Featured in THE BAD KIDS

Vonda Viland has led the Morongo Unified School District’s alternative program for at-risk students for the past five years, working with students who have been disenfranchised from the traditional school system. Approximately 90% of her student body lives below the poverty level with many struggling to deal with issues no child should have to face, including abuse, neglect, parenthood, depression, anxiety, and addiction. She and her staff have developed an individualized program where they work to educate the child, not just teach the curriculum. Living in such a remote area with extremely limited resources, she and her staff work hard to meet the educational, emotional, and physical needs of their students. Vonda’s presentations and workshops center around the new Sundance award-winning documentary film THE BAD KIDS, which features her educational approach and offers viewers a practical model for how public education can address and combat the crippling effects of poverty in the lives of American schoolchildren. ​ As a secondary English teacher for 16 years, Vonda received the Commitment to Excellence Award from the California Middle School Foundation and Partnership and was recognized as teacher of the year for the California League of Middle Schools Region 10. After earning her Master’s Degree in School Administration from Cal State, she has worked as a site administrator at the elementary, secondary, and continuation levels. During her tenure in the district, Vonda has served as several sites’ WASC coordinator and English Department Chairperson, an interdisciplinary team leader, a district English mentor, a peer coach, a BTSA provider, an AVID teacher, a GATE coordinator, and as the district’s grant writer. She has written and led one successful Distinguished School application and three successful Model School applications. Vonda has presented numerous staff development programs, including California Middle School Symposium trainings on portfolio development and integrated instruction and district trainings on rubric development and utilization with her presentations ‘The Good Things They Do’ and ‘The Power of Positive.’