BY ALLISON LEVITSKY
Daily Post Staff Writer
Bullis Charter School, the controversial program in the Los Altos School District, is seeking to expand into the Mountain View Whisman School District with a new charter elementary school in Mountain View.
Bullis has been a divisive issue in the Los Altos School District since its beginnings in 2003, with lawsuits and countersuits filed by the district and the charter school over facilities disputes.
“We believe firmly in our educational model and programs and we want to share these successful practices with the greater community,” Bullis Assistant Principal Jennifer Anderson-Rosse said in a statement on Aug. 30. “Our goal is to positively impact more families and ensure that every child receives an education that meets his or her unique learning needs.”
School officials said that at 880 students, Bullis is growing too fast for the size of its current facilities, which are housed at campuses shared with Egan Junior High and Blach Intermediate schools.
The second charter would serve Mountain View students and use the same curriculum, including an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, arts and math, focused learning goals and personalized learning. The school would initially launch with 168 students across four grades: transitional kindergarten through second grade. Each class would have 24 students.
It would grow over time to serve 320 students through fifth grade. Like the Los Altos charter school, it would be tuition-free and open to the public.
The application would request a preference for Whisman students who qualify for the free- and reduced-price lunch program, but would be open to all students and give preference to siblings.
Mountain View Whisman hasn’t received an application yet, the school board’s Vice President Greg Coladonato told the Post yesterday (Sept. 7).
Information sessions on the expansion was held Saturday (Sept. 8) in Los Altos and at 7 p.m. Tuesday (Sept. 11) at 1124 Covington Road.
The school has long fought for its own school site in the Los Altos district, which overlaps into part of Mountain View. A task force in the Los Altos School District is seeking to relocate Bullis’ Los Altos campus to a new site in the San Antonio area of Mountain View, contrary to a City Council preference to serve students in that neighborhood.
I am thrilled that BCS leadership has decided to expand this school to another community. I am a former BCS parent, and I can claim with high confidence that BCS is different than any public school in our area. They are not bound by the traditional contracts and restrictions of traditional school districts. The teachers are creative, passionate, young and eager – something you may not see as often at traditional schools. The best way I can describe the difference in Silicon Valley terms is working at IBM vs. working at an innovative start-up that people want to be at. The school is forward-thinking, nimble and responsive. My kids love coming to school everyday AND they are eager to learn. While our kids enjoyed our local school and our teachers were great, there was not the same challenge or excitement for learning. My kids rave about their PBL (project based learning), ask lots questions at home and have learned over time to take ownership for their learning thru focused learning goals. I haven’t heard or seem similar teaching methodology at other schools.
Don’t believe or care about my anecdotal experience? I encourage you to do your own research on the CA Dept of Ed website and compare BCS’s results with all other schools in Los Altos School District. None of them can hold a candle to BCS? want to spew hate and claim BCS is just a “rich” school. Well Gardner Bullis, for those who don’t know, is the public school located in Los Altos Hills, the highest household income town in this area by a wide stretch. Gardner is a public school, part of LASD, and their test results are among the weakest in all of LASD so the “rich kids do better on tests” theory doesn’t really hold water in the Los Altos School District.
I think opening a second charter in a new community with higher low-income families is a good idea for BCS. It can share its differentiated model with a community that really needs it, still operate its current school and prove to naysayers once and for all that what happens at BCS is pure educational magic. PS. the secret sauce is empowered teachers and engaged families. PPS. You you don’t need gobs of money to have either of these!
If Bullis is such a wonderful school, why can’t they make it on their own as an independent school that doesn’t have to rely on public school resources? If Bullis is so great, it ought to be able to attract paying families whose tuition could pay for school campuses without support from the taxpayers! Which school in Mountain View-Whisman will they take?
@LM, are you suggesting that high quality education should only be available to families that can afford to pay private school tuition? Yes, Bullis is great and it’s even more awesome because it’s a public school and therefore available to everyone. Unfortunately because or Prop 39 (public request for facilities), a lottery preference is in place for students residing in Los Altos School District (an affluent public school district). This second charter will now make it also available to students residing in MV Whisman school district (a district with 40% low-income students).
Oh well, here we go again. A repeat of the nonsense that has poisoned Los Altos the past decade+…with BCS proponents going on and on with ideology and dogma over “traditional contracts and restrictions of traditional school districts”, “the secret sauce is empowered teachers and engaged families”, etc. Next up, they’d demand closure of a public school and/or the outright granting of public school lands to BCS. OR ELSE face lawsuits…and if they lose, they blame the judge for bias…and if they don’t get what they want, they blame the school board trustees for bias…and the cost of lawsuits are borne by the public…
Watch out, Mtn View! You are the next BCS target!
Whether you agree with BCS’s policies or not, the records speak for themselves. For K to 6, BCS is consistently outperforming and among the very best in CA.
Having said that, 7-8 is another story. Many BCS parents transition their kids to nearby Los Altos middle school or to college prep academy. IMO, Bullis should phase out 7-8 and upgrade them to multi floor unit to support additional capacity or facility.
Charter school students ARE public school students and therefore entitled to the same funds per student AND equitable access to public school facilities. Our tax dollars support all public schools including charter schools. Bravo to BCS for bringing their high-performing public school program to a more diverse community!
I think that you need to check the stats. In the last few years, BCS is the top middle school in all of CA. Seriously. The difference in scores from LASD is significant. BCS #1, or #2 — Blach – Egan not even in the top 20. Some kids leave for Blach and or Egan, mostly the social butterflies, they want to go to a big school and experience the “fun” of a traditional Junior HIgh.
This is so arrogant. The wealthy Los Altos folks who started Bullis now want to force this charter on the Mountain View-Whisman District. Who asked Bullis to come to Mountain View? I haven’t heard of anybody in Mountain View who is asking for them to come in here. I guess the snooty types in Los Altos know what’s best for poor old Mountain View.
Anyone in Mountain View who wants to stop Bullis should be warned: Bullis goes after any opponent with the heavy hand of the courts. If they lose at one level, they have the money to appeal at the next level. They’ll fight until they find a sympathetic judge. You’ll run out of money opposing them in court.
@Not Going To Take It: There are 200 families from the MV Whisman School District on the current BCS waitlist, so clearly there is a strong interest in the program. Why shouldn’t these families have the same access to a highly ranked public charter school if this is what they desire?