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Superintendent's Update - April 19, 2024

Superintendent's Update - April 19, 2024

From the Office of the Superintendent .  .  .

Board Agenda Calendar

View Calendar of Board Items 2023-24

Superintendent Austin’s Message . . .

My youngest daughter is completing her student teaching in art. Her assignment was to a large high school in Southern California. As you would imagine, she calls often to share the highs and lows. 

On one hand, her school is very different from our schools. On the other hand, some parts of high schools are universal. It is nearing the end of the year and student behavior is not at an all-time high anywhere. Frustrations on all fronts build up throughout the year and start to boil over. It is a common cycle, but it’s easy to feel like it’s happening for the first time . . . every year.

We are less than 30 days from promotions and graduations. This is a good time to give everyone as much grace as possible and find opportunities to celebrate others. As a former high school principal, I didn’t look forward to awards banquets. As fun as some aspects were, there were often times when the selection of awards became controversial or polarizing. Why did  that person get that  award? Why didn’t I get the lead in the last show?

The best banquets we had during my principal years were potluck events on campus. The stakes were lower. There is less tension when dinner consists of Sloppy Joes, pizza, a six-foot sandwich, and sodas in a barrel with ice. We are better when success is measured by our experiences, growth, and time spent with friends. Simple usually wins out.

I love the depth and breadth of experiences PAUSD students have. There are so many opportunities, that people can easily lose track of the good stuff. If we want to celebrate the good in things, there are more examples here than anywhere else I’ve seen. A colleague once told me that I sometimes over-select on the negative. I had to think about that one. She was, as usual, correct. It’s easy to fixate on the thing that bothers us. It may be a gap between potential and an outcome. It may be an interaction with a person. It could be a lot of things. As she reminded me, those are also the things we’ll all forget first over time.

Heading to the finish line this year, I hope we can spend more time reflecting on the moments that make us smile. Last night, a friend sent me pictures of her family when they were just little kids. It was impossible not to smile and think about my own kids when they were young. I thought about my own dad coming home from working on the freeway each day and grabbing his glove to play catch before he even changed his dirty shirt. I thought about sitting in the stands and watching my three kids play volleyball, sing their first solo, play an instrument in the band, and walk across a stage.

Now is a perfect time to remember, “Life is good!”

Nutrition Services Receives Healthy Meals Incentives (HMI) Recognition for “Innovation in the Preparation of School Meals.” 

Action for Healthy Kids (AFHK) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) honored PAUSD Nutrition Services for their dedication to nourishing students through innovative school meals and nutrition education. Thus far, PAUSD is  the only school district in CA that has received this award.

Congratulations are indeed merited for this achievement and acknowledgement!

Administrator of USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, Cindy Long, stated: “One of America’s best opportunities to improve child health is through supporting schools in providing tasty, nutritious meals. This Recognition Award highlights the remarkable achievements PAUSD has made in offering healthy meals that students enjoy. We look forward to PAUSD sharing best practices to help other schools follow in their footsteps.” Long added that, each day, USDA school meal programs reach around 30 million children from all communities and backgrounds across the country.

Healthy school meals are an essential part of the school environment and a proven tool for improving a child’s health, growth, development, and educational outcomes. Carolyn Chow, Chief Busness Officer, commented: “ I couldn't be more proud of the Child Nutrition team for their hard work and dedication to serving our students!  Alva Spence, Denise Boggs, Melanie Gomez, Justin Jatiram, and the entire team are continuously striving to improve the student meal experience and the quality of offerings. Their most recent undertaking has been the shift to scratch cooking. While this has been a great accomplishment for the department, the staff collects ongoing student input to ensure that the meals being served are also being enjoyed and consumed. Feedback from students has led the team to include more plant based meals and more ethnic options. Everyone wins when students are happy and their nutritional needs are being met.”

Mark Your Calendar!

  • April 19, 20, & 21 – Shakespeare’s Hamlet
  • April 21 – YCS Celebration & Community Impact Exhibit
  • April 27- May 19 –  PAUSD K-12 Youth Art Show

Shakespeare’s Hamlet like you’ve never seen it before!

Commanded by his father’s ghost, Prince Hamlet must seek vengeance against his uncle, Claudius. As Hamlet pursues revenge, he must balance his inner turmoil and grief with the desire to fight for his kingdom and complete this quest, all the while dealing with courtiers who are similarly concealing their true selves, and citizens who are losing patience with the gap between the royal family’s promises and the dangerous reality they all find themselves in. This production walks the line between external reality and the surreal mentality of its characters, presenting some of Shakespeare’s most famous lines and characters with a fresh and engaging perspective.

The show runs through Sunday, April 21. For tickets, visit the Paly Theater web site.

YCS – Community Impact Exhibit

Join this fun and free event to support youth who support the community!

Sunday, April 21, 2024 @ 3:00pm

Mitchell Park Community Center
3700 Middlefield Rd, Palo Alto, CA 94303

YCS serves youth  and educators by promoting the ethic of service, strengthening  youth leadership, building community,  and enhancing education. Activities are aligned with national quality standards for service  learning instructional strategies,  including: 1) investigation and research, 2) planning and preparation through youth voice and community partnerships, 3) meaningful and active service,, 4) reflection and revision,,5) demonstration and celebration.

Register (or just drop by) to elevate and celebrate local youth’s voice, and applaud them on all their service accomplishments!

Please Register

2024 Annual K-12 Youth Art Show! – April 27 - May 19, 2024

Symbiosis: Our Stories of Identity, Culture, and Community

The Annual K-12 Youth Art Show opens at the Palo Alto Art Center (PAAC) on Saturday, April 27. The theme,  Symbiosis: Our Stories of Identity, Culture, and Community, celebrates the diversity and interconnectedness of our community, inviting viewers to explore the rich tapestry of human experience through the eyes of over 500 young artists. Showcasing the beauty and complexity of symbiotic relationships, it celebrates the ways in which different elements come together to create something greater than the sum of their parts. 

In concert with PAAC’s recent exhibitions, exploring the intersections of identity, community, and culture, Symbiosis illuminates threads that unite us all. Student artists offer glimpses into their personal reflections, revealing connections between self-discovery, creativity, belonging, and culture, culminating in a celebration of shared experiences. We are very proud of the creativity of students and the dedication of art teachers, and thankful for the ongoing support we receive from Partners in Education (PiE) for Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) programs.

PAUSD Youth Art Opening Reception
Wednesday, May 1, 2024, from 4:30-7:00 pm
Palo Alto Art Center
1313 Newell Road
Palo Alto, CA 94303

Live Performances 

  • 5:20pm – Palo Alto Choirs
  • 6:00pm – Gunn Jazz Bands

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