Category Archives: Tahoma

New charter legislation raises questions over its implications

By Jacob Kahn-Samuelson, Maxwell Taniguchi-King and Nethan Sivarapu

Staff Editors

Charter legislation in California has recently been updated to include more regulations on charter schools. The new charter legislation could have implications for Summit Public School campuses, with the new laws influencing how California charters are approved and how teachers are certified.  

California charter law has not been updated since 1992; and on Sept. 17, 2019 AB 1505 was signed into law by California Governor Gavin Newsom. AB 1505 has placed stronger regulations on charter schools and the process of how they are approved and renewed. 

At Summit, electives are known as Expeditions and take place for two weeks at a time, four times a year. College Readiness is an Expeditions class specifically for juniors to prepare them for college. New charter legislature might change things for electives teachers like Keith Brown, who previously taught College Readiness and currently teaches courses on pop culture and theater. 

Mr. Brown said how the laws might affect Tahoma and the Expeditions teachers who work there: “For Tahoma specifically I think it will harm college readiness stuff that Summit tries so hard for. There is not really a college readiness credential so I wonder how that is going to go. I worry that it is going to cause a lot of headaches.”

AB 1505 is a highly controversial law passed in California and was passed by a vote in the assembly of 44 yes votes, 19 no votes, and 17 members abstained while in the senate it received 27 yes votes, 11 no votes, and 2 members abstained. 

California assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, one of the lead authors of AB 1505, talked about the motivations of the bill, “The mission behind AB 1505 is not to end charter schools, but to ensure that they are accountable, successful, and serve all students.” 

Assemblymember Kevin Kiley opposes the bills and believes that they are specifically anti-charter, “These bills are both aimed at placing severe limits and restrictions on the charter sector which has been a goal of some people in the legislature for quite some time.”  

The largest teachers’ union in California, the California Teachers Association (which is the state organization through which SPS teachers are currently organizing a local chapter), expressed support for AB 1505 on their website, “AB 1505 by Assemblymembers O’Donnell and Bonta ensures local communities control the authorization and renewal of charter schools and also repeals provisions allowing the State Board of Education to approve, renew or hear appeals of charter school petitions.” 

Those who oppose AB 1505 claim it will harm charter schools and the limited appeals process will harm charter schools in the future. Jonathan Stewart, the executive director of Summit Tahoma, explained that Summit Tahoma was initially denied in its charter petition in 2009 and had to go through the appeals process: “So Tahoma appealed to the county and the county authorized Tahoma.” 

Before AB 1505, rejected charter petitioners could appeal directly to the State Board of Education. Under AB 1505, denied charter petitioners would first appeal to the county board of education; if they are denied from there, they can appeal to the state board of education which will only authorize their charter if they determine the school district or county abused its discretion. 

In addition to changing the appeals process, AB 1505 changes the teaching credential requirements for teachers at charter schools. Assemblyman O’Donnell explained the new teaching regulations, “Every teacher in a charter school shall have a background check and the appropriate credential to teach that subject within the next five years. A lot of charter school teachers now do not have teaching credentials so we want them to have teaching credentials. And a lot of charter school teachers now don’t have an adequate background check and we want them to have an adequate background check.” 

Here is an interactive detailing Bill 1505. To expand a text box and see the quote analysis, click on a square.

Mr. Stewart believes that the new teacher certification regulations will harm charter schools’ abilities to add good teachers: “The majority of teachers are credentialed, but not all of them. We have been able to get some people who are really masters of their crafts and really interested in working with students who we might not otherwise be able to get.”

AB 1505 changes the requirements for teachers at charter schools. AB 1505 explains the requirements of teachers under previous regulations, stating, “Existing law requires teachers in charter schools to hold a Commission on Teacher Credentialing certificate, permit, or other document equivalent to what a teacher in other public schools would be required to hold.” The law goes on to explain the new requirements: “This bill would instead require teachers in charter schools to hold the Commission on Teacher Credentialing certificate, permit, or other document required for the teacher’s certificated assignment, except that a person employed as a teacher in a charter school during the 2019–20 school year would have until July 1, 2025, to obtain that certificate, permit, or other document.” 

Residents of San Jose affected by Google’s plans to expand

By Polina Runova

Staff Editor

The company Plotter Pros resides in a building that doesn’t look like much from the outside. Its walls are a simple white, periodically coated in murals by graffiti artists. The whole building is located in a small alley off of the main street, Alameda, in downtown San Jose.

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The building home to Plotter Pros looks plain and ordinary from the outside. PHOTO CREDIT: Polina Runova

Despite its plain appearance, it turns out the building has more to it than meets the eye. Peter Inshaw, president of Plotter Pros explained that the building “was actually a community center. It was built in the 30s as a roller rink. It’s been a bunch of things that involve the city.”

Plotter Pros, a commercial printing company, is only one of the downtown businesses that might be affected by Google’s expansion in the area. Concerns include rent increases, displacement, and possible loss of valuable buildings.

Today, the building in question is not only home to the company Plotter Pros but also a studio that Mr. Inshaw rents out to artists. He believes the building has done enough for the community to be considered of historical value.

