals at the end of the 2017-2018 school year: Steve Chesley of Landels Elementary School, Marcela Simões de Carvalho of Mistral Elementary School, and Kim Thompson of Graham Middle School. For the 2018-2019 school year, Assistant Principal Heidi Galassi of Graham was reassigned to be the new principal of Landels, and Principal Ryan Santiago of Theuerkauf Elementary School was reassigned to be an assistant principal at Graham.

At the March 15th board meeting, community members filled all of the seats in the Graham multi-use room, and dozens more stood in the back. Speakers questioned the principal evaluation process, the quality of the school climate results that may have been used in the evaluations, and what they felt was a lack of transparency in the principal release and reassignment process. The meeting was also attended by Telemundo, and the Mountain View Voice has written articles about the original release decision and the parent response. At the April 5th meeting,

Superintendent Dr. Rudolph gave a presentation on the evaluation process for district leaders.

Independent Study Program

After a presentation on the Independent Study Program (ISP) by Assistant Superintendent Carmen Ghysels on February 1st, the board voted on February 15th to end the program in June 2020. Four parents of students who attended or graduated from the program and the program’s teacher addressed the board at the second meeting, asking board members not to end the ISP.

Assistant Superintendent Ghysels presentation included background on the ISP. The program is about seventeen years old and currently has twelve students enrolled. A credentialed teacher works on an hourly basis to support students using a classroom at Monta Loma. The district also funds field trips and curriculum for students. MVWSD is the only district in the area that still has an ISP – other local districts have discontinued similar programs. Newer home schooling options for families include the California HomeSchool Network, the California Virtual Academy, and The Home School Association of California.

The Mountain View Voice published an article about the program closure, the parent response, and an opinion piece calling on the board to rescind the decision to close the program.

Enrollment Priorities Task Force

At the March 15th meeting, the board reviewed two draft recommendations from the Enrollment Priorities Task Force (EPTF) and gave direction for the continued work of the task force.  The EPTF is tasked with revising the enrollment priorities for the district and deciding whether to grandfather students slated to change schools when the new school boundaries go into effect in 2019-2020. There are currently 26 enrollment priorities, and the district has an open enrollment policy that allows families to apply for an intradistrict transfer to any school in the district if there is space available. When the new school boundaries go into effect with the opening of Slater School in 2019-2020, some students will be rezoned to new schools.

Recommendation A from the EPTF is to reduce the existing twenty-six enrollment priorities to nine, continue to allow intradistrict transfers between schools, keep a similar lottery process for the two choice programs with weight given to siblings, and not grandfather students when the new school boundaries go into effect. Recommendation B is to require students to attend the the school they are zoned for, grandfathers fifth graders who are impacted by the new school boundaries, and calls for measures to increase the diversity of the district’s choice schools.

The superintendent, Dr. Rudolph, shared the process to date undertaken by the district and the task force. The district has solicited feedback from a range of parent groups and stakeholders, all of whom called for grandfathering at least fifth graders. Seven community members addressed the board, with several parents asking for the board to allow students to finish school at their current location.  

Trustees gave direction that fifth graders should be grandfathered and possibly fourth or third graders. Younger siblings of grandfathered students should be allowed to attend the same school until the grandfathered sibling finished fifth grade, then would be required to transfer to their neighborhood school under the new zoning. The board had mixed feelings about allowing intradistrict transfers.

— Devon Conley, Observer

Mountain View Whisman School Board Meetings January 2018

MVWSD Board Meetings, January 4th and 18th,  2018

The Mountain View Whisman Board of Trustees met on January 4th and 18th, 2018. Trustee Gutiérrez, Jr., was not present at the January 4th meeting.

SchoolMint – New Online Student Enrollment System

For the first time ever, registration for the upcoming school year can now be completed online thanks to a partnership with SchoolMint. The open enrollment period for the 2018-2019 school year is January 5th – February 2nd.

California Dashboard

The California School Dashboard is a new accountability system that replaces API (Academic Performance Index) and AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress). Rather than looking only at academic achievement, the Dashboard includes additional indicators such as suspension rates, chronic absenteeism rates, and English Learner progress. School and District dashboards are available to the public online.

