MVLA Update

January 2020

Dear MVLA Families and Friends,

Welcome to a new year, a new decade, and new opportunities for growth, challenge, and rewarding and exciting futures.

For our high school seniors, it's a time of excitement as college acceptance letters will be hitting mailboxes soon. For all students, this is a great time to focus on college and career readiness skills, which are invaluable no matter what post-high school plans involve. Our students will leave MVLA with strong, transferable skills that will lead to success as they enter colleges and universities and prepare for future careers. We are continuing to analyze best practices in and outside of the classroom as we support our students toward college admissions.

We continue to share with our students the importance of education and its direct link to career earnings. Experts say some of the best strategies for college-readiness provide equal or more benefit from a career-readiness perspective, and can apply to all students. These include:

Take challenging courses: MVLA provides a variety of courses that are built to challenge students. There are opportunities for those who have strengths and passions in a variety of fields. We provide students the ability to take courses that give them an opportunity to perform, share their ideas, and discover new passions. The academic curriculum is specifically designed to encourage creativity as well as complex multi-layered thinking skills. Career technology coursework includes media literacy, computer game creation, or high levels of computer science. I encourage you to check out our course information and catalogs (Los Altos/Mountain View) for additional details on the innovative classes and programs for your students.

Give back to the community: A strong sense of civic pride helps build lasting roots and fosters a positive business environment. Many successful professionals that work in the area they grew up in actively give back to their community, and support the participation of high school students in active community service. The MVLA community supports our young people by providing many avenues for leadership and civic participation, such as Key Club, Interact, Robotics Clubs and more. Students have numerous choices for on-campus organizations that match their interest, or provide venues for new clubs. Service-oriented organizations build communication skills and the ability to lead and work with teams. Our local employers tell us this is the skill that truly distinguishes an employee candidate and determines success in the workplace.

Seek Assistance When Needed: MVLA provides College and Career Centers at the campuses with the generous support of our MVLA Foundation. These centers are there to assist your student as they work to discover school opportunities; help with essays; and provide information about a variety of state, national and international colleges as well as other programs that may assist them along the way. Please take advantage of these valuable services early and often. As your student plans for their future, our team is happy to recommend unique small campuses that may be a good fit as well as strong programs within large universities that may match your student's interests.

More information is available below. We encourage you to visit our campus, counseling offices, and college and career centers. College and career preparation can be productive, rewarding, and we look forward to supporting your student

Thank you!

Dr. Nellie Meyer




We are very excited to announce we'll be expanding the Foothill Middle College program, first created in 1993 in partnership with Foothill Community College and Palo Alto Union High School District to provide students an opportunity to gain college-level course credits in a small environment away from the traditional comprehensive high school campus. Students have access to all student services provided by Foothill, including college counseling, access to the library, bookstore, health services, and the technology center. Students receive college credit for their college coursework, which may lead to advanced placement at Foothill after high school graduation.

Students enrolled in Middle College are considered to be "on leave" from their home schools and are eligible to receive a diploma from the home school, participate in home school activities and take part in graduation and other senior activities.

Currently, the program serves 65 students in grades 11 and 12; 90% go on to post-secondary education. Due to the success of the students, the strong staff, and the unique model, demand has continued to increase, and there has always been a lengthy waiting list (nearly 60 students right now).

This month, MVLA's Board of Education approved funding to increase the number of staff from three to five, thereby allowing for the addition of 50-60 more MVLA students to the program.

Want to learn more? Come meet the teachers and learn more about the program at these events:

Meetings for Students

  • Mountain View High School - February 4, 2020 at 12:15 p.m. in Room 206
  • Los Altos High School - February 25, 2020 10:55 a.m. in the Cafeteria

Mandatory Meeting for All Applicants & Parents

  • Tuesday, March 10th OR Wednesday, March 18th at 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. at Foothill College in Appreciation Hall (Bldg 1500) (View campus map)


The creative and strong, project-based learning of MVLA's career technical education (CTE) programs is about to get another boost! The district was recently awarded a $246,000 California Career Technical Education Incentive Grant (CTEIG) - for the third year in a row. The earlier grants helped MVLA set up career academies at MVHS and LAHS, and the animation component at Freestyle Academy, among other important program enhancements. This latest grant will allow for the expansions of programs and add new equipment to CTE programs throughout the district.

