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Superintendent's Update - September 2, 2022

From the Office of the Superintendent:

BOARD OF EDUCATION AGENDA CALENDAR 

Please find the tentative agenda calendar HERE.   

HIGH SCHOOL BACK-TO-SCHOOL NIGHTS 

Thank you to the staff at both high schools for putting together an excellent Back-to-School Night event. It was nice to see so many parents in attendance at both schools. We are off to a solid start! 

BUILDERS 

PAUSD continues to honor and celebrate our “builders”, who invest in others and lead from every seat in our organization. You can see some of our recipients to date HERE.   

EQUITY AND EXCELLENCE 

One of our five PAUSD Promise priority goals is Equity and Excellence. The information below is our guide to our work in this area. We have seen significant improvements in the areas of Early Literacy and Healthy Attendance (also priority goals) due to intense focus and effort. We are seeing evidence that areas where the school district has historically struggled, are now making progress at unprecedented rates. There is no finish line for this important work. We are not planting a “victory flag” just yet. Regardless, we have some things worth celebrating and we appreciate the efforts that improved student outcomes.  

FROM THE PAUSD PROMISE 

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

KEY STRATEGIES 

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

MEASURING PROGRESS THROUGH 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 a 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, and 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) teaching approaches to ensure a robust system to address academics, attendance, behavior, social-emotional learning/mental health. 

EQUITY AND EXCELLENCE - MENSTRUAL EQUITY FOR ALL ACT OF 2021 

PAUSD is launching efforts to increase direct access to free menstrual products for all students, in compliance with the Menstrual Equity for All Act of 2021, AB 367. The Act requires all public schools serving students in grades 6 through 12, to stock school restrooms with an adequate supply of free menstrual products, as defined, available and accessible, free of cost, in all women's restrooms and all-gender restrooms, and in at least one men's restroom, at all times.  

We have experienced some increased vandalism in the past when free products were distributed in our restrooms. Please have a conversation with your children about the purpose of the products and that vandalism is a serious matter. We want to serve students at the highest level without creating avoidable issues for custodians and plumbers.   

PALO ALTO ADULT SCHOOL (PAAS) CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION 

Join us in celebrating 100 years of the Palo Alto Adult School! Enjoy delicious food from local food trucks, meet with our teachers and see class projects, check out the latest innovations in electric cars, and listen to our student musicians perform. Kid activities will be provided, as well as more than $500 in prizes from sponsors! More information can be found HERE. 

HEALTHY ATTENDANCE - A PARENT AND SCHOOL PARTNERSHIP 

All schools at PAUSD are very excited to welcome all students to a new school year filled with opportunities to learn and engage! Every day a student is absent is a lost opportunity for learning. Research shows that students who consistently miss school are at risk of lower academic achievement, failure, and even dropping out of school altogether. Too many absences can not only affect achievement for the absent student but also disrupt learning for the entire class. Because attendance is so important, and in response to our commitment to improve attendance, PAUSD launched Attention to Attendance (A2A) to keep parents notified, provide information and resources, and bring awareness to the issue of chronic absenteeism. If students are healthy enough to attend school, we need the help of PAUSD parents to get them there every day, on time. As always, parents are expected to keep their children at home if they are ill. 

Please visit Attendance Works to find strategies and resources to address chronic absences. 

AD HOC COMMITTEE UPDATE 

The Ad Hoc Committee Milestone Checklist was created using various frameworks and business models, and implementing an iterative feedback process involving the Leadership Team. Adapting the Promise Goal Toolkit, each committee lead was provided a project management tool, incorporating the milestones and relevant Board Policy and Ed Codes. This systemization and alignment will guide the ad hoc committee process. Using agile principles, the ad hoc committee leads developed a timeline and scope and sequence for the charge. Application for community, staff, and student involvement was created to promote inclusive participation, as needed, and membership for all committees is being finalized. To bring efficiency and promote alignment, services provided by staff and stakeholders are being defined. For more information, please visit the Short-Term Ad Hoc Committee web page. 

 

STUDENT NUTRITION SERVICES RECEIVES A KITCHEN INFRASTRUCTURE EQUIPTMENT AND TRAINING GRANT 

Student Nutrition Services was awarded a Kitchen Infrastructure Equipment and Training Grant for the 2022-23 school year for developing scratch-cooked entrees and staff training. On August 22, 2022, staff trained with local Chef Laura Stec from Laura Stec Cuisine. Chef Laura led staff in an Iron Chef-style scratch cooking event, featuring 30 new entrees, which included plant-based, vegetarian, and meat entrees. Staff prepared the entrees from scratch and presented them in the packaging that PAUSD students would receive. Each entree was tasted, ranked, and critiqued by staff. The top 10 entrees are: Chicken Pesto Sandwich; Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry; Black Bean and Corn Salad; Quinoa Mango Salad; Chicken Salad Wrap with Fruit; Tofu Lo Mein; Potato Ragda Bowl; Lentil Crumble Nachos; Black Bean Empanadas; and Street Tacos. 

Staff are planning to present these entrees to students and parents for tasting on October 10, 2022, during PAUSD’s Annual Tasting Day, the first since the pandemic. More details will follow in the coming weeks.