The Dashboard has 8 priority areas that are measured through both local and state indicators. The Dashboard itself is portrayed using a circle cut into five pieces and with a color scale from blue (highest performance) to red (lowest performance). The academic achievement indicator was revised this year with different cut points for whether students met or exceeded standards due to wide swings in scores.  These cut points are expected to move again in the future as the state gathers more stable data over three years or so.

While the academic achievement indicator for students in the district overall was green, students in many subgroups, including English Learners and socioeconomically disadvantaged students, lagged behind.

 

Middle School Schedule Change

Trustees voted to adopt a new middle school schedule beginning in the 2018-2019 school year. The new eight period cascading schedule will allow all students to take at least one elective and some to take as many as three. Under the previous schedule, students who received English Language Development instruction and special education instructional support did not have a chance to take an elective.

Report on Workforce Housing Study

The District partnered with DCG Strategies to complete a workforce housing study in the hopes of finding a location and a strategy for building housing for teachers and staff. After a site review, DCG presented two possible sites for building teacher/staff housing on land owned by MVWSD. Funding for workforce housing construction could come from bonds, certificates of participation (COPs), a land lease, or selling off District owned land.

Adjacent to Cooper Park on Eunice Avenue, the District could build 82 workforce housing units in four buildings and fund the construction by selling 36 single family lots at the same site to an outside developer. The second option presented was to build workforce housing at the Whisman School site with funding through a land lease to a developer. The District could also fund construction at Whisman by selling off fifty single family home lots at Eunice.

Some trustees were reluctant to sell off MVWSD land, and all of the trustees agreed not to pursue construction at the Whisman School site due to population growth already projected for that part of town. Most board members were in favor of pursuing a project at Eunice after more study, and the board also asked DCG to look at the possibility of building a mixed use structure at Sylvan Park with a small school on the ground level and housing above.

— Devon Conley, Observer

Mountain View Whisman School District Meetings Nov & Dec 2017

MVWSD Board Meetings, November and December, 2017

The Mountain View Whisman Board of Trustees met on November 2nd and 16th and on December 7th. The meetings included a review of the Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA) for each school, updates from task forces and PTA’s, a review of the interim budget and oversight committee updates. The November/December observer’s report focuses on the Board’s election of officers, presentations by Listos Mountain View and Landed, an update on a new middle school schedule, and the SPSA’s presented by each principal.

Election of Officers

The Board of Trustees elected Laura Blakely as President of the board, Jose Gutiérrez Jr. as Vice President, and Tamara Wilson as Clerk.

Listos Mountain View

The Board heard from Listos Mountain View, a group formed by parents and grandparents from Castro and Mistral elementary schools to assist undocumented immigrant families in MVWSD. The Mountain View Voice wrote an article featuring the nonprofit in October. Listos helps immigrant families choose who will care for their children if caretakers are deported and creates the necessary legal documents. They also help families explore citizenship options with an immigration lawyer and assist them in getting passports for children in both the United States and the caretakers’ country of origin.

Landed Program to Assist Staff in Buying a Home

Trustees discussed the possibility of working with Landed to provide housing assistance for teachers.  Landed is an organization that provides half of an employee’s down payment up to $120,000. Landed’s portion is seen as an investment in the property itself that the homeowner can buy out directly or by refinancing within ten years. The homebuyer must in turn share in the gain or loss of their home when they sell or refinance. Educators who participate can purchase a residence in nearby counties and must continue to work in the MVWSD for the next two years.

Middle School Schedule Task Force Update

The Middle School Schedule Task Force (MSST) is working with input from parents, students, staff, and administrators to develop a new class schedule that will allow all students to take at least one elective in middle school.  Currently, students who receive English Language Development and Special Education services may not be able to take an elective. The MSST developed three different proposals: a seven period schedule, an eight period schedule, and an eight period cascading schedule. A recommendation regarding which schedule to approve will be presented by the MSST in January.

Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA)

Every year the principals and teachers at each school are asked to analyze student test results from the year before, set goals for the upcoming year, and make a plan for achieving those goals. The resulting Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA) is then presented to the Trustees for approval.  The SPSA goals are guided by MVWSD’s strategic plan, and this year’s SPSA’s included a change in the goals for English Language Learners’ academic performance.

