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Nearly half of Belle Haven students boycott school

Original post made on Apr 4, 2018

More than 44 percent of students attending Belle Haven Elementary School boycotted classes on Wednesday to protest the East Palo Alto-based school district's sudden removal of principal Todd Gaviglio.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, April 4, 2018, 6:12 PM

Comments (36)

Posted by Concerned
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 4, 2018 at 8:38 pm

Financial problems that were entirely predictable and now a school-wide boycott after a popular principal reassigned mid year. It’s time for a change in leadership at the district level. #failingourkids


Posted by teacher
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 4, 2018 at 9:36 pm

This is an incredibly smart way to make the district take notice. I'm so happy to see the community stepping up and rallying for our kids' future!


Posted by rsmithjr
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 4, 2018 at 9:40 pm

rsmithjr is a registered user.

Interesting to see that problems with school districts are not limited to the Palo Alto side of the freeway.

It looks like Ravenswood needs a new principal.



Posted by rsmithjr
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 4, 2018 at 9:40 pm

rsmithjr is a registered user.

Oops, I meant superintendent, not principal.


Posted by OG
a resident of Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Apr 4, 2018 at 10:15 pm

Parents who deliberately keep their children away from school,to protest someone's job, do nothing but harm to them. This is not a burden children should carry on their shoulders. That's not parenting, but rather ignorance. Same goes for the teachers who encourage it.


Posted by Got it Wrong
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 4, 2018 at 10:36 pm

The person who is really the star at Belle Haven is the VICE PRINCIPAL. He is always there, and he is the backbone of the school. It's sad to see he gets no recognition!!!
He is the person who really runs the school and takes care of business.


Posted by Teacher
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 5, 2018 at 6:02 am

I agree with "Got it Wrong". Mr. Tri Nguyen is Belle Haven. He is here for the kids, teachers and families. He keeps the school going. Most importantly the children know that he cares about them.

It is sad to see no one talking about the injustices happening with him. Next school year, he is assigned to take on the role of vice principal at two schools. Sharing our vice principal will hurt our school and affect our children.


This is not an appropriate way to cut from the budget.

#SaveOurVP


Posted by Teacher
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 5, 2018 at 7:55 am

I am glad to see that the parent organizers of this protest deliberatly chose a minimum day. As I understand it, many of the middle school students still completed their classwork and many of the elementary students used their blended learning programs at home to read and practice math. Thank you parents, for standing up for your kids without hurting their education!


Posted by B. Alexander
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 5, 2018 at 8:06 am

Thank you, "Got it Wrong".... you are absolutely correct. Mr. Nguyen has quietly keep the school running. He has taken over many of the duties normally done by Mr. Gaviglio. One example is running our morning assemblies. He knows every student's name and greets them as they get their lunches every day. He is very visible on campus. Being split between two schools next year, none of this will be possible.

However, if the board decides to NOT renew the superintendent's contract, then all of "consultants" and family members that the district currently pays will no longer be on the payroll.... and then there will be money available for our vice-principals, our para-educators, our yard duties, our custodians, our secretaries.... all the people she has cut who have a direct impact on the students.


Posted by The Queen is on Vacations
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 5, 2018 at 10:16 am

While parents are organizing hard to send a message to the superintendent, she decides to go on vacations. This shows how much she cares about our issues in the district. A good way to avoid reporters.


Posted by Ravenswood Employee
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 5, 2018 at 3:41 pm

Re: The Queen is on Vacations, will her pay be docked for the days she is not here SO CLOSE to spring break? I’m guessing not.

Meanwhile, those of us who actually work with students are expected to provide documentation that we need to use one of our ALLOTTED NO-TELL PERSONAL DAYS if we take a day off before or after a three day weekend (of which there are many).


Posted by Another Employee
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 5, 2018 at 6:08 pm

Gloria's pay will not be docked for her absentees because the school board members let her do whatever she wants. I bet she did not even let the board know ahead of time that she was going to be on vacations or ask for permission. She has a great job doing nothing but spending money on students funds. What is she going to do with the washer and dryers that cannot be operated because she did not get the proper permits? At least she should sell the machines to pay custodians for few extra hours so teachers do not have to clean their own classrooms. She also had to build the laundry rooms. I am almost sure that the cost of building these laundry rooms did not come out of Ravenswood Education Foundation but from the students budget. What a way to spend the money and the dumb board members pretend not to see the terrible job she is doing.
I am curious how much power has Gloria given to Bonilla to say that Mr. Gaviglio is not coming back. The last time I checked he is not a school board member or three of them (it takes 3 votes to put the principal back or not). This Bonilla thinks he is the head of the school district. One more reason for us to get rid of him.


