Santa Clara County Voter's Guide On Children's Issues

Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District Govering Board

Catherine Vonnegut

Engage the community with equity and inclusion. Deliver excellent academic education. Support wellness of students, staff and families with all time and materials possible. Supervise financial and other assets. Lead implementation of new programs and future innovation to always improve and be better!

  1. In a recent poll by Choose Children 2022 of likely general election voters, more than half of parents with children under age 18 say they are likely to move out of the Bay Area in the next few years. What do you think are the top three issues affecting our children and families and how will you make our region a place where all families can thrive?

    *Housing cost/insecurity: School social workers and McKinney Vento staff can help and guide students; advocacy and collaboration with Santa Clara County and local cities help to provide affordable housing and some rent assistance.
    *Food cost/insecurity: An effect of COVID is government support to allow MVLA to feed ALL children free breakfast and lunch at school. Food vans are distributing meals to families regularly.
    *Mental health: MVLA has doubled the staff for mental health services in the last four years including social workers, more therapists and a wellness coordinator. More services are needed as is better coordination between services.

  2. As we have learned over the past three years, without quality, affordable, childcare, parents can’t go to work. What will you do to address challenges accessing childcare and preschool programs in our diverse communities?

    Given that MVLA is a high school district, we are not specifically involved with childcare for students. That said, the MVLA adult school does have a childcare center for students' children and we provide childcare their for children of our high school students.

  3. Much of the student achievement gap has been linked to the opportunity gap that children in low-income families and children of color confront (e.g., lack of access to healthy food, preschool, tutors, and enrichment activities). If elected, what will you do to increase equity of opportunity?

    MVLA has adopted an equity statement as part of our mission. We have professional development for staff to promote equitable practices. As noted in Question 1 above we provide two free meals a day to EVERY student. We have many services including robust tutorial and college and career centers to assist all students. We have AVID program, and have ELD programs at MVHS and LAHS, have newcomer classes and have bilingual social workers. We partner with Mentor Tutor Connections and MVLA Scholars. We have many extra-curricular activities including sports and clubs. We have many wellness resources to assist students. We can always use input on improving and innovating services.

  4. What steps will you take to support inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities and their families to be fully included in our community?

    MVLA has about 8% Special Education (SPED) students. We strive for the least-restrictive setting for students which often includes placing students with their fellow HS students. We have co-teaching classes so there are SPED teachers working with general education (GE) teachers to help ALL students. We have buddy programs with students from SPED and GE lunching and doing other activities together. We have strong parent groups such as SELPA working with the county office of education providing parent training and providing resources for students. MVLA spends more than 10% of their annual budget on SPED.

  5. There is a mental health crisis among children, youth, and those who care for and educate them. If elected, how will you use the resources of your new role to improve access to mental and behavioral health services?

    I hope to be re-elected to promote the increase in wellness services over the last four years and innovate and coordinate services better to better address the needs. There needs to be a better safety-net of health and mental health services at all levels of public service. Advocacy with federal, state, and local governments and non-profit agencies is important to me to get to a next level of improvement in these services.