Overall CAASPP Scores

The SPSA academic goals are based on student scores on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) system tests.  The California Department of Education makes education data available online at Ed Data. The District’s test scores for all students in English Language Arts (ELA)  remained at 66% of students meeting or exceeding standards in both the 2015-2016 school year and the 2016-2017 school year.  While the district wide results were flat, individual school results varied (see Graph 1).  In mathematics, district-wide students meeting or exceeding standards grew by 2%, moving from 60% meeting or exceeding standards in the 2015-2016 school year to 62% in the 2016-2017 school year. Again, results across schools varied (see Graph 2).

Graph 1

       

 

 

 

 

 

   (Source: Ed-data.org)

Graph 2

 

    

 

 

 

 

   (Source: Ed-data.org)

Overall CAASPP English Learner (ELs) Scores

English Language Learners (ELs) in the district saw a dip in scores between the 2016 and 2017 tests. In the 2015-2016 school year, 17% of ELs met or exceeded standards in ELA, and in the 2016-2017 school year only 13.7% met or exceeded standards.  All but two schools district wide saw a decrease in ELs performance in ELA (see Graph 3). In mathematics, 18% of ELs met or exceeded standards in 2015-2016, and 17.2% met or exceeded standards in 2016-2017. Half of the schools in the district had a drop in ELs’ math performance, half of the schools had a gain (see Graph 4).

Graph 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

    (Source: Ed-data.org)

Graph 4

   

 

 

 

 

 

 (Source: Ed-data.org)

The rise and fall of EL scores across school sites between the 2015-2016 school year and the 2016-2017 school year is affected by a range of factors. The EL population within the district is constantly changing as new students enter and leave, and as students’ EL status changes.  When an EL student reaches English proficiency, they are labeled the subsequent year as Redesignated English Language Proficient (RFEP).   While the percentage of students in MVWSD who were ELs decreased from 28.8%  in 2015-2016, to 25.6%  in 2016-2017, the percentage of students who were RFEPs increased from 19.7% in 2015-2016, to 21.9% in 2016-2017.

At the individual school level, some schools in the district have a low percentage of students who are classified as ELs – small changes in a small group are magnified in an across schools comparison, and large changes in large groups are minimized.  Comparing middle schools and elementary schools suffers from differences in scale, as well, because the middle schools are much larger than the elementary schools.  At Huff, which saw the sharpest decline in ELA scores for ELs, ELs made up 16.3% of the student population in 2016-2017. At Castro, ELs made up 69.7% of the student population in 2016-2017. That being said, trends across schools still provide important information for developing district policy..

District/School Review Fall 2015 and  MVWSD Strategic Plan 2021

After Superintendent Dr. Rudolph joined the district in July 2015, a comprehensive  District/School Quality Review was completed in the Fall of 2015. The review found several “factors limiting the effectiveness of the district,” including that: “The provision for English Language Learners across the District is ineffective, inconsistent, and, in many cases, counterproductive.” The District/School Quality Review findings became the basis for the MVWSD Strategic Plan 2021, a five year plan which was developed in the spring of 2016. The second goal of the strategic plan is to eliminate the achievement gap “for all student groups in all areas,” including English Learners (ELs).

SPSA Goals for ELs

For the last few years, schools have included a goal aimed ELs in the SPSA. For the 2016-2017 school year, principals and teachers at every school set a goal to close the achievement gap for ELs by increasing the number of ELs who met or exceeded standards on the CAASPP system assessments in both ELA and mathematics.  The outcomes of these plans are the 2016-2017 CAASPP results seen in graphs 3 and 4.

For this year (the 2017-2018 school year), schools developed a different type of goal in the SPSA for ELs – a goal centered on Long Term English Learner’s (LTELs) or students at risk of becoming LTEL’s.  LTELs are students in grades 6-12 who have been classified as an English learner for six years or more and failed to make progress on the English language development test for two or more years. Only middle schools in the district have LTELs. “EL students at risk of being classified as LTELs” are in grades 5-11, score at intermediate or below on the English language development test used by the district, and for a fourth year do not meet or exceed ELA standards on the CAASPP.  At the elementary school level, only fifth grade EL students meeting these criteria are identified as at risk of becoming LTELs. Because ELs at risk of becoming LTELs are in grade 5-11, these students are a small subset of the students at elementary schools.

