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Superintendent's Update - April 15, 2022

BOARD OF EDUCATION AGENDA CALENDAR

The calendar should be viewed as tentative until agendas are officially posted. The calendar can be found HERE. Board meetings will return to fully in-person for staff and community participants. Meetings will be broadcast as usual and posted. Comments may always be submitted through email if in-person attendance is not possible.

ATTENDANCE LETTERS

Over spring break, attendance letters were sent home for the first time in our new system. It was a test on our end to see what worked and what needs tweaking. Since Healthy Attendance is one of our priority goals, it is important to have a system that notifies parents quickly and cleanly.

There are some coding issues internally that we are adjusting to make the notifications more impactful. This includes recalibrating some of the sensitivities that prompt letters. For example, an excused orthodontics appointment for two hours at an elementary school may be counted as an "absence" with our current coding. Everyone understands that orthodontics appointments occur where there is an opening. We also want to reiterate that we are working to improve healthy attendance. Students who are ill should stay home.

The threshold for the excessive excused absence letters to be sent out has been adjusted to 10 absences for letter 1, and 15 absences for letter 2. Therefore, fewer letters will be going out from this point forward. We appreciate the efforts to increase healthy attendance and also appreciate the feedback we received.

PAUSD PROMISE 2022-23

We are finalizing our website to include the five priority areas and additional areas of focus. The full version of our proposed PAUSD Promise (strategic plan) can be found HERE. We have revised some portions of the plan as an evolution of the original.

I had the opportunity to meet with several groups of students at our high schools to gather their thoughts about things that would improve their experiences. A couple themes were dominate in every setting. First, many expressed feelings that they are bombarded with words and actions that are harmful to their mental health, efficacy, and self-esteem. They had a desire to celebrate things globally and without judgement. They want people to invest in them as humans and to help them grow positively.

The second major issue raised by students was the desire for consistent grading and homework expectations across the district. Every group spent unsolicited time sharing their hope that we can better calibrate our practices between classes so the experience doesn't depend as heavily on the teacher you are assigned. They love and respect their teachers. They are simply asking that we have consistency in the areas that impact them the most (grading and homework).

The five priority goals are pasted below and will go to the next meeting of our Board of Education.

Serve and Celebrate Others

As I watched them tear a building down
A gang of men in a busy town
With a ho-heave-ho, and a lusty yell
They swung a beam and the side wall fell
I asked the foreman, "Are these men skilled,
And the men you'd hire if you wanted to build?"
He gave a laugh and said, "No, indeed,
Just common labor is all I need."
"I can easily wreck in a day or two,
What builders have taken years to do."
And I thought to myself, as I went my way
Which of these roles have I tried to play
Am I a builder who works with care,
Measuring life by rule and square?
Am I shaping my work to a well-made plan
Patiently doing the best I can,
Or am I a wrecker who walks to town
Content with the labor of tearing down?

Adapted from a poem, The Wreckers, by Franklin Benvegar

The staff and students of PAUSD will become a community of "builders" through investing in service and celebrations on behalf of others. We will positively impact peers, colleagues, and the broader community through human interaction and connections free of judgment and full of joy. Programs, groups, and individuals will be routinely celebrated for building people up through their actions, words, and kindness. Our shared commitment to celebrating our builders will allow for multiple layers of people to contribute at every level.

Key Strategies - Serve and Celebrate Others

  • Acknowledge and celebrate those who invest in others.
  • Commitment to building people up through positive interactions and assuming best intentions.
  • Encourage sites and organizations to use creative measures to model service and celebrate people for their contributions.
  • Reestablish volunteer opportunities on school sites.
  • Utilize the concepts of service and celebration of others as paths to improved mental wellness.

Mental Health and Wellness

We strive to provide social, emotional, and physical health needs of all students. Our goal is to cultivate positive, identity-safe school environments that promote high levels of connection, engagement and overall well-being throughout the school community.

Key Strategies - Mental Health and Wellness

Mental Health and Wellness Programming at PAUSD will be integrated into each tier of a multitiered system of supports that also incorporates other factors related to mental health through the comprehensive School-Based Mental Health (SBMH) Program. SBMH highlights the partnerships, focus areas, intended goals, scope of service, roles and responsibilities of providers, and uniform processes to address mental health and wellness Districtwide. The SBMH program focuses on building and/or strengthening 10 key important levers for an effective school-based mental health program.

