One of the most important and fulfilling parts of being educators is the opportunity to work with parents on the social/emotional development of our students. To align with District focused goals to improve student connectedness and strengthen support systems for students, PAUSD is working in conjunction with Project Cornerstone a county non-profit organization helping communities build asset rich environments for the youth. The 41 Developmental Assets model provides a framework for building resiliency and other positive character traits amongst youth. This effort is in partnership with Project Safety Net and community agencies for a common vision and language for what youth and teens need to thrive.

Focus Goals

Academic Excellence and Learning

  • Improve student connectedness and strengthen support systems for student social, emotional, physical health
  • Encourage site-developed approaches to improve student connectedness
  • Continue and strengthen the relationship with Project Safety Net Task Force
  • Identify strategic opportunities through Project Cornerstone survey results
  • Develop a multi-year systematic approach to these complicated issues

For more information on Student Connectedness, please contact Brenda Carrillo, Student Services Director, at or 650-329-3769

California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS)

Palo Alto Unified School District administers the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) every other year at grades 5, 7, 9 and 11. The CHKS is the largest statewide survey of resiliency, protective factors, and at risk behaviors in the nation and has led to a better understanding of the relationship between students' health behaviors and academic performance. The CHKS is acknowledged as a critical component of school improvement efforts to help guide the selection and development of effective health and prevention programs. For more information visit CHKS.

Palo Alto Unified School District utilizes CHKS to inform policies, practices and programs at grades 5, 7, 9 and 11. The District and community are committed to continuing efforts to support student health and safety at all levels. District and school reports are included below.

Palo Alto Reality Check Survey (PARCS)

The Palo Alto Reality Check (PARC) middle school survey is administered in grades 6th-8th on a yearly basis.  School and health related behaviors experiences and attitudes are examined.  The PARC survey focuses on student reports and perceptions of what is typical behavior among their peers related to bullying and drug and alcohol use.  The survey is based on questions found in earlier surveys (MOST of US Youth Survey) as well as current surveys (California Healthy Kids Survey).

Palo Alto School District has been administering the PARC survey for the last six years.  The survey is generally administered in early fall (October/November). Data results are utilized to guide site based efforts, district initiatives and student service planning.  Results of the 2014-15 PARC survey can be found below.


Project Safety Net

Project Safety Net is a community-based organization with a mission to develop and implement an effective, comprehensive, community-based mental health plan for overall youth well being in Palo Alto.

The plan includes education, prevention and intervention strategies that together provide a safety net for youth and teens in Palo Alto and defines our community’s teen suicide prevention efforts. Palo Alto Unified School Districts goals of improving student connectedness and strengthening support systems for student social, emotional, and physical health are aligned with PSN.

Through education, prevention and intervention strategies, and a strong partnership, PAUSD, PSN, and the larger community work to provide a safety net for youth and teens in Palo Alto.

Project Cornerstone 41 Development Assets Initiative

Developmental Assets are defined as the positive values, relationships and experiences that help youth and teens succeed and thrive. The Developmental Assets framework identifies 41 essential elements for supporting the health, resiliency, and overall well-being of youth within their communities. Research shows a significant correlation between higher number of assets and positive indicators, such as school performance and resiliency, and lower numbers of assets and increased risk-taking behaviors such as drug and alcohol use. The framework has been adopted by the Palo Alto Unified School District, the City, YMCA, Youth Community Services and many other youth-serving agencies. You can find more information about the Developmental Assets at Project Cornerstone

The Developmental Assets provide a common vision and language for youth and teen well-being. Research done by the Search Institute has confirmed that the more of these assets kids have, the better they do in school and life. But kids cannot develop the assets on their own; many of these relationships and experiences depend on interactions and opportunities in the community surrounding our youth.