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Peter Inshaw, president of Plotter Pros PHOTO CREDIT: Polina Runova

At first Mr. Inshaw had thought that it would be preserved, as “it’s a historical building.” Now he believes this is not the case. “Other historical buildings are being levelled,” he said, mentioning another building that has been around since the 1800s. Today it is a “big hole in the ground.”

Despite his concerns, Mr. Inshaw believes that Google’s expansion might bring benefits as well. “The good part is that it’s revitalizing downtown, which has been stagnant with no plan,” he said. “Actually connecting all the transit has been something a long time coming.”

Referring to both unprotected historical buildings and rent increases, Mr Inshaw said he remains unsure about whether the benefits of the downtown remodel will outweigh the negatives.“I just don’t know the long-term cost of it.”

Although not many people besides Mr. Inshaw expressed a concern for historical buildings, many share a worry about rent. “Those are probably the two biggest concerns,” Mr. Inshaw said. “We lose the building, or can’t afford to be here.”

Google plans to move into downtown San Jose

Nanci Klein is San Jose’s Director of Real Estate and Assistant Director of Economic Development. She explained that Google’s plans for San Jose include “up to 6.5 million square feet of office development,” as well as “a range of housing units.” She added that Google intends to provide amenities, not just office space, in order to make downtown San Jose an area where people can work, live and engage in recreational activities.

Ms. Klein said that “San Jose wants both jobs and housing” and that Google is willing to help provide both. “Many cities have 2.5 to 3 jobs to employed residents. San Jose is approximately 0.76 jobs to employed ratio,” Ms. Klein said. That is an issue that the city hopes to fix through their collaboration with Google.

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The need to commute in order to go to work puts more cars on the road. PHOTO CREDIT: Polina Runova

Ms. Klein explained that there are several negatives that come with San Jose’s lack of jobs. People need to commute in order to go to work, which “puts a lot of people on the roads, and creates more greenhouse gasses.” Giving people work near the place they live would benefit the environment.

Additionally, Ms. Klein said, “There’s a lot of benefit and quality of life for people working closer to where they live.” She explained, “If you just have office [space] and everyone leaves at 6 or 7 in the evening, it’s pretty quiet. But if you have a mix of uses, which incorporate jobs and residential, it can be very, very lively.”

There are still several things that need to happen before Google can start breaking ground. “There is an entitlement process, which we hope will be completed by the end of 2020. Then there will be the process of design and building permits,” Ms. Klein said. She added that this estimate could change, depending on the economic state of the country. “Things can be approved, but if the community, the United States, or the world is in a down trend, that will potentially limit what time frame is needed for beginning construction.”

Ms. Klein said that, for the past years, it has been difficult for the city to “provide fundamental services to our residents and our businesses.” The city of San Jose is hoping that working with Google will help to “provide as much equitable development and quality mobility, to have the array of jobs, to make them available to San Jose residents,” Ms. Klein explained, adding that, “It’s a really important part of our economy and community.”

People of downtown react to Google’s plans to expand

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Denise Luna, manager of Babe’s Mufflers and Brakes PHOTO CREDIT: Polina Runova

Denise Luna is a manager of an auto repair business called Babe’s Muffler and Brakes. Ms. Luna is new to the area, and has heard “little” about Google’s plans to expand. “I just heard the rents might go up,” Ms. Luna said. “Around here, they are already expensive as it is.” Although not terribly worried about her business’ displacement, Ms. Luna has noticed that some people were “already moving out.” She added “that right there, could affect our business, because we get a lot of people who live around here to do business with us. They move out – there goes our business.”

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Eric Johnson, owner of Recycle Bookstore PHOTO CREDIT: Polina Runova

Others are hoping that, on the contrary, Google’s expansion will bring about more jobs and opportunities for business. Eric Johnson is the owner of a bookshop called Recycle Bookstore. Mr. Johnson is expecting that the expansion will bring more activity to downtown San Jose. “The more density you have, the more activity you have,” Mr. Johnson said. “And that tends to be, on the whole, a good thing.”

Mr. Johnson has also noticed the increase in rents, but he hopes Google will also bring an increase in business, which will allow him and others to cover the increasing rents. “Sometimes a small business can pay a little more rent, it depends on whether or not the area increases the business at all.”

Google’s expansion has already affected other cities

Google first came to Mountain View when it leased office space from SGI’s campus, back in 2003. The campus was purchased a couple years later, and then transformed into Google’s corporate headquarters, Googleplex. When the plans for Google’s expansion in Mountain View were first suggested, people had mixed feelings about this development. Some were hoping for more business, while other feared rising housing prices and displacement. Now, roughly fifteen years later, local businesses confirm that Googleplex came as a mixed package.

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Mountain View is home to Google’s corporate headquarters. PHOTO CREDIT: Polina Runova

The Google campus is pristine. The trees are aligned; the hedges are trimmed; and the sidewalks are clean. Everything appears to be taken care of. Nearby, a construction site is fenced off where Google is working on another building. However, just a few streets down, everything looks different.

Smaller businesses, while agreeing that Google has brought some benefits, admit that many people are now struggling to keep up with rising rent prices. Some businesses have trouble finding new employees, as many people have been forced to move because of the rising rent prices.

