Update: AMS Online Survey Taken Down

The principal requested community members disregard the survey, which was created by the school's site council.

Updated 10:14 a.m.


An online survey launched by the Alvarado Middle School School Site Council on Monday to get the community’s thoughts on the controversial name change has been taken down.

According to Lance Nishihira, a member of the School Site Council who helped create the survey, the survey was removed after the school's principal sent an automated voice message to residents Tuesday afternoon asking them to disregard the survey.

"In the spirit of the administration's robocall requesting to disregard the survey, we, The SSC, have shutdown the survey and will just work with the data we have collected in this shortened fielding time," Nishihira commented on Patch.

While the survey has been taken down, online petitions both in favor and in opposition of the name change are still active as of Wednesday morning.

The original story about the survey is below.


The Alvarado Middle School School Site Council launched an online survey Monday to get the community’s thoughts on the controversial name change.

The survey, titled “Understanding the AMS Name Change,” can be accessed at http://bit.ly/amsname.

It asks community members to rate how strongly they feel about the name change, which name they prefer — Itliong-Vera Cruz Middle School, Alvarado Middle School or some other name — and their connection to the school.

The survey will close April 12.

The goal of the survey is to gain understanding, said Lance Nishihira, a member of the school site council and AMS parent. Though Nishihira has been vocal about his opposition to the name change in the past, he said the survey is designed to be objective.

All community members are encouraged to weigh in, he said. 

“We want to demonstrate to the decision makers what the true sentiments of the AMS school community really is,” Nishihira told Patch.

Though an automated voice message was sent out by the middle school to residents Monday afternoon, officials said Tuesday that the survey was not endorsed by the school or the New Haven Unified School District. Another automated message was sent Tuesday afternoon by AMS principal Jesus Varela asking residents to disregard the previous announcement, according to multiple Patch readers.

Nishihira said he doesn’t want the data to be ignored. He said the School Site Council plans to present the data to the school board members before their next scheduled meeting on April 16. The board is expected to make vote on the name change during the meeting.

“I didn’t want to have to do the survey. I really wanted the district to do the survey,” Nishihira said.

According to Nishihira, he was told by district officials that no school resources could be used on a survey unless approved by the school board at a public meeting, which would be too late.

Though the topic became highly publicized in March, the school board voted to change the name of the middle school during their Jan. 15 meeting.

Nishihira said the School Site Council was unaware of the proposal in January and was disappointed in the lack of public discourse prior to that vote.

“This (survey) is something any committee that has a true intent to understand the feeling of the district could have done back in December,” Nishihira said.

Meanwhile, the issue has divided the community.

Board members have discussed renaming the school after Filipino American labor leaders Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz, who were contemporaries of Cesar Chavez.

Those supporting the name change say it will represent Union City’s diversity and serve as a significant milestone in American history as it would be the first school named after Filipino Americans.

Kaisahan, a local social justice advocacy group, is among several community organizations advocating for the renaming of Alvarado Middle School. The group outlines their reasons for pushing for the name change in a post on their Facebook page.

Those against the name change have also held similar protests in recent weeks.

The school’s fate may be sealed at the April 16 school board meeting.

According to board members, a naming committee will provide up to three names for consideration during the meeting. However, the board can change their previous decision or delay the action if three or more members agree to do so.

John April 11, 2013 at 06:43 AM
read the comments on the FOR its pretty disturbing that I saw a former principal of Alvarado state that she admits its a waste of resources and the way they went about it was wrong...she still favor a change....... it goes to show you that name change is more important to spend money on than directly using the money for kids education cost.. Those FOR people say "diverse" but they really mean "ONLY FILIPINO" its a awful situation where it would be better served to focus on other things than renaming...all this effort for a name change and money spent is wasteful
Edward April 11, 2013 at 06:54 AM
With such a BAD school District record, Naming a School after two FAILED Labor leaders might just be the best thing to show just how "failed" the SCHOOL IS. It will also spawn Fights, Graphiti (like that happened to Saint Anne Church last year) and divide our city along Racial Lines. We will get more News media and free publicity and just think how afordable housing will become when home values drop to the "East Oakland" levels. Raise the Philipine Flag over AMS and pull down the "California Bear" and the "Stars and Stripes" because the "Spirit of Marcos" has arived in Union City....Dictatorship ..the 28% will dictate to the 72% because there will be no Vote on the issue.
Bob R April 13, 2013 at 06:33 AM
"Disregard the Surgery" ? Perhaps an accurate statement, because the heart of Alavarado Middle School is about to be removed. This school board (the Filipinos) are incredibly biased and are paying back those who voted for them. They have no concept of who the stakeholders are, how to hold multiple public hearings at different venues and times, and basically how to run the schools business. How on earth did these people get elected? Oh, they are Filipino which over and over again is all the qualifications needed for the ignorant 27% of the city. As someone said above they people for the change are all about diversity as long as it's their ethnicity that is recognized.
Lance Nishihira April 15, 2013 at 11:40 PM
SURVEY RESULTS. The School Site Council has conducted a survey and would like to share the results. Of the 201 respondents, 97% want the name to continue to be Alvarado Middle School. Here are the full survey results: https://sites.google.com/site/amsname/key-findings
Edward April 19, 2013 at 02:45 AM
Re-naming Schools after labor leaders, when the School District does not Honor labor in Contracts, it has with contractors, service providers and even with it's own teachers, like what happened to all the Music Teachers and Band Leaders, does not honor the persons they are naming the Schools after at all. What Larry Itliong. Philip Vera Cruz and Cesar Chavez all had in common was getting workers united to gain a fair share in the wealth of California dominated by Agriculture and Land Barons. Now that the School District is commited to naming their schools after these labor leaders, they need to step up and stop playing Games with Labor. Union City needs to be a UNION TOWN and New Haven Unified needs to do it's part and not just give "lip Sevice" to ethnic groups by saying they "Honor Labor" when they realy don't. Watch who gets the School building and modification contracts with that $29.2 Million they had bestowed on them. One of the first things the New Haven Unified School Board should do is to "Honor Labor" by signing a "Project Labor Agreement" (PLA) where they will get competative bidding only from union Signatory Contractors and suppliers. They get Guanteed Quality workmanship, Fair Bidding, Lowest Reasonable prices without having to go back and fix what "LOW BALL BIDDING" gets you. If you are brash enough to name two schools after labor leaders, in a town named Union City, you should be smart enough to sign a PLA with the Alameda County Building Trades.


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