The Wise Word 9/13/2023

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 building on the work that we started last year by working towards making sure that each member of our community feels a sense of belonging. Our focus this year is Allyship, making sure that we foster thoughtful allies who know when to step back, stand beside and step up in the service of others.

This month's element of allyship is identity.  We want to ensure students and families to build self-awareness around their own identity. We want them to know that thoughtful allies spend time exploring their own identities and appreciate the differences in others.

Our teachers will be spending class time helping students to understand and explore their own personal identity. While we explore identity at school, 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

In Partnership, 

Principal Vern Taylor

Events Calendar


  • 19th PTA Amici’s Fundraiser

  • 21th Board of Trustees Meeting Zoom Meeting here

  • 21st Bike Safety Assembly

  • 26th ELAC Meeting 6:00 pm - MUR

  • PTA General Meeting

  • 29th Principal’s Coffee 8:30 am - MUR


  • 2-6 Scholastic Book Fair

  • 5th MVWSD Board of Trustees Meeting 6:00 pm Zoom Meeting here

  • 6th PTA - Movie Night

  • 12th Teacher’s Service Day - No school

  • 13th Recess Day - No School

In this Newsletter

School News:

Golden Ticket Winners

Kinder Literacy Night

Attendance Awareness Month: What’s an Excused vs. Not Excused absence?

Better Together: September

September 15 to October 15 is National Hispanic American Heritage Month

Items Drop Offs

Early Pick-Up

After School Pick-up and Drop-off

Water Bottles and Student Property

Gift Card Donation

Pedestrian and Bike Safety 

Looking for an After school program? 

How to Apply to be a Regular Volunteer


2023 -2024 School Year Calendar - Here

SELPA 1 CAC Newsletter 2023-2024 Here

September Menu Here

District News:

Volunteer badges: New, easy-to-follow chart

Volunteer with MVEF!

The View Teen Center: September here

Understanding Youth Mental Health and the Road to Resilience: Sep 20 here

MV Public Library Parenting Program: Sep 27 here

PTA News

Amici’s Dine Out Fundraiser Sep 19

Scholastic Book Fair - October 2-6

Movie Night Oct 06

After School Programs


Membership Drive



Golden Ticket Winners September 07, 2023

Madeline N.         RM: 1           Cheng-Han (Josh) C.  RM: 11

Portia A.                      RM: 2           Elida V.                       RM: 12

Sahana B.  RM: 3           Pedro B.                      RM: 13

Cristian G. RM: 4           Claire Y.                      RM: 14

Taehee (Amber) K.  RM: 5            Elif G.                        RM: 15

Alexa D. RM: 6            Yuliams Q.                 RM: 16

Ricky W. RM: 8            Sukhman P                 RM: 17

Viraj S. RM: 9    Jacklyn O.                  RM: 18

Hunter S.                     RM: 10                                                                       



Attendance Awareness Month: What’s an Excused vs. Not Excused absence?

Illness, 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.

 Kinder Literacy Night 

Please join our Kinder Teachers on 9/18 from 6:00-7:00 for Kinder Literacy Night. This will be a workshop-style event where we will provide instruction for teaching phonological awareness, orally blending and segmenting words and letter sounds. Please bring your child, as you will be given the opportunity to try these strategies yourself! We look forward to seeing you there!"

Better Together: September

This month, #BetterTogether explores identity and celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month, which are both essential components of fostering inclusive and enriching schools in MVWSD. Recognizing and respecting the diverse backgrounds, experiences, and identities of students not only promotes a sense of belonging and allyship but also encourages a more comprehensive and meaningful learning experience for all. Hispanic Heritage Month, in particular, provides an opportunity to appreciate the rich tapestry of Hispanic/Latino cultures, their contributions to society, and the stories of Hispanic/Latino students within our own community. Celebrate with us this month! We are #BetterTogetherMVWSD. For more information about Better Together, visit

September 15 to October 15 is National Hispanic American Heritage Month

We celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month to recognize the achievements and contributions of Hispanic American champions who have inspired others to achieve success. Our students will be engaging in activities to learn about the contributions of various Hispanic Americans.

