Employees accuse new high school of mismanagement, empty promises in letter to trustees | Town Square | Almanac Online |

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Employees accuse new high school of mismanagement, empty promises in letter to trustees

Original post made on Apr 22, 2020

TIDE Academy sent a letter of complaint to Sequoia Union High School District trustees in February, outlining concerns that the school is not serving students as promised.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, April 22, 2020, 11:33 AM

Comments (27)

14 people like this
Posted by Joseph
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 22, 2020 at 5:15 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


24 people like this
Posted by Janet
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 22, 2020 at 6:35 pm

Workplace retaliation is against the law. The fear of retaliation is a form of bullying and a horrible environment to work in. This is the antithesis of diversity equity and inclusion. And we expect our teachers and school administration to bring their very best to our children?! What type of culture and examples are being set for our young adults through this type of leadership? Will students model this form of bullying, disrespect dishonesty and lack of appreciation in current and future relationships?

This is sad and unacceptable. This has to be rooted out. Time to clean house TIDE Academy!


5 people like this
Posted by Dave
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 22, 2020 at 6:52 pm

Re: tracking

Web Link


21 people like this
Posted by Another Concerned Employee
a resident of another community
on Apr 22, 2020 at 6:52 pm

Finally, someone decided to speak up! Mary and her messy set of puppets. She's brought in incompetent hires including this useless principal to the district.

Why would the Board allow this to happen?

Read her dissertation on page 5. "To Allison Silvestri, we have seen each other through pivotal times during career milestones. Our lives and careers are now inextricably bound by mutual admiration and friendship."

Web Link



4 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Apr 22, 2020 at 7:06 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


18 people like this
Posted by Tide parent
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 22, 2020 at 9:15 pm

After watching the school go through it's first year, I see a brand new team facing growing pains and I think they are doing a fine job all things considering. It is not surprising that some of the initial team will not be a great fit for the needs of a new organization and that there will be frustration on both sides. This is the first school the district has set up in decades and the first time any school has needed to operate in a global pandemic. The school and board leadership team (Alison and Mary) should be judged by how they adapt, rebuild their team over the summer, and respond to these first year challenges.


25 people like this
Posted by Concerned TIDE Staff Member
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Apr 22, 2020 at 11:22 pm

I can't speak to all the issues in the letter or another person's experience at TIDE, but my experience has been extremely positive.

Maybe a little context. The school opened this year primarily because of the efforts of Principal Silvestri and Superintendent Streshly. TIDE was an active construction site until the week before school began, and construction has had to continue all year. The staffing was still changing in mid-August. Principal Silvestri had to work hard to find qualified teachers and staff to ensure TIDE could even open.

Then throughout the year, there have been many challenges that the administration has had to figure out. Some of these issues were typical school issues, but most were issues very few administrators could imagine. Every time I approached the administration or other staff members with any concerns or changes, I thought should be made, it was very collaborative interaction. It also usually required a unique, out of the box solution. Has everything been perfect? No. But that is what I signed up for going to a new school, and I knew that before I started. I'm excited to help build this new community and help our students succeed!

I'll end with what I think is most important. TIDE students. From day one, the focus of all the staff that I have interacted with, both at TIDE and the District level, have had our students' best interests guiding the conversations and decisions made at TIDE. That makes me very proud.


5 people like this
Posted by MP Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 23, 2020 at 8:49 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


8 people like this
Posted by TIDE Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 23, 2020 at 11:55 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


8 people like this
Posted by TIDE Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Apr 23, 2020 at 12:10 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


26 people like this
Posted by Staff Member
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Apr 23, 2020 at 12:11 pm

As a TIDE employee it is extremely concerning to read this article. The staff at large was never informed that this letter to the board was being written and it is completely unfair to imply that the views expressed in the letter are the opinion of the majority of the teachers, students and families in the TIDE community.