Posted by Belle Haven Parent
a resident of South of Midtown
on Apr 5, 2018 at 6:25 pm

Belle Haven Parent is a registered user.

Gloria and Mr. Bonilla have underestimated the parents' power. Belle Haven is our school. We pay taxes and if she does not place the principal back to our school we will form a committee to go against the passing of the parcel tax or bond. This way she won’t have more money to spend. She wants a war, let's give her a war. It are our school and our childrens education is on the line with this stupid superintendent. So let’s starting forming a committee. Who wants to join the committee?


Posted by Follow the Money
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 5, 2018 at 6:40 pm

Is Ravenswood School District trying to close Belle Haven school and sell the land to Facebook? Removing a successful principal midyear is a great way to convince parents to send their kids to local charter schools.


Posted by Ravenswood Teacher
a resident of another community
on Apr 5, 2018 at 8:29 pm

I am proud that the parents allowed for the kids to stay home. It's not just a day where kids play around. It's a day many will remember because they were a part of the political activism. DO not slam teachers and parents for exercising their god given right to protest. GHG is as fake as a tacky cubic zirconia ring that turns your fingers greeen. It's time for her to go. Please go to the April 26th Board meeting and voice your opinion on her dictator-like/Trumpian style of leadership. If you are a resident and disgusted with what is going on in Ravenswood, please run for school board. We need passionate, intelligent, brave, and competent board members! Help us turn it around!


Posted by Board Member
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 5, 2018 at 8:58 pm

Dear Parents and Belle Haven Community
Sorry, you have to do this in order to send us board members a message.I GOT IT. I too hope that the superintendent will come to her senses and will return Mr. Gaviglio to Belle Haven. Please tell your students that there are people who care at the district and at the schools. I was there on Wednesday the day of the boycott and was able to see very seasoned teachers at work such as in Mr. Ibarra's classrooms students were learning about plants and part of the lesson was gardening in collaboration with Menlo Middle School. Our Belle Haven Kids are very lucky to have them. Hope this whole fiasco will not give teachers second thoughts about working for Ravenswood. They are good teachers and we shall do whatever we can to retain them. Teachers thanks for sticking around in our district and for providing our students with an excellent education. I know that with the experienced and knowledge you have about how children learn you could be making a lot more money somewhere else, but your love for our community keeps you at our district.
This goes for all other great teachers that we have in our school districts such as Jesusita Rivera and many more to name.


Posted by Please Resign Now
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 6, 2018 at 12:18 pm

To those parents and teachers who are speaking truth to power, thank you.

Also thanks to @EPAKidsMatter for continuing to document everything.

Web Link


Posted by Speak up
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 7, 2018 at 4:20 pm

Those who want the superintendent to leave our district please come to the Regular School Board Meeting on April 26th, at 7:15 pm, and speak up. You can also participate in the march that will start at 5:30 pm from Saint Francis Church to the school district. Come and let the school board members know how you feel about the performance of Gloria Hernandez, district superintendent.


Posted by Speak up
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 7, 2018 at 4:27 pm


To Got it wrong,
you said: The person who is really the star at Belle Haven is the VICE PRINCIPAL. He is always there, and he is the backbone of the school. It's sad to see he gets no recognition!!!
He is the person who really runs the school and takes care of business.
Question: Do you mean that the vice principal is doing the job for Mr. Gaviglio? or do you mean he is running the school and taking care of business now that Mr. Gaviglio is not working there anymore? Can you please clarify?


Posted by Got it Wrong
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 7, 2018 at 7:36 pm

I think the VP has been running the school on many levels since he has worked there. The principal is no better than other principals in the district.
Bottom line: People lose jobs and are reassigned all the time. This fight isn't about the principal, it's about the superintertendent.


Posted by Black Days
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 8, 2018 at 8:59 pm

My concern is not Gaviglio or the Superintendent. Gaviglio has a job, is not homeless or struggling to make the ends meet. Quite the contrary.
Hernandez may not be the best leader out there, but regardless of who leads the school district, we don't stand a chance against gentrification. Little by little our families are being forced out of the community and we keep losing students. How do we fight that? Do you think the affluent families who are moving in and pushing us out will have their children attend Ravenswood? Do you think gentrification would change with a different leader of the district? No, of course not. What they want to see is Ravenswood gone entirely. My biggest concern is purely existential. Wake up, there are bigger issues we are trying to fight in our community. I wish our community can be a unified front on all big issues that matter to our families, 'cause pretty soon we'll be displaced. Peace!