MVWSD elementary schools set SPSA goals for the 2017-2018 school year to decrease the number of ELs at risk of becoming LTELs by 10%, and the district’s two middle schools set a goal to decrease both ELs at risk of becoming LTELs and LTELs by 10%.  At Bubb this means the EL goal for the school is to reclassify 1 student in fifth grade, and at most elementary schools in the district it means reclassifying between 2-4 students. This focus on a handful of students is different from prior years when schools developed goals for all ELs in ELA and mathematics.

—Devon Conley, Observer

Mountain View Whisman School District Meeting October 2017

MVWSD Board Meeting, October 5th and 19th, 2017

2016-17 California Assessment Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) Report

The California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) System is a collection of tests based on California’s state adopted content standards. Since the 2014-2015 school year, MVWSD students have taken CAASPP tests in grades 3-8 for English Language Arts and mathematics and in grades 5 and 8 for science. Test scores for the 2016-2017 school year were recently released.

In 2016-2017, the District’s average score in English Language Arts remained flat compared to the previous year – 66% of students met or exceeded the standards tested. In mathematics, the District saw a 2% increase in overall scores with 62% of students meeting or exceeding the standards tested.

The District outperformed the state in all areas and outperformed the county in all areas except with English Language Learners, who lagged behind by 3% in mathematics and 4% in English Language Arts. Scores at some individual schools dipped, but Castro’s English Language Arts scores increased from 39% in 2015-2016 to 45% and in mathematics from 32% the previous year to 41%.

School sites are using the CAASPP results to develop school site plans to address student learning that will be presented to the Board in November. Individual school data and comparisons across subgroups can be found in the CAASPP Board Report.

Response to Instruction Update

Response to Instruction (RTI) is a three tiered framework used by the District to provide academic intervention and/or enrichment based on individual student needs. Students receive targeted instruction in small groups or one on one. RTI was first piloted at Castro in 2015-2016. Castro staff focused on improving literacy, and literacy scores at the school have increased each year since. In 2016-2017, the pilot was expanded to include Bubb, Monta Loma, Theuerkauf, and Landels. For the 2017-2018 school year RTI is being implemented at all school sites, but each school site is allowed to tailor the program to meet their students’ needs. With 1 additional teacher per 300 students, the program will cost $1.6 million this school year.

Workforce Housing Proposal and Study

Dr. Rudolph and the Trustees discussed different approaches to address the high cost of housing for teachers in MVWSD. Teacher salaries range from $60-114 thousand in the District, and the average cost of a single family home in Mountain View is around $1.5 million.

A multi-pronged approach from the District might include building housing, working with outside partners, and looking at teacher compensation. The Santa Clara Unified School District built below market rate apartments available to teachers and staff to rent for up to 7 years with an eye toward allowing tenants to save toward a down payment while renting. MVWSD is also exploring next steps with Landed, a company that provides teachers with half of their down payment up to $120 thousand. The District is currently doing a compensation study and will discuss those results in the future.

English Learner Update

English Language Learners (ELLs) make up 24% of the District’s students as of October 2017. The District Quality Review carried out in 2015-2016 found that “The provision for English Language Learners across the District is ineffective, inconsistent, and, in many cases, counterproductive.” In response, the Board previously set a goal to revise the District’s English Language Learners program so that 80% of students reach English language competency within 6 years. The District plans to do so by 1) implementing the Sheltered Instructional Observation Protocol (SIOP), an instructional model targeting English Language Learners across the curriculum, in 2017-2018, and 2) implementing an evidenced based early learning language acquisition program for K-3.

The District researched five different programs to provide targeted support for English Language Learners in K-3: Sobrato Early Academic Language (SEAL), Accelerated English Program, Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach (CALLA), Sheltered Instruction Observational Protocol (SIOP), and Guided Language Acquisition and Design (GLAD). Based on cost and the overlap with existing programs, District staff recommended that the District further consider GLAD, continue implementing and evaluating SIOP, and possibly develop it’s own program drawing on elements from the different programs researched.