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Joy McCarthy, manager of The Maids PHOTO CREDIT: Polina Runova

“Finding employees is very difficult,” Joy McCarthy said. “They can’t find housing in the area.” Joy McCarthy runs a cleaning service called The Maids. It is a family business, currently owned by her mother. Ms. McCarthy, in addition to running The Maids, is also a renter. As a result of Google’s expansion, Ms. McCarthy notices that “rents have definitely climbed significantly.”

Concerns with housing seems to exist all around town. A local business owner, who asked to remain anonymous, said that small companies like his family business are less and less likely to be able to “afford to work our family business in the area”. These are people who have been in Mountain View for ages. “I’m born and raised here, so I’ve been here almost 40 years, and I’ve absolutely seen a major change. My father’s been here 65 years, and he can obviously tell you times have changed.”

Although the family business has been in the area for what can seem like forever, it is possible they might have to leave the area because of the rise in rent pricing. “Major developers see more value in retail office space, or commercial office space, vs warehouse space,” the family business owner said. “Small companies like myself, we rely on being able to operate in a warehouse capacity.” This is why the owner foresees that they “will likely be forced to move within the next three or four years.”

Not everything people say about Google is negative, however. “As a matter of fact, we do work for Google. When Google buys some of these buildings here and in the peninsula area, we are hoping that we get contracted to go do some of that flooring work,” the family business owner said. “So there is benefit in providing when they’re building new homes, when they’re building new office space. It is bringing more job opportunities to those local businesses.”

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Omega Printing is a commercial printing company in Mountain View. PHOTO CREDIT: Polina Runova

Another local business says they got more good out of Google’s expansion than bad. Omega Printing is a commercial printing company, located nearby Googleplex. Jesselyn Hernandez, a graphic designer at Omega Printing said “for us, we’re printers, so it’s actually a positive, because the new starter companies, we start printing for them.” She added that once these startup companies, “start growing bigger and bigger, they go somewhere else because we’re this small little business”.

Google’s expansion in Mountain View has indeed been attracting many beginning companies to the area, and in this way provides business for the local companies. Ms. McCarthy agreed that every now and then there’d be “a little more business from people moving in and out.”

“It depends on who you ask,” Ms. Hernandez said. She explained that, overall, there are both benefits and negatives to Google’s expansion. “For us, like I said, the pros are overcoming the cons. For new people, that are coming into the city, I would gauge more negatives.” 

Google’s plans to expand in San Jose affecting Willow Glen

Although Google’s expansion is going to take place in downtown San Jose, the indirect impact could be felt all the way in Willow Glen.

Mark Larson, a film history teacher at Santa Clara University, lives a 15-minute walk from downtown Willow Glen. He brought up the idea that Google’s expansion will bring about a change in the community’s mindset.

Willow Glen hasn’t been affected by “anything that they’ve done concretely, of course, because no one’s broken any ground or anything,” Mr. Larson said. However, Mr. Larson added, “I think it’s the psychological effect, where this giant company comes into your town and sort of starts taking it over. I think that affects how you think, and the space that you live in, and the idea of community.”

Mr. Larson suggests that whenever a big company such as Google comes to a community, many things change. “You lose the character; you lose the history; you lose the small businesses that can’t keep up; or you lose the employees for your restaurant or for your little shop that you’re trying to run because they can’t afford to live in the community.”

Mr. Larson explained that, once Google moves in, whenever he goes to the Diridon train station in downtown San Jose, he’ll “have to walk through their whole campus, their whole corporate headquarters, just to go to the train.” Mr. Larson feels downtown San Jose will become a completely different place. “I won’t be in San Jose; I’ll be in Google Land.”

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A sign with the words ‘Google Glen’ was put up in Willow Glen. PHOTO CREDIT: Mark Larson

It appears downtown San Jose isn’t the only place where Google is making its presence known. “Here in Willow Glen, where we live, we’re famous for our nice little downtown, Lincoln Avenue, where all the shops are,” Mr. Larson said. Recently, however, there’s been a change.“We saw this sign that went up, put up by Google, saying ‘Google Glen’,” Mr. Larson said. He feels that Google is “putting their imprint on our little community here, our little neighborhood. And that’s upsetting because you want to have your own identity, whatever we decided we wanted to be.”

Mr. Larson added that although the mental effect is the most prominent one, there are other concerns in the Willow Glen area as well. “We do rent our home, and we’re absolutely scared out of our wits that our landlords will sell the house because of the Google effect,” Mr. Larson said. If that were to happen, he fears he and his family would “ have to move somewhere.” Mr. Larson explained, “That’s happened to so many people that we know; you hear about it on the news. We’re very scared of that, and we’ve never had to worry about that before.”

Local news stories support Mr. Larson’s story. For example, the Mercury News reported that about a year ago, Decron Properties, a real estate investment firm, bought an apartment complex in Willow Glen. Mercury News wrote, that because of increasing prices in the housing market, “apartments are becoming increasingly attractive alternatives.”

The apartment complex is only “a short rail ride from Google’s proposed transit village in the downtown area.” Mercury News reported that David Nagel, president of Decron Properties, said “The proposed Google campus was a compelling reason for us and our investors to acquire this well-located property.” It appears Google’s expansion is affecting the decisions of other large companies, even those located away from downtown San Jose.

