Terra Bella Academy, Mountain View, CA – May 10, 2012

by George J Elbaum

Terra Bella Academy is a small school for special risk students in grades 9-12 who are placed there for reasons such as expulsion, truancy, out-of-control behavior at school or home, and probation. The students typically work in a classroom setting, interact with their peers and change classes in ways similar to those of a comprehensive high school.  However, the classes are small enough so the students are able to receive one-on-one assistance from their instructors, who not only provide academic instruction but also emphasize the skills needed to improve attendance and behavior. There is strong emphasis in maintaining a safe, orderly school environment conducive to learning.

My visit was arranged by Jack Weinstein of Facing History and Ourselves, and the event was planned and organized by teacher Maria Magana for her 2 classes of English totaling 37 students.  Other teachers and staff attending the event were Angel Fuentes, Mitzi Marek, and Marques Buriss.

Jack had prepared me by stressing that students in this special alternative school often lead very insular lives in a narrow social environment, yet paradoxically are quite ”worldly” in ways that may or may not be acceptable in society at large – they may have made serious mistakes or bad choices, but can sometimes reinvent themselves and commit to improving academically and in their life choices.

(Note: Student photos will be added after approval by the school.)

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4 Responses to Terra Bella Academy, Mountain View, CA – May 10, 2012

  1. Alex Pavlenko says:

    I was the kid in the front row, all the way to the left in “End Of” photo. I was in school after dropping out of LAHS sent to Alta Vista and dropped from there also. I came to Terra Bella or now as its called: View Side Academy in my Junior-Senior Year. Ive completed High School and graduated with the help of work-elective credit in 2012. I enlisted in the USMC in March of 2013 and just completed a 4 year contract. My hope is to maintain my transformation and to one day attend Seminary or bible school as its commonly called. The Lord has been institute in the progression of my life, I oue it all to Him. And id like to thank the staff of Terra Bella for seeing me through to the end. Thank you and God bless You!

    • gelbaum says:

      Alex, I remember your very well: red hair, from Ukraine, and we spoke in Russian afterwards, yes? I’ve thought about you and told others about your situation and wondered where life took you, so I am very, very glad to get your email My wholehearted CONGRATULATIONS for what you’ve accomplished the last 5 years. You should be very proud of it, and continue on the path that you choose.

      • Aleks P. says:

        I stumbled upon your comment after a hire at Alorica, man oh man did I miss this comment. I needed to use my history to find the address of this old school and when I googled it your listing came up and so I clicked on it. Totally unaware that I made a comment here about 6 Months ago. Thank you for your kind words sir, and continue to inspire men and women to change. May you vex strong in your current and future endeavors. and may the Lord richly bless you.

      • gelbaum says:

        Alex, I still have your comment of May 11, 2017, and from current comment it’s clear that your head is in a good place and you are moving forward with your life. I’m truly glad to know this. My very best to you.

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