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Thida Cornes wants to serve on MVLA board to ensure all students can achieve, regardless of circumstances

Thida Cornes. Courtesy Thida Cornes

If elected to the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District's board, Thida Cornes plans to focus on addressing students' growing mental health needs, as well as making sure all students can achieve academically, regardless of their circumstances.

A resident of Mountain View for two decades, Cornes says that her own life experiences have spurred her interest in public service.

"I'm running because I'm committed to ensuring that all our students feel connected, embrace challenges and thrive," Cornes said at an Oct. 13 candidate forum sponsored by the Mountain View Voice. "My experience as a disabled, Anglo-Burmese immigrant and mother of two drive my decades of public service."

Cornes has non-progressive dystonia, a movement disorder. She has an MBA from Berkeley, which she says will be helpful in keeping a close eye on the district's budget.

Cornes has lived in Mountain View for two decades and ran unsuccessfully for Mountain View City Council in 2016. Over the years, she has served the city and school district in various capacities, including being on the Parks and Recreation Commission for eight years. She also served on the city's Environmental Sustainability Task Force.

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Cornes also served on the PTA and site council for Stevenson Elementary School in Mountain View, as well as on multiple Mountain View Whisman School District committees, including the boundaries, facilities and parcel tax committees. She was also a member of the regional parent advisory board for special education.

Her perspectives have also been shaped by the experiences of her two children, who had different paths through school. Her son was in special education and after attending public schools through eighth grade and beginning school in MVLA, he transferred to a private school to get his needs met. Her daughter was a high-achieving student who attended an MVLA school, but after being denied a transfer to a school with her friends ultimately switched to a high school where she had friends.

Cornes called improving mental health and wellness her "number one priority" at the Voice's candidate forum. She wants the school district to work with Santa Clara County on its mental health services, as well as strengthening partnerships with the Community Health Awareness Council (CHAC) and El Camino Health to better support students in crisis. Cornes also supports more training for teachers and mentors on identifying students experiencing mental health issues.

Addressing students' mental health is personal for her, Cornes said, because she has family members who have grappled with severe depression. She notes that COVID-19 exacerbated the mental health crisis.

The pandemic also caused learning loss, particularly for low-income students and those in special education, Cornes said. Another focus of her campaign is on ensuring academic achievement for students, regardless of their background.

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"The breadth and depth of academics offered is impressive. However, there can be high academic pressure for high-achievers with a mentality of doing everything to get into a brand-name college, average students to feel forgotten, and for struggling students to feel they aren’t making progress," Cornes wrote in response to a Voice candidate questionnaire.

She wants to reduce class sizes to 20 students, work more closely with the local K-8 districts to smooth the transition to high school and assess struggling students before the school year starts, so they receive help promptly. Cornes said she wants to make sure that the school board is addressing the concerns of Spanish-speaking families.

Cornes supports the district plan to make ethnic studies a required class next school year ahead of the statewide requirement that takes effect in the 2025-2026 school year. MVLA rolled out the course as a pilot this fall.

"I agree with the purpose of the course, to create empathy, connection and solidarity among students of all backgrounds and to develop academic skills including critical thinking, writing, reading, research and public speaking, and civic engagement skills," Cornes said. She also supports having unconscious bias training for teachers and staff.

Zoe Morgan
 
Zoe Morgan covers education, youth and families for the Mountain View Voice and Palo Alto Weekly / PaloAltoOnline.com, with a focus on using data to tell compelling stories. A Mountain View native, she has previous experience as an education reporter in both California and Oregon. Read more >>

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Thida Cornes wants to serve on MVLA board to ensure all students can achieve, regardless of circumstances

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Tue, Oct 18, 2022, 1:41 pm

If elected to the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District's board, Thida Cornes plans to focus on addressing students' growing mental health needs, as well as making sure all students can achieve academically, regardless of their circumstances.

A resident of Mountain View for two decades, Cornes says that her own life experiences have spurred her interest in public service.

"I'm running because I'm committed to ensuring that all our students feel connected, embrace challenges and thrive," Cornes said at an Oct. 13 candidate forum sponsored by the Mountain View Voice. "My experience as a disabled, Anglo-Burmese immigrant and mother of two drive my decades of public service."

Cornes has non-progressive dystonia, a movement disorder. She has an MBA from Berkeley, which she says will be helpful in keeping a close eye on the district's budget.

Cornes has lived in Mountain View for two decades and ran unsuccessfully for Mountain View City Council in 2016. Over the years, she has served the city and school district in various capacities, including being on the Parks and Recreation Commission for eight years. She also served on the city's Environmental Sustainability Task Force.

Cornes also served on the PTA and site council for Stevenson Elementary School in Mountain View, as well as on multiple Mountain View Whisman School District committees, including the boundaries, facilities and parcel tax committees. She was also a member of the regional parent advisory board for special education.

Her perspectives have also been shaped by the experiences of her two children, who had different paths through school. Her son was in special education and after attending public schools through eighth grade and beginning school in MVLA, he transferred to a private school to get his needs met. Her daughter was a high-achieving student who attended an MVLA school, but after being denied a transfer to a school with her friends ultimately switched to a high school where she had friends.

Cornes called improving mental health and wellness her "number one priority" at the Voice's candidate forum. She wants the school district to work with Santa Clara County on its mental health services, as well as strengthening partnerships with the Community Health Awareness Council (CHAC) and El Camino Health to better support students in crisis. Cornes also supports more training for teachers and mentors on identifying students experiencing mental health issues.

Addressing students' mental health is personal for her, Cornes said, because she has family members who have grappled with severe depression. She notes that COVID-19 exacerbated the mental health crisis.

The pandemic also caused learning loss, particularly for low-income students and those in special education, Cornes said. Another focus of her campaign is on ensuring academic achievement for students, regardless of their background.

"The breadth and depth of academics offered is impressive. However, there can be high academic pressure for high-achievers with a mentality of doing everything to get into a brand-name college, average students to feel forgotten, and for struggling students to feel they aren’t making progress," Cornes wrote in response to a Voice candidate questionnaire.

She wants to reduce class sizes to 20 students, work more closely with the local K-8 districts to smooth the transition to high school and assess struggling students before the school year starts, so they receive help promptly. Cornes said she wants to make sure that the school board is addressing the concerns of Spanish-speaking families.

Cornes supports the district plan to make ethnic studies a required class next school year ahead of the statewide requirement that takes effect in the 2025-2026 school year. MVLA rolled out the course as a pilot this fall.

"I agree with the purpose of the course, to create empathy, connection and solidarity among students of all backgrounds and to develop academic skills including critical thinking, writing, reading, research and public speaking, and civic engagement skills," Cornes said. She also supports having unconscious bias training for teachers and staff.

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