Enrollment Priorities Task Force

The Enrollment Priorities Task Force (EPTF) members were selected and had their first meeting on October 24th. The meetings are not filmed, but the District will provide regular updates to the community and the Board. More information about the EPTF is included in the September LWV report.

— Devon Conley, Observer

Mountain View Whisman School Board Meetings September 2017

MVWSD Board Meeting, September 7th and 21st, 2017

The Mountain View Whisman Board of Trustees met on September 7th and 21st.

After School Programs Audit Report

The district’s strategic plan designates this school year as a planning year for after school programs. The audit report highlighted a variety of different after school programs across the district, some funded by the district and others paid for by parents or PTA’s. Some programs are run by parents, as well, while others are run by outside contractors like the YMCA.

The board was asked to consider whether there should be uniformity in after school programming across school sites. Another approach would be to provide certain district run programs like Beyond the Bell at each site, but continue to allow the current variety of programs as well, or the district could provide equal funding for afterschool programming across sites. The variety of programs and providers means there is little data linking programs directly to students’ academic outcomes.  The Trustees asked for more information about impacts on school climate, parent surveys, etc., to guide decision making.

Reserve Cap

Senate Bill 751 is currently awaiting a signature by Governor Jerry Brown. SB 751, among other changes, exempts small school districts and basic aid districts like MVWSD from a reserve cap. The current reserve cap is 6%, meaning a school district can only set aside 6% of the budget in reserve. If SB 751 is signed, the Board can instead set its own reserve cap based on recommendations from the district office. The Trustees discussed whether the Board should send a letter to Governor Brown expressing their support for the signing of the bill and made this an official agenda item for the future.

Enrollment Priorities Task Force

The District approached the Trustees seeking guidance for the Enrollment Priorities Task Force (EPTF).

New school boundaries were approved this past June after a years long process by the Student Attendance Area Task Force (SAATF). The SAATF was instructed that diversity and socio-economic status were not to be taken into account when redrawing boundaries, but instead an emphasis was made on not having students cross major thoroughfares like El Camino Real and Central Expressway. The SAATF’s mission was to not only address overcrowding at schools like Huff and Bubb, but to plan ahead for the opening of a new Slater campus.

With these new boundaries going into effect in the fall of 2019, the Enrollment Priorities Task Force (EPTF) is tasked with setting grandfathering guidelines for students in changing school zones, as well as reviewing the district’s current 26 enrollment priorities. Right now an enrolling family can elect to attend any school within the district pending space at that school and the current enrollment priorities.

One of the main challenges facing the Board is reconciling the SAATF’s emphasis on neighborhood schools with school choice and socio-economic diversity. The Board felt that diversity is an issue for schools and any attempt to address it by the EPTF would be welcome. The Trustees also noted that while neighborhood schools are a priority, there should be some flexibility for school choice. Board members were not concerned about school size and would continue to support current schools even if enrollment dropped dramatically for several years. Grandfathering of students within changing boundaries had limited support – perhaps only for a year or two. The District will share these overall guidelines with the EPTF at their first meeting.

DACA

The Trustees adopted a resolution asking that legislation be enacted at the federal level to continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program by March 2018.  The MVWSD Board “calls upon the United States Congress, including all members of the California delegation, to work with President Donald J. Trump to enact legislation prior to March 2018 that would, at a minimum, continue the existing DACA program and provide DACA recipients with a pathway to permanent residence and eventually to US Citizenship.”

— Devon Conley, Observer

Mountain View Whisman School District August 2017

MVWSD Board Meeting, August 17, 2017

The Mountain View Whisman Board of Trustees met on August 17, 2017, for the first meeting of the 2017-2018 school year. The discussion focused on the District’s summer activities and upcoming actions this fall.

Enrollment Priorities Task Force (EPTF)

The District and the Board of Trustees began a review of enrollment priorities and grandfathering that will span the 2017-2018 school year, with a final decision on updating both expected in May- June. The twenty-six enrollment priorities used to assign students to schools are convoluted and confusing for families, and the most popular schools in the District, Huff and Bubb elementary, are suffering from overcrowding. New school boundaries adopted this summer will also go into effect in the 2019-2020 school year, raising questions about grandfathering of students and siblings at current school sites.

