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“My focus at the County has been on changing the first five years of a child's education, because that has the strong potential to change everything in the years that follow. We must focus our efforts on preparing our children for success in school and then make strategic investments to continue to support those students as they pursue their K-12 education and beyond.”                    

- Supervisor Simitian 


The largest career-oriented education organization in Santa Clara County for high school and adult students, MetroED’s Silicon Valley Career Technical Education (SVCTE) program provides career technical education for high school students (and adult students, on a space-available basis) from a half dozen local school districts. With County funding initiated by Supervisor Simitian, MetroED will develop two new programs: a nursing science program to support the growing demand for health care workers in Santa Clara County, and an electrical vehicle program to address the growing demand for service in the electric vehicle market.

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MVLA English language learner program

Navigating the complex web of supportive services within our County can be overwhelmingly difficult for those who don’t speak English. Supervisor Simitian championed the development of a new program that places a dedicated case manager from Community Services Agency (CSA) at MVLA’s schools to provide targeted support and social services to English language learner (ELL) students and their families.

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InPlay is a Bay Area nonprofit that partners with schools to help underserved families find local and affordable programs for their children through a searchable online activity guide. With support from Supervisor Simitian, InPlay received funding through June 2023 enabling InPlay to compile a Countywide listing of activities available to all TK-12 youth, including those who are considered low-income, have special needs, or are English-language learners.

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Arts & arts training for at-risk youth

In 2017, Supervisor Simitian proposed a partnership with the Bill Wilson Center, a non-profit serving Santa Clara County youth and their families, and the Pacific Art League to bring arts and arts training to at-risk youth in the County.

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Microplastic Awareness Day

When Urmila Vudali, a Saratoga High School senior and student leader of the Saratoga Youth Climate Action Team, and District Five Youth Task Force appointee, sought Supervisor Simitian’s help to educate and engage residents about the threat microplastics pose to environmental and human health, he was happy to step up.

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Transitional Kindergarten

As a California State Senator, Supervisor Simitian authored SB 1381 which established Transitional Kindergarten (TK). Transitional Kindergarten provides age-appropriate instruction for 4-year-olds who may be too advanced for preschool but not quite ready for kindergarten, perhaps because of a fall birthday. Twelve years later, the state has made TK universally available -- and the concept is gaining momentum nationwide.

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Back-to-school programs

Recognizing the impact of COVID-19 on remote learning and the importance of preparing students to return to school, Supervisor Simitian sponsored a number of back-to-school events to help local families access school supplies and other forms of assistance.

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Teen Success for youth on probation

Teen Success aims to break the cycle of poverty for teen moms and provide a better future for their children. Santa Clara County approved funding in 2015 at Supervisor Simitian’s suggestion for a program focused on teen moms within or connected to the Juvenile Probation System. The twin program goals are to work with the teen mom to remove the barriers to school attendance and completion, and to help develop parenting skills.

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Educare: early childhood education programs

Educare California at Silicon Valley is an early learning regional center serving children, families, communities and practitioners. Supervisor Simitian helped coordinate Board support for California's first Educare facility, in East San Jose, where there are now 16 state-of-the-art classrooms, outdoor learning spaces, and a resource center for families and the community.

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School First: at-risk students in Mountain View

Supervisor Simitian championed the School First program, a successful two-year effort designed by the Mountain View-based Community Health Awareness Council (CHAC), to work with three local schools with higher than average dropout risk factors. CHAC provided an array of support services tailored to each student’s needs.

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Deer Hollow Farm

A long-time champion of Deer Hollow Farm, Supervisor Simitian proposed County support for the farm and its programs, which provided three years of field trips and bus transportation for students from under-resourced schools, including those in areas of Mountain View, Sunnyvale, and San Jose. The classes are an opportunity for students to learn how to milk a goat or cow, walk the trails in the Preserve, learn about indigenous cultures, and see classroom lessons brought to life with hands-on outdoor learning.

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Through Supervisor Simitian’s encouragement, the County funds after-school academic programs aimed at closing the opportunity and achievement gap for children in the Palo Alto Unified School District. The DreamCatchers program is directed at middle school students who are tutored and mentored by Stanford University undergraduate student volunteers.

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Early College Promise

Foothill College launched the Early College Promise program to bolster the enrollment and graduation of historically underrepresented, low income and first-generation students. Under the program, high school students dual enroll at Foothill College for two years for free. With County funding initiated by Supervisor Simitian, the program was able to nearly double in size, with 550 students participating.

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Safe routes to school

Students from Los Altos, Cupertino and Sunnyvale walking or bicycling on the busy Homestead Road corridor face challenging street conditions along their route to school. Supervisor Simitian led the development of a plan for additional on-street safety improvements that required a multi-jurisdictional approach to solving the problem. In June 2020, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority approved $1.17 million for environmental clearance and design.

At Supervisor Simitian's urging the County also installed detection systems at high student-traffic intersections that give pedestrians and bicyclists additional time to cross the street, most recently for five intersections on Foothill Expressway.

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