Any reader who is legitimately interested in or concerned about the efficacy of TIDE Academy or Dr. Silvestri should make that determination first hand by speaking to parents of TIDE students or TIDE students themselves. While I believe strongly in the freedom of press, this article has presented a one-sided and anonymous opinion, defaming an individual and school community.

If you as a reader choose to make a determination about the accuracy of the complaints without having the information, understand that your non-constructive criticism in the comments is hurtful not only to the staff members that work hard to provide a quality education for students in your community but most likely to the students themselves who want to take pride in being a student at TIDE. This should be a time of coming together and supporting one another, not a time for divisiveness.

Dr. Silvestri, the district administrative team, and the staff of TIDE Academy have never had anything but students best interests at heart. It saddens me to see people imply anything different given the emotional investment these groups have in the well being of the students at TIDE.


8 people like this
Posted by Tide Student
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 23, 2020 at 12:12 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


5 people like this
Posted by TIDE Parent of Color
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Apr 23, 2020 at 12:24 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


5 people like this
Posted by TIDE parent of color
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Apr 23, 2020 at 12:43 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names: Joseph, Mary, MP Resident and TIDE parent of color.]


5 people like this
Posted by Upset Student
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 23, 2020 at 12:55 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names: TIDE parent, TIDE student and Upset Student]


13 people like this
Posted by TIDE Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 23, 2020 at 1:18 pm

It deeply saddens me to see this article. By accusing one individual (and I have only seen opinions no facts), a wonderful concept, an innovative project gets harmed. Me personally, I want to thank teachers, staff, students, and parents who have worked so hard to make this vision successful. Dr. Silvestri inherited a huge pile of issues that needed to be addressed, she took them on and was always open for other opinions and suggestions. If there is a broader issue between staff and district, let's not punish the most vulnerable in this scenario: the students.


13 people like this
Posted by TIDE parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Apr 23, 2020 at 1:35 pm

Our kids go to TIDE and MA and we can say without hesitation that neither school is perfect. But our child at TIDE loves the school and their teachers.

What is most concerning to me is the damage this article and ensuing debate is doing to the school and, by consequence, its students. Setting up a new school is a big and difficult project. We've been through year 1 with all its highs and lows. Bottom line: TIDE is on its way to become a wonderful and special school. So it pains me to see the damage being done here.

Is Dr. Silvestri perfect? Of course not. Nobody is. Are there things at TIDE and her running of the school that still need to be improved? Yes. But from everything we have seen from her, from everything our child has shared - good and bad - I must disagree with the accusations and the suggested conclusion to remove Dr. Silvestri in the strongest. It would be a grave disservice to TIDE and its students.

Let's face it: the letter is a fairly random collection of opinions about how things ought to be run and done. Verifiable facts are few and far between and it smacks of a personality clash. And it was written by a disgruntled art teacher, who btw was an abject failure as a teacher. Our child: "there isn't a single student at TIDE who likes that teacher or learned anything". And that’s the basis for this entire debate?

I sincerely hope Ms Swartz, the author, will follow up with a well-researched article, including interviews with representative sets of teachers, students, and parents.

Let's not damage TIDE any more.


13 people like this
Posted by Ben
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 23, 2020 at 1:48 pm

My experience with TIDE has been extremely positive. Like any school, it is not perfect. There was construction going on at the beginning of the year and staffing changes (you have that at any school). These things are just more obvious at a small school. That said, we entered this school knowing it was brand new. The staff has been collaborative and been open to feedback. They have learned what matters the most, adapted as needed and done this around the needs of the students. There are so many amazing things about this school. The Principal and teachers have built an innovative, nurturing and just environment that values inclusivity. They put the needs of the students first.


