Wise Word, 8/31/2022

Principal’s Message:

Hello Golden Owls,


Did you know our student body collectively speaks more than 26 languages and was born in over 20 countries, with cultural ties to many more? Similarly, families range in socioeconomic status, degree of formal education, and religious background. Needless to say, Jose Antonio Vargas Elementary is an incredibly diverse place.  Each of our families brings a unique perspective, background, experience to our community. We are so fortunate to live in this community. 


Better Together, MVWSD's school culture and climate program is exploring BELONGING during the 2022-23 school year. We want every member of our community to feel that sense of belonging. This month's element of belonging is identity.  We want to ensure students and families know that they can bring their authentic selves to school each and every day.


Our teachers will be spending class time helping students to understand and explore their own personal identity. It is also important for students to develop a positive cultural identity at home. Below is an article from Project Cornerstone’s Asset of the Month program that provides some discussion topics you can utilize with your child. 


The Importance of Positive Cultural Identity

It is important for youth to feel that they belong. Positive identity brings self-assurance, a sense of belonging, a positive view of personal future, and better success in school. Developing a positive cultural identity—a critical element of personal identity—can be difficult for young people, especially when they may be bridging more than one culture. 

The way that youth are treated in regard to their ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or gender directly affects their ability to develop a positive personal identity. As adults, it’s critical that we model recognition, understanding, and celebrating all cultural identities, including the cultures to which we and/or our children do not belong.

Sharing and celebrating different cultural identities increases self-esteem and promotes cultural competence among all young people. The diversity of Silicon Valley is a benefit to our youth as they are exposed to many different cultures.

The following discussion topics* can help families talk about their cultural identity:

  • What is our cultural background?

  • What are some things that you value about our culture?

  • What are some things about our culture that you would like other people to know?

  • Do you know anyone who’s from a different culture? In what ways are your cultures similar and different? Do your cultural differences make it difficult to be friends? How can you share your cultural differences in a positive, nonjudgmental way?

 *Adapted from the Canadian Child Care Federation’s “Supporting Our Children’s Social Well-Being… It’s a Team Effort!” workshop

This article was provided courtesy of Project Cornerstone’s Asset-a-Month program. For more information, visit www.projectcornerstone.org



Important Updates:


COVID Tests:
MVWSD is providing at-home COVID-19 testing kits for free to families (Preschool - Grade 8) and staff members so that you may test before returning to campus after Labor Day weekend. A box containing one test will be sent home with each student this week. Please test your student on Monday, Sept 5 before returning to school on Tuesday, Sept. 6. If the test is positive, keep your student home from school and click on “Absence” at the top of your school's website to log your student's positive Covid test. These test kits are one measure to combat COVID transmission, in addition to sanitation, and ventilation at our schools. Thanks for helping to keep our community safe! 


iReady Assessments:

Over the past few weeks your child completed his/her first i-Ready Math and Reading Diagnostic assessments. i-Ready is an online program that helps us determine your child’s strengths and areas for growth in mathematics and reading. Families can access their student’s i-Ready Reading and Mathematics score through their Powerschool Parent Portal starting September 2, 2022, at 3:00 p.m. Reports are available on the PowerSchool Parent Portal at https://ps.mvwsd.org/public/ under “Parent Reports” for each of your students. Please see a letter in your email inbox for more information.

In Partnership, 

Principal Vern Taylor

Events Calendar

  • August


  • September

  • 5th - Labor Day - No School 

  • 7th - Principal’s Office Hours, 4:00 PM  Register Here

  • 8th - MVWSD Board Meeting, 

  • 9th - Superintendent Community Check-in, 3:30pm Register Here

  • 14th - Principal’s Office Hours, 4:00 PM  Register Here

  • 16th - PTA Family Movie Night

  • 19th - DELAC Meeting, 5:30pm - 7:30pm Register Here

  • 20th - ELAC Meeting, 6:00PM

  • 21st - Picture Day

  • 21st - Principal’s Office Hours, 4:00 PM  Register Here

  • 23rd - Principal’s Coffee,  8:30 AM

  • 28th - Principal’s Office Hours, 4:00 PM  Register Here

In this Newsletter

School News:

  • Golden Ticket Winners

  • August 26 Principal’s Coffee

  • Bike and Pedestrian Safety

  • Short-term Independent Study

  • Now hiring: Noon Duty Supervisor

  • Now Hiring: Interpreters and Translators

  • School meals are Free - Fill out the EzSchool Meal Application

  • Attendance is important

  • Gift Card Donation

  • Principal’s Virtual Office Hours

  • School Supplies and Voluntary Donation Form



  • 2022-2023 School Year Calendar - Here

  • September Lunch Menu - Here


District News:

  • Better Together: Identity

  • Members needed for the new Safety Advisory Task Force

  • MVLA Speaker Series: Becky Munsterer Sabky - Author of Valedictorians at the Gate - Flyer

  • YMCA Hiring After School Staff - Flyer

  • InPlay: After School Programs and Activities

  • MVEF & PTA: Why should we donate to both?

