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Superintendent's Update - April 22, 2022

BOARD OF EDUCATION AGENDA CALENDAR

The agenda calendar can be found HERE. The Board of Education Study Session for curriculum adoptions will be held May 4, at 6:30 p.m. The study session was scheduled to account for previous scheduling conflicts.

DISTRICT ART SHOW

Student artwork exhibitThe PAUSD art show was held last night at our Cubberley location. Hundreds of families attended to see performances and art displays from all levels. It has been a while since we have hosted large events. The energy and excitement were palpable. I would like to thank all of the people who made the event possible from the lessons leading to the pieces to their curation. It was a beautiful night.

While the art show was spectacular, it was not the only big event. Schools are back to hosting science fairs, performances, and other things that look more like 2019 than 2021. It has been nice!

SCHOOL CYCLES

I speak with our principals often about the natural cycles of schools. It is important that families and teachers also consider how things shift as we reach the point in the year with less than thirty days remaining. This is a common time for student behavior to take a dip. From my time working at middle schools, I can share that LOTS of things are happening that contribute to behavioral issues in the spring! High school students feel the end of the year, combined with the pressure of transitions beyond graduation, and high-stakes exams. It is equally important to acknowledge our staff is also tired at the end of a year. Interactions are processed as the cumulation of events over a year and may be greeted with less grace than in October.

May is never seen as an especially positive point in the school year. It is just a reality. I hope we can keep that in mind when interacting with people. The reaction may be more about the calendar than the event. Being mindful of this cyclical phenomenon is the first step in navigating relationships without doing harm. We have a lot of things to celebrate across PAUSD during the last 20+ days together. Let's finish strong!

EARLY LITERACY

This spring, the Elementary Principals' Learning Collaborative is reading and discussing Shifting the Balance. Through shared meaning-making, administrators deepen their insights into the complexities of teaching reading. This collective understanding enhances their knowledge when observing literacy instruction, providing feedback to teachers, and supporting our Every Student Reads Initiative within their school communities. We cultivate instructional leadership while addressing the intersectionality of early literacy, equity, and mental health. These focus goals center our work as leaders resulting in thriving school communities.

UNIVERSAL FREE SCHOOL MEALS PROGRAM IN 2022-23 SCHOOL YEAR

California has become the first state to pass a universal free school meals program for all public school students. Palo Alto Unified School District will provide two free meals (breakfast and lunch) during each school day to students requesting a meal, regardless of students' free or reduced-price meal eligibility starting in the 2022-23 school year.

Although all students may receive free meals without applying, we strongly encourage parents to apply as completion of these forms may bring significant additional funds to our schools, as well as, qualify students for individual benefits such as discounts and/or waivers of the college application fees, AP testing fees, internet services, summer programs, access to higher education scholarships, after-school club scholarships, holiday gifts, and many other learning and enrichment opportunities. You or your children do not have to be United States citizens to qualify. Apply online at paloalto.familyportal.cloud or return a completed application form (available at all school sites and at pausd.org in English and Spanish) to Food Services, 25 Churchill Ave., Palo Alto CA 94306.

PAUSD has been offering free meals to all students for the past two years regardless of their free or reduced-price meal eligibility because, due to COVID-19, in March 2020, USDA established a waiver to allow school districts to offer free meals to all students. However, that waiver will expire on June 30, 2022. Unfortunately, universal free meals will not start until the first day of the school year 2022-23. If your student(s) will be attending summer school, and are not presently on the free lunch program but they would like free meals during summer school, please submit an application for evaluation. These benefits are only good for the current school year, parents will need to submit a new application for the 2022-23 school year. Applications for the 2022-23 school year will be accepted after July 1, 2022.