In the future, MVLA is looking to add new pathways. The district is one of four in the county that are part of a newer consortium looking to establish a Strong Workforce program locally, as well as an Earn and Learn program. We will hear back about a related grant application sometime next month.

Extensive data has shown that career technical education activities develop positive attitudes, build self-esteem and empower students to excel. They give students a head start in developing valuable professional skills such as communications, interpersonal abilities, time management, teamwork and more. We give our strong teacher leadership huge credit for leading these activities, and we're excited about building on their successful work.


A reminder that our MVLA Parent Education Speaker Series continues on January 28, 2020, with a presentation on "The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives," based on the book by William Stixrud, an assistant professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine, and Ned Johnson, founder of Prep Matters and a self-described "tutor-geek."

The presentation will begin at 7 p.m. in the Spartan Theatre at Mountain View High School. All MVLA Parent Education Speaker Series events are free, thanks to the continued generosity of these sponsors:

  • Mountain View-Los Altos High School Foundation

  • Los Altos Educational Foundation

  • Mountain View Educational Foundation

  • Los Altos-Mountain View PTA Council


We love this time of year because it means we get to provide an early MVLA welcome to local families with incoming freshmen during our 8th Grade Family Night events. These evenings provide an opportunity for families to learn about the academic offerings, specialty programs, performing arts, athletics, extracurricular activities, and parent groups at our schools so they can make informed choices for their students about which campus to attend. Families were able to take a tour of our campuses, and meet with staff. They were welcomed by our ASB leaders, teachers, coaches, advisors - the whole team!

If you have an incoming 9th grader and weren't able to attend these events, you're welcome to call the campus and speak to the registrar about scheduling a separate visit.


Here are some important areas experts say are important to keep in mind when it comes to college and career prep:

Academic college preparation

The culmination of all the career and college prep courses and other classes really is just the start of something, not the end. If you’re fully prepared academically, you’re ready to take the next step and excel beyond high school – at college, in the workplace and well into adulthood and complete your chosen degree program (or other plans) with distinction and success.

Emotional college readiness

The college experience demands a certain level of maturity, confidence and perseverance. Juggling all of the school-related requirements along with the other parts of being a college student – holding a part-time job, involvement with extra-curricular activities, etc. – requires emotional maturity or emotional readiness.

Social skills

Communication skills are a bonus in high school, but they’re absolutely essential in college and post-high school career work. Much of your social skill development is a work in progress as you enter college, but you can shorten the learning curve by getting involved in campus-related activities – and maybe building up involvement gradually in order to achieve a healthy and reasonable balance between personal life, school, and work.

High school graduates should be able to enter and succeed in entry-level post-secondary courses without the need for remediation and specifically should have:

Mastery of rigorous knowledge and skills in core academic disciplines, including English language arts (ELA)/literacy, mathematics, history, civics, science, art, and music. Content knowledge and skills in mathematics and ELA/literacy are essential to the study of all other disciplines, and high school graduates are often asked to demonstrate competency in these subjects before they can begin further study (at two- and four-year colleges), enter certain job training/apprenticeship programs, or pursue the military career of their choice.

The skills and dispositions necessary to be successful in charting their post-secondary path. Many of the skills a college- and career-ready graduate has are obtained through academics. The skills most demanded by colleges and employers are, by design, inherent in rigorous K–12 expectations – the ability of students to communicate effectively (both verbally and in written communications), to solve problems, to think critically and develop informed arguments, and to analyze information and data. Collaborating, communicating and presenting information, and using research to make informed judgments are among the critical skills that impact success.

Successfully participated in post-secondary opportunities through advanced coursework (Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, dual enrollment) as well as career and technical education, work-based learning, and other opportunities for exploring interests, aptitudes, and goals so that graduates can successfully navigate pathways that connect education and employment after high school.



