Vo

 Julie Vo now serves as MVLA's director of Adult Education.

The Mountain View Los Altos High School District Board of Trustees last week unanimously approved the appointment of Julie Vo to serve as the district’s director of Adult Education.

In her new role, Vo, a longtime MVLA educator and administrator, will be responsible for implementing the California Adult Ed Program Annual Plan for more than 7,500 students and working collaboratively with the North Santa Clara County Consortium to develop and implement the next three-year plan, accreditation plan and federal programs.

The CAEP Annual Plan is a regional collaborative effort with MVLA’s local community college and adult education partners, while the NSCCC seeks to facilitate student transition to higher education and employment through strategies that promote academic acceleration, curriculum articulation and alignment, and community partnerships.

The overall focus for the Adult School program’s three-year plan from 2019 to 2022 has been to increase the number of successful transitions and “completers” from the MVLA’s Adult School program to Foothill and De Anza colleges.

After building relationships, aligning services and curriculum, and creating transition support through new programs and personnel, Vo said MVLA’s goal moving forward is to capitalize on what has been built and increase the number of students positively affected by the new infrastructure and services. Some of the work will be a continuation of previous objectives, such as increasing the number of integrated learning pathways for students, while some will be new projects based on analysis of the disproportionate impact students with language and cultural barriers face.

“We are currently in the process of analyzing our data from the past pandemic year to inform our new strategies for the next three-year plan,” Vo said via email. “I believe that in carefully aligning and focusing our efforts between systems that we can make a significant impact on the lives of students who can barely survive in the current economic climate. Our ultimate goal is to help them achieve economic self-sufficiency and full integration into society. In other words, ‘we are in the business of changing lives.’”

Student-centered focus

Vo has served as assistant director of the MVLA Adult School since 2018. She has more than 20 years of experience in the field of education, with expertise in educational leadership, English as a Second Language, English instruction, curriculum development, assessment, grant writing and management, career technical education, secondary and higher education, accreditation and data analysis. She has served on the MVLA Leadership Team for more than 14 years and has supervised both the Career Technical Education and Adult Secondary and Adult Basic Education programs.

Vo earned a bachelor’s degree in English and sociology from UC Berkeley and a master’s in education from Stanford University. She holds teaching credentials in social studies and English and has taught at the secondary and community college levels.

“Julie is greatly respected for her expertise in student-centered programs and services, as well as her experience in key programmatic areas such as curriculum development, program review and District, state and federal mandated policies and procedures,” MVLA Superintendent Nellie Meyer said in a press release. “She is deeply committed to increasing access, equity and social justice for historically underrepresented and socially disadvantaged groups and has a long-standing reputation for collaborating with staff, students, our various student support and academic departments, and community partners from diverse backgrounds.”

Vo said she is “grateful for the opportunity to serve and grow with the MVLA family.”

“The Adult Education program has transformed and enhanced the lives of so many within our community, and I am excited to help the program grow and improve,” she said. “My core values are in line with MVLA Adult School’s uncompromising commitment to empowering adult learners by helping them to gain the knowledge, skills and proficiency necessary to achieve personal goals in employment, secondary education and English language skills.”

Vo added that she believes “social justice begins with an educational foundation that focuses on equitable access, equal opportunity and diverse representation across all groups.”

Future plans

Over the next three years, Vo hopes to increase the number of successful completions and transitions to higher education and employment for adult learners in the region. For the Adult School, this means aligning the regional accreditation and federal programs with the CAEP three-year plan to promote greater student achievement.

Vo also plans to rebuild MVLA’s Adult School programs and services following the past 18 months in pandemic, with an aim to recover learning loss, particularly for those groups most impacted by the pandemic – those affected by the digital divide, those with limited or no access to technology and stable Wi-Fi and those who need support with basic technological literacy to survive in the Bay Area.

“The primary purpose of adult education is to provide a second chance for those who are socioeconomically disadvantaged in society or who have lost access to education for other reasons in order to achieve social justice and equal access to education,” Vo said. “The MVLA Adult School is committed to serving adult learners who will gain the knowledge, skills and proficiency necessary to achieve personal goals in employment, secondary education and English language skills in order to become self-reliant and productive members of the community.”

Pre-pandemic, the MVLA Adult School was serving nearly 8,000 students per year – the vast majority of who come from the lowest socioeconomic sectors. More than 90% of the students MVLA Adult School serves have multiple barriers to employment.

“I believe that our work is integral to removing barriers, leveling the playing field and promoting social advancements for historically socioeconomically disadvantaged and underrepresented groups,” Vo said. “Since I first started in this district in 2007, I have witnessed firsthand how our Adult School has transformed and enhanced the lives of so many within our community.”

By

Staff Writer

Angela Tam covers local schools as the Town Crier's education reporter.