13 people like this
Posted by TIDE student
a resident of another community
on Apr 23, 2020 at 2:02 pm

I've seen a lot of comments trying to discredit the letter, and the statements made in it, and I'd like to say that the letter is not, in fact, a list of random complaints. All of the concerns are legitimate ones that I have seen, very clearly, happen over the course of the school year. Is the school, and the principal, imperfect like everyone else? Yes. Does that excuse any of the complaints? Absolutely not. The school is imperfect, so we need to stop and face the problems we have, and fix them, rather than ignoring the problems and praising how strong we are as a school.I believe that this letter demonstrates a lot of the problems most students see at TIDE, and that if we address them, we can help remove the inefficiency and lack of organization that goes on in our school.


8 people like this
Posted by Jen
a resident of another community
on Apr 23, 2020 at 2:20 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names: Jen and Jaqueefa. Please stop disrupting the thread by pretending to be different people and giving a false impression of comments. Comments will be removed and posters banned.]


13 people like this
Posted by TIDE Parent in doubt
a resident of another community
on Apr 23, 2020 at 2:32 pm

First of all, I understand that this topic is extremely painful to discuss. People don't like conflicts, especially if it touches their kids' environment. No one likes to hurt relationships with school, principal, teachers and district, since it can directly and immediately hurt your kid's emotional and even academical situation. So, it's scary to speak up in a case of problems in this field. But it's still important to make it, otherwise problems will never be solved! That is why I can say, I really appreciate the letter was written. The problems listed there are real and they do exist. Together with a bright side of TIDE there are a lot of problems listed in the letter, that need to be solved. As a TIDE parent I don't expect a problem-free environment, especially for the very first year after the school is open. But what I do expect is the readiness to listen, to discuss complains and ideas and to change to improve the situation. I wish, as a healthy reaction to this letter, the school and district could conduct a poll among parents and students to collect opinions and feedback for every single point of this letter. To see how strongly agree or disagree each of us to each of the problems listed. I still hope something like this could be done to heal the situation instead of crying "It's all so not true, they did a great job!" The main part of the good job is to be open for constructive critic. And one of the reasons I do respect the author of the letter, all the points listed there looks very calm and well-balanced.


6 people like this
Posted by Jaqueefa
a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Apr 23, 2020 at 2:34 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names: Jen and Jaqueefa. Please stop disrupting the thread by pretending to be different people and giving a false impression of comments. Comments will be removed and posters banned.]


8 people like this
Posted by Previous student
a resident of another community
on Apr 23, 2020 at 3:01 pm

I've known Dr. Silvestri for about 3 years now. In the 3 years of knowing her and being a student at the previous school, she was a principal at I can confidently say that Dr. Silvestri is a kind, caring, supportive, responsible person who does what she can to help her students in any way. I have been a first-hand witness at how much she cares and will support you in any way she can. I am a low socio-economic student and in no way, shape, or form have I ever been treated any different nor have I witnessed her treating anyone different due to their socio-economic status. The person or persons who wrote the letter are trying to find any little thing wrong with a HUMAN we are all human meaning we all have flaws and we try our best in fixing them. TIDE is a new thing for a lot of people including teachers and staff. They are all trying their best out of the situation. Including Dr. SIlvestri. Reading the letter written about all the negative things about her saddens me. It's sad to know that staff is trying to bring down a fellow co-worker. This letter puts students in an awkward position. Knowing that their teachers or whoever wrote the letter are bringing down someone they should be supporting. what does that say about how they will support their students? will they try to find any little thing to get a student expelled?

I have frequented her new site at TIDE many times to VOLUNTEER in any way I can. Knowing that the staff and she as well are trying their best to give their students the best they can and working together to keep TIDE running. As a person looking outside in there are endless opportunities at TIDE thanks to Dr. SIlvestri. I also know that if there is a concern about something she will do what she can to fix it or get the resources to help you fix it. I look up to Dr. Silvestri because of how strong she is and how much she has accomplished in the few years I have known her. Allison Silvestri is the best person to run any school. I aspire to be as accomplished as she is. She is my role model. It is a privilege knowing such an amazing person.