“I really don’t have a solution to it,” Mr. Larson admitted. However, he did say, “I think one thing that would help, though, is if people had more of an awareness for their community, about the impact it might have, for their own sense of identity.” Mr. Larson believes it’s important to keep the people informed. Sometimes communities “get very excited about stuff like this,” Mr. Larson said. “I think they rush too quickly into accepting it.”

Changes await Downtown San Jose

“There are going to be so many changes that come,” Ms. Klein said. She anticipates new amenities and resources to come into the area “in terms of retail, in terms of BART, in terms of additional streetscape, additional places for people to gather,” as well as “jobs, housing, and affordable housing.”

“It might pretty much upscale the area,” Mr. Johnson, owner of the Recycle Bookstore said. “The fear would be that smaller businesses that survive on slightly lower rents might be priced out of the area.”

Mr. Johnson also said, ”You have development and it tends to uplift America sometimes as well.” He can imagine both positive and negative outcomes from Google’s expansions. “It’s kind of up to the city to kind of balance and see what the effect on the community is going to be,” he said.

Ms. Klein agrees, that the city has “the opportunity and the responsibility to do it in a way that is positive for the community.” She added that the city hopes “to mitigate and minimize any potential negative impacts from the project.”

For example, Ms. Klein brought up that “there is very much a concern that bringing 20 to 25 thousand additional people down to San Jose can cause pressure.” Many people are expected to come into the area Google plans to move into. “It’s an interesting statistic that was shared with me recently, “Ms. Klein said. “The number of people that are projected to go through Diridon [in one day] by, say, 2040 will be the same number that go to the San Francisco Airport in a day.”

The general increase of activity in San Jose means there are going to be “more people who want to be in the area, who are willing to pay more for houses and/or rental apartments in the area,” Klein said. “City of San Jose is paying a lot of attention to issues relating to any potential displacement.”

Ms. Klein adds that there is a big difference between Google’s Mountain View expansion and Google’s San Jose expansion. “In Mountain View they are very much a campus,” Klein said. “In San Jose we are working with them to be integrated into the city and that will make a tremendous amount of difference into what is created.”

Ms. Klein explains that the city is trying to protect both the people, and the culture of the city. This includes buildings in the area. “In San Jose, like many other places, there are buildings which are landmarks which will absolutely be retained,” she said.

She also added that some buildings, might be “adapted” into the developing area. For example, “there are buildings where only what is retained are the facades, so that the building can be redone to make it much more efficient,” while “in some instances there is development over those buildings, so you have what’s referred to as air rights,” Ms. Klein said.

Ms. Klein explained that this is “not because of the Google project, but just part of regular development considerations,” and that similar remodeling is happening “in many, many cities throughout the country”.

There might be many changes coming to San Jose, but Ms. Klein believes the city will keep it’s own cultural personality throughout the development. “San Jose is blessed with a wide ranging diversity, and that’s the kind of city that we want to continue to be,” she said.

“I am personally not terribly worried about this.” Mr. Johnson said. “Cautiously optimistic, let’s put it that way.”

“People will adjust and figure it out,” Mr. Inshaw, president of Plotter Pros, added. The community of downtown San Jose is “just kind of waiting to see,” he said. “It’s years away, but it’s already having an effect.”

Feature Image (at the top of this post): A street going through the Google Campus in Mountain View is labeled Google. PHOTO CREDIT: Polina Runova

Tahoma community members share opinions on the 2020 election

By Yasmeen Ali, Kainoa Garo and Ian Vu

Staff Writers

Many people from Summit Tahoma, a charter school in San Jose, show strong opinions on the upcoming 2020 presidential election. Many teachers and students have knowledge about the candidates; Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris appear to be inspiring the most interest so far. 

As of Oct. 9, a total of 19 Democrats and four Republicans are running in the 2020 presidential election. Opinion on campus seems to lean toward a Democratic view; all the teachers and students interviewed at Summit Tahoma for this story expressed the most interest in Democratic candidates. 

For example, Tahoma math teacher Douglas Wills said, “I’m in love with Elizabeth Warren. Every time she talks I’m, like, in love with her … she’s a little to the left of me with some economic things, but, in general, she lines up pretty well with me.”

See below for political perspective from the Tahoma community:

Opinions of the Tahoma community on presidential politics

Some interviewees explained that the presidential campaign is currently focused on whether or not President Donald Trump should stay in office. Tahoma history teacher Kevin Franey said, “A lot of focus is on the Republican side keeping Trump in office, and on the Democratic side it’s mostly about beating Trump.”

Tahoma Executive Director Jonathan Stewart explained how extreme views are becoming more common. “The political center ground in the U.S. has eroded a little bit, so people are more on the political extremes, either on the right or the left.”

Particular community members expressed their wants for more variety in the candidates who are running for president. Tahoma senior Ethan Nguyen said, “One change I would love to see is that I’m hoping that the establishment — in both the DNC and RNC which is Democratic and Republic national committees — I’m hoping that they allow more candidates this time … people were forced to pick a side.”