Posted by Speak Up
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 9, 2018 at 8:48 am

Gentrification has nothing to do with the bad quality of our school district. If our district were doing better new people moving in would register their kids in our district, just like they do it in Las Lomitas, Palo Alto, and Menlo Park. However we have a superintendent who is not using funds wisely, and who is retaliating against everyone who does not do and says what she wants she fires them, or sends them home with pay, only to later pay them $ when they bring lawsuits She dos these because she is not the one who has to pay with her own money for the settlements, it is the district money. The school board members have to put a stop to it NOW. As long as we have these inept board members our district will be the lowest, but the supe and LILAC president claim that we are competing at international level with China, Canada, Washington and other southern countries, what a joke. We need to join forces to get her out and push for no renewal of her contract.


Posted by Black Days
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 9, 2018 at 1:57 pm

Gentrification does not affect us? Maybe it doesn't affect you,depending on where you live. Pretty soon, we will be gone, and no kids left to attend the school. We will be forced to move. Period. My issues are bigger than Hernandez.
Question: Ravenswood had low test scores for decades. Does that mean that every single district leader sucked?


Posted by Resident of The Gardens
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 9, 2018 at 4:08 pm

@Black Days-
You come off as a bitter tenant that has been made aware that your rent will soon go up...again.
As a homeowner and a property taxpayer that I am, I think you have 'no dog in this fight'. As a homeowner in the Gardens, and with small children that will be going to school soon, the future of our school district is MONUMENTAL.
Quit whining.


Posted by Black Days
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 9, 2018 at 7:59 pm

@Resident of The Gardens

So what are you saying? People who live with their school age children in rental units have no "dog in a fight"? Only homeowners should have a say in this? Seriously? I urge you to consider how many of Ravenswood families are homeowners in comparison to how many live in rental units, garages and RVs. Your comment is pitiful and offensive at best, it suggests that people like me and many others in our community don't matter.


Posted by Resident of The Gardens
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 9, 2018 at 8:27 pm

@Black Days-

I find you and your ‘name’ offensive for finding me offensive. I welcome the increase home values in the area where I reside. You may not realize but the property taxes are based on home purchase price. Part of the property tax $$ paid goes to Ravenswood and Sequoia School district. That and...not sure if you realize that with our prices for homes at an all time high E Palo Alto, the crime rate stat has kinda been been at an all time low.
I look forward to the White/Latino/Pacific Islander/Indian/Asian/Blacks Days !!!


Posted by Got it Wrong
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 9, 2018 at 9:33 pm

To Resident of the Gardens:
You are clearly part of the gentrification problem. A homeowner mocking renters, and you live in East Palo Alto? You sound extremely ignorant and disgusting.


Posted by Speak Up
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 9, 2018 at 9:38 pm

I agree with Resident of the Gardens, thanks to people buying homes here in this area our home values have gone up, and our school district has been getting its share of the pie. We also have the parcel and bond tax, plus donations from Facebook, and for Gloria to expend all the funds and as a result close the CDC is the worst thing she can do. She misused the funds and she needs to go along with the board members who cover from her and pretended to be blind. I too like what is happening in my neighborhood, now neighbors from all backgrounds and nationalities. .


Posted by Within your means
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 9, 2018 at 10:44 pm

@Got it wrong-
Mocking? May I suggest you continue to kick rocks. I don’t see where the mocking is from @resident of the gardens. I grew up in East Palo Alto in the 80’and 90’s, saw the home prices sky rocket during the dot.com era and thought to myself that even as a high school drop out, I should maintain a great FICO score and save for a down payment for a house even if it was years later.
I see too many people with designer purses, lavish Harley Davidson, retro Jordan’s when I go the local markets and they’re paying for soda, chips and candy bars with WIC. REALLY!?! Generation after generations depending on a government hand out ie low income housing. Some of us pull up our boots every morning and go into work so others can enjoy sleeping in til noon. I see it when I come home and take my son for walk everyday at lunch.
My momma told me to never live above my means, that’s why I live in East Palo Alto.


Posted by Black Days
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 10, 2018 at 1:11 pm

Wow! So many assumptions, yet you have no idea what I do for living, or what color my skin may be. Live as you may, I have no respect for individuals who have no compassion for fellow human beings who are less fortunate, not because they are "lazy" as you suggest, but by circumstance and current situation that affects many. Are you aware that only 0.1% of US minimum wage workers can afford a one-bedroom apartment? In 2016,2.9 full-time jobs at minimum wage were needed
for a family to afford a two-bedroom rental unit at fair market rent in California. How many full-time jobs at minimum wage would they require now in 2018?

