Mountain View High School and Los Altos have been rivals since the beginning, duking it out in sports and jousting in an academic battle. Ironically enough, the two are also sister schools, joining hands for activities like Speech and Debate and seducing the enemy for homecoming dates.
Though the two schools are already similar in many ways, their classes and policies should correspond more. However intertwined they may be, there are still numerous factors that make the misalignment of MVHS and LAHS obvious.
According to LAHS Principal Winne Satterwhite, the district has been pushing to make the schools more similar for years. Still, many believe that the changes for alignment need to be made now.
Having different policies and classes is unfair for students. The MVLA District represents one community and should grant equal access to everyone.
“It is much easier for our partner middle and intermediate schools to prepare students for high school if the schools are more similar,” Superintendent Dr. Barry Groves said.
If both schools offer the same courses and the same curriculum, students transferring between schools or coming in from different schools will be able to transition easily into classes.
While differences may make the schools unique, they limit students who wish to take a range of classes. MVHS offers Japanese I to IV and honors classes for biology and chemistry, while LAHS provides Latin I, II, III and IV AP, Heritage Mandarin and Mandarin I, but not Japanese or honors for biology and chemistry.
MVHS policy also differs from LAHS policy when it comes to the use of cell phones.
It is an LAHS rule that cell phones are not to be seen or heard on campus during school hours. However, MVHS students are free to use them during brunch, lunch and passing periods.
Satterwhite firmly believes that cell phones pose a distraction for both students and teachers and promote cheating. The cell phone and electronics policy is a long-standing rule that has been enforced for years and has not changed. Chiefly, Satterwhite has decided that the no cell phone policy is a rule, and students should abide by it. If cell phones are only used during brunch and lunch they will not affect classroom environments. Adjusting the rule will be more convenient for students and teachers, making it easier to contact them should the need arise.
For a topic as important as cell phone usage, the policies for both schools should definitely be the same in order to ensure equality for all.
Although MVHS and LAHS already have some corresponding policies and classes, the schools should be even more aligned in the future. They have slowly become more alike over the years, but the changes need to be made now so that everyone benefits, not only future students.
“We do want the schools to have room for uniquenesses, but we also want to offer the same quality education at both school sites,” Groves said.
The schools are already diverse and unique through clubs and activities, and the only way to enforce uniform equality of education as well as equal opportunities in the future is through alignment.
Satterwhite believes that it is most important to fill the need of each individual school, even if the needs between the two differ. Still, the curriculum, at least, should be the same, and she believes that there is “power in alignment.”
The same classes should be offered at both schools to guarantee equal education. Both Biology Honors and Chemistry Honors, along with Japanese and other differing classes should be added to the Los Altos curriculum.
Additionally, policies should be the same so that students are treated equally throughout the district. Cell phones and electronics should be allowed during school hours on both campuses when classes are not in session.
Students’ opportunities should not be determined by which side of the border they live on. School needs to be a place where students are free to grow and are encouraged to rise up to their full potential. Equal opportunities should be established, and only through aligning the two schools can this be fully achieved.