News

Mountain View schools launch distance learning plan, but student access is a problem

Starting last week, every student in the Mountain View Whisman School District began receiving biweekly lessons in every school subject -- through a live or recorded teacher video -- following the launch of a formal online teaching strategy that some parents argue was long overdue.

Virtual instruction is a key part of the district's distance learning plan, which sets guidelines for the minimum instructional activities and support that families will receive while school campuses are closed through the end of the school year.

But as local schools prepare for months of offsite education in response to the statewide response to the new coronavirus, which forced them to shutter last month, questions remain over whether all students even have access to a computer at home. District officials say they are working toward universal access in order to bridge the "digital divide," but some families say it's been difficult to get help.

Superintendent Ayinde Rudolph said the district has made significant progress in handing out over 1,000 Chromebooks to families in the district, but acknowledged that some students still don't have access to a computer or a reliable internet connection. He said it remains a top priority going into May.

"We still haven't cracked the divide," Rudolph said.

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The last two months have been challenging for school districts across California, which have had to make swift but tectonic changes in order to teach millions of students remotely. Though the Mountain View Whisman School District has concrete guidelines for how to handle lessons and assignments today, weeks went by where formal districtwide direction was missing. This led to teachers taking disparate, scattershot approaches using an assortment of online platforms.

During those early weeks, a growing number of parents demanded more structured virtual education, with an online survey showing most respondents wanted daily instruction over video conference. Many said that they are trying to manage their children's education on top of working a full-time job from home, and that the district's actions place the teaching burden on them.

"This is not working," said one popular comment. "My husband and I work full time. We have three kids in school. There is too much parent involvement required to find coursework.

"With no schedules and content on multiple platforms, it's not easy for the kids to find what they need to do each day or put together a schedule."

Other parents complained that the district dragged its feet in rolling out the distance learning plans, particularly when compared to neighboring school districts that provided live instruction weeks sooner.

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Rudolph said the priority has always been student equity, and that any remote learning strategy the district creates must take into account the fact that more than 1,000 students did not initially have access to a computer, an internet connection or both.

Rather than rush to create an online learning plan that an estimated 20% of district students couldn't even use, Rudolph said the priority was to distribute as many Chromebooks and Wi-Fi hotspots as possible. In a district where more than 30% of the families qualify for free and reduced-price school meals, Rudolph said it would be unfair to compare Mountain View Whisman's response to other, more affluent districts.

"The numbers do not look the same as some of our neighboring districts," he said. "I understand that families who had devices wanted to move forward, we also need to understand that there's a diverse set of needs in Mountain View. Our commitment is to address the diverse set of needs for all students."

How well the district has done to provide computers and internet access to families depends on who you ask. Rudolph said the district has satisfied 1,000 requests for district-issued Chromebooks for student use, in addition to devices previously passed out to middle school students and incoming sixth graders. As of last week, he said 90.3% of kids have access to the curriculum online, which he said is fairly good coverage.

The district has also turned school parking lots into Wi-Fi hotspots; passed out internet subscription cards for Comcast to families; and has been working with the city of Mountain View to make more public internet hotspots available throughout the district.

"This is a yeoman's effort for a Herculean task over these last few weeks," he said.

Some families are reportedly still having difficulty getting a computer from the district.

District resident and former board member Chris Chiang, who runs an independent laptop donation drive for needy students, told trustees in an email last week that he's still getting plenty of inquiries from families in the area -- some of whom reportedly tried and failed to get a laptop from the district.

Chiang said he was told by district officials that families would be "covered" by the district, and that Rudolph and trustees were telling families to go through the proper channels -- sending requests to designated school staff -- rather than seek help from an outside volunteer effort.

"When informed of our efforts to help with community laptops, both the board and superintendent said families should be going directly to their principal for laptops," Chiang said. "I relayed that to families seeking laptops, and the families are coming back to me saying they can't get a laptop. Yet the district says this not the case."

Rudolph said the district-issued Chromebooks are preferable to donated laptops because they are reformatted for student use, including internet filters. What's more, he said the families approaching Chiang are Mountain View residents but don't necessarily have students in the district, and that Mountain View Whisman has no obligation to serve students not enrolled in its schools.

He described the laptop drive as a repeated attempt to circumvent the district's process for closing the digital divide.

