Last updateTue, 19 Sep 2017 5pm


MV-LA board approves return of Alta Vista to Shoreline site

Alta Vista High School, an alternative school for students with mostly attendance problems, will relocate to its original site and undergo a shift in focus, Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District board members decided at their March 24 meeting.

The board approved a conceptual plan that would change Alta Vista into a continuation school and move facilities back behind the district office, the old Shoreline High School site next to Mountain View High School on Truman Avenue.

The move results from a dissolved partnership the district had over the past three years with Foothill College. Superintendent Don Phillips said Alta Vista operated out of Foothill's Middlefield campus, the old Cubberley High School site on Middlefield Road in Palo Alto. The idea was that Alta Vista students would take advantage of Foothill services or apply to the college after high school.

"Neither materialized to the degree Foothill was hoping for," said Brigitte Sarraf, associate superintendent in charge of educational services.

"They needed us to move so we had to find a new home," Phillips said.

With the lack of available commercial property, district officials turned to the Shoreline site, which has been renovated to accommodate the spillover of Mountain View High students in the midst of the district's $58 million renovation of the main high schools.

In changing the focus from an "alternative" to a "continuation" school, district officials plan on limiting Alta Vista to students 16 years and older. Students with attendance problems and/or failing grades would be admitted. The district also envisions a 25-to-1 student-to-instructor ratio and an enrollment topping at 150 students.

As a continuation school, Alta Vista students would have to meet minimum weekly attendance requirements stipulated in laws that govern continuation education.

Phillips said the district also plans stronger curriculum for basic skills such as English and math.

Sarraf added Mountain View High services, such as foreign language classes, would be available to students who are up for the challenge.

The change saves the district $166,000 in "double staffing" between the regular high schools and Alta Vista, and by reducing duplication of programs, Phillips said.

"Some of the changes, we think will enhance (the program)," Phillips said. "We want to ensure these kids are challenged. Most of these students have basic literacy deficits, so we want a very strong skill development focus in the program - and a strong career-to-work path."

"We're trying to take this as an opportunity (for improving) quality, enhancements, facilities - and save dollars at the same time," he said.

Sarraf said administrative staff would return to the board with requests for more specific changes to the Alta Vista program within two months.

"We're still excited with all the changes that have occurred over the past couple of years as we continue to improve and refine the program," she said.

Bill Pierce, who had been an interim principal at Alta Vista, was named Alta Vista principal at the last board meeting.

DISTRICT OFFICE FIXES: Phillips said he'll be proposing a host of fixes for the district offices at 1299 Bryant Ave., in Mountain View, before the board at its next meeting, this coming Monday.

The proposed renovations, running about $500,000, include installing handicapped accessible ramps to comply with Americans With Disabilities Act requirements, improving parking, renovating bathrooms, replacing the roof and removing asbestos from the ceilings.

Work on the 30-year-old building would begin in the summer of 1998, pending board approvals.

Monday's proposal calls for the board to give the go-ahead for design and planning work, Phillips said.

The board also is in the process of developing annual goals, which include higher academic standards, improvements to the building program and improving technology.

District officials will be seeking public input at the next meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. in the district board room, 1299 Bryant Ave.

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