Items Drop-Offs

Snack/Lunch, music instrument, water bottle, Chromebook, and any other drop-offs

Please ensure your child has everything they need with them for school when you drop off in the morning. We are unable to assist and guarantee personal item distribution each day.  I suggest a morning check-list to ensure you have all items. This can also help students build independence as they get older.

Early Pick Up  

Do you need to pick up your child early? Please make sure to follow our procedure:

  • An approved adult must check in and sign-out students. 

    • Please note, students are only released to those that are approved for pickup on the emergency card. Please update your emergency contact information with any new approved adults by contacting our office personnel.

  • The office will call the classroom and ask for the student to come down.

  • Students will be dismissed from the office. 

    • For security reasons, no one is allowed to go to the classroom to pick up students. 

    • *Feel free to call the front office to alert us that you are on your own. 

After School Pick-up and Drop-off

The drop-off- and pickup lane is for drop off and pick up only. 

A few reminders:

  • Please do not leave your car unattended on the curb during pick up and drop-off.

  • Please wait in your car until students are brought to the main gate.
    If you need to park, please use the designated spots only. Parking is limited, so if you need to park, please arrive early and park in our designated spots only. 

    • **Our School maintains accessibility for people with mobility challenges in accordance with Mountain View’s guidelines. That includes blue reserved parking zones in our parking lot, for physically challenged drivers and passengers. Blue zones are areas reserved for parking by disabled persons. Blue means no standing or parking except by vehicles which display a distinguishing license plate or a placard issued pursuant to Section 2251.5 ("Disabled Persons' Exemption"), or Section 9105 ("Disabled or Blind Veterans"), of the California Vehicle Code

Water Bottles and Other Student Property

Students continue to become more familiar with our daily school routines, but we continue to see lunch bags and water bottles left behind.  Please take a moment to label all of your child’s items so that we can quickly return them when left out at recess, snack and lunch.  

Gift Card Donation

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].

Pedestrian and Bike Safety 

On Thursday, September 21, our students will participate in the city’s Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program. The program provides our Golden Owls with lots of good information on walking and rolling to school, including 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)

Looking for an afterschool program? Read on to see if your child qualifies for MVWSD+! 

A student qualifies for the free MVWSD+ afterschool program if one or both of the following conditions are true:

  • The student is an English Learner (EL). EL status is established via the results of the Initial ELPAC exam, which is being administered to certain students in August and September. Results are usually available within two weeks of the completion of testing. If you have questions about the Initial ELPAC exam, please contact Leticia Corcoran at [email protected].

  • The student qualifies for free or reduced price lunches based on federal income guidelines. At this time, lunch for all children is free, but this may not always be the case. To fill out the application for free or reduced lunch, please go to Qualifying students’ data is collected at the state level and usually appears in the district’s data system within two weeks. If you have questions, please contact your school office.

Soon after a student’s EL or Free/Reduced Lunch Status changes to indicate he/she qualifies for MVWSD+, you will receive an email from the MVWSD+ Team inviting your child to enroll.

For questions or troubleshooting, please reach out to [email protected] or Jennifer Nunez at (650) 526-3500 x1061.

How to Apply to be a Regular Volunteer

Start collecting documents now to avoid delays at the beginning of the school year. For all the details and documentation required, please see

If you have never had a badge before, please read the fingerprinting fact sheet and then ask your principal for the fingerprint request form. After you complete the form, your school will give you the link to the Raptor volunteer application.

If you want to renew your volunteer badge, ask your school for the link to the Raptor volunteer application. TB tests are good for 3 years, although you will still need to upload proof in the online application. Fingerprint checks are good for a few years. In the online application, you will provide the last school year you completed a check or the ATI number.



Volunteer badges: New, easy-to-follow chart

If you think that you will be volunteering on campus more than 3 times this school year for more than 10 min each visit, or plan to be an overnight trip chaperone, now is the time to apply for your volunteer badge.  Please check the easy-to-follow chart here to help you get started. There are more steps to complete the first time you apply. After that, renewals are easier. Thank you for helping to protect our students' safety and to ensure MVWSD complies with state law. We are grateful for parents willing to help us at school!