In the upcoming September meetings, the Board will review data on enrollment and provide direction to the new Enrollment Priorities Task Force (EPTF). The District is already working to make the enrollment lottery more transparent, but the EPTF will focus on updating the current twenty-six enrollment priorities and the District’s grandfathering policy in light of new school boundaries.

The District is gathering input through the EPTF, community focus groups, the online Thought Exchange process, community and Board meetings, and internally. To form the community focus groups, the District is reaching out to neighborhood associations in the communities most impacted by grandfathering policies. The eight focus groups will meet twice during the year.

The EPTF is forming now and is charged: “to provide recommendations on how to streamline the enrollment priorities administrative regulation; look at best practices in enrollment that could help mitigate the impact of future growth; and, provide a recommendation on grandfathering policy to help enact the new boundaries” with a hard deadline for grandfathering. The EPTF will include 1 parent or community member from each school site, 1 staff member from each school site, and two staff members from District administration. The parent/community member applicants are reviewed by the District English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC) and the District Advisory Committee (DAC).

North Bayshore Development and Impact on MVWSD

The City of Mountain View is nearing the end of its environmental review of the North Bayshore Precise Plan. The plan includes 10,000 housing units and anticipates approximately 2,358 new students for MVWSD. To meet this increase in enrollment along with 842 new students from developments already under construction the District would need to build three additional neighborhood elementary schools and one middle school. These student numbers do not include the East Whisman area which is also undergoing development. Although the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for North Bayshore says that developers must pay fees to offset costs to the District, the construction costs of four new schools, not including land acquisition, are projected to exceed developer fees and state funding by $122 million.

Dr. Rudolph stressed to the Board that the EIR must address the increase in students  by requiring developers to provide land or take schools into account in developments. He also encouraged the Board to begin working with an architect now on a vision for new schools. The cost of land means the District may need to consider urban school models with a smaller footprint or included in larger developments with housing or even K-8 schools. The Board agreed to hold a Special Session to further discuss the North Bayshore plans before the City Council votes on the final EIR.

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MVWSD Special Session, August 29th, 2017

On August 29th, the MVWSD Board of Trustees held a special meeting to further discuss the North Bayshore development and its impact on the District. Given a projected increase of 3,200 students in the development area, Dr. Rudolph called for the Board to:

  • Develop a communication package on the North Bayshore Precise Plan and share it with both the City Council and community members;
  • Send out a Request for Proposals (RFP) for architects to begin planning for growth in North Bayshore;
  • Form a Board subcommittee to create a North Bayshore Facilities Master Plan in the next twelve to eighteen months. This working group, similar to the Student Facilities Improvement Plan Committee of 2008-2009, should include District staff, parents, City staff, and business and community partners;
  • Over the next two years, also develop an East Whisman subcommittee and Facilities Master Plan; and,
  • Beginning in 2019, look at land acquisition, determine funding sources, finalize plans, start working on staffing formulas, and develop school boundaries for North Bayshore and eventually East Whisman.

District staff will continue meeting with city staff to discuss the North Bayshore Plan. The three new North Bayshore neighborhoods of Joaquin, Shorebird, and Pear are expected to add 946, 706, and 706 students respectively. 1,255 of the North Bayshore students will live in affordable housing units. The East Whisman Precise Plan is predicted to add 1,077 new students, making for a total of 4,086 students.

Construction of four new schools for the North Bayshore area is expected to cost $165.6 million. Developer fees of $16.6 million and state funding of $26.7 million leave the District with a $122.4 million shortfall, not including the cost of land in an area priced at $10-$15 million per acre. The constraints of funding and land availability mean the District may look to land sharing arrangements with the City around green space, a new library, or athletic fields. Urban school models of multiple stories, mixed use, or K-8 should also be explored.

Board members discussed the contents of a letter to the City Council that District staff will draft and bring to the next meeting for approval. The letter will state that the Board supports the development of affordable housing in Mountain View and wants to mitigate traffic impacts by locating neighborhood schools in North Bayshore. Trustees emphasized the need for a significant impact on schools to be included in the Environmental Impact Report for the North Bayshore Precise Plan, both in terms of land and financial shortfalls. The Board also stressed the importance of cooperative relationships between the city, developers, and the District in planning for the future.

— Devon Conley, Observer