A few of the individuals interviewed said presidential elections in the United States require improvement. “There’s a lot of problems in our system. I think the fact that it depends on so much money is a big problem. It puts a lot of pressure on candidates to bend to people that are able to supply that money,” Tahoma Assistant Director Megan Toyama said. “I think that the electoral college — and not being based purely on the popular vote and it being based on the electoral college — gives some states more power than others.”

Expeditions Dean Monica Hanson, who runs the electives team at Summit Tahoma, also identified multiple problems in which how voters chose certain candidates. “I think we get too caught up in cult of personality … but I wonder at what point we’re actually looking at the plans — and their track record of being a politician and getting stuff taken care of and actually doing what they say — rather than this is someone I’d want to hang out with.” 

The presidential election of 2020 is important as it determines how our future regarding the government might become. Tahoma biology teacher Alexis Lorenz said, “I think as up-and-coming voters, our students need to always take that opportunity to vote. As my dad always says: You can’t bitch if you don’t vote. And we all dearly like to complain, and so, if you’re gonna complain, you have to have done your part in making your voice heard.”

State senator visits Tahoma for press conference

EDITOR’S NOTE: On Oct. 8, State Senator Jim Beall visited Summit Public Schools: Tahoma for a press conference with the journalism class.

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State Senator Jim Beall emphasizes diversity in government

By Uma Datta, Maddie Knight and Jae-Lyn Miranda

Staff Writers

To California State Senator Jim Beall, diversity in government is incredibly important. It allows connections with the American people. Whether it be a different gender, race, or sexuality than the majority, Sen. Beall believes diversity will play a huge role in the upcoming elections. 

“One of the things a lot of people talk about is maybe there should be more diversity in the senate, and I agree with that,” Sen. Beall said. 

On Oct. 8, Sen. Beall visited Summit Tahoma for a press conference with the journalism Expeditions class. Many issues were brought up, including the benefits of diversity in government. Sen. Beall is a supporter of government diversity and believes it will strengthen, not hurt the government.

Sen. Beall is an especially strong supporter of women in government. He believes that a woman in charge would change the future of the United States. 

“I personally think that women would change the way of how to do things if they have leadership,” Sen. Beall said. He thinks it’s time for a change. The senator started his career working in a group where both men and women were politically active. This showed him the value of diversity in his workspace. 

Sen. Beall said, “The men are a little bit more ego.” He added, “I like to work in a more collaborative way with people. I guess it’s easier to work with women on a team.” He is looking forward to having more women in places of power: “I think by next election, or the one after that, we might have a majority of senators being female.” 

Both of Sen. Beall’s top candidates for the upcoming presidential election are women: Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren. “It’s neat to have a female president, don’t you think?” 

Sen. Beall resonates with Kamala Harris because they have a connection, both being California politicians; and he admires Elizabeth Warren for having a clear stance on issues, something he said the other candidates lack.

The senator is term-limited and will leave his seat next year. He is not the only one; two of his fellow senators are leaving as well: “Three white men, if you want to put it that way, are leaving; in each case, there are females running, LGBTQ+, and others running for those seats.” 

Sen. Beall is eagerly awaiting the upcoming presidential election. With five women still in the running for president, it remains anybody’s game. 

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State senator speaks on legislative accomplishments

By Kylie Gallegos, Destiny Holliman and Emily Nguyen

Staff Writers

A San Jose State alumni, State Senator Jim Beall has dedicated his life to public service and focused his legislative career on providing health care; he also received an award for his work in public transit. 

“When you have the stresses of trying to achieve; or something might have happened to you in a personal relationship; or maybe there was something that happened to you in your family that caused you to get upset; you need someone to talk to, so we are trying to establish the counseling programs in all the schools,” Sen. Beall said, explaining why he passed legislation for mental health services for youth.

On Oct. 8, Sen. Beall visited Summit Public Schools: Tahoma and answered student questions about his experiences as a senator and the laws he has passed. For example, Sen. Beall introduced  SB 12 in 2019, which requires a minimum of 100 youth centers to address mental health issues for young Californians. These centers would not require insurance or citizenship. 

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, it’s not really a health problem; it’s really just your own feelings or something’, but I think it is a health problem,” Sen. Beall said. 

The senator also introduced SB 191, which helps young residents receive services for mental health and substance abuse. The bill provides services to K-12 students by establishing partnerships in school districts and county mental health plans. 

Sen. Jim Beall also mentioned he’s working on getting the governor to sign a foster care bill. In addition to that, he has passed bills to help better support foster children.

Sen. Beall helped pass SB 319 into law; the bill allows public health nurses to observe the use of psychotropic drugs on foster children. The bill ensures that public health nurses are permitted to use mental and health information to help ensure that the child’s developmental needs are being met. 

The senator’s legislation is not only focused on mental health issues; he also focuses on transportation. He talked about his transportation legislation and how he has passed multiple transportation-related bills.

The bill SB 152 reduces the complicated application process for Active Transportation Programs (which encourage biking and walking). The bill also provides funding for pedestrian safety.

Sen. Beall ended the press conference by returning to the issue of substance abuse and how he feels it should be dealt with by the California legislature: “We should have full health-care services for anybody that has a substance abuse problem, and I’ve been working on that for a long time.” 