"The process has always been that our school community engagement facilitators and principals are reaching out to find out who has devices, and if you need one, you need to reach out to administrators and facilitators," Rudolph said. "What we don't need are parents emailing community members, and community members emailing the board saying someone doesn't have a device."

Several of those requests to Chiang include residents who all appear to live within the district, some of whom said they have kids attending district schools. One reported that the district is "not doing any Chromebook distribution," while another stated the district didn't have any laptops available when he asked.

Part of the problem, Chiang said, could be that families with multiple students are receiving one Chromebook when they really need two or three. Without one device per child, students cannot simultaneously access instruction from home.

"One-to-one is a game changer in making engaging use of online instruction," Chiang said.

Rudolph said that's precisely the district's plan. He said the next "phase" of the distance learning plan will include distributing Chromebooks to families who need more than one device.

"We've exhausted the list that we've had for passing out devices to those without one," he said. "Now let's tackle those that need more than one."

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Mountain View schools launch distance learning plan, but student access is a problem

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Tue, Apr 28, 2020, 1:13 pm

Starting last week, every student in the Mountain View Whisman School District began receiving biweekly lessons in every school subject -- through a live or recorded teacher video -- following the launch of a formal online teaching strategy that some parents argue was long overdue.

Virtual instruction is a key part of the district's distance learning plan, which sets guidelines for the minimum instructional activities and support that families will receive while school campuses are closed through the end of the school year.

But as local schools prepare for months of offsite education in response to the statewide response to the new coronavirus, which forced them to shutter last month, questions remain over whether all students even have access to a computer at home. District officials say they are working toward universal access in order to bridge the "digital divide," but some families say it's been difficult to get help.

Superintendent Ayinde Rudolph said the district has made significant progress in handing out over 1,000 Chromebooks to families in the district, but acknowledged that some students still don't have access to a computer or a reliable internet connection. He said it remains a top priority going into May.

"We still haven't cracked the divide," Rudolph said.

The last two months have been challenging for school districts across California, which have had to make swift but tectonic changes in order to teach millions of students remotely. Though the Mountain View Whisman School District has concrete guidelines for how to handle lessons and assignments today, weeks went by where formal districtwide direction was missing. This led to teachers taking disparate, scattershot approaches using an assortment of online platforms.

During those early weeks, a growing number of parents demanded more structured virtual education, with an online survey showing most respondents wanted daily instruction over video conference. Many said that they are trying to manage their children's education on top of working a full-time job from home, and that the district's actions place the teaching burden on them.

"This is not working," said one popular comment. "My husband and I work full time. We have three kids in school. There is too much parent involvement required to find coursework.

"With no schedules and content on multiple platforms, it's not easy for the kids to find what they need to do each day or put together a schedule."

Other parents complained that the district dragged its feet in rolling out the distance learning plans, particularly when compared to neighboring school districts that provided live instruction weeks sooner.

Rudolph said the priority has always been student equity, and that any remote learning strategy the district creates must take into account the fact that more than 1,000 students did not initially have access to a computer, an internet connection or both.

Rather than rush to create an online learning plan that an estimated 20% of district students couldn't even use, Rudolph said the priority was to distribute as many Chromebooks and Wi-Fi hotspots as possible. In a district where more than 30% of the families qualify for free and reduced-price school meals, Rudolph said it would be unfair to compare Mountain View Whisman's response to other, more affluent districts.

"The numbers do not look the same as some of our neighboring districts," he said. "I understand that families who had devices wanted to move forward, we also need to understand that there's a diverse set of needs in Mountain View. Our commitment is to address the diverse set of needs for all students."

How well the district has done to provide computers and internet access to families depends on who you ask. Rudolph said the district has satisfied 1,000 requests for district-issued Chromebooks for student use, in addition to devices previously passed out to middle school students and incoming sixth graders. As of last week, he said 90.3% of kids have access to the curriculum online, which he said is fairly good coverage.

The district has also turned school parking lots into Wi-Fi hotspots; passed out internet subscription cards for Comcast to families; and has been working with the city of Mountain View to make more public internet hotspots available throughout the district.

"This is a yeoman's effort for a Herculean task over these last few weeks," he said.

Some families are reportedly still having difficulty getting a computer from the district.

District resident and former board member Chris Chiang, who runs an independent laptop donation drive for needy students, told trustees in an email last week that he's still getting plenty of inquiries from families in the area -- some of whom reportedly tried and failed to get a laptop from the district.

