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Superintendent's Update - August 19, 2022

From the Office of the Superintendent:

BOARD AGENDA 
The board agenda calendar can be found HERE

FIRST FULL WEEK OF SCHOOL 

I would like to thank our teachers for putting on a tremendous week of Back-to-School events for our families. Thank you to our families for attending and having fun with us. Overall, this was a very smooth start to the school year, with plenty of reasons to be optimistic! 

CITY RAIL PROJECT 

PAUSD has been in consistent contact with the City of Palo Alto regarding the proposed rail project. Specifically, we have expressed concern about proposals on Churchill Ave. which would impact our bussing and maintenance vehicles, entry and exit at Palo Alto High School (Paly) and diverting traffic to Embarcadero Rd. 

Chief Business Officer Carolyn Chow, and I met with City staff on August 18, 2022, to continue the conversation and discuss progress. City staff shared that our busses will be able to make left and right turns on and off Alma St. Through traffic across Alma St. to Churchill Ave. will be closed if the above proposal is selected by City Council. The proposed underpass would accept left and right turns from Alma St. heading toward El Camino Ave. 

We encourage families to look at the proposals through the lenses of traffic, safety, and practical impacts. City Council and the Rail Committee welcome your feedback. Information on how to share and complete plans, can be found HERE

CITY COUNCIL DISCUSSION REGARDING CUBBERLEY 

PAUSD staff is aware of an article that came out this week regarding recommendations to the City Council for the use of Cubberley. The article gained attention since Cubberley is now a school site with many students. We reached out to the City to better understand their process, especially since one of the facilities mentioned (locker rooms/showers) is owned by PAUSD. They provided the statement below: 

On Monday the Palo Alto City Council is considering a recommendation from the Planning and Transportation Commission on a variety of goals and policies as part of the City’s Housing Element update. This eight-year (2023-2031) planning document includes several programs related to housing preservation and production, including affordable housing, housing diversity and special needs, and homelessness. As you may have read in the Daily Post yesterday, one of the nearly 90 implementing objectives contained in the draft policy document references the City-leased portion of the Cubberley Community Center and includes a recommendation that the City Council consider expansion of the City’s Safe Parking program and supervised access to City facilities, such as the Center’s locker rooms. This and other areas of the plan are for Council consideration and community input will help inform the Council as they consider the recommendations outlined in the plan. Implementation of this objective would include future public hearings before the City Council. The community can share input on Monday at the meeting in person or via Zoom or email the Council at city.council@cityofpaloalto.org. For the agenda materials go to www.cityofpaloalto.org/councilagendas and click on the August 22 packet. 

UNIVERSAL FREE SCHOOL MEALS UPDATE 

California has become the first state to pass a universal free school meals program for all public school students. Starting this school year, PAUSD is providing breakfast and lunch during each school day to students requesting a meal, regardless of Free or Reduced-Price Meal (FRPM) eligibility. 

Nutrition Services staff started fast out of the gate with meal counts for our first full week as compared to last year's counts. Breakfast meal counts are at 8,471, whereas 2021-22 breakfast meal counts were at 3,422. Lunch meal counts are at 15,108, whereas 2021-22 lunch meal counts were at 12,134. 

Staff were expecting a large increase in breakfast meal counts since not all school sites offered breakfasts last year. However, we were expecting lunch meal counts to be flat since all sites offered lunch meals at no charge. If this trend holds, we could see a growth of over 100,000 lunches this school year. Staff are working on ways to increase the speed of service and are adjusting the process at each of the sites to help them handle the increased volume of meal counts. 

BENCHMARK AND MORE PROFESSIONAL LEARNING DAY FOR ELEMENTARY 

This coming Monday, August 22, is the first Professional Learning Day for the 2022-23 school year and will focus on our new reading curriculum. Elementary teachers will be engaged in a variety of continued professional development on the teaching of reading with trainers from our partners at Benchmark Advanced/Adelante Education. These sessions have been designed with every teacher’s specific role in mind. Providing such rich and differentiated professional learning experience will directly support the diverse needs of our students. 

Approximately one-third of our elementary teachers attended a two-day training in the summer. These teachers were asked to suggest a follow-up training they would like to attend this fall. The following are the three top choices that will be offered to the group to choose to attend. 

1. Exploring Small Group Lessons and Supporting Reading Mini Lessons 

2. Using Benchmark Universe and Using e-Assessments 

3. Integrated English Language Development Support and Effective Vocabulary Instruction 

General education teachers who did not attend the summer training will attend the initial Benchmark Advance Implementation Training that was offered in the summer. 

English Language Arts (ELA) Pilot and Adoption Committee teachers will attend a special training designed specifically for the teachers who served on the committee last year. 

English Learner Specialists will attend the Advancing Language Learning and Hello session in which they will become familiarized with the designated English language development curriculum which aligns with the new Benchmark reading curriculum being implemented in elementary classrooms. 

Reading Specialists and mild to moderate credentialed Education Specialists will attend Advance All and Phonics Intervention sessions which will introduce the supplemental supporting curriculum for students needing specialized reading instruction. 

Our Teacher Librarians will attend the Reflective and Inclusive Libraries Through Identity Excavation, Text Selection, Text Sets, and Instructional Practices. 

Transitional Kindergarten teachers will attend a session on TK Literacy Development. 

PROFESSIONAL LEARNING DAY FOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS 

All middle school teachers from JLS, Greene, and Fletcher will be at Fletcher Middle School to learn from Myron Dueck. 

Paly and Gunn high school will be conducting breakout sessions focusing on equity and assessment, multi-tiered supports of support, and late-work policies. 

Our counselors and psychologists will participate in Section 504 overview, legal updates, meeting facilitation, conflict resolution, and note taking. 


BACK-TO-SCHOOL NIGHT SCHEDULE

Ellen Fletcher 

August 17, 2022 

5:45 pm-7:45 pm 

Frank S. Greene Jr. 

August 24, 2022 

5:45 pm-7:40 pm 

Jane Lathrop Stanford 

August 24, 2022 

6:00 pm-8:15 pm 

Henry M. Gunn 

September 1, 2022 

6:00 pm-9:00 pm 

Palo Alto 

September 1, 2022 

6:00 pm-9:00 pm 


ADVANCED AUTHENTIC RESEARCH (AAR) NEEDS MENTORS FOR 2022-23! 

Do you want to get involved with supporting our high school students? 

We need mentors in a wide array of topics including Arts, Business, Science, Medicine, Sports, and more! 

AAR allows high school students in grades 10-12 to create their own capstone project. Students have opportunities to explore and conduct original research in a topic of their choosing in a supportive, personalized environment. The individualized support and content expertise/guidance that our volunteer mentors provide helps make this possible. If you have any questions, please contact cce@pausd.org