A group of Milpitas High School students and members of the school’s Math Club are developing a new website that will connect Milpitas Unified School District employees with local property owners who have available rental units, including those in the new Robson homes with Accessory Dwelling Units.
“We will work with homeowners to see if they are willing to reserve their units for MUSD employees who are in need of rental units,” said Superintendent Cheryl Jordan. “School employees are excellent tenants.”
The concept arose when Superintendent Jordan met with Mark Robson of Robson Homes in September 2019. The new 38-home development includes 10 houses with ADUs, better known as granny units. The unique partnership blossomed after Superintendent Jordan proposed the idea of reserving those ADUs for school employees to Mr. Robson, who, in turn, suggested that the students create an app for connecting school employees with homebuyers in the new development.
In her remarks at the Robson Homes September 25, 2020 groundbreaking ceremony, Superintendent Jordan described the concept to those in the audience. “For each of those homes with ADUs, Robson will connect new home buyers with MUSD team members in order to provide opportunities for renting the auxiliary units,” said Jordan, who attended the ceremony, along with members of the Board of Education, that included the issuance of a $200,000 donation from Robson Homes to MUSD.
In the audience that morning was MUSD parent Gregory “Spike” Jones, who was inspired to take on the project with a group of MHS students. Always looking for an opportunity to include MUSD learners in a project such as this, Superintendent Jordan welcomed Mr. Jones’ offer to guide students from the MHS Math Club in developing the home rental platform.
“I think this is a win-win situation,” said Jones, a Math Club advisor. “It will help both school employees coming into Milpitas and those who have property for rent.”
Students, under Jones’ direction, have been creating an online platform, which will be accessible only to MUSD employees who can search a database of rental units by homeowners. The concept has since expanded and will include more than just the 10 ADUs from the Robson Homes project.
“I just thought it would be nice if we had photos of all the properties displayed as well as the addresses and all the information,” said MHS student Keryssa Li, who is one the web development team members.
Jones noted that the students are designing the website as a platform while he will work with MUSD staff to integrate it on the district’s intranet once completed.
“I’m treating the students as an engineering team for what we call a skip level project,” said Jones, who provided the students with an authentic project development experience.
Once the platform is complete, the next step will be to make it accessible to rental owners, just in time for recruiting the next class of innovative MUSD educators this spring.
Superintendent Cheryl Jordan and the Board of Education welcomed the elected and newly elected officials who represent Milpitas and Milpitas Unified School District to the first school board meeting of the 2021 calendar year.
Evelyn Chua (Milpitas City Councilmember), Alex Lee (District 25 Assemblymember), Otto Lee (District 3 County Supervisor), Bob Livengood (San José-Evergreen Community College District Board Trustee Area 1), and Bob Wieckowski (State Senate of 10th Senate District) all virtually attended the special recognition. Ro Khanna (17th Congressional District Representative) was unable to be present but sent his regards.
“I thank each of you for being here tonight, and we look forward to partnership with you and the support that we give each other in realizing the vision that each of you have touched on which is ensuring that we have a learning community that is focused on safety, security, and the possible for every person,” said Superintendent Jordan.
Each of the representatives were given an opportunity to address the Milpitas community as part of the joint recognition.
“I’m really proud of, thankful for, and I believe in the MUSD education system,” said Chua, a 32-year Milpitian, first-time city council member and mother of a MUSD alumna who has worked alongside Milpitas HS student groups on humanitarian efforts over the years. “I’m really proud of the students. They are really the young leaders of our community and they are working hard everyday.”
Assemblymember Alex Lee, a member of the 2013 Milpitas HS graduating class elected to his post in November 2020, spoke highly of his experience at MUSD schools and how it helped shape his beliefs system today.
“There are very rare opportunities at any stage of life where you go to a place where you have the entire intersection of a community. No matter if you’re rich or you’re poor, or you’re athletic or you’re an AP student, or whatever category you fall into, we all go to school at the same place, (where) we all learn from each other,” Assemblymember Lee recalled. “I take that learning with me to the state assembly where I represent proudly my hometown of Milpitas.”
Livengood, another product of the MUSD education system and former City of Milpitas mayor, was honored to share the moment with the rest of the elected officials.
“I think Milpitas is pretty lucky. ...We have great people (representing our region), and they work really hard,” Livengood said. “I’ve been able to work with all of them at one point or another, and I look forward to working with all of you.”
Senator Wieckowski shared insights into the state budget process and status, stating that “help was on the way,” while Supervisor Lee offered an update on the COVID-19 outlook and vaccination rollout.
“I’m certainly honored to represent this district,” Supervisor Lee said. “We are definitely here for you everyday to make sure Santa Clara County stays strong.”