MVLA principals present annual reviews to district board

Sharing the findings of data collected this year, the principals of Los Altos and Mountain View high schools presented their annual review Dec. 4 at the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District Board of Trustees meeting.

Los Altos High Principal Wynne Satterwhite and Mountain View High Principal David Grissom brought their administrative teams with them for the nearly one-hour presentation.

Following are key points from the annual review.

• STEAM classes. In terms of gender, participation in science, technology, engineering, arts and math classes is generally equal in the district, with the exception of engineering and one of the highest Advanced Placement classes in math, in which more males than females are enrolled. The numbers are flipped in AP Biology, with more females than males.

The presenters said their schools’ STEAM offerings have become more diverse in the past few years, so students with various interests now most likely have their needs met. However, special-education STEAM courses are relatively limited, compared with regular education. In the future, the schools will aim to offer more STEAM classes for special-ed students.

• Latino students. The presenters said persistent performance gaps experienced by Latino students might in part be attributed to other demographic factors. Fifty-nine percent of the Latino students are in other subgroups, including special-education students, those from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds and English-language learners. Many of them are all of the above. If these factors are taken into consideration, Latino students in regular education are performing better, with 80 percent of them meeting English language arts standards and 60 percent passing the criteria in math.

• Student wellness. Students’ mental health continues to be a priority. In 2017, the schools made 200 referrals to the district’s wellness coordinator, Susan Flatmo. The district contracts with CHAC (Community Health Awareness Council) for counseling services.

In addition, district officials worked with Challenge Day, a nonprofit organization that helps people learn to connect, to organize a one-day program for the freshman class in fall 2016. A post-event survey indicated that 94 percent of students believed that the program should be offered to every freshman class in the future.

Prior to last week’s presentation, Grissom and Satterwhite stood in front of the board together to give an introduction, during which the latter explained how the data would help their schools in the future.

“We really do value the data,” Satterwhite said. “It helps address the needs we have, and it also helps us celebrate. I’d like to focus on that celebration, which educators specifically don’t do a lot. As educators, we are always looking for what’s wrong, but there is a lot of what’s right in this district.”

Grissom discussed how the data would be implemented.

“We will use the data to drive our academic and cultural decisions, such as adding courses, changing internal infrastructures and addressing students’ and parents’ concerns and issues,” he said.

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