  • September CAC Events

  • Docents needed for Living Classroom! - Flyer

  • MTC seeks volunteers to mentor and tutor local students! - Flyer

PTA News:

  • Movie Night 9/16

  • Volunteering

  • Membership

  • Kontella

  • Spirit Wear

  • Website


Golden Ticket Winners 8/25/2022
Jaein S.        RM: 1       Claire Y.       RM: 11
Griselda O.  RM: 2       Aiden H.       RM: 13
Lia L.           RM: 3       Aadi U.        RM: 14
Rohan W.     RM: 4      James C.       RM: 15
Keily M.      RM: 5       Alex K.        RM: 16
Penny R.      RM: 8       Kevin G.      RM: 17
Rizwan H.   RM: 9
Santi R.       RM: 10

August 26 Principal’s Coffee
Last Friday, I hosted the first Principal’s Coffee for the school year.  We discussed attendance, School Safety, “The Vargas Way,” volunteers, and a few updates regarding tree replacement. If you were unable to make it, you can view the video and presentation here

Bike and Pedestrian Safety

On Monday, The City Of Mountain View provided all of our 2-5 with pedestrian and bike safety training. The purpose of the safety training day was to educate Mountain View students on how to walk and bike safely around the city. The training session included helmet fitting, bicycle safety and maintenance, crosswalk demonstration, and information on roadway rules and suggested maps. For more information, you can view these safety tips and rules for riding.

Please make sure your child wears a helmet if biking or scooting to school. You can also see MVWSD updated information about safe walking and biking routes to school. (Click Here-look under Vargas)

Short-term Independent Study 

Short-term Independent Study is a contract that allows students to work independently when there are circumstances that make attending school difficult. Short-term Independent study can range from a minimum of 3 days and a maximum of 14 days per school year. Contracts are approved on a case-by-case basis, require a 2-week notice, and require students to be in good academic and attendance standing. 


While we know that some absences cannot be helped, it is important to do your best to have your child in school as much as possible. Whenever you can, try to avoid taking trips during the school year -- or make efforts to take trips during District holidays (2022-2023 School Year Calendar). Our office staff can assist you with contract details: Mrs. Antunez [email protected] or Ms. Silvia [email protected].


*Please note, if the contract is not approved, the days will be counted as unexcused and the student may be considered truant.

*Also note that extending vacation is not considered an excused absence. Students will be considered truant if they accumulate absences for vacation purposes.  

Now hiring: Noon Duty Supervisor

Golden Owls families, We are still hiring for help with Noon Duty supervision.  If you are interested, please apply now at mvwsd.org/jobs.

Now hiring: Interpreters and Translators

Are you bilingual/biliterate and looking for a way to support our families and students? MVWSD is hiring support staff to serve as interpreters and translators for multiple languages, including Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, and others. Apply now at mvwsd.org/jobs.

School meals are free, but fill out the EzSchool Meals application to help your school

MVWSD will continue to provide free meals to all students as part of California’s universal meal program. Breakfast and lunches are available daily.

We ask you to please Apply at EzSchool Meals to help MVWSD receive additional funding to support students who are in need, and may help your family.


This Free and Reduced Price Meals benefit is not limited to meals only. If your child is eligible for free and/or reduced-price meals, your family could get medical benefits, housing benefits, utilities benefits and more.

Students who qualify for free and/or reduced-price meals may be eligible for P-EBT cards. The more applications your school gathers at the start of each school year, the more additional funding it can receive for all kinds of programs that help children at your school.

If you are currently out of work, you may qualify and help your school, regardless of your financial situation. Apply at https://secure.ezmealapp.com/ or call your school office.


Attendance is important - (Repeat from last week)

Research shows that school attendance is a strong indicator of success. It's about students learning what they need to know, belonging to the school community, and being part of the team that is preparing them with good habits for high school.

Regular school attendance is required by the state law, and is included in the District’s Local Control Accountability plan (LCAP) and reported in the California School Dashboard. State law requires MVWSD to notify parents whose students are truant or chronically absent. 

What’s an Excused vs. Not Excused absence? Illness (including quarantining due to COVID), doctor’s appointments, bereavement, and certain religious exercises are excused absences. Please see MVWSD board policy for the full list. All other reasons are not considered excused.

