APPA's Headlines

AAPA Annual Meeting with Media
By Nidhi Mathur

AAPA held its Annual Meeting with the Media on August 14, 2002. The venue of the meeting was the Thai Basil restaurant in Town & Country Village, Sunnyvale. Jennifer Zhang and Vandana Kumar aptly represented the media from Cupertino Courier and India Currents. The two other journalists from World Journal and Sing Tao Daily were not able to attend the meeting. From AAPA Michelle Hu, Jeff Moe, Naegwen Li, Nidhi Mathur, Om Talajia, and Mily Tsou participated in the meeting.

Michelle Hu, AAPA co-president, kicked off the meeting with the media briefing. The organization's history, mission and accomplishments were discussed. AAPA's current goals about diversity hiring and membership drives were also touched upon. There was mention of AAPA receiving the 1997 CREST (Cupertino Recognizes Extra Steps Taken) award for its meritorious contributions to the committee. Later on AAPA's brochures were distributed to the media attendees. It was proceeded by an informal question and answer session. All the board members actively contributed in answering the questions put forth by the two journalists.

Ms. Vandana from India Currents was attending this meeting for the first time. She had many questions about the organizations' current activities and its involvement related to the Indian community. Om Talajia and Nidhi Mathur provided the overview of AAPA's recent activities like summer youth speech class, college seminars, and the scholarship awards. They also reiterated the organization's works with the Cupertino and Fremont school districts on such issues as diversity hiring and increased Asian community involvement in the school districts. The services that AAPA can provide to the new comers to the community by helping them adapt to the new environment were also discussed. The journalist was impressed by AAPA's activities and promised to cover AAPA's upcoming event of newcomers pool party in their magazine and agreed to provide more detail coverage about the organization in future issues.

Ms. Jennifer periodically covers AAPA's events in Cupertino Courier and was more familiar with AAPA's activities and work. She agreed to cover AAPA's upcoming events and assured her continuous support to the organization. Overall, the Annual Media Meeting was another successful event put forth by AAPA.

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Newcomer's Party September 28, 2002
By Theresa Tzou

September 28th, the day that we will remember for a long time…... That night, outside the Cupertino Hill Clubhouse, you felt the chill in this early fall evening. But inside, you felt nothing but the warmth of people sharing their precious real life experience. Even though the more than 100 people who came were from different countries and spoke different languages, they all came to this new land with the same dream - a dream to have a better quality of life and educational environment for their children.

That night, there was no boundary in the many joyful conversations. It was very casual but very informative. Questions and answers were bouncing back and forth between nibbles from dinner plates and sips from cups of hot tea. To many of the new comers, this was the very first time that they had the chance, face to face, to talk to our school officials instead of receiving a school memo or voice message. AAPA was the bridge that brought the newcomers and district officials together like one big family. And yet, this event was just the beginning of AAPA's year-round activities.

It was our honor to have our Santa Clara Board of Education member T. N. Ho there. Our newly hired FUHSD superintendent, Dr. Rowley, FUHSD board members Homer Tong and Kathryn Ho were also present. CUSD superintendent Dr. Bragg, assistant superintendent Phyllis Vogel and CUSD board members Barry Chang, Pearl Cheng, Ben Liao, and Josephine Lucey joined us as well. They are truly committed to give our next generation the very best school system and learning environment.

After the Pool party, the newcomers went home with thankfulness and peace of mind which was our ultimate goal in this event. We want to reach out and touch more newcomers who have question but do not know how, whom, or where to ask. As people say, "the smallest kindness recycle". AAPA wants to play this pioneer role. Yes, indeed. In doing so, we received.

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Meetings with Dr. Bill Bragg, Superintendent of CUSD
By Jeff Moe

 Summary of AAPA/CUSD meeting of January 9, 2003

  1.  Teacher Recruiting and Retention Task force status; how the issue of diversity hiring is being addressed. After an overview of the Teacher Recruiting and Retention Task force status, we discussed how some committee members either mis-understood or did not support diversity hiring goals. In the future the CUSD members of the Task force will articulate the value and requirement of diversity hiring.
    We also discussed barriers to diversity hiring and hiring in general such as housing costs and how many Asian American teaching students were already committed to other school districts. It was noted that too much emphasis on the barriers to diversity hiring could cause one to lose site of the goals or to appear to not support the goals.
  2. Multicultural Collaborative status Dr. Bragg passed out the minutes from the last meeting (May 23, 2002) and announced that the next meeting was scheduled for March 13, 2003 and AAPA would receive an invitation.
  3. Brief mention of budget cuts (not much is known until the governor's office issues a statement).
    Dr. Bragg discussed possible impacts to the budget cuts. Meanwhile spending at CUSD has been frozen. Those who wish to help can contact the Cupertino Coalition For Education and School Funding at Jendi Hwang, board member, is AAPA's representative to the CUSD budget committee.
  4. Assessments; moving from SAT/9 to CAT/6. Phyllis Vogel gave an informative presentation on how assessment testing is moving from SAT/9 to CAT/6, which will result in longer tests for the children. The new assessment test includes the CAT 6 portion that is norm referenced (percentiles), and the STAR portion that is measured against the California standards. More information on CAT/6 is available at

