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.