Chiang said he was told by district officials that families would be "covered" by the district, and that Rudolph and trustees were telling families to go through the proper channels -- sending requests to designated school staff -- rather than seek help from an outside volunteer effort.

"When informed of our efforts to help with community laptops, both the board and superintendent said families should be going directly to their principal for laptops," Chiang said. "I relayed that to families seeking laptops, and the families are coming back to me saying they can't get a laptop. Yet the district says this not the case."

Rudolph said the district-issued Chromebooks are preferable to donated laptops because they are reformatted for student use, including internet filters. What's more, he said the families approaching Chiang are Mountain View residents but don't necessarily have students in the district, and that Mountain View Whisman has no obligation to serve students not enrolled in its schools.

He described the laptop drive as a repeated attempt to circumvent the district's process for closing the digital divide.

"The process has always been that our school community engagement facilitators and principals are reaching out to find out who has devices, and if you need one, you need to reach out to administrators and facilitators," Rudolph said. "What we don't need are parents emailing community members, and community members emailing the board saying someone doesn't have a device."

Several of those requests to Chiang include residents who all appear to live within the district, some of whom said they have kids attending district schools. One reported that the district is "not doing any Chromebook distribution," while another stated the district didn't have any laptops available when he asked.

Part of the problem, Chiang said, could be that families with multiple students are receiving one Chromebook when they really need two or three. Without one device per child, students cannot simultaneously access instruction from home.

"One-to-one is a game changer in making engaging use of online instruction," Chiang said.

Rudolph said that's precisely the district's plan. He said the next "phase" of the distance learning plan will include distributing Chromebooks to families who need more than one device.

"We've exhausted the list that we've had for passing out devices to those without one," he said. "Now let's tackle those that need more than one."

Comments

Trust Rudolph?
Old Mountain View
on Apr 28, 2020 at 2:31 pm
Trust Rudolph?, Old Mountain View
on Apr 28, 2020 at 2:31 pm
32 people like this

Why would anyone trust Rudolph on any matter given his past history?

Teach to One
Firing amazing principals
Hiring consultants at top dollar, including his former boss
Hiring unqualified administrators and paying excessive salaries


Thank You!
Old Mountain View
on Apr 28, 2020 at 2:35 pm
Thank You!, Old Mountain View
on Apr 28, 2020 at 2:35 pm
29 people like this

Thank you Chris Chiang for all that you do for our district! Describing this effort as "a repeated attempt to circumvent the district's process", is emblematic of everything that is wrong with the MVWSD district's leadership. Our community is brimming with people, talent, and money and are looking for ways to support education. The districts "go it alone" attitude is starving our neediest kids of opportunity. While I would much prefer to have tax dollars provide everything our kids need, sadly that's not the case. The district should be gladly accepting all the help it can get and asking the community for more rather than making excuses for their own inadequacies.


Single mom
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 28, 2020 at 4:53 pm
Single mom, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 28, 2020 at 4:53 pm
9 people like this

I have no problem with distance learning. Our school is doing a pretty good job given the circumstances.
There is free wifi in school parking lots and free internet access for low income families.
There are also paper workbooks that can be used for studying. And chromebooks are relatively cheap and/or can be solicited I am sure.
It’s all about priorities of families.
School cannot parent!


Bored M
Cuesta Park
on Apr 28, 2020 at 4:56 pm
Bored M, Cuesta Park
on Apr 28, 2020 at 4:56 pm
7 people like this

I'm not saying MVWSD has handled this well, but let's be fair. People are chastising the school district for not being able to solve something that federal, state and city programs hasn't solved either? The schools best efforts are just that and nice, but will never be a panacea. The key for all kids are parents that prioritize learning not by setting up a Zoom session, but by sitting down and working through subjects.

Additionally, my son's school has weekly schedules. Do we do them? No! State standards are insulting to our children. How do we learn? Workbooks... $9 will last a child many weeks and you can select any level/challenge you want.


MV Resident
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 28, 2020 at 5:06 pm
MV Resident, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 28, 2020 at 5:06 pm
4 people like this

Latest communication from the district to parents included the following: “We are not aware of any MVWSD students who do not have a Chromebook if they need one. We will continue distributing Chromebooks to students in need.”

The irony here is that in order to get the District communications and know what to do, you need internet access. With the Voice going online, you need access to read about it here. What’s really needed is just some good old fashioned door to door (socially distanced) engagement with families who aren’t logging in. Real basic digital divide stuff. Print flyers. Etc.