10 people like this
Posted by Curt
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Apr 23, 2020 at 3:07 pm

Our family is disappointed in this article. My kid loves the school and is excited to learn. Please take the time to look at all the positive things about the school as they are numerous. Also, importantly, do an interview with the principal and not only hear what has to say but take the time to listen.


18 people like this
Posted by Tide Student
a resident of another community
on Apr 23, 2020 at 4:51 pm

I think this article and letter have shed light on a topic many people are too afraid to talk about. Our school is not being run properly. As stated in the other comments, nobody is perfect. That does not mean we cannot try to improve as we move forward. Ms. Silvestri has shown a resistance to growing and improving the community she was supposed to support. Many of the comments are ignoring the issues at hand. Ms. Silvestri's personality is not, and will never be the main focus of this discussion. She is unfit for running the school as of now and a change in management needs to be made. The amount of times she has refused to address core problems in our school is upsetting. Over the course of the year, students have communicated their concerns to her on problems they've found in the school. She shows no interest in these issues and expresses sympathy while providing no actual solutions. To have a functioning school there needs to be proper communication between students and staff. Ms. Silvestri has failed to provide this at TIDE. We cannot continue to focus only on the positive, because it will only make us oblivious to the truth.


2 people like this
Posted by Angela Swartz, Almanac Staff Writer
a resident of another community
on Apr 24, 2020 at 11:12 am

Hi, please email me at [email protected] if you want to share some of your positive experiences at TIDE. Thanks,


15 people like this
Posted by Make it Right
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Hills
on Apr 26, 2020 at 3:30 pm

I’d like to offer to the discussion that this is a matter of accountability. This drastic measure of publicly stating the grievances against TIDE leadership is because all other internal mechanisms either failed or were compromised due to a culture of fear, retaliation, and nepotism.

This article is not intended to hurt students or the school community, but from what I can see, a desperate call to action. Who will lead it? Who will restore it? The Board? The Superintendent? The Principal? The Teachers? The Students? The Parents? From the accounts that were listed, it appears that the teachers, at least some of them, had no other choice but to voice their concerns in this public venue. It takes courage to speak truth to power!

Below are facts to help shed some additional insight on the current discussion:
Dr. Silvestri took part with 7 other candidates during the principal interview, she was ranked last by most panelists.

The friendship between Dr. Silvestri and Dr. Streshly goes way back. Comment below pulled from previous post. Dr. Streshly’s dissertation, highlights the friendship between Dr. Streshly and Dr. Silvestri. “To Allison Silvestri, we have seen each other through pivotal times during career milestones. Our lives and careers are now inextricably bound by mutual admiration and friendship”. written in 2015

Dr. Silvestri had short tenures in Half Moon Bay, Acalanes Unified and San Lorenzo and in each case left under strained circumstances.

The Human Resource Office, under Dr. Streshly’s guidance, sent a letter to the California Department of Education in an attempt to have a teacher’s teaching credential revoked, after a teacher decided to leave before the teacher’s contract even began. They claimed the teacher abandoned the position. For those outside of education, going after a teacher’s credential is usually reserved for extreme cases (example-engaging in inappropriate acts with minors).

A student was suspected of being in possession of marijuana, police dogs were called in to help with the investigation (a complete overreaction with racial undertones).

Several tracks of math have been introduced to “sort” students.

A vice principal was hired after it became crystal clear that 100 students couldn’t be managed by the principal.

Parents were promised by Dr. Streshly that if TIDE was not a good fit after the first year those students could transfer back to their home school. It is common knowledge that several current families are leaving for private schools or charters since they don’t believe they will be allowed into their neighborhood school.

Staff is divided, period. The staff that left comments on this post suggesting otherwise, are unequivocally in the principal’s good graces. Most teachers are on probationary status, which means they can get fired if they publicly speak ill of the leadership.

I’ll leave you to think critically for yourself.

#justmakeitright


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