The History of MIT
MIT was founded in 1999 by a group of visionary parents who wanted a multicultural, racially-inclusive school that believed that all students could go to college. The school was fully endorsed by the then VCUSD Board of Education as part of the “Vallejo Vision 2020” program which sought to bring more choices and pathways to Vallejo kids.
Starting a school from scratch is hard work, and the first years of MIT Academy were Spartan, to say the least. The first MIT “campus” was at the Baptist Church on Amador Avenue, which served as MIT’s home for two years, and housed the entire school population of 200 students. But the school grew steadily and soon outgrew its church digs and in 2002 negotiated to obtain two decrepit ball-fields in north Vallejo – the very site we now know as the home of MIT. But just as hard as starting a school is building one, and so launched a heroic effort to bring in portable classrooms from anywhere they were available. The overriding quality is they had to be immediately available, safe enough to put students in, and preferably cheap. So MIT went on a “shopping spree” and bought numerous portables that were made available by the military decommissioning during the 1990’s. Portables were brought in from Travis, Moffett Field, and even Mare Island – most for the grand amount of $1 each. Then a dedicated band of volunteers – including Lynne & Roger Vaughn, Dave Vogele, Howard Hoffmann, Gregg Goins, Leslie Derrico and others – worked countless hours to have them delivered, installed, and set up, along with installing pathways, electrical, and more. But the clock was ticking, and despite their best efforts the campus was not ready by September 2002, and so for 3 months the MIT student body attended school under the Solano Fairgrounds grandstands. But finally, in November, 2002, 500 students moved in to their present location at Positive Place.
Despite the Herculean effort of the volunteers, everyone understood that these facilities were temporary, and that MIT had much bigger plans for its future. But for many years MIT focused on its instructional program first, and allowed itself to grow slowly and steadily – until today its population has grown to 900, and it has become a nationally-recognized charter school leader. But the founders and MIT community never forgot the promise made to its parents, a promise that has been reiterated on many occasions – to create a permanent, state-of-the-art facility for the students of Vallejo. A big step came in 2012 when MIT Academy, in exchange for some unused property next to Loma Vista, obtained the “Everest Complex,” a set of four buildings on the west side of Positive Place. This humble addition grew significantly in the summer of 2016, when five new classrooms were added (despite VCUSD’s lawsuit to stop it!). And while they were still portable classrooms, these new rooms represented high quality structures that would allow the best instruction in science, foreign language, drama, and technology.
In the fall of 2016, MIT doubled down on the growth and the success of the Everest Complex by extending its lease on the property by 99 additional years, to the year 2115. This allowed the school to begin planning for the long-promised permanent school structure, and take a big step towards fulfilling a 20-year vision for the students of Vallejo. So now, if you visit the MIT campus today, we have a task for you – please put on your thinking cap and help us envision Phase 3 of the great MIT build-out as we begin planning for a truly permanent structure, a 50,000 square foot 2- or 3-story structure that will build on what we’ve done today and will serve Vallejo students for generations to come. We hope to have it in place by 2019, and we need your vision to help it become a reality! So thank you for being a true “friend of MIT,” and we formally invite you back in the fall of 2019 to help us cut our biggest ribbon ever!