Summary of AAPA/CUSD Meeting of October 1, 2002

  1. The meeting began with participants discussing some current issues 
    • CUSD is looking for parents of ELD students to participate in the DLAC committee, and are hoping to get representatives from each school. Contact Dani Tsai or Phyllis Vogel if you know a candidate. Responsibilities include attending five meetings per year.
    • The Newcomers picnic was a success. It was suggested to announce it in May to get even more participation.
  2. Phyllis Vogel from CUSD presented the various ways that diversity is presented to teachers and students
    • Phyllis passed out textbooks with examples of diversity literature
    • Nidhi Mathur, AAPA Board Member, recommended that diversity should be in more than literature. We should look for other ways to expose our children to our diverse culture. As parents we can bring up suggestions to our principals.
    • Dani Tsai (CUSD) introduced new teachers to the diversity literature during the new teacher training day.
    • Teachers create "curriculum maps" which should contain elements of diversity. Although the mentor for new teachers and principals for veteran teachers preview the teacher curriculum maps, there is no way to ensure that diversity is included. The plan is to put the curriculum maps on-line so that parents can view them at the beginning of the school year and assess, among other things, if diversity has been included in the curriculum.
    • The 15 Santa Clara University interns get their diversity training through their school.

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Summary of AAPA meetings with Dr. Rowley, Superintendent of FUHSD
by Michelle Hu

Dr. Rowley talked about the FUHSD Goal Priorities for 2002-2003. The three goal areas are: Student Performance, School Climate and Learning Environment; Administration and Support Services; and Budget, Facilities and Operations.

There was a workshop for the administrators on 10/29/02. Dr. Stone invited five parents from our five high schools to represent five different cultures (Chinese, Korean, Indian, Philippine, and Hispanic) along with board member Kathryn Ho, to speak and answer questions at the workshop. The purpose of the training was to familiarize the administrators with different cultural backgrounds and improve communication Jeff Moe and Om Talajia mentioned that they have been working on a diversity video at CUSD that they will share with Dr.Stone.

Dr. Stone also spoke about what teachers had shared of their experiences on their 10-day trip to China, Hong Kong and Taiwan in May 2002.

AAPA members shared about our popular seminars: "The Road to College" and "Student Sharing College Application Experience". Both events were very successful and had a great turn out. Mr. Tuana and Dr. Stone both will look into the potential demands from the parents in the district.

AAPA also talked about the "Brown Bag Sharing" in Monta Vista. This is a weekly program hosted by the Monta Vista career center with topics pertaining to college preparation. Starting May 2001, they also included senior students who just received acceptance from colleges to share their college application experiences with the junior students. Other schools in the district may want to add this kind of service for their students.

Dr. Rowley talked about the impact of the budget cut. Based on the Governor's preliminary budget, k-12 education will be gutted by more than $1.5 billion before the end of our fiscal year.

We also reviewed the facilities modernization plan.

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Summer Government Internship
by Jill Lin

AAPA sponsored a seminar on a summer government internship program on December 15, 2002. The seminar was presented by Anna Wang, Esq. the Executive Director of Vision New America, Inc. The seminar detailed how high school students can experience "how the Government. really works" through the Summer Internship program of Vision New America, which recruits, trains, and places students in government offices in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, and Washington D.C.

This empowers students with:

  • Strong leadership skills
  • First hand knowledge of the Government. and their leaders
  • Working interaction with elected leaders v Improved resume for choice colleges
  • Preparation for leadership roles in their careers
  • A tremendously enhanced general awareness

A public policy internship may help distinguish intern student from other applicants who also have high GPAs, community service, and leadership experience. He/she may also secure a strong letter of recommendation from his/her internship supervisor. The preferred minimum age is 16 years old, but younger applicants with demonstrated leadership or commitment to community service may be considered. Students must have a minimum 3.0 GPA, but consideration will be given to those with lower GPAs and extenuating circumstances. Passion and enthusiasm for this program also carry weight in the selection process.

Applications are available on their website: Applicants must be high school students who are U.S. citizens or green card holders and live within driving distance of Santa Clara County, since the bulk of the events are here. For further information, visit their website.