Ultimately, unless the state is mandating enforcement of truancy laws (which I don’t think they are right now), this is all up to parents to find solutions - if they want to. I’m sure some have just told their kids to take the rest of the year off. Maybe they’re part of the 10% who haven’t logged in?


Disappointed
Old Mountain View
on Apr 28, 2020 at 7:08 pm
Disappointed, Old Mountain View
on Apr 28, 2020 at 7:08 pm
15 people like this

"We still haven't cracked the divide," Rudolph said. It's ridiculous to say that when you are the Mountain View School District! Guess why? Hint: Google makes Chromebooks!


Steven Nelson
Cuesta Park
on Apr 28, 2020 at 7:12 pm
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
on Apr 28, 2020 at 7:12 pm
24 people like this

I think that Rudolph now has THREE STRIKES against him. I have had Rudolph lie directly to my face, sometimes in public community meetings. I would urge the community to get a Board that will dump him - AND VOTE ONLY FOR 3 new Trustees to replace those who are now in public lock-step (or is it goose step) with Rudolph.

I was one of the fire MVWSD Trustees who voted to give Rudolph a first chance aat being a Superintendent. He has had just about 5 years - enough to get a California public pension (not full). It is time to replace him! He has not proven to have 'the potential' that I voted to hire him on, and he has clearly shown (not just to me) to be a public liar at various levels and nuances (administrative buck stops with him)..


Steven Nelson
Cuesta Park
on Apr 28, 2020 at 7:16 pm
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
on Apr 28, 2020 at 7:16 pm
17 people like this

Rudolph - a recent lie - when there are more than a THOUSAND Chromebooks sitting unused in CARTS in the elementary school …

Rudolph - within last several months lie - iReady on-line curriculum access is "supplementary" and therefore not required for MVWSD to provide home access (oh - unless you are the kid of a wealthy-white-woman)


Standing Ovation
Old Mountain View
on Apr 28, 2020 at 7:29 pm
Standing Ovation, Old Mountain View
on Apr 28, 2020 at 7:29 pm
28 people like this

Where is the explainer-in-chief Wheeler in all this? Nowhere to be found! Hiding. Not a peep. Not a peep or quote from any School Board member. Where is Gutierrez and his soap box? Blank-faced Blakely? Willson? And Olsen?

Where is the over-paid Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum or Chief Academic Officer or whatever-her-long-title is Kathy Bauer!?! This is a curriculum issue. EPIC FAIL while surrounding districts had their act together weeks ago.

WE HAVE NO REAL LEADERSHIP AT THE SCHOOL BOARD LEVEL! They should have been out in front of all this 24/7!! This is the crisis of the century and you are all absent on watch. SHAME ON YOU ALL!

Fortunately we have Chiang and Nelson to keep things alive.

Otherwise, the chickens have come home to roost.

Fire Rudolph and recall the board.


Steven Nelson
Cuesta Park
on Apr 28, 2020 at 8:04 pm
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
on Apr 28, 2020 at 8:04 pm
13 people like this

Dr. Randolph has a contract - that must be 'paid out' if is terminated early. The Board can not really (political #s reality) be "recalled". But this next General Election, there will be a replacement opportunity for
Blakely
Gutierrez Jr.
Wilson
3 votes is enough to end Superintendent Rudolph's contract to provide administrative leadership. It will take one or two Regular Board Meetings.

3 good candidate are needed, that have some backbone and education experience. I think mose PTA presidents and MVEF people are too 'steeped' in "supporting the Superintendent" to understand that their commitment would be "oversight" for the whole community of Mountain View.


Nelson and Chiang, seriously?
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 28, 2020 at 9:23 pm
Nelson and Chiang, seriously?, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 28, 2020 at 9:23 pm
3 people like this

@Standing Ovation

>> "Fortunately we have Chiang and Nelson to keep things alive."

This is really funny @Standing Ovation - brilliant!! Yes please let's have more of these types of amazing "leaders". One who is a become a complete joke (Nelson) and the other one quit because his President term half-way (Chiang) cuz he didn't have the fortitude to deal with clown Nelson. One quit the board the other basically was laughed out with ample disgust and now they want to run MVWSD from social media! Yea for our kids.

FYI...