Are Vacations / Travel Excused? Unfortunately, family vacation or travel is not excused – even when you inform your teacher or the office. This comes as a surprise for parents. We appreciate you letting us know so that you will not receive a call from the auto-dialer asking you to verify the absence.

When do parents get truancy letters? California law requires MVWSD to notify parents of truancy. Any three unexcused absences and/ or tardies over 30 minutes means a child is truant. 

Gift Card Donation - (Repeat from last week)

As you may know, there are several families in our district that need help to meet some basic needs.  The district is providing meals every day. But some families need more support for providing food, clothes and shoes for their kids.  There is a critical need for gift cards for these families.  If you are able, please consider donating a Safeway or Target gift card to families in our own district.  Thanks so much for your help!  Let’s show these families how strong and supportive our Vargas community really is!

Please bring the gift cards to the office. If you have any questions, please contact Ms. Bea, School and Community Engagement Facilitator – SCEF- at [email protected].


Principal’s Virtual Office Hours -(Repeat from last week)

I will again be hosting Principal Office Hours virtually on Wednesdays from 4pm -5pm. Feel free to drop in if you have any questions or if you just want to chat. For office hours, there is no formal agenda, it is a time for you to stop in to say hello, and for us to get to know each other better! I look forward to meeting you!


Register in advance for this meeting.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. 


School Supplies and Voluntary Donation Form - (Repeat from last week)

We will be furnishing all basic school supplies and textbooks for all students. Donations of items and funds for this purpose are appreciated, but not required. For those able to donate, please fill out this form and bring it to the front office, along with your donation, and our front office staff will provide you with a receipt. Sharing of supplies between students will be limited.


District News


Better Together: Identity

Better Together, MVWSD's school culture and climate program is exploring BELONGING during the 2022-23 school year. This month's element of belonging is identity. What parts of your identity are important to you? Students and families can explore the many unique, complex parts of their own identity, while appreciating the same in others'. A positive self-identity can boost self-esteem and promote meaningful connections with others who are different from us. Use the essential question and recommended books to explore this topic with your students.


Members needed for the new Safety Advisory Task Force

MVWSD is seeking parents (both middle and elementary school), staff (certificated and classified) and community members as representatives for its new Safety Advisory Task Force. The district is undertaking a holistic review of safety this year. The Safety Advisory Task Force will contribute considerations for areas of improvement and work with a security consultant on a safety audit. To apply by Sept. 8, please click here. To learn more about MVWSD’s safety goals, click here for the presentation to the Board of Trustees.

MVLA Speaker Series: Becky Munsterer Sabky - Author of Valedictorians at the Gate - Flyer

MVLA will host Becky Munsterer Sabky for her presentation, “How to Apply to College While Keeping Perspective,” on Tuesday, September 13th from 6:00 - 8:00pm. Join us as Ms. Sabky, former Director of International Admissions at Dartmouth College and author of Valedictorians at the Gate, demystifies the college admissions process, offering students and parents guidance on developing a balanced college list, writing authentic essays, and making the final selection decision - all while keeping perspective and staying sane. Register for this free Zoom event here.

YMCA Hiring After School Staff - Flyer

The YMCA is hiring staff for after school programs that serve students on our campuses. To learn more about available positions and apply, visit ymcasv.org/jobs.

InPlay: After School Programs and Activities

Looking for after school programs for your student? InPlay offers a free searchable program guide for parents, with filters for age, location, price (including free or reduced cost), and more. To find programs local to Mountain View, head to: https://www.inplay.org/r/mountain-view. Available programs include those that serve students with special needs or English learners.

MVEF & PTA: Why should we donate to both?

We heard requests for support from our school’s PTA and MVEF leaders at Back to School Night last week. Our annual donations to each support students in different ways: 


MVEF provides essential programs at every school in MVWSD: CSMA Art and Music classes,  Living Classroom Environmental Science classes, environmental field trips in grades 4-5; plus two middle school ELA teachers, Teacher stipends and support for clubs, sports, and instruments in grades 6-8. 


PTA is a “hyper-local” advocacy team of volunteers that support each school site in customized ways to improve family engagement and support classrooms within that school community. 

Both MVEF and PTA are 501(c)3 Charitable organizations and both rely on donations from families and matching contributions from employers and other organizations. You can donate to MVEF and learn more at this link and find your PTA donation link  here


September CAC Events

Happy Back to School! SELPA 1 CAC and the Learning Challenge Committee are your groups for special education and broader learning challenge needs. We are ALL having learning challenges right now, and CAC and LCC are here to help. If you have questions about learning challenges and special education needs, email [email protected] or check out www.selpa1cac.org


September 14, 10 am Morning Let’s Talk  - IEP/504 support group. Have questions about the process to get help for your child? Have an IEP but are not sure how to make changes? Need to vent? This is your confidential group. Register here. 