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ELD Seminar
by Om Talajia

The Bay Area is a melting pot where people from all parts of the world arrive and mingle together. Many foreign language programs in different countries do not make students proficient enough to speak and listen in that language. As a result, when students and parents arrive in the US, they think they are adequately proficient in English, which proves to be wrong after they take the English language proficiency test.

AAPA presented an English Language Development (ELD) information seminar on February 8, 2003. The seminar fulfilled the information needs of ELD parents from diverse backgrounds. Dr. Mary Jew, Director of Human Resource Development at CUSD and herself an ELD hands-on teacher imparted detailed information about how the ELD program works.

When a child is admitted into the school district, his or her English language proficiency is tested. If it is found to be below the required level, the child is advised to enroll in the ELD program. The language proficiency test is called CELDT - California English Language Development Test. It is about 8-10 minutes long and tests for oral vocabulary, comprehension, and the ability to express oneself in English. Students are placed at different levels depending upon their language proficiency.

A student may go through 1-3 years of ELD program before being placed into regular classroom. At the transition level, the students are tested for listening, reading, writing and speaking skills. They are continuously re-classified based upon their test scores. Summer school ELD registration is available in March at different schools of CUSD.

Typically, 15-20 students are assigned to an ELD classroom. The main purpose of the ELD program is confidence building, developing comprehension abilities, and fluency in language, vocabulary, grammar, phonics and predicting abilities. The general recommendation is to make kids more observant and use the language as much as possible even outside the classroom.

AAPA is considering co-sponsorship of an orientation program with CUSD for ELD parents before the students are put into the ELD program. The ELD program is available at different schools of CUSD. Parents should be careful in assessing whether their students need any additional help apart from ELD for English language skill development.

Parents can sign-up to assist in the ELD classroom of their own children 2-3 times a week. An available web-site to look for ELD materials is

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CUSD Teacher/Employee Recruitment, Preparation, and Retention Task Force
by Naegwen Li

 In September 2002, the CUSD (Cupertino Union School District) convened a task force consisting of school administrators, teachers, parents, and community members, in addition to corporate, city and county government, and college and university representatives. AAPA was invited to participate as an organization deeply involved with educational issues. The purpose of the task force was to investigate and understand how the school district is currently recruiting employees, to identify factors associated with teacher/employee retention or attrition, and to make evidence-based recommendations for improvements to the school board and superintendent.

The task force was divided into two subcommittees, recruitment and retention. The subcommittees met semi-monthly while the entire task force met once a month.

The final recommendations were presented to the school board on February 25, 2003. Some of key issues identified were:

  • Housing
  • Incentive & Recognition
  • Management Practices
  • Salary & Benefit
  • Work environment that Foster Respect & Trust
  • Diverse Workforce.

For a full report on the findings and recommendations of the task force, please go to the CUSD website link at:

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Cupertino's First Annual Lunar New Year Unity Parade
by Michelle Hu

The Lunar New Year Unity Parade had its first annual event on March 8 and was an outstanding success! The parade route involved the 1.2 miles from Jollyman Park to Memorial Park. At the end of the parade, an International Fair was held featuring cultural displays, a variety of cuisines and multicultural stage performances.

57 parade teams participated including all 24 schools from Cupertino Union School District and the Monta Vista Marching Band from Fremont Union High School District, the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Posse, fire crackers, lion dancing, Indian dancing, and many more. Our Grand Marshall was Martha Kanter, the President from De Anza College. The Master of Ceremonies from the reviewing stand was Rick Quan from television station KPIX 5. It was a very diverse representation.

The International Fair comprised of three sections:

  1. The multicultural booths featuring beautiful art work and costumes from Arabian, Cambodian, Chinese, Indian, Iranian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mexican, Peruvian, Russian, Swiss, and Turkish cultures.
  2. Tempting culinary treats included American, Chinese, Indian, Mexican, Persian, and Thai Food.
  3. We were honored to have Mary Stone, the associate superintendent from FUHSD and Phillis Vogel, the assistant superintendent of CUSD as our Masters of Ceremonies for the program. The performances included Monta Vista Jazz Combo, international songs by Regnart Elementary School; fascinating dances from Chinese, Iranian, Tahitian, Northern Indian, Koran, Mongolian, and Turkish cultures. There was also the crowd pleasing martial arts demonstration. It was truly a multicultural showcase.

The mission of the Lunar New Year Unity Parade was to bring our community's broad spectrum of cultures together by encouraging people of all ethnicity, ages, and backgrounds to participate in this event. We felt that we brought our neighbors closer together and in the process make a truly fun and enjoyable event for the entire community.

Our parade committee received overwhelming amounts of great praise and positive feedback from all participants. If you would like to participate in this event next year or if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact Michelle Hu at