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State senator’s history inspires his focus on making change

By Grace Mcmorrow, Eric Spyropoulos and Dania Zamudio

Staff Writers

State Senator Jim Beall was raised in San Jose, California. When he was in his teenage years, he started working in the fields to support his family, after their house burned down. He witnessed the mistreatment of the other workers in the fields, which inspired him to make a change. 

Sen. Beall’s focus is not making money; he wants to make changes and help make California a better place. “It’s not about yourself, not about making money, none of that.”

On Oct.8, Sen. Beall spoke to a class of student journalists at Summit Tahoma and explained that one of his primary goals is treating people with physical and mental health issues. “I think we should fund more treatment programs,” he said. “We should have full health-care services for people with substance abuse problems.” 

He also wrote a bill for foster care, Assembly Bill 12, which helps people ages 18 to 21, allowing them to attend college or preparation courses with housing made available.

Sen. Jim Beall said he studied urban planning and social sciences. This is part of his ideals as a politician. Sen. Beall believes in working on preventing climate change. 

Sen. Beall said that California should be a sanctuary state. He believes that splitting up the family for immigration is unacceptable. He said, “I would develop a process … for them to become a U.S. citizen.” 

Sen. Beall believes selective enforcement of the law is inappropriate. He said, “If you have justice, you need to have equal justice … so you have to have everyone treated the same.”  He believes that sometimes the justice system doesn’t work in terms of equal justice.  

The senator is term-limited and cannot run for re-election. He believes that there should be more diversity in the State Senate and, after the election, he estimated that the majority of the senators are going to be females. 

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State Senator Jim Beall addresses affordable housing options, concerns and solutions

By Zachary Daniel, Henry Pierce and Cyrus Shakeri

Staff Writers

State Senator Jim Beall believes there are major inconveniences in California related to jobs and housing and those factors contribute to the difficulties of being successful in San Jose. He attended a press conference held by Summit News on Oct. 9 to discuss this.

“The problem is there are too many jobs and not enough housing,” Sen. Beall said, providing student journalists with the ideas and solutions that he has for his district. SB-5 and SB-9 are some of the forefront bills Sen. Jim Beall has advocated for that have the intention of improving San Jose’s housing situation. 

Sen. Beall has served as a San Jose City Councilman, Santa Clara County Supervisor, and legislator in the State Assembly. In addition to housing costs, he has demonstrated an interest in public transportation, mental health and foster care.

Sen. Beall plans on improving the housing crisis in the Bay Area by providing funding to local governments to collaborate on state-approved community revitalization plans. He said, “My job is to have it done right,” and claims that this will create affordable housing for hard-working Californians and better the opportunities that the Bay Area provides.

“If housing options were provided, then people wouldn’t have to move to places like Los Banos, or be forced to double up,” Sen. Beall believes that if the expense of housing is decreased, more people will be able to live in the Bay Area, and they wouldn’t need to spend lots of money or drive farther for their daily commute to work.

According to CBS SF Bay Area, in places like Stockton and Sacramento, a weighted 11.2 percent of the workforce commute every day to work or school (310,496 people live in Stockton alone, meaning 34,100 people are affected on a day-to-day basis by the housing shortage).

Article SB-4 strongly encourages increased housing development located close to transit and job centers by removing restrictive local development policies. This secures the acceptance that every jurisdiction contributes its fair share to a housing solution while acknowledging relevant differences among communities.

Sen. Beall’s SP-6 encourages housing production in California by requiring the state to identify sufficient and adequate sites for housing construction. This will provide more resources to companies looking to build more housing, and over time will decrease the price of living.

SB-9 is a restructuring plan that enables more housing for low-income families through the Tax Credit Allocation Committee (TCAC). This bill means more funding for the construction of affordable housing units at no cost to the state.

Uniform schedule impacts students lives across Bay Area campuses this school year

By Evelyn Archibald and Judy Ly  

Editors-in-Chief

Denali senior William Torborg said it is hard for most students to stay focused for long durations. He pointed out that as a student with ADHD, it is harder for him to maintain concentration in class. 

“It’s not like, the most fun to sit through four and a half hours of class and then get a break,” Torborg said. 

In a majority of interviews, students echoed similar concerns in response to no longer having brunch as a form of a break in their daily bell schedule. 

For the 2019-20 school year, a new uniform bell schedule was introduced to students across all Summit schools in California.

Here is a Story Map of all the school sites mentioned in this article. 

One of the changes to the schedule included a new breakfast block before classes started. 

Replacing brunch with breakfast

Brunch, which previously acted as a 15-minute break, in the first portion of classes, was removed. Instead, breakfast was implemented before students start their first block of the day: Mentor Self-Directed Learning (SDL). This class aims to essentially be a study hall for students with their mentor groups. 

Summit Public Schools Superintendent Anson Jackson said the purpose of having classes back-to-back until lunch time, was to make sure teachers had a consistent schedule and workload. Students would in return have a more consistent flow from project to project and class to class, without disruption from a break in between.

“The idea [for students] is to minimize the changes throughout the day and minimize the breaks of cognitive load,” Superintendent Jackson said. 

