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Superintendent's Update - August 12, 2022

From the Office of the Superintendent:

 

BOARD AGENDA

The Board of Education agenda calendar is tentative until officially posted. The calendar can be found HERE.

START OF SCHOOL

It was fun to see students getting their pictures taken in front of school this week. By the second day, it looked like we were in full swing! Our youngest students showed all the emotions one would expect. I saw a young girl cry in the morning because she did not want to leave her baby sister. I saw a young boy tell his dad that he was old enough to go onto the site alone and carry his own backpack. It is a journey, and EVERY stage is awesome.

BACK-TO-SCHOOL NIGHT

PAUSD Back-to-School Nights will be in person at all levels this year. Specific dates and times will be shared by your school principals.

On June 9, 2022, I contacted our Palo Alto Educators Association (PAEA) President, Teri Baldwin, to share that we may host virtual Back-to-School Nights. At that point in time, cases were growing and there was uncertainty about upcoming shifts in protocols. Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised protocols, including those pertaining to schools. I appreciate our partnership with Palo Alto Educators Association (PAEA) and understand there are valid concerns about COVID-19 related issues. We ask that our visiting families remain sensitive to these concerns and look for some suggestions from principals.

School sites have already held assemblies and hosted parent gatherings. Classrooms are in mid-year form and full of joy. We have also heard from our PTA that many families would prefer in-person events. This is especially true of elementary families who may have never had the opportunity to meet teachers in the past. We believe that consistency across the District is important. Since opinions were split, we used the default of in-person as a decision point.

Principals will provide more information soon. We appreciate our teachers and their commitment to our students and their families. As always, we ask that people avoid attending school or events if they are not feeling well.

PAUSD CHOW DOWN KICK-OFF EVENT - A CELEBRATION OF BUILDING UP OTHERS

On August 8, staff members from across PAUSD gathered at Gunn High School for our annual kick-off event. Chow Down had not occurred for the last two years due to the pandemic. The energy in the room was electric as we started our journey together to build up others.

Our new #Builders website can be found at pausd.org/builders. It contains the entire video of our kickoff, for staff members who missed it or interested community members. There is also a photo gallery and descriptions of those being celebrated throughout the year.

Staff can celebrate their peers at www.pausd.org/share. The site will be routinely updated. Honoring others does not have to occur on a special date or cycle. It is best when it is organic!

HIGH SCHOOLS HOST MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER TO SET TONE

We would like to thank our two high school principals for sharing motivational speaker, Mr. Timothy Alexander (TA) with our students. TA clearly reached our student bodies with some important messages. Throughout his presentation, TA stated that things do not have to be easy; they only have to be possible. He also asked our students if they are thermometers (measuring others) or thermostats (creating conditions).

Many Gunn and Paly students approached TA after his presentation. Feedback indicates that some students are carrying a lot of stress about this year. It was only the first week of school. I am concerned about our students and how they manage expectations and handle stress. Mental health is a team effort that requires the best out of our staff, families, and peers. It is one of our five District priority areas and one of the most complicated aspects of working in a "people" business. Please expect many updates on this topic throughout the year and reach out if assistance is ever required.

CROSSING GUARD RECRUITMENT

Many people do not know that crossing guards are not PAUSD employees. They are essential for our children and community but are currently understaffed. The message below was received from our partners at the Palo Alto Police Department:

Would you like to become a crossing guard, and help to ensure the safety of our children as they commute to and from school?

The City's crossing guard contractor, All City Management Services Inc. (ACMS), is actively recruiting new crossing guards! The job offers flexible schedules and the opportunity to earn $65 a day, plus the priceless opportunity to be routinely greeted with happy smiles and waves from kids and parents alike! This is a vital safety role and one that is especially important to the Palo Alto community.

For more information, or to apply online, visit the ACMS website at https://acmssafety.com/careers/ or contact the Palo Alto area supervisor, Rene Duran, at (650) 476-6485. Applicants must be at least 18 years old. Seniors are welcome to apply as well!

CONNECTING WITH PAUSD

For the latest news, updates, and highlights of what is happening throughout the District, visit us at www.pausd.org or check out our Twitter feeds at https://twitter.com/PaloAltoUnified and https://twitter.com/DonAustin_Sup. You do not have to be a member or join Twitter to view the posts.