Talking about college and career prep prompted us to revisit data reported by our MVLA Foundation College and Career Centers about where MVLA's Class of 2019 was accepted to and/or planning to attend for post-secondary education. Students reported plans to attend nearly 200 universities in 36 different states and seven different countries. These include:

  • Top Ivy League schools including Yale, Harvard, Dartmouth, Cornell, Brown, and the University of Pennsylvania
  • Historically black colleges and universities, such as Howard University
  • Top schools here in the Golden State including Stanford, Cal Poly schools, and all of the University of California campuses
  • Other top-ranked Western schools and regional universities, including the University of Southern California, Harvey Mudd College, Pitzer College, the University of Washington, the University of Oregon, and Brigham Young University
  • Nationally-acclaimed design schools, including the Pratt Institute, Maryland Institute College of Art, Carnegie Mellon University, Savannah College of Art and Design, and the California ArtCenter College of Design
Students are also choosing prestigious research universities, military science programs, culinary arts schools, and numerous international universities. #YouGO! #MVLAProud



Congratulations to Maily Juarez, Los Altos High School’s December Student of the Month!

Mary is an active member of the Latino Student Union (LSU), having been a member all four years of high school, and currently serves as the organization's choreographer for events including the Dia de Los Muertos celebration, the Latino Awards, Cinco de Mayo, and the Diversity Assembly. She is also an AVID tutor and really enjoys helping other students and bring a role model. Her favorite subject in school is math, and she hopes to be a math teacher in the future. Read more about Maily!


Mountain View High School is proud to present Loni Halstead as the Student of the Month for December.

Loni is also a dancer and serves as the vice president of the Folklorico Club on campus. She is part of the TEEN Design Club, where she serves as treasurer, helping to promote interest among young people in coding and engineering. She is currently interning at the Petrov Lab at Stanford University, where is she is studying bioinformatics. Learn more about Loni!


Congratulations to Isaac Tesfaye, Los Altos High School’s January Student of the Month!

Isaac is a proud member of the Talon, Los Altos High School’s student-led newspaper. He is a first-year videographer, meaning he uses video and other media to cover interesting stories for the school and community. Isaac also serves as the treasurer of the Personal Finance and Investment Club. Isaac hopes to go on to study business in college - specifically marketing or music business. After school, Isaac spends a lot of time running. He has been on both the Cross Country and Track and Field teams for several years. Read more about Isaac!


Congratulations to Katherine Wang, MVHS Student of the Month for January!

Katherine is an excellent student and a curious and avid learner who always manages to challenge herself in all aspects of her life. Katherine is taking AP Calculus BC, AP Computer Science, AP US History, AP Physics 1, Honors American Literature, and AP French. This year, Katherine started a Math Modeling Club, which teaches students about applied math in the real world and allows them to participate in competitions to potentially earn scholarships. Outside of school, Katherine is involved in competitive rhythmic gymnastics. Read more about Katherine!


Earlier this month our MVLA Speech and Debate Team participated in the Los Altos Rotary Contest. Ethan Huang took first place and will move on to Level 2. Rose Liu is the second place alternate, with Jiayan Luo and Franklin Ruan taking third and fourth, respectively. Congratulations to all who competed.

The relationships between debate team members is a unique and important one. Recently, the Los Altos Talon student-run newspaper wrote about some of these important friendships. Read more here!



The Freestyle Academy of Communication Arts and Technology Mid-Year Exhibition showcases the Best of Semester 1 Projects by 1st-and 2nd-year students from both LAHS and MVHS. The event will be held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View.

  • Friday February 14, 2020
  • 5:00 – 8:30 PM
  • Free Admission and Open to Public
  • 5:00 – 8:30 p.m: Art Exhibition, Animation Viewing, Video Productions Viewing, and Website Viewing
  • 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.: Best of Junior and Senior Video Productions
  • Get directions to the Computer History Museum
Come to the Exhibition, see what students produce and perhaps decide if you want to be part of the Freestyle Community of digital artists. Application deadline is February 14 for current Sophomore and Juniors to join us at Freestyle for 2020-2021. FAQs here


Earlier this month, Los Altos High School hosted Challenge Day, a phenomenal and transformational day for all LAHS freshman. It is a unique, experiential, social and emotional learning program designed to build school community. Our focus is to ignite a shift toward greater school connectedness, empathy, and inclusivity and away from the teasing, meanness and alienation that can, unfortunately, be a part of the high school experience. We are so proud of our students for vowing to be the change. #MVLAproud


