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District to consolidate Tinsley students at fewer schools

Original post made on May 3, 2019

Some parents have been taken aback by Palo Alto Unified's decision to close enrollment for new Voluntary Transfer Program students at certain elementary schools, but district leadership, however, has defended it as a positive change.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, May 3, 2019, 8:28 AM

Comments (15)

Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Gunn High School
on May 3, 2019 at 10:54 am

Paly has had two football players from Tinsley go onto the NFL in recent years. How about if the next two NFL prospects play for Gunn?

Posted by Grew Up Here
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 3, 2019 at 1:26 pm

Why don't they cut all VTP bus transportation? PAUSD pays for the buses and we have budget problems. If the students want to attend PAUSD, they can attend but find their own transportation. Our own students do not have buses available to them and some of them are from South Palo Alto and have to weave through reckless drivers in the mornings, not safe. The disabled students get buses too. So the takeaway is, the healthy child who lives in Palo Alto does not get bus services. How is that fair?

Posted by Jim H
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 3, 2019 at 2:19 pm

Jim H is a registered user.

How is it that none of the board members were aware of the timing or the details of this change?

How concrerned are they really about these students?

Posted by Novelera
a resident of Midtown
on May 3, 2019 at 4:02 pm

Novelera is a registered user.

@Grew Up Here
These are already disadvantaged children and very likely in a home with one car at best. And you want them to find their own transportation, likely making it difficult if not impossible to attend Palo Alto Schools? Tinsley has been in place since 1985 and has afforded many low-income children a possibly better education than what they might receive in their own district.

I have had NO children in Palo Alto schools the entire time I've lived here (37 years), but I am happy for my taxes to educate children who live in Palo Alto and those who are coming here under the Tinsley program.

Posted by VTP Alum/ PALY c/o 2008
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 3, 2019 at 4:05 pm

PALY has a better football program and is closer to EPA which is why those two Tinsley players went to PALY and are now going to the NFL. Had they gone to Gunn they wouldn’t be in the NFL.

For someone to say PAUSD has budget problems and buses for Tinsley students is contributing to that is crazy. Do you know that additional funds are provided to PAUSD for students that qualify for free or reduced lunches AND for students that need SPED services? I’m talking thousands of dollars, so I think VTP is not the issue. The issue is overpaid superintendents, faculty and new facilities, sorry not sorry. The district needs to learn how to prioritize 85-15 isn’t the right way.

There’s a reason why students from EPA and other neighborhoods are welcomed into PAUSD. The district is definitely not doing it out of the kindness of their hearts.

I am thankful for receiving my education through PAUSD and being a part of the first class of Spanish Immersion, without VTP I don’t know where I’d be. I can also say that my parents weren’t able to take me to school everyday because they worked multiple jobs thanks to the systematic racism that exists in our society (from education resource to social capital). Anyways, thank you VTP!


Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 3, 2019 at 4:56 pm

Tinsley students are no longer the same as they used to be, even those who graduated as recently as 08 may not recognise their counterparts in PA schools.

The number of poor, low income EPA hispanic families with two parents working multiple jobs who are entering the lottery are getting lower. The truth is that there are many families with professional parents living in gated communities that would be willing to send their children to private schools if they had not been successful in the lottery. There is no means test, nor should there be one, but the demographics of EPA are changing and the ethnic background of the families no longer give a true reflection of whether or not they are in need of this advantage.

EPA still has many lower income families who struggle to make ends meet. The question of whether and how much they value a PAUSD education is worth discussing. For many of them it is protecting their kids, and sons in particular from gangs, drugs, etc. rather than valuing the education itself. We do need to have an honest discussion about the program, and we need to be able to do so without told that we have racist motives. The truth is that houses in EPA are now being sold over $1m. There are plenty of newer housing, apartments for single professionals and smarter areas all over town. By taking some of the families out of the Ravenswood schools we must question whether that is preventing Ravenswood schools from improving.

From my family's experience, the elementary years were a good experience for our family to intermingle and form relationships with the Tinsley students. The advantages became more difficult in middle school and almost impossible in high school. The buses leaving schools at dismissal was part of the problem, but definitely not the only reason why the integration stopped happening. Family values, extra tutoring, after school activities and even things like favorite tv shows and music choices make the likelihood of the two groups mixing well more difficult.

Posted by Member
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 3, 2019 at 6:52 pm

To “Grew up here”, disabled students getting transportation is fair. Our son couldn’t go to our neighborhood school in north Palo Alto because they couldn’t accommodate him so he had to go to Barron Park. We also had to get two other kids to and from our neighborhood school. This is not possible with the start and end times close together and the Palo Alto traffic. Now he is in middle school and cannot wait after school unsupervised for us to be able to get our other kids and drive to his school or walk or bike home on his own like a typical kid. It’s logistically impossible and quite fair IMO that he gets transportation.