  1. Uniform Processes and Procedures aligned with Board Policy
  2. Multidisciplinary Mental Health and Wellness Teams
  3. Strategic Partnerships
  4. Needs Assessment and Screening
  5. Multi-Tiered Framework for Prevention and Intervention
  6. Data Analysis and Progress Monitoring
  7. Student Outreach and Education
  8. Parent Education and Staff Training
  9. Program Evaluation
  10. Course Correction for Continuous Improvement

How will we measure progress? (Key Performance Indicators)

  • Establish a comprehensive School-Based Mental Health (SBMH) Program to expand existing in-house services.
  • Expand Tier 1 offerings through the universal screening process.
  • Provide Wellness Center spaces to all secondary sites.
  • Offer sustainable delivery models for direct mental health services.
  • Improve access to quality mental health support within the structure of the educational environment.
  • Increase community partnerships to expand programming to the wider community as a whole.
  • Administer homework surveys and evaluate outcomes to ensure alignment with Board Policy and Identify next steps.
  • Align and evaluate grading practices at each level across subject areas.

Early Literacy

Every Student Reads Initiative (ESRI) strives to reach the goal of ALL students reading at grade level by the end of third grade. Resources align with an "all in" approach to address early literacy. Students who enter the fourth grade at or above level are best prepared for future success. All students reading competently by fourth grade will change the trajectory of many students.

Key Strategies - Early Literacy

  • Create a scope and sequence of Orton-Gillingham (OG), Units of Study in Writing, and new reading curriculum to create a comprehensive structured literacy program for students in grades TK-5.
  • Designate and implement a universal screener in reading TK-5.
  • Implement newly adopted California standards-aligned reading instructional materials for elementary in the 2022-23 school year.
  • Continue to monitor, calibrate, and discuss ESRI progress through monthly districtwide elementary principal meetings and guided classroom observations.
  • Increase comprehensive and dynamic professional learning opportunities for all TK-5 educators.

How will we measure progress? (Key Performance Indicators)

  • Demonstrate a 5% increase in students meeting or exceeding end-of-year benchmarks in reading each year for the next three years beginning with the 2021-22 Benchmark Assessment System (BAS) administration, for K-5 grade Hispanic, African American, and Pacific Islander groups, and students with disabilities.
  • Demonstrate a 3% increase in the percentage of students scoring "Near or Above Standard" in reading at the end of 2021-22, a 4% increase at the end of 2022-23, and a 5% increase at the end of 2023-24 beginning with the 2021-22 SBAC administration, PAUSD's third-grade socio-economically disadvantaged (SED), Historically Underrepresented (HUR), English Learners (EL), and students with disabilities.
  • Demonstrate a 3% increase in the percentage of students scoring "Met or Exceeded Standard" in English Language Arts (ELA) at the end of 2021-22, a 4% increase at the end of 2022-23, and a 5% increase at the end of 2023-24 Beginning with the 2021-22 SBAC administration, PAUSD's third-grade SED, HUR, EL, and students with disabilities.

Equity and Excellence

Excellence shall become the norm for all regardless of background or demographics. Our schools shall embrace uniqueness, strengths, and challenges with support, understanding, expectations, and encouragement to succeed.

Key Strategies - Equity and Excellence

The Systemwide Integrated Framework for Transformation (SWIFT) is a process and strategic plan to enact institutional and structural change to advance educational equity in PAUSD and to support the district's prioritization of diversity, equity, inclusion and justice across all areas of the educational system. Key strategies are embedded in the comprehensive SWIFT plan.

How will we measure progress? (Key Performance Indicators)

  • Increase the percentage of students in each identified/identifiable group who meet/exceed standards on state and local assessments, pass classes with C or better, meet A-G eligibility requirements, graduate prepared for college and career, attend school regularly (95% of school days).
  • Increase the percentage of staff, students, and families in each identified/identifiable group who report a positive school environment, equitable treatment; and perceive a caring staff.
  • Calibrate grading and homework practices to provide consistent student experiences.
  • Reduce disproportionality for Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, Pacific Islander in School disciplinary removals, Special Education, Enrollment in Career Technical Education and Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment courses.
  • Increase educator and organizational capacity and accountability for equitable student outcomes through the development of a culturally responsive/antiracist mindset and implementation of culturally proficient practices.
  • Improve Tier 1 (Universal), 2 (Targeted) and 3 (Intensive) approaches to ensure a robust system to address academics, attendance, behavior, Social-Emotional Learning/Mental Health.

Healthy Attendance

Healthy Attendance is a way of clarifying we want everyone to attend when they are healthy and able to be with us safely.

Key Strategies - Healthy Attendance

  • Reiterate that students and staff members who feel ill should stay home.
  • Disseminate and provide support for the implementation of strategies outlined in Identifying and Responding to Student Engagement tiered-response protocol.
  • Utilize the PAUSD Attendance Flow Chart to systematically address attendance concerns.
  • Implement attendance interventions consistent with Identifying and Responding to Student Engagement and the PAUSD Attendance Flow Chart.
  • Conduct outreach to identified students and families to determine barriers to attendance.
  • Provide parent education on the importance of attendance.
  • Assign Student Success Coaches to students with significant attendance concerns (Tier 3) in addition to support provided by Family Engagement Specialist (FES) and the Student and Family Engagement Program (SaFE).