Steven Nelson recall, Mountain View-Whisman School District, California (2015)
Web Link)

Steve Nelson should resign from the school board
Web Link

Trustee clashes with district office over public records
Web Link

Trustee resigns board to head recall campaign for MV Whisman school board member
Web Link

Embattled board member gets censured
MV Whisman trustees officially condemn Steven Nelson; questions raised over board policies
Web Link

Yes please let's keep these two men around to keep things "alive"!! Exactly what our education system needs. Maybe make a reality show out of it...


Busing in viruses
Bailey Park
on Apr 28, 2020 at 9:44 pm
Busing in viruses, Bailey Park
on Apr 28, 2020 at 9:44 pm
2 people like this

More buses. Schools buses. VTA buses. Corporate buses. Add BART and trains and what do you get? Mass infection. But special interest groups will say anything to maintain and advance themselves. How about this one for a new pr campaign? "Buses don't spread viruses - people do."


Tine to Go Rudolph
Rex Manor
on Apr 29, 2020 at 9:36 am
Tine to Go Rudolph, Rex Manor
on Apr 29, 2020 at 9:36 am
21 people like this

I don't usually agree with Steven Nelson, but it is time for Rudolph to go. He makes a lot of excuses considering his $281K per year salary. He also gets paid health benefits, a $500K life insurance policy and district paid cell phone and internet. No other employee of the district get anything close to that. Time for him to earn his keep or move on to some other place. Can't wait to see how much the Board ups his pay this year while the teachers get only a 3% raise.


40 yrs in MV
Slater
on Apr 29, 2020 at 10:06 am
40 yrs in MV, Slater
on Apr 29, 2020 at 10:06 am
4 people like this

We live in the heart of silicon valley, yet there's shortage of both accessibility of internet (both in home and enough bandwidth) as well as a laptop for each kid. Another example of how we are NOT all in this together.


Standing Ovation
Old Mountain View
on Apr 29, 2020 at 11:00 am
Standing Ovation, Old Mountain View
on Apr 29, 2020 at 11:00 am
15 people like this

@Nelson and Chiang, seriously?

You clearly misread my comment or you are just a shill for the district. Nelson and Chiang are keeping things alive on this forum while our elected board goes into hiding and are not even quoted in the article. They both have valuable inside knowledge of how we've gotten to the mess we are in. The board should be leading from the front, leaning in, getting into the papers and informing the public. It's called leadership. Taking charge. Putting the excuses aside.

The problem with Rudolph is all we hear are excuses. The bottom line is over the past several years this district has rolled out or rolled over one boondoggle after another, squandered opportunities, wasted money or misplaced it to find it later, mismanaged projects to the point of having no power at one school site, and, wait for it, created upheaval at nearly all school sites by either firing or driving away all principals in the last few years. BTW, did anyone notice Graham Middle School has a new principal as of March? What? No? Yep. And Huff. The popular Chiang ain't coming back. Why? We'll never know. Maybe its because of the double-barreled lawsuits the district is currently facing down. On top of it all student achievement and success is being flushed down the toilet in the process.

And all of this has taken place under our supreme leader Rudolph and his reputation-laden sidekick Ghysels, while both repeatedly secure themselves ridiculous raises and benefits packages unique to only themselves while the rest of the employees eat dirt. Lord when will this district ever disassociate itself with these two and the Ghysels legacy? Please just get it over with. The pain and embarrassment is just too much.

Send this board and superintendent and his cronies packing once and for all.


Nelson and Chiang, serioulsy?
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 29, 2020 at 2:34 pm
Nelson and Chiang, serioulsy?, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 29, 2020 at 2:34 pm
1 person likes this

@Standing Ovation and Steve Nelson

"Nelson and Chiang are keeping things alive on this forum while our elected board goes into hiding and are not even quoted in the article."

Umm...the reason ex-trustees Nelson and Chiang are "alive" on this forum is that they have no other place to bang their drum because they either QUIT the responsibility they had mid-term or because they were NOT WANTED BACK by the *voting public*. You know the "voting public", the people who actually make decisions about who is on the board and not haters on this comment section nor Steve Nelson. They both could have had a say in who gets to run this district, but as you know, they either quit or no one trusted them with the responsibility. So you can bang up a drum all you want for Nelson and Company, but you are in the minority.

Perhaps the elected board is not quoted in this article is because either the Voice didn't ask them for comment or did ask them and didn't quote them in the article. Or maybe because they are too BUSY thinking about the myriad of issues moving forward with making real and important decisions that affect our kids' lives rather than combing thru this forum all day long. Nelson has all the time in the world to do this it seems.