Posted by VTP
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 3, 2019 at 8:13 pm

@Resident It is most definitely about access to education. Not sure why a parent would bother sending their child all the way to Palo Alto, bus or not, instead of the school down the street with access to school bus if it wasn’t about access to a better education. Schools in Spanish speaking countries are more structured and provide a better education than most inner-city schools. Safety? As a Tinsley student, I was exposed to under age drinking and smoking during Middle and High School in Palo Alto schools and bomb threats. So not really sure where the drugs and safety comment is coming from.
Integration? Your points on this are so interesting to me. Like it’s soooo difficult for Tinsley and PA students to form relationships. 10 years after graduation I’ve mainted relationships with two PA friends and their families. It’s up to the parents to maintain the relationship through elementary, after that it’s up to the students to maintain it. You can’t force people to mingle, what will Be will be.

Posted by Activities
a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 3, 2019 at 8:47 pm

Activities is a registered user.

I asked my kid who goes to JLS and his impression is that the Tinsley kids there are pretty isolated. The bus gets there very early, they hang out mostly with each other, and they "generally don't do well" (his impression). Made me wonder if they tend to be involved in activities like band or drama or sports, which is where many kids find their "tribe", or if the after-school bus makes that difficult. Maybe some kids are successful at Paly because they play sports like football and form tight bonds with other kids that way. It would be nice to emphasize this type of connectedness for all Tinsley kids, so they form friendships based on mutual interests and skills, and see if there is a way to find transportation home for them.

Posted by Grew Up Here
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 3, 2019 at 9:29 pm

@Member, your justification for using the bus is not convincing: "Our son couldn’t go to our neighborhood school in north Palo Alto because they couldn’t accommodate him so he had to go to Barron Park. We also had to get two other kids to and from our neighborhood school." I have three children also and had to get them to school. At one point, they were in three different schools! In addition, some take their children to immersion programs so they drive them, they don't get the bus.

@VTP: That is extremely rare that you kept the friendships alive throughout high school and beyond. My children had VTP friends in elementary but at middle school, the VTPs decided to hangout with VTPs instead. Academic values, family upbringing, finances, cultures, hobbies are different.

Posted by Aisha
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 4, 2019 at 10:31 pm

@ Novelera,
Thanks for your comments. I’m feeling the love in EPA.

@ VTP Alum/Paly c/o 2008
Thanks for representing and keeping it real!
The struggle is real!

Posted by New To PA
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 21, 2019 at 11:37 pm

Just moved to Palo Alto and was excited to be sending my children to Duveneck. We looked for over a month to find a nice home in Crescent park just for that reason. Previously they both attended private schools in Santa Clara and I wanted them to attend a school with students that lived in their community and get a great education. Well Duveneck is full, in part thanks to Tinsley, so now I’m waiting to find out where they are heading and I’m not very happy.

Prior to moving here I never heard of Tinsley (no I don’t live under a rock, I’m not originally from California). I do not agree with Tinsley. It isn’t a race or class thing, it’s a community thing, and I feel that I worked extremely hard in my life to be part of this community. It’s time to end Tinsley, it’s literally the stupidest thing I ever heard of. This isn’t 1964, anyone who lives in Palo Alro can go to the schools here and anyone can live here regardless of race.

Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2019 at 12:37 pm

Posted by New To PA, a resident of Crescent Park

>> Prior to moving here I never heard of Tinsley (no I don’t live under a rock, I’m not originally from California).

A reference was posted in this or the other thread with the history. You might be surprised by what you learn.

>> I do not agree with Tinsley.

Even though you don't know the history?

>> It isn’t a race or class thing,

>> it’s a community thing, and I feel that I worked extremely hard in my life to be part of this community.

You say it isn't a class thing, and then, the next sentence demonstrates that it is a class thing.

>> It’s time to end Tinsley, it’s literally the stupidest thing I ever heard of.

Try to imagine, for a few seconds, that PAUSD and Tinsley kids could both benefit from the experience. It could actually be a "win-win".

Posted by Deleon is marketing TInsley
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 22, 2019 at 1:48 pm

Found this a curious way to market homes in EPA and E Menlo:

Web Link

Posted by What Los Altos does
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 22, 2019 at 3:34 pm

LASD Los Altos Elementary School District (not including the high schools, which have their own district in LA and MV, unlike the Palo Alto school system which is K-12) is extremely exclusive and has for decades touted extremely high student test scores. Classes have been very small.
I admit I don’t know the past few years, but I was nearby for the prior 30.
Anyway, they don’t support and pay for students like Tinsley students.
Meanwhile, PAUSD has at time been criticized - or reprimanded! or listed as having lower test scores, test score variability by ethnicity (all while working tirelessly to assist Tinsley students ). I have found this situation remarkable.
It’s time to discontinue the Tinsley system.
- a taxpayer

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