Rainier Senior President Madelin Morales said she noticed less productivity happening in the classrooms without having a break in between classes. 

Rainier students walk back from the restroom as another student approaches it. PHOTO CREDIT: Judy Ly

“Kids have to use the restroom a lot more during — like during our regular classes, solely because, like, during our break, or what we used to have as brunch, a lot of people use that time to use the restroom,” Morales said. “I definitely noticed a lot more students having to go, like one after another. And it doesn’t seem like they’re doing it just for fun, but they genuinely — because they have to.”  

Hailey Kaufman, a senior from Summit Prep, said her peers have been “losing focus” in class. 

“We’ve lost that break to kind of reset before our next class,” Kaufman said.  

According to Superintendent Jackson, another reason for having brunch removed was so students can start off their day with breakfast. 

A Prep student gets breakfast in the cafeteria before school starts. PHOTO CREDIT: Jonathan Garvin

“Adding breakfast as opposed to taking away brunch is kind of the idea; not to take away anything but to add something,” Superintendent Jackson said. 

However, Tahoma Executive Director Jonathan Stewart said the implementation of breakfast has not been effective on Tahoma’s campus. 

“We have fewer people taking breakfast in the morning than we did people taking brunch last year,” Mr. Stewart said. 

Calvin Andrews, who acted as the student body president for Summit K2’s 2018-19 school year, said brunch was more suitable for students. He explained that brunch allowed students to buy food items between classes, making it more accessible to students who showed up close or late to start time. 

K2 has also implemented a new lining up policy in which students need to line up at a certain area on campus before going to class. Andrews claimed this policy makes it harder for students to buy breakfast before school starts. 

K2 students start their school day by lining up. PHOTO CREDIT: Hannah Kim

K2’s new Executive Director Cythnia Jerez said one of the goals of the lining up policy is to inspire students to get breakfast. 

She said, “Our campus is next to the field where students are, like, lining up. So that encourages, actually, them to actually go to the cafeteria and grab breakfast.”

Superintendent Jackson addressed this concern of students not arriving early enough to access meals and being hungry between classes and lunch. He said teachers are able to provide snacks to students near the end of the morning Mentor SDL block. However, teachers providing snacks is not a normalized standard across all campuses. 

“It’s not an expectation,” Superintendent Jackson explained, “but that is the flexibility of the time.”

By gathering input from local administration at school sites, Superintendent Jackson said drafts of the schedule were created. Later on, three proposed schedule structures were sent to teachers and faculty to gather feedback. 

In the initial drafts made by Summit Leadership (executive administration) and school-site-based administration (principals and deans), the focus was on the scheduling of Mentor SDL time and the structure of core class time. The switch from brunch to breakfast wasn’t included or discussed. 

However, he added that the idea of replacing brunch with breakfast was a joint decision between “school leaders” based off feedback and experiences on campus during brunch. 

“Adding breakfast to the schedule was not a part of that proposal at the time,” Superintendent Jackson said. 

There is a petition circulating to reinstate brunch, as a way to reinstate a morning break, at Rainier’s campus.  

Changes to lunch time

Lunch was altered as well, having the standard lunch time moved to be from 12:30 p.m. until 1:00 p.m. For campuses like Everest and K2, their lunch was shortened. 

Everest students pass through their hallways. PHOTO CREDIT: Molly Pigot

Everest senior Molly Pigot said the response to the reduction has been mostly negative. “Our lunch break was reduced from 45 minutes to 30 minutes, which I think a lot of students are really upset with.” 

For Summit Prep students, Kaufman said lunch is now later in the day than previously. 

Pigot mentioned the students at Summit Everest attempted to stage a walkout against the changes; however, they were met with faculty pushback and students were not allowed to participate.

The lunch break is now earlier for students at Tahoma, Denali, and Shasta compared to last year. 

Shared space concerns

Most Summit schools have their own facilities and campuses for students to attend; however, some school sites are co-located with another school. 

Ernesto Umaña, a middle school math teacher for Summit Tam, said the bell schedule did not heavily impact their shared spaces. Tam’s middle school and high school share a campus, blacktop and gym with Aspire Richmond California College Preparatory Academy. 

He also noted that Tam Middle School now has minimum days on Wednesdays, which has been received positively by students. 

However, in the South Bay, students at Tahoma and Rainier no longer have access to the blacktop area and basketball courts, previously shared with their home school, due to having coinciding lunch times. 

Tahoma students settle into their lunch break. PHOTO CREDIT: Nethan Sivarapu

Mr. Stewart said Tahoma was already considering revoking the access to blacktop usage due to past student behavior issues. The new bell schedule caused Oak Grove High School’s blacktop to be an off-limit space as default. 

At Rainier’s campus students protested against the restricted blacktop usage and bell schedule changes. 

Edwin Avarca, former assistant director and current executive director at Rainier’s campus, said the reasons why Rainier students have to be separated from Mt. Pleasant’s campus are due to safety concerns in regards to student interaction in a shared space. 

Blacktop space and basketball courts are now off limits for Rainier students during their lunch break. PHOTO CREDIT: Judy Ly

“That’s like a large concern that we have as a whole,” Mr. Avarca said, referencing each school’s administration. “How could they support if there’s a potential conflict? I think that that is the biggest concern is ensuring student safety if we’re sharing the blacktop at the same time.”  