Yes, let's please do fire everyone in middle of a crisis. Brilliant. Let's bring back Nelson and Chiang and put them in charge again. Oh and yes everyone who doesn't agree with Nelson or your opinions MUST be a shill for the district. Like parents can't think for themselves!! Maybe you are a shill for re-elect Nelson campaign....hmmmm.

BTW parents DID notice that there is a new principal at Graham because it WAS IN THE DISTRICT NEWSLETTER!!! And BTW parents know that principal Chiang will be back working for the district because is IT WAS IN THE DISTRICT NEWSLETTER!!! But I'm sure there is a huge conspiracy that you and Nelson must know about that the rest of us mere mortals don't. Thanks for keeping the rumor mill and conspiracy theories going - exactly what we need right now.


Christopher Chiang
North Bayshore
on Apr 29, 2020 at 3:27 pm
Christopher Chiang, North Bayshore
on Apr 29, 2020 at 3:27 pm
15 people like this

People are welcome to have their opinions of my service on the board five years ago. I am confident that those I worked in person during that time, and those who know my volunteer work around coding and entrepreneurship in the district since leaving the board, know work respectfully and thoughtfully.

With remote learning continuing in some form into the fall, the digital divide is the most important issue (worthy of everyone's attention), and is more urgent than school politics. This community is home to Google and passed both a bond and parcel tax. It's home to Khan Academy, yet still passes out paper worksheets as a solution to the divide. A month and a half since school closure, let's get every child a laptop and WiFi already, the community has been generous, MV should expect more.

The $200,000 the board approved for audiovisual upgrades to its board room earliest this month could pay for a 1000 laptops. Web Link

Part of the problem is the board has not demanded a change in metrics.
The district does not collect data on how many individual students do not have laptops. They only ask if a household has a computer.

The district tracks Clever login (a portal for MVWSD learning tools) as participation but does not report daily or weekly Clever login numbers, or how many students are attending remote class/turning in work each week.

This article mirrors the last board meeting, the district is not clear if all its children have laptops. Web Link
It says everyone is "covered," but then also says its the "next phase" to get everyone a laptop. Which is it? Reading between the lines, I think it means every household has a laptop, but 1-1 has to wait. It is very hard for children to share a laptop for remote learning.

One laptop per child (1:1) online teaching can be pretty amazing, digital interactive media, personalized practice, 3d virtual field trips, digital creations: making videos, podcasts animations, models/graphic designs, codings games, and live interactions. We should be practicing all these now, so that we are veterans of remote learning by the fall.

It speaks to a passive approach when many other districts are actively reaching out to any family that haven't been coming to remote class to either hand them a laptop, and/or walk them through the enrollment to free cable internet or cellular data. Yet we ask parents to go to principals that may or may not be able to help, point them to business websites to get free Internet on their own, and use Clever logins as a proxy for human checkins with families on how remote learning is working. Some districts are using Remind free phone text-based parent communications to actively get data on how things are going.

New laptops and especially hotspots are indeed in short supply right now (if ordered through school supply chains), but so many in MV have spare cell phones and laptops. With a little more urgency and community partnerships, the district could have wiped donated laptops and handed out old cell phones with free or district-credited data enabled on them.

They say that volunteer laptops "circumvent" their process, the district's process lacks both imagination and urgency. Remote teaching right now is "crisis teaching," but if the fall semester is also "crisis teaching," then we need to be broadened what really is at crisis.

I don't teach in the district, but that has never stopped me from wanting district students to have the same quality education that I work to offer my own students. I reject the idea MV's children are different for Los Altos or elsewhere. If it's good enough for other children, why is it not good enough for Mountain View's children?

Don't need to take my word for it, attend board meetings, examine contracts, watch the most recent board meeting that was facilitated by law and consulting firm Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost. (I watched all four hours, how much did that consulting contract costs?):
Web Link


Nelson and Chiang, serioulsy?
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 29, 2020 at 5:32 pm
Nelson and Chiang, serioulsy?, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 29, 2020 at 5:32 pm
1 person likes this

@Christopher Chiang

If you know how to do things so much better, then I don't understand why you quit the board in the middle of your tenure at the President of the Board of trustees where you could have made a big difference as the leader with real power.

