Mobile/Tablet Menu

Desktop Menu

Search Container

Superintendent's Update - January 19, 2024

Superintendent's Update - January 19, 2024

From the Office of the Superintendent .  .  .

Board Agenda Calendar

View Calendar of Board Items 2023-24

Superintendent Austin’s Message    


In my role as Superintendent of Schools, I have the privilege of observing the daily happenings across our campuses. It’s always inspiring to witness students demonstrate  resilience and adaptability; qualities that are essential in today’s world. A recent experience at one of our elementary schools particularly stands out to me. 

During a recess break, I observed a group of children engaged in a game of Four Square. Among  them was a young girl who, quite frankly, was consistently losing. However, what caught my attention was not her performance in the game, but her unwavering spirit. Each time she lost, she rejoined the line with a beaming smile, embodying joy and perseverance. It was  heartwarming to see her eventually succeed, even if it was just a small victory of keeping the ball in play!

That moment led me to reflect on the nature of resilience. Why do some students persist in the face of challenges while others may not? Is her resilience on the playground reflective of her attitude in the classroom? These questions highlight the importance of resilience, not just in games, but in life’s broader spectrum.

In Palo Alto Unified School District, we constantly seek ways to nurture this vital attribute in our  students. While the path to fostering resilience is not always clear, we are exploring various avenues. Our Social Emotional Learning (SEL) initiatives have shown promise, as have our  efforts in integrating SEL principles into physical education and recess activities, which we refer to as Productive Play. These efforts are part of a larger journey, one that is undoubtedly challenging, but incredibly rewarding. It’s a journey we are committed to, understanding its value in shaping well-rounded, capable individuals ready to face the world’s challenges. 

Even one child’s positive, undaunted outlook gives testament to the importance of resilience and adaptability in our students’ lives. I hope we can find ways to identify and celebrate these efforts!

Ethnic Studies Course – Reminder

The second community input session and overview of progress being made in the Ethnic Studies course curriculum development is scheduled for  Tuesday, January 30, 2024, from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. 

Ethnic Studies will be a new graduation requirement for the class of 2029, beginning with the 9th-grade class of 2025-26. Our goal is to provide a meaningful, albeit brief, exploration into the diverse histories and experiences of various ethnic groups, calibrated to be realistic and impactful within its scope.

Middle College High School – Information Sessions

Please save a date for information sessions about PAUSD Middle College High School. 

January 30, 2024

 7:00pm – 8:00pm
Join Meeting via Google Meet

February 1, 2024

9:00am – 10:00am
Join Meeting via Google Meet

February 6, 2024

10:00am – 11:00am
Join Meeting via Google Meet

February 8, 2024

11:00am – 11:00am
Join Meeting via Google Meet


Career–Themed Pathways Open House (Rain or Shine!)

Friday, January 19, 2024 – 3:30pm

PAUSD offers over 100 elective courses in Career Technical Education supporting pathways.

Courses include: 

  • Arts 

  • Media and Entertainment

  • Business and Finance

  • Education and Child Development

  • Engineering and Architecture

  • Fashion and Interior Design

  • Health Science and Medical Technology

  • Hospitality, Tourism, and Recreation/Culinary Science

  • Information and Communication Technologies

  • Transportation/Automotive Technology

All families are invited to explore the 2024 Career-Themed Pathways Open House, meet industry partners, and learn about Middle College and Dual Enrollment at the Industry Expo. Enjoy light refreshments and swag (while supplies last)!

2024 Career-Themed Pathways Open House

January 19, 2024


Palo Alto High School – Media Arts Center (MAC)

50 Embarcadero Road

Palo Alto, CA 94301



Institutional Review Board (IRB) 

Institutional Review Board (IRB)  representatives met this week to evaluate staff and students’ research proposals for any risk of psychological, physical, legal, social, or economic harm, or unethical practices. Forty-eight proposals were reviewed during this spring review, covering Advanced Authentic Research (AAR) proposals, as well as proposals sponsored by outside research institutions. Researchers studying human or animal subjects  to share outside of the classroom must submit their project proposals to the IRB for approval ( BP 6162.8). 

Early Literacy & Equity

Nigerian-born PAUSD parent and author Seina Wedlick began a twelve-school "book tour" this week, with presentations at Fairmeadow and Walter Hays. Seina shared her book, Naming Ceremony (2023, Abrams Books), with K-2 students and walked them through her writing process. 

The book describes a West African custom in which family and friends give a new baby various names that double as a wish for the baby (e.g.,  Rubik, for intelligence). Teacher Librarians Jen Ford (Walter Hays) and Rusty Tooley (Fairmeadow) reported that students asked many questions in their eagerness to learn about this tradition!

Seina will continue presentations at PAUSD elementary schools during February and March, providing all primary students with the opportunity to engage with the author, learn about her writing craft, ask questions about this custom, and connect the naming ceremony practice to their own family's unique traditions.


PAUSD Linktree