@Resident
"I find you and your ‘name’ offensive for finding me offensive." Ad hominem is for jokers. From your listing of racial and ethnic categories, it's clear to me where you stand. Btw, India is an Asian country.

Are you at all familiar with the demographics of Ravenswood school district? Do you know how many hardworking families live here but struggle to make ends meet? Don't pretend you care about current students of Ravenswood, you clearly don't. I'm no longer going to entertain this ignorant, sheltered way of thinking. Hope you have a blessed day!


Posted by Katie
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 11, 2018 at 1:50 pm

When is the next school district board meeting? Is this open to the public?


Posted by Got It Wrong
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 11, 2018 at 5:37 pm

To within your means:
"I thought to myself that even as a high school drop out, I should maintain a great FICO score and save for a down payment for a house even if it was years later." I call bs lol


Posted by Speak Up
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 11, 2018 at 11:08 pm

Next Board Meeting will be Thursday, April 26 closed session starts at 6:30, and opened session at 7:15. Open session is open to the public and anyone can attend regardless of having students int he district or not.


Posted by behind the scenes
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 16, 2018 at 11:48 pm

I am also a parent of two children of the Ravenswood school district who attended Belle Haven Middle School. I gained knowledge of this situation about the principal Mr. Gaviglio on an online article in the Palo Alto Post. I have read a lot of comments of all the great things that Mr. Gaviglio help incorporated and implement at Belle Haven for our students, parents, and community. However, my concerns are about the actions that Mr. Gaviglio have taken in regards to dealing with situations and incidents that involve OUR students particular within the last year at Belle Haven. There was an incident that took place back in September involving about 20 students and a fire alarm being pulled. Mr. Gaviglio and his staff criminalized OUR student’s and violated their rights and confidentiality. The students were interrogated, punished, threatened, and finger printed. They students were treated as if they were criminals, is this how you want a principal perceiving OUR children? I don’t want my children let along ANY one of OUR students to be criminalized under ANY Circumstance. These actions were extreme and unethical for ANY Principal, teacher or educator under ANY circumstance. Schools are designed and meant to be a safe haven and a place where the students can trust and confide in their principal, teachers, staff. ARE we as parents really aware of what takes place in our children schools? The students are taught to listen, FOLLOW directions and obey what is being told to them and rarely think twice about if it’s right or wrong and some may not even know the difference. In this case Mr. Gaviglio actions were inappropriate and were not in accordance with the District policy and regulations, so unfortunately for this I can’t support a principal, staff, or any educator that will allow this to take place in any of our schools.


Posted by Speak Up
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 17, 2018 at 9:25 pm

To BEhind the Scenes
My question is:
How come Ms. Hernandez did not do anything in September till now? Also, I heard that Ms. Hernandez said to him that he had to find out one way or the other who had pulled the alarm as this was very important. Another thing, Ms. Baviglio was not the one who fingerprinted the students. Gloria Hernadez decided to bring this up after Ms. Gaviglio submitted a complaint to the OCR, not before. Ms. Hernandez would have had not brought that up if Mr. Gaviglio had not summited the complaint. In another case at Belle Haven, right before Ms. Gaviglio worked there, an aide left marks on two different students and treated him like criminals while he was disciplining them, and Ms. Hernandez gave the same ade a promotion instead of firing him for his actions. This aide now is in charge of disciplining our students at Belle Haven. He should have been sent to work at the district to keep him away from our kids, but no Gloria did not care about our kids and gave him the duty of disciplining the Belle Haven Students.


Posted by Anonymous
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 17, 2018 at 9:33 pm

Belle Haven students, as all children, thrive on consistency and flourish in a nurturing, positive environment. Mr. Gaviglio has provided all students at Belle Haven with a positive, nurturing, learning environment. Students have succeeded academically, socially, and emotionally due to Mr. Gaviglio’s supportive and caring nature. The superintendent’s decision to abruptly remove Principal Gaviglio in the midst of the school year, is purely a selfish, spiteful act. Though her intent was to hurt Mr. Gaviglio in any way she could, she hurt Belle Haven’s children more by taking away their amazing, consistently supportive principal. Obviously, the superintendent does not have the students’ best interest at heart. If the superintendent really cared for and wanted the best for all students, parents, and faculty, she never would have forced Mr. Gaviglio to leave Belle Haven and restrict him from having any contact with Belle Haven’s students, parents, and faculty. As a member of the community, I’m deeply saddened by the superintendent’s selfish and cruel act.


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