This is something I don't just don't get every time I read about your lengthy complaints of the district or the trustees.

>> Could you please explain, Chris? Are you even willing to explain??


Christopher Chiang
North Bayshore
on Apr 29, 2020 at 7:28 pm
Christopher Chiang, North Bayshore
on Apr 29, 2020 at 7:28 pm
14 people like this

Most parents were not part of the district five years ago and can skip this reply. If a response will allow more people to focus the issue at hand, then here's a response:

1) Five years ago, board meetings were at an all-time low: there was staff that did not feel safe to present. There was no longer thoughtful discussion and deliberation, meaning public oversight was failing. I naively thought attention towards a public recall effort would have helped. I also thought that showing by example that people can step down (rather than serving indefinitely as is the case with many public officials), would model what Mr. Nelson could have done. In hindsight, I made the wrong decision on how to approach Mr. Nelson. Mr. Nelson's energies mirrored the energy of the responses. If the board would have let him speak, no matter how long, how caustic, and without reaction, the outcome would have been more harmonious. Ultimately, many of Mr. Nelson's ideas deserved consideration but were tainted by their delivery.

2) Six years ago, not a single board member had a child in the district, and the lack of school site connection was showing, that changed with the election of Mr. Coladonato, but that was still just one. I would have been the second trustee with a child nearing elementary school age, but our family decided to send our child to the school where one of us worked. My departure meant the board could appoint a second trustee with children in the district, helping improve community relations.

I would have never imagined that subsequent boards would approve the replacement of nearly every legacy principal in the district with many out of state administrators, disrupting long-lasting community ties, that chilled district educators who may disagree with district decisions to not speak up. That decision was the first time I began speak out against the current school board, and I continue to speak against the number of decisions and spending centrally made far away from the classroom.

While I was never one to engage or escalate in conflict with Mr. Nelson, I was never one to shout, walk out, or exchange insults, which were all normal occurrences in board meetings at that time, I recognize that my efforts to reign in the problem meant my lasting association with that issue. I own that. What happened five years ago has little bearing on mistakes happening right now.

A student without a computer and Internet during this time of remote learning is like a student without access to their books, teachers, or classrooms, an easy to solve tragedy, at least here in Mountain View.


Standing Ovation
Old Mountain View
on Apr 30, 2020 at 6:49 am
Standing Ovation, Old Mountain View
on Apr 30, 2020 at 6:49 am
14 people like this

Well said, Mr. Chiang. You are clearly someone who has an ability to honestly reflect and make bold, selfless decisions in the interest of your former constituents while offering honest explanations. Keep exercising your freedom of speech. And thank you for keeping the best interests of the students and dedicated staff in mind.


Putting Children First
Gemello
on May 1, 2020 at 1:20 am
Putting Children First, Gemello
on May 1, 2020 at 1:20 am
8 people like this

I can't figure out why we can't fill our local school district boards with people like @Christopher Chiang and @Steven Nelson, who actually care about improved educational outcomes for all of the students, instead of hacks who just act as rubber stamps. MVWSD and LASD both suffer from boards that turn a blind eye to the huge achievement gap in both districts for low income, EL and special ed learners and to other self-created woes that are brushed under the rug - shameful! No accountability and they don't ask tough questions. Sadly, Rudolph's failure on the Chromebooks and Internet (while denying that there is an issue, even though it is already May!) is just another example of how our kids pay the price for this leadership void.


Huh?
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 1, 2020 at 8:32 am
Huh?, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 1, 2020 at 8:32 am
6 people like this

@Putting Children First

Oh my. I think you missed the Chiang's lengthy post above about how he had to leave the board because of Steven Nelson and now you want more people like Chiang and Nelson on the board?!?! I guess you must have an allergy to a functioning board. How is wanting Nelson back "putting children first"?!?


Steven Nelson
Cuesta Park
on May 2, 2020 at 6:32 pm
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
on May 2, 2020 at 6:32 pm
2 people like this

BTW - Christoper Chiang and I long ago reconciled our major differences. We occasionally chat - usually on educational issues. We still (I think) agree to disagree on California Constitution guaranteed Freedom of Speech (even for elected officials) independent of 'board majority norms'. I usually bow to Chiang's opinion on digital learning - he is a recognized expert, both when he was a High School teacher over in Cupertino, when he was at a Catholic Middle school, and when he was hired by Kahn Academy.

Live Long and Prosper.


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