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Superintendent's Update - August 28, 2020

From the Office of the Superintendent:


Our first survey is available for parents and secondary students. The survey process will evolve over time and will narrow when necessary. This is our first attempt and expect to receive some information to inform future decisions about our program. The survey can be accessed HERE.

As previously mentioned, a rough draft agenda calendar is under development and may appear as soon as our next regular meeting. The lead time for items is sometimes confusing for people not familiar with the process. For context, an item appearing on our September 8 meeting would follow the sample timeline:

  • Agenda item is proposed prior to August 24
  • Item is written by staff and submitted by August 28
  • Staff team reviews all items for clarity and completeness on September 1
  • Item officially posts to website on September 4
  • Board meeting held on September 8

All meetings follow the same lead time and process.

At the last meeting of our Board of Education, the construction bid for Hoover Elementary School was rejected at the recommendation of staff. The bid was roughly 30% over budget and was rejected to reassess conditions at a later point in time. Hoover remains first in line for elementary construction projects. We anticipate evaluating all current and future elementary school projects in January or February.

I have asked our Director of Secondary Education, Kathie Laurence, and our two athletic directors to start putting together procedures for a return to athletic conditioning. Most of the procedures are outlined with current guidelines from the Public Health Department. Operationalizing the flow of students and coaches is important. As one of the first groups to return to our sites, we will expect our coaches and athletes to follow the rules and adhere to best practices.

The Public Health Department released guidelines for in-person instruction for special education and struggling students earlier this week. The new guidelines appear to create a path for PAUSD to bring back some students prior to the county removal from the "watch list" governing whole-scale reopening. According to the guidelines, schools can bring back up to 25% of the site population for prioritized contact with specific student groups. The guidelines currently state that cohorts may not exceed 14 students with no more than two supervising adults. PAUSD immediately raised concerns about the restrictions to the number of supervising adults. For example, our Extended School Year program for special education required 40 adults for 38 students. We are lobbying on behalf of students for a revision to the guidelines to allow for 1:1 assistants. We have made some progress and hope to lead a change that can positively impact students throughout California. Our team is working tirelessly to frame a proposal to allow some students back for instruction.


As we end our second week of this school year, students, teachers, and families are settling into the routines of being back at school. With a promise of improved academics, a focus on social emotional learning, and an increase of synchronous teaching, our staff is keeping the promise and it shows.

Teachers across the District are building relationships and a caring community with their new students. Even with adjustments to the virtual paradigm, Annual Back-to-School Nights (BTSN), Friday Dance Parties, Principal Coffees, and other community building activities are in full swing.

Principals and teachers are receiving positive feedback regarding the start of this school year. Take a look at the comments below:

Fantastic work! Today went relatively smoothly, based on the chatter on Facebook, WhatsApp, and other parent communication channels.
JLS Parent

I know we're only in the second week of distance learning, but I just wanted to reach out and say how great it's been from the get-go. It's apparent how much time and effort was put into the lesson plans and how well things are organized this year; from easy access to Zoom links and having the kids stay logged in, to having PE and music baked into the lesson plans so that these important subjects don't fall by the wayside.
El Carmelo Parent

Thank you and thank you to the entire Greene team for a well done BTSN! Very impressed with the energy and commitment and planning that went into this year. Ending the evening on a very optimistic note and grateful to you and your team.
Greene Middle School Parent

A bunch of other fourth graders live on our street and they reported that today's school was really fun! (They all have different teacher.) That's amazing! Just wanted you and the teachers to know.
Fairmeadow Parent

Just a quick note to say how much I appreciate the Paly Connect breakout sessions. What a fun idea and nice opportunity for the kids to meet up with friends online! My kids were arguing over who got to introduce our pug during the Pet Parade!
Paly Parent

Just wanted to say thank you so much to you and the team - this was a MASSIVELY helpful cheat sheet of zoom links, and we really appreciated the opportunity to "meet" each teacher and learn how they are approaching distance learning.
Fletcher Parent

I just wanted to say a BIG thank you for everything you are doing for these kids. Listening in on the conversation as I walk past ------'s room, it's easy to see how much heart you put into making this as comfortable as possible for the children. Like her brother, ----- draws energy from the teacher and tells us how she is really enjoying working with you.
Juana Briones Parent

Everyone is trying their best to overcome current difficulties. I really appreciate what teachers do to help our kids. I have to say the quality of distance learning so far is far beyond my expectations. I hope we can have a successful year together.
Fairmeadow Parent