MVHS ASB's Diversity Committee is hosting a discussion-oriented event called Diversity Across Students in which they will be showcasing a film series called America to Me, which follows several students around their schools to see the different challenges they face in their day-to-day lives, and hear their views on contemporary issues such as racism and equity. As part of each event, students will screen an episode and then hold a discussion in large and/or small groups. The next screening will be January 30, and refreshments will be served. Please RSVP at


MVHS students have been having some great opportunities to hang out and interact with experts in the medical field as part of this month's Hangout sessions in the Tutorial Center. These medical volunteers and tutors will be visiting through next month, talking about their careers: "A day in a doctor's life" and "A day in a nurse's life".

In March and April, Hangout guests will include bilingual software and hardware engineers from Apple and Google/YouTube, and local city planners, councilmembers, and architects, most of whom are also bilingual. Special thanks to all the volunteers for sharing their experiences as subject matter experts in such a diverse group of fields and industries, most recently our MVHS AVID parents who have been providing great information on healthcare fields, including nursing and endoscopy!



Teenagers, like adults, may experience stress every day and can benefit from learning stress management skills. Most teens experience more stress when they perceive a situation as dangerous, difficult, or painful and they do not have the resources to cope. Some sources of stress for teens include:

  • School demands and frustrations
  • Negative thoughts or feelings about themselves
  • Changes in their bodies
  • Problems with friends and/or peers at school
  • Separation or divorce of parents
  • Chronic illness or severe problems in the family
  • Death of a loved one
  • Taking on too many activities or having too high expectations
  • Family financial problems

This article further identifies stress-related concerns teenagers face, and strategies they (and their parents) can use to help de-stress. A sample of a personal plan for managing stress is available here.


In accordance with California Education Code 41020, the Board of Trustees of each school district must provide for an independent audit of the district’s books and accounts, including an audit of school district expenditures by source of funds. For the school year ending June 30, 2019, the firm of Crowe Horwath conducted the required audit, available online here, and presented at the January 13, 2020 meeting.

The report concludes that the District's financial position is presented fairly for the year ended June 30, 2019, and that operations are in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles and compliant with state and federal requirements. We are pleased to report there were no audit findings for the 2018-2019 school year.


Many thanks to the volunteers and donors who made the work of the MVLA Foundation such a huge success in 2019. Some of the highlights:

  • The Honor Roll of Realtors Campaign set records with $137,700 raised and 61 realtors participating.
  • More than $1.7 million has been received to date.

MVLA programs, services, and grants have touched countless students, teachers, classrooms and families. This "By the Numbers" slide show data tells part of the story, as do affirmations from teachers on the Foundation website. Thank you to all who have supported the Foundation and its important programs.


Despite some wet weather here and there the past several weeks, we continue to move forward with the construction of the new classroom buildings funded by Measure E. Here's what's been happening:

MVHS: The slab on grade has been poured and completed on two of the new classroom buildings, as shown in the photo in the upper right. The installation and compaction of drain rock for the south classroom building wing is also complete. The rebar and formwork installation for the elevator pit in the two-story classroom building has also been recently completed.

LAHS: The building pads have been completed for the new classroom buildings. A building pad is a raised area of ground that has been compacted by the weight of a bulldozer. It is used in preparation for a foundation. The fire line to feed the new classroom buildings is also now in place.


The Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District is always looking for great, skilled people to join our team.

Right now, we're looking for new instructors for several of our Adult School programs, biology and math teachers, substitute teachers, and coaches for golf, gymnastics, lacrosse, and track. We are always looking for instructional assistants to help support our students with learning or other disabilities. Ready for a career change? See what we have to offer at our Current Openings page or at


Click on any of the images below to enlarge them.


January 28,, 2020

MVLA Parent Education Speaker Series - "The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives"

7 p.m.

Mountain View High School Spartan Theater, 3535 Truman Ave., Mountain View 94040 (Get Directions)

February 10, 2020

Regular Meeting - Board of Education

1299 Bryant Ave., Mountain View, 94040 (Get Directions)

March 9, 2020

Regular Meeting - Board of Education

1299 Bryant Ave., Mountain View, 94040 (Get Directions)