Mr. Stewart also said Tahoma’s lunch on Wednesdays is scheduled from 1:10 p.m. to 1:40 p.m. because KIPP, the second school Tahoma is co-located with, has their lunch from 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesdays.  

Denali students slowly trickle in for the school day. PHOTO CREDIT: Ellen Hu

By default, classes start at 8:20 a.m. and end at 3:20 p.m. across all Summit campuses this school year. At Denali’s current high school campus, the school had to adjust their start time. Denali students start their classes at 8:35 a.m. due to an agreement with the City of Sunnyvale. 

Denali Executive Director Kevin Bock explained that the permit Denali has with the city allows for their campus to start no earlier than 8:35 a.m. There is an elementary school across from Denali, meaning the two schools need to stagger start times due to concerns regarding morning traffic. 

Denali students also have lunch at 12:45 p.m., 15 minutes past the default time. 

Continued debate about bell schedule changes

Superintendent Jackson said the Summit Public Schools leadership team prioritized the betterment of students and teachers on the job when creating the uniform bell schedule. 

Andrews disputes this claim, saying that in reality, the opposite effect is happening based on his experiences at K2. He explained that students’ lives can be very different when campuses range from Richmond to San Jose to Daly City. He continued to explain that life for students in Richmond differs greatly from their Summit peers in other cities. 

“We’re two different schools, from different backgrounds, from different economic backgrounds, different racial backgrounds, living in different areas where our lives are different,” Andrews said. “We all have different needs; we all have different wants; we all have things that are affecting us in different ways. And by Summit sort of putting us under an umbrella of, ‘Oh, this works at one school, it will work at another.’ It’s just not working.”  

Featured image at top: K2 students walk to their first class after lining up in the morning. PHOTO CREDIT: Hannah Kim 

Denali Editor-in-Chief Ellen Hu contributed reporting to this article.

Related:

Schedule change at Summit Shasta affects students

Newly implemented schedule troubles Rainier teachers

BREAKING NEWS: Rainier students protest in response to new restricted blacktop usage during lunch break

Tahoma displays their fondness for compassionate Operations Manager

By C.M. Bateman and Maxwell Taniguchi-King

Staff Editors

Lupe Talamantes-Escobedo, known as Ms. Lupe to students and fellow staff members, is the Operations Manager for Summit Public School: Tahoma. For nearly four years, Ms. Lupe has shaped Summit Tahoma through her valuable guidance and positive impact. Students and teachers alike appreciate Ms. Lupe’s continuous assistance and will miss her comforting presence when she leaves her current role at the end of the 2018-19 school year.

See below for a video tribute to Ms. Lupe:

Tahoma community commemorates student work in Expeditions

By C.M. Bateman and Caden Vu

Staff Writers

Parents, siblings and friends of students filled the walkways of Summit Tahoma, gathering together for its annual Celebration of Learning event. Celebration of Learning is Tahoma’s showcase of work students have accomplished over the year in their Expeditions courses. People are welcome to roam from classroom to classroom to learn about the unique aspects of each Expeditions class through student-led presentations.

“I think it’s wonderful; it’s a great opportunity to see all the terrific things that go on in the Expeditions,” a Tahoma parent, Larry Samuelson, said. Another parent, Nora Wilkinson, said, “It’s great; I think it’s always nice to get together as a community and see what the students are up to.” Both parents have children who are juniors at Tahoma.

Various attractions were scattered around campus for everyone to enjoy. People sold food and snacks like pizza, popcorn, cotton candy and snow cones. The faculty raffled off prizes, like shirts, candy and even a flat-screen TV.

Each class held presentations in a classroom to exhibit what students learned during their eight weeks of Expeditions coursework.

Students who took Independent Study and Internship created posters to demonstrate what they did and learned during their time in Expeditions.

Intro to Programming had games made from an AI program. One of the games consisted of a bee collecting pollen on a computerized grid of flowers. Robotics demonstrated the various robots they created from Lego pieces and put them to the test through different games the students made.

The Stage Combat class performed a play for their audience. Groups took turns performing an act that tells a story in silence utilizing skills commonly used in miming.

Intro to Drama performed multiple skits and monologues, including a piece from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The advanced course, Modern Acting & Theatre, performed a showcase which featured the play “Selfie” by Bradley Hayward, scenes from “Dear Evan Hansen” and other monologues from the upperclassmen.

Students in classes like Human Psychology, Human Rights and Ethnic Studies made trifolds of a topic they researched in depth for Celebration of Learning.

Students enrolled in the two journalism courses covered the evening by taking photos of every presentation and interviewing the audience.

Parents especially enjoyed the night’s festivities. Tahoma parent Vicky Tran said, “Our child is new at the school and we just want to … check things out, see what’s going on. She seems to like it here, and I think I know why.”

Staff Writers Omar El-Bandrawy and Erick Godinez contributed to this article.

Click this link to see Tahoma’s newsletter for more information about the Celebration of Learning showcase. Click here to see an interactive catalog of Tahoma’s Expeditions courses. 

See below for a video of the event:

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