Volunteer with MVEF!
MVEF needs 1-3 additional volunteers at each school in MVWSD. MVEF school representatives help the families at their school understand what MVEF is and why it exists so that they are inspired to donate and spread the word about the impact of MVEF funding. MVEF also needs volunteers to help with planning our annual Gala and other community events. To learn more, visit:

The View Teen Center: September Here

The View Teen Center is a free facility in Mountain View (263 Escuela Ave) for all Mountain View and Los Altos 6th - 12th grade students. Drop-in hours are Monday - Friday, 3:15 - 7 p.m. and Saturdays, 1 - 6 p.m., and the center features a game room, makerspace, kitchen, computer/study room, outdoor area, and much more! See attached flyer for details about upcoming events and programs in September or visit their webpage for more information.

Understanding Youth Mental Health and the Road to Resilience: Sept. 20 Here

Youth and adults are invited to a panel discussion about teen mental health and well-being on Wednesday, September 20, 2023 from 6:30 – 8 p.m. at the Los Altos High School Eagle Theatre

(201 Almond Ave). County Supervisor Joe Simitian will moderate a panel of mental health providers and students who will share about how to support mental health, how to check in and talk with youth, and describe locally available resources. Sign up for the free event:

MV Public Library Parenting Program: Sept. 27 Here

The MV Public Library will host a parenting presentation, “The Best You for the Best Them,” on  Wednesday, September 27, 2023 from 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm on Zoom. Research shows that teens' and parents' emotional well-being are highly entwined. With support from author and parenting coach, Laura Cleary, set aside time to acknowledge your need as a parent for selfcare, and receive concrete ideas and support to model this for your teen and uplift your relationship. Register here.


PTA News

Amici’s Dine Out Fundraiser - September 19th, 11:30am-9pm

On Tuesday, September 19th, JA Vargas PTA will be hosting a fundraiser at Amici’s Pizza between 11:30 am and 9pm. Dine-in or pickup ONLY (third party vendors e.g. Doordash not eligible). Be sure to mention “VARGAS school” and Amici’s will generously donate 25% of the Vargas sales back to our PTA.

Scholastic Book Fair - October 2-6

COMING SOON: We are excited to invite you to our upcoming Fall Book Fair, which will be held in the MUR from October 2-6! Our Book Fair is a great opportunity to support our kids' love for reading and earn rewards for our school. You'll have access to best-selling books, collections, educational toys, games, and more.

We hope to see you there! Remember, all purchases benefit our school. You can learn more about the event and preview some of the featured books and products at

Thank you for your support, and we look forward to seeing you at the Book Fair!

Movie Night - October 6th

Save the date! Join us for an outdoor movie screening on Friday evening, October 6th, hosted by the PTA. Details to come.

Afterschool Programs

It’s not too late to join an afterschool class. If classes have started already, prorated fees can be offered. Some vendors additionally offer scholarships, be sure to check out the website for details. 


For the list of programs and details about scheduling and scholarships, click here.


Interested in helping out with Movie Night, Walkathon, or other activities? Fill out this form if interested: or email Kim at [email protected]

  • We are looking for Room Parents for Rooms 10 and 14.

  • Join a committee (fundraising, community events, student enrichment, etc) and get to know other parents while enriching our students' experience.

  • Don't forget to check with your company for corporate matching. Earn money for the school just by volunteering

Membership Drive 

Earn a popsicle party for your student! Classrooms that reach 70% PTA membership participation will get a popsicle party. Members who register by October 6 will be entered in a raffle to win one of three $10 vouchers for spirit wear.  The cost is $10 a year. Being a member allows you to fully participate in our meetings, and helps our PTA to fund our budget and programs!

Please join and make a contribution:

Or visit our website to download a membership form, make a donation or find out about corporate matching: We hope to raise $150 per student through donations and membership to fund our wonderful programs.

For PTA membership fee sponsorship please contact Mr. Taylor or Ms. Beatriz Claas.


Konstella is our main PTA tool to share information with our Vargas community, including upcoming social events, classroom updates, event volunteering opportunities, and fundraising opportunities. You will also be able to communicate with other families from your child's classroom. It's free and you don’t need to be a PTA member to join.

Use this link to register:

  • 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”


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

Kimberly Cheng, and the PTA Executive Board

[email protected]


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