Superintendent's Update - January 20, 2023
From the Office of the Superintendent:
BOARD AGENDA CALENDAR
The agenda calendar can be found HERE.
TOPICS ON THE HORIZON
Although it is only January, some energy is shifting to plans for next year and beyond. Some topics will begin with staff discussions and others will work through the committee process. Ad hoc committees have worked well to generate and vet ideas. All current and past ad hoc committees can be found HERE. Some of the topics coming up soon for discussion include:
Dual Enrollment: As previously shared, PAUSD students may benefit from more opportunities to earn college credits concurrently with high school credits. A team is currently exploring options that may make sense for high school students.
Elementary School Special Education Programming: PAUSD will explore ways to streamline Special Education services for students at specific sites. The Special Education team will work with staff and families to ensure that appropriate services can be guaranteed for students. The current system spreads resources across the entire District, creating challenges when it comes to maintaining staffing levels. Consolidating some of the programs may have significant benefits for students. The team is in the exploration stage at this point.
English Learner Programming and Outcomes: The English Learner (EL) program is due for a review and boost. This may be an opportunity for a targeted ad hoc committee later this year.
Mental Health: There have been tremendous strides in the area of mental health. It is time to look deeper at our services, especially at the secondary level. We will also take a deeper look at the outcomes of moving to an “in-house” model of support this year. An ad hoc committee will soon be focusing on a clear charge for participants.
Dysregulated Behavior Support & Professional Development: Some students exhibit behaviors that are classified as dysregulated. Some students need additional help to function in classroom settings. Others need to be taught techniques that can help them regulate. This need may be the most requested focus area from our teachers. Progress in this area can benefit students struggling with dysregulated behavior, classroom environments in general, and our teachers. This topic will require a collaboration from staff, ad hoc, and the Palo Alto Community Advisory Committee for Special Education (CAC).
Ethnic Studies: Ethnic Studies will become a graduation requirement in the future. Staff have engaged in introductory discussions regarding ways PAUSD can implement that requirement. Families should expect an update later this year. The graduation requirement will not impact any current high school students.
AD HOC COMMITTEE UPDATE
The SELF & Advisory at High School Level, Enrollment Trends & Options, and the Secondary Bell Schedule committees have already met since returning back from the break. The Secondary Bell Schedule and Enrollment committees held their final meetings and are working towards drafting the recommended options.
To access minutes from each ad hoc committee, please visit our website. We continue to be thankful to all committee members who contribute diverse viewpoints to tackle complex charges through this calibrated process.
CHILDCARE OPTIONS 2023-24
Our Childcare Ad Hoc Committee presented recommendations for future contracts to the Board of Education. Some of the highlights include:
- Each of our current three providers may continue working with PAUSD.
- Providers must adhere to the same staffing ratios.
- Each provider must have scholarships for at least 15% of their spots for eligible families.
This year, roughly 275 families receive free childcare. With new state expectations about extended learning opportunities, PAUSD is dedicated to providing opportunities for all students to experience learning beyond the school day.
On January 17, the Board of Education approved an employee housing project at 231 Grant Avenue. PAUSD will receive 29 units for employees. More information will be shaped as the project progresses. This will be the first PAUSD housing project for employees and should provide some relief for our commuters.
CUBBERLEY FACILITY (ONLY FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN FUTURE OF CUBBERLEY PROPERTY)
Some families and staff members may be interested in the future of our Cubberley site on Middlefield Road. PAUSD and the City of Palo Alto have resumed talks about the property. The negotiations on this topic will be complicated for many reasons. It is important to outline a few of the challenges heading into discussions with the City. Some of the issues include the following:
- The City owns eight acres of the entire site and may desire more.
- PAUSD has taken action to retain twenty acres for a potential school site in the future.
- The buildings are not in good shape and require significant repair or demolition.
- The underground systems (electrical, plumbing, etc.) are worse than the buildings.
- Underground systems cannot be easily separated.
- The current lease is heading toward expiration.
- District funds can only be used for projects with a clear benefit for students, prohibiting investment in a community center.
- The City currently has no funding dedicated for acquisition or development of Cubberley.
There are more complexities that will be discussed in the future. For now, we are trying to find solutions that work for everyone involved. It will be a slow process. Ultimately, PAUSD hopes to entertain proposals from the City after we have some more informal discussions.