Superintendent's Update - December 16, 2022
From the Office of the Superintendent:
BOARD AGENDA CALENDAR
The Board of Education agenda calendar can be found HERE.
PERFORMING ARTS AND THE HOLIDAY SEASON
I was recently asked if every school district had the same number of opportunities for students to perform as Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) has. The answer is no. The holiday season is always a fun time to see students sing, dance, act, and play instruments on stage. Students have music throughout elementary school and have access to amazing visual and performing arts activities. Some will find it a passion that continues into adulthood. At a minimum, every child has an opportunity to be on a stage at some point. Thank you to all of the staff who dedicate their time; starting with the joy that comes from the best instrument ever created…the recorder! Thank you to Partners in Education (PiE) for their support. Finally, thank you to every student who finds the courage to take the stage! Those are life skills!
STANFORD UNIVERSITY GROWTH AND PAUSD
As reported in local newspapers, Stanford University is taking the steps to expand their campus and add housing. Stanford believes new construction housing will qualify them for tax exemptions. This is important to PAUSD since our funding overwhelmingly comes from local taxes. The District and Stanford will meet to negotiate ways to mitigate the impact of adding unfunded students concentrated in a specific region of Palo Alto.
This is not the first time PAUSD is in negotiations with Stanford. Stanford ultimately withdrew their plans from consideration roughly four years ago. We learned quite a bit through the process. The impact to be mitigated is not related to recent stories in the media about Stanford purchasing existing homes in Palo Alto for faculty members and graduate students. For the sake of this process, we are only negotiating impacts created by new construction projects. The City of Palo Alto will also enter into negotiations with Stanford regarding the same potential expansion proposal.
PAUSD will honor its commitment to negotiate a fair deal to mitigate an increase of unfunded students in a way that serves our valued Stanford families and maintains our excellent school district. Stanford has a robust and polished public relations wing and has already begun pushing their information through social media and newspapers. I believe our parents and staff are more interested in hearing more about teaching and learning, so our future progress updates will be concise. It is our desire to negotiate in good faith without creating unnecessary drama and anxiety for our stakeholders. Ultimately, this is a math problem to be solved between two partners.
AD HOC COMMITTEE UPDATE
The District established eight ad hoc committees at the start of the school year. Each committee has defined charges to be completed through specific short-term tasks within a planned time period. Committees held 27 meetings this semester with consistent attendance from administrators, teachers, staff, students, and parents. Two out of eight ad hoc committees ended, and the remaining six committees are scheduled to end between February and April of next year. Routine reports continue to be submitted as part of our board agenda. Minutes for each ad hoc committee are available on our website on a rolling basis. As the semester is approaching an end, we would like to thank the 133 committee members and additional guest speakers who contributed their time and expertise to tackle complex charges through calibrated processes and diverse viewpoints.
CONTACT LETTERS SUSPENDED UNTIL 2023
The District is suspending contact letters until mid to late January 2023. Although vaccinated individuals tend to report milder COVID-19 related symptoms, different variants continue to have an impact across our region. PAUSD is still asking students, families, and staff to function as if there is daily exposure within their respective environments.
COVID-19 protocols will remain the same. Students with symptoms should stay home and test. If there is a positive case within a household, please have all members tested. Testing is being provided during winter break in the back parking area of the District Office and at Cubberley Community Center. Below are the dates and times for each location.
December 28, 29, and January 4, 5, and 6
25 Churchill Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306
8:00 am - 3:00 pm
Cubberley Community Center
4000 Middlefield Rd, Palo Alto, CA 94303
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Additional information can be found here.