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Superintendent's Update - January 22, 2020

From the Office of the Superintendent:

BOARD AGENDA
The agenda calendar is tentative until officially posted. Future items are placed on the calendar for planning purposes. The calendar can be found HERE.

BOARD STUDY SESSION
A Study Session for the Board of Education has been scheduled for February 2 at 4:30 p.m. Topics include:

  • Setting a calendar for decisions regarding opening schools in the fall
  • Recruitment, hiring, and retention of diverse staff
  • Student mental health and well-being
  • Equity goals

HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETICS
The Santa Clara Valley Athletic League (SCVAL) acted this week to move away from the proposed Central Coast Section (CCS) two-season sports schedule. The league has prepared a proposal to create a three-season schedule. This means that teams in the SCVAL will not participate in any CCS or State playoffs this year as a trade-off for potentially offering an opportunity for more students to participate in a variety of sports.

The sports have been rearranged in the schedule to give the best possible opportunity for each sport to compete this year according to the tiered system put in place by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF).

The schedule is built upon the hopes and wishes that the pandemic conditions will improve substantially before the end of the year. Please be aware, it is likely that some sports will not be able to compete at all. Sports in the purple tier may not compete while a shelter-in-place order is in effect.

The athletic directors are working with the league to develop tentative schedules for each sport. The groupings of sports can be found HERE.

CITY OF PALO ALTO & PAUSD LAUNCH 21-DAY EQUITY CHALLENGE
The City of Palo Alto and PAUSD are excited to offer our community a new, localized 21-Day Equity Challenge, beginning on February 1, 2021 at https://tinyurl.com/PAEquityChallenge.

All Palo Alto community members are invited to register to join the free 21-Day Equity Challenge, a program launched by PAUSD, in partnership with the City, Youth Community Services, the Human Relations Commission, and the Palo Alto PTA Council. This is a powerful opportunity to help our community develop a deeper understanding of how inequity and racism affect our lives and community.

After registering online at https://tinyurl.com/PAEquityChallenge, participants will be invited to complete a daily activity for 21 days, beginning on February 1. The #PAEquityChallenge will provide online daily activities (brief readings, videos, etc.) that can be done in 15 minutes or less. Each day will feature a different topic as a way to deepen community connections and further our understanding of power, privilege, supremacy, oppression, equity, and belonging.

"As a black man, a resident of Palo Alto, a pastor and a community leader, I have been a victim of racial injustice," said Kaloma Smith, chair of the Human Relations Commission. "Now is the time for the city to take an honest look in the mirror and realize that we have a lot of work to do to address the systemic disparities in Palo Alto."

An important aspect of the program will be opportunities for participants to connect to discuss learnings and to celebrate our collective journey together. Topics being covered include: Understanding Privilege, Housing and Redlining, Education, Justice System Inequities, Allyship, and many more. The content for each topic has been curated by a committee of local experts and leaders in our community. Discussion guides will be available for groups or individuals to help facilitate conversations with others in our community.

"Equity is a pillar of the PAUSD Promise, yet the data tells us our historically underrepresented students lag behind their White and Asian peers," said Yolanda Conaway, Assistant Superintendent Equity and Student Affairs. "There is a real hunger for better understanding on these topics with students, staff and parents; we hope the 21-Day Equity Challenge can be an important part of expanding the capacity for courageous conversations about systemic racism."

Join the #PAEquityChallenge today! We are striving for at least 1,000 participants, so register today and invite a neighbor, colleague, or friend to go on this journey with you.

NEW TITLE IX STRUCTURE & STAFF
Interim Title IX Coordinator
Kelly Gallagher will serve as PAUSD's Interim Title IX Coordinator. Kelly is a senior Title IX consultant with over 15 years of experience in education administration, including overseeing Columbia University's Title IX process. Kelly's email address is kgallagher@pausd.org. PAUSD's website has been updated to include her role and contact information.

Title IX and Civil Rights Investigator
Robert Andrade holds a Juris Doctorate from Rutgers Law School in New Jersey. During his time in law school, Robert worked for the San Francisco Unified School District, the City Attorney's Office of San Francisco, and the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.