How will we measure progress? (Key Performance Indicators)

  • Increase consistency in implementation of Districtwide Attendance System (2A) by properly coding student absences for consistency and compliance, systematically leveraging PAUSD Attendance Flowchart at the school sites.
  • Increase of services for students and their families based on chronic absenteeism or habitual truancy needs at the school sites.
  • Improve attendance as a result of bi-weekly attendance reports via A2A and follow-through with students and parents regarding absenteeism patterns.
  • Continue to recognize students' attendance through positive incentives and reward systems.

ELEMENTARY BELL SCHEDULES

Our elementary school bell schedules are now ready for publication. Schedules are complicated and require coordination with food services, transportation, city traffic flow, and collective bargaining agreements. If you have questions about a specific site, please contact your principal.

  Start Time TK-End Time K BOY* Early Release Days - End Time M, T, Th, Fri. K-3 End Time M, T, Th, Fri. 4-5 End Time Wednesday End Time
Addison 8:15 am NA 12:00 pm 2:20 pm 2:45 pm 1:25 pm
Barron Park 8:15 am 11:15 am 12:00 pm 2:20 pm 2:45 pm 1:25 pm
Briones 8:15 am NA 12:00 pm 2:20 pm 2:45 pm 1:25 pm
Duveneck 8:05 am 11:05 am 11:50 am 2:10 pm 2:35 pm 1:15 pm
El Carmelo 8:25 am NA 12:10 pm 2:30 pm 2:55 pm 1:35 pm
Escondido 8:10 am NA 11:55 am 2:15 pm 2:40 pm 1:20 pm
Fairmeadow 8:15 am NA 12:00 pm 2:20 pm 2:45 pm 1:25 pm
Hoover 8:00 am NA 11:45 am 2:05 pm 2:30 pm 1:10 pm
Nixon 8:00 am NA 11:45 am 2:05 pm 2:30 pm 1:10 pm
Ohlone 8:15 am NA 12:00 pm 2:20 pm 2:45 pm 1:25 pm
Palo Verde 8:15 am 11:15 am 12:00 pm 2:20 pm 2:45 pm 1:25 pm
Walter Hays 8:25 am 11:35 am 12:10 pm 2:30 pm 2:55 pm 1:35 pm
Greendell -PK 8:30 am     12:30 (extended day either M/T or Th/F until 1:30 pm)    

*K BOY - Kindergarten beginning of the year

EARLY LITERACY Continuous professional learning to provide high-quality early literacy instruction occurs at our elementary school sites during grade-level and staff meetings facilitated by teachers, specialists, and principals. PAUSD Reading Specialists meet monthly to share their work with students, their collaboration with, and support of classroom teachers. These gatherings cultivate a shared understanding of high-leverage instructional practices that instill confidence in our students as their reading develops. This week our Reading Specialists discussed the unique aspects of assessing the reading of Multilingual Learners, considering their oral language use in English and how it impacts their reading. Reflected in our commitment to early literacy is the ongoing growth of our educators. Our Reading Specialists will share their collective work with their colleagues at their school sites, developing awareness across the district. In growing our readers, we continue to refine our practices and provide texts that interest, challenge and develop the vocabulary of our Multilingual Learners while they acquire English.

K-12 Youth Art Show

Thursday April 21 from 4:30-7:00 Opening Night

Open from 11am-5pm on April 23-24, April 30-May 1, and May 7

Map: Cubberley Community Center, I Building

4000 Middlefield Rd, Palo Alto, CA, 94303

Emerging: Creative Minds Persevere

PAUSD's art students, art teachers, and art programs have all persevered! This art show evidences our hearts and minds fully engaged in art making. We have all emerged from quarantine and distance learning to embrace in-person art making with absolute enthusiasm. The K-12 Youth Artwork reflects the creative thought, vision, skill, and commitment from a year unlike any other: the 2021-22 school year. PAUSD has helped students learn new skills in a variety of media, and focused on practices supporting equity within our content. Focus was also given to SEL experiences, with special emphasis on providing students with ongoing opportunities to explore their personal experiences as the basis for art making. A statement by the artist Ai Wei Wei speaks to our journey this year: "Life is art. Art is Life: I never separate it." Please join us for our opening night at the Cubberley Community Center, "I" Building to celebrate our student artists. There will also be special guest performances by a Gunn Senior Jazz Combo and the Paly Pop Acapella Groups FolkBeats & Vikapella.

WALK AND ROLL WEEK

PAUSD celebrated Walk and Roll week with bike safety events, bike repair clinics, and a pilot program on Sustainable Transportation with the Museum of Tomorrow at JLS and Gunn High School. Next week, multiple sites are honoring Earth Week. See here for a partial list of activities.