News Briefs: SAT Prep, MVLA Foundation Phone-a-thon and Earthquake Drill

Pro bono SAT prep classes offered
STIZZiL, a startup which specializes in SAT preparatory classes, has offered free classes during its pilot program to seniors involved in Partners for New Generations (PNG).

Classes started on September 23. Estimated to be worth $1800 per student, STIZZiL is a six-week program designed to teach testing strategies for standardized tests. In return for the free courses, the students are expected to maintain a blog and provide feedback in order to improve the course experience. The students benefit from the free classes, while STIZZiL benefits from the feedback.

The STIZZiL program differs from many SAT prep classes as it is held online, instead of in a classroom setting. Despite being online, the teachers are all Amercian state-certified teachers.

MVLA fundraiser
On September 18 and 19, Mountain View Los Altos (MVLA) Foundation held the annual district-wide phone-a-thon, a call-based fundraiser that aimed to raise $1.2 million this year.

The foundation recruited and organized volunteers who reached out to the community for support. All district families were encouraged to make a tax-deductible donation, usually around $800.

The donations were typically matched by business or community sponsors. A group of Leadership Circle supporters made a $150,000 matching grant to boost parent participation. Match donations must be received by September 30, but the foundation accepts donations any time of the year.

All of the funding went to MVLA Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising funds for programs in the MVLA school district.

Earthquake Drill
Last Thursday, the school participated in the interagency earthquake drill, an annual exercise that prepares the staff and students for when a real emergency may occur.

As the drill was broadcast over the loudspeakers, students ducked and covered beneath their desks for protection.

After the “earthquake” ended, students were directed to the back field to check attendance. Firefighters and police officers mixed with the crowds of students as the teachers accounted for their students. However, to simulate a real earthquake, some classrooms were left behind for a “search and rescue” and fake injuries, such as broken legs or concussions, were taken care of.

The moderate weather made the drill bearable, as in past years students have suffered more from overheating than the “earthquakes”. The drill went well and finished in a timely manner as students were dismissed to their fourth period classes.