Wow, thank you, thank you, thank you for the incredible support you've given our student to start her year off right. We've all been a little anxious about today, to be honest, but the detailed emails have been superb; so extraordinarily helpful and reassuring. On top of that, to get a phone call following up on her Zoom issue was seriously above and beyond any and all expectations, and much appreciated. Seriously, you guys blew our minds. Thank you so much for your hard work and thoughtfulness in making today a success. With MUCH appreciation!
JLS Parent

My fourth grader at Briones reported that this year's first day of school was her favorite first day of all time!
Juana Briones Parent

Thank you for all you are doing to make our students feel welcomed and connected this year at Gunn. I watched the welcome on the first day of school with my son tenth-grade son, and both of us felt that everything was going to be ok with school this year. He has been doing really well, enjoys his classes and his teachers and is, so far, having a good time.
Gunn Parent

My family is very appreciative of all your hard work since the beginning of the pandemic. You are always on top of things. Today's BTSN was a very smooth and efficient event. We are looking forward to a challenging and fulfilling school year!
Fletcher Parent

It was so nice to see you last Friday! Thank you for everything you do. I wanted to tell you that I've been very, very impressed with distance learning these past two days. I honestly didn't know what to expect, but things seem to be running quite smoothly. The energy I hear from the teachers is awesome.
Duveneck Parent

Thanks for setting everyone up to ease into the first week in a way that gets them familiar with the new schedule, but builds in some fun at the same time.
Paly Parent

At the start of each school year, work permits expire in order for the school district to determine which students are employed so that they can be monitored in maintaining a balanced work-school life, and that their job site uses safe practices. (i.e., having at least two employees close the store at the end of the workday.) For additional oversight, a student is encouraged to enroll in the Work Exploratory Experience Program (WEEP). WEEP not only offers students a way to earn credit for working during the school year, but also provides guidance from the California Department of Education (CDE) on best practices of employment, so students are knowledgeable about their rights as employees. We appreciate PAUSD industry partners for being flexible, providing virtual internship opportunities for our students, and taking extra time to follow proper protocols.

The California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office (CCCCO), in partnership with the CDE, announced annual funding to implement a regional technical assistance structure to assist teachers and industry partners in implementing high-quality CTE programs. More information can be found on the CCCCO website. PAUSD is hosting the K12 Pathway Developer for the Foothill-DeAnza Community College District, working closely with Mountain View Los Altos High School District (MVLA) and Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE). The K12 Pathway Developer acts as a point of contact for and work with high school and community college Career & Technical Education (CTE) programs and various stakeholders, as well as provides technical assistance to ensure sequential CTE courses align with regional post-secondary pathways. Leveraging this position, the Innovation & Agility Department, in partnership with Foothill, hosted five registration and information sessions for Dual Enrollment throughout the summer.


PAUSD COVID-19 Safety Workgroup continues to meet weekly to identify problems/opportunities, evaluate, and compare reopening safety measures and protocols. Our top priority for every meeting is to keep students' and staff's safety at the center of focus and decision-making. By adhering to the Santa Clara County Social Distancing Protocol, we have been able to strategically prioritize the safety of our PAUSD community. Following the county guidance, the District is in compliance with most recently updated Social Distancing Protocol.COVID-19 safety efforts were highlighted in a detailed staff presentation at the August 25 Board Meeting, and can be reviewed here.

Our 1,700 certificated and classified PAUSD employees were excited to start the 2020-21 school year. Though it was a different opening than we are used to, our staff is committed to serving our students. We are appreciative of their hard work and commitment! A total of 32 new teachers joined our District this August. Our certificated teachers completed a 12-hour professional development course titled Modern Pedagogiesto prepare them to maximize learning opportunities in a distance environment.

During the online District kickoff event, we honored classified and certificated employees who have completed 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, and 50 years of service with PAUSD. There is a total of 197 employees hitting a "Years of Service" milestone, combined, they have served PAUSD a total of 3,435 years! The individual and collective impact is significant, and we extend our appreciation. Directors of Human Resources, Lisa Hickey and Anne Le, presented an update to the Board of Education on Tuesday, August 25. You can view the presentation here.


August is traditionally a busy month for the technology support team, especially in the current distance learning conditions. Our team is working hard to support students and parents at home and staff that are both on school campuses as well as teaching/working from home.

Help us help you: We understand urgent requests, but please submit requests only once. Multiple requests in different ways slows down our ability to assist you if we are spending time removing duplicate requests.

Below is chart of support requests made by week over the past couple months.

Number of support requests by the week (chart)


There are amazing things happening every day in our schools. We do our best to find and showcase them as often as we can. We could use some assistance with this, so we welcome you to "Share Your Joy" with us via Let's Talk!

Stories, photos, and events submitted to us will be shared with our followers, our teachers and staff, our students, and the community.

We look forward to seeing your submissions!