Docents needed for Living Classroom! - Flyer

Volunteer with us to teach fun, engaging STEM-based lessons in your local school!

Do you enjoy spending time with kids and being outdoors?

Living Classroom teaches science by using our school gardens as our classroom.

No prior teaching experience is necessary.  Bring a friend and join the fun!

Come to our training sessions in Heritage Park, 771 Rengstorff Ave. in Mountain View

Mondays, September 12th, 19th & 26th, from 9 am to 12 pm.

For more information, visit www.living-classroom.org or contact [email protected]

MTC seeks volunteers to mentor and tutor local students! - Flyer

Do you enjoy working with kids?  Would you like to make a difference in the life of a student in our community?  

Mentor Tutor Connection (MTC) is looking for volunteers to mentor High School students and tutor K- 8 students in Mountain View and Los Altos schools. By serving as a mentor or tutor, you can help build a brighter future for a young person. 

MTC mentors are matched with a high school student who has requested a mentor. They meet regularly (typically 2-4 times per month), building a trusting and caring relationship while sharing new experiences together. A mentor’s role is to be a good listener and a non-judgmental source of encouragement and support. The program is designed to support students who have significant stressors in their lives—providing another caring adult to help them overcome obstacles and plan for a promising future. Students with mentors report having more confidence and less stress.

MTC tutors support elementary or middle school students. Some tutors work with their students remotely, others volunteer in classrooms or after-school. Tutors help with basic skills including reading, writing, math, and more. Additionally, tutors provide a consistent caring adult in a young person’s academic journey. The role of the tutor is to be an academic helper who demonstrates a love of learning. 

Additionally, MTC is seeking volunteers for a new program. Reading Fellows volunteers meet with individual students for 1/2 hour, 4 mornings each week, for a six week period. The program follows a specific phonic-based structured curriculum. It is incredible to see the difference you can make with this intensive framework!

As an MTC volunteer, you will be trained and supported so that you can help students achieve their potential and thrive! You can make an extraordinary difference!

Join us at our Volunteer Information Session to learn more.  There is no obligation to sign up as a volunteer.  You’re welcome to attend this session and see if this is the right volunteer job for you!  Invite a friend!

         Date:                Wednesday, September 7th

         Time:                12:00 – 1:00 pm

         Location:          Online via Zoom (URL provided upon registration)

         Register:            REGISTER ONLINE

         Questions:         [email protected]

         Information:     MentorTutorConnection.org 

Mentors must be at least 22 years old; Tutors must be High School graduates.

If you are interested in learning more about the program but cannot attend the information session, please contact Laura Hill at [email protected] for information on how to proceed.


PTA News


Movie Night 9-16

Save the date! We are planning our first community welcome back event - an outdoor movie night! On Friday, September 16th. Stay tuned for more details.



We have many opportunities for parents to be involved in the PTA. 

  • Do you love the idea of having community events, like movie night or a fall carnival? Join our Events team

  • Do you think our teachers are hard working heroes and want to help them out where you can? Sign up to be a room parent.

  • Are you social media savvy, creative and have a few hours of flexible time a month? Help us with our Communications

  • Do you like the dine our community fundraisers we had last year? Help us coordinate a few dine out events for the year

  • Do you have an hour or two during the week? Help save our teachers valuable time and become a Copy Parent.

Visit this link  (https://tinyurl.com/VargasVolunteer2022) to see volunteer descriptions and to signup OR contact Shannon [email protected] or Kim [email protected]  



Please join our PTA. The cost is $10 a year. No strings attached! Being a member allows you to fully participate in our meetings, and helps our PTA to plan our budget and programs!



Konstella is our main communication tool. The PTA will post information about meetings, events and volunteer opportunities. You will also be able to communicate with other families from your child's classroom.

Use this link to register: https://www.konstella.com/cd/XGJHYL

To Join a Classroom

Web:  Click your name at the top left corner.  Click “Your Children” to add/modify your children.

Mobile App:  Click the Settings icon at the top left corner.  Click “Your Children”. Membership

Spirit Wear 

Mondays are spirit days at JA Vargas, wear green and show your school spirit. Check out our selection of green spirit wear. Place your order online and pick it up on designated days at the office.



Find links to membership, Konstella, gear shop and volunteer opportunities on our website.


Shannon Lundin, and the Executive Board 

[email protected]

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