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Superintendent's Update - March 1, 2024

Superintendent's Update - March 1, 2024

From the Office of the Superintendent .  .  .

Board Agenda Calendar

View Calendar of Board Items 2023-24

Superintendent Austin’s Message... 

Crowd of students watching other students with leprechaun hats and beardI work on my Friday Update messages throughout the week. I deleted the message I had prepared in lieu of sharing a little bit about my visit to Fairmeadow Elementary School today.

My visit was prompted by a teacher at Fairmeadow who took the time to send a personal invitation. She told me that they were continuing with the work of “Builders” from last year, and thought I may want to see it in action. As a reminder, this is part of our Serve and Celebrate Others priority goal in the PAUSD Promise. It is a way of recognizing people who do things that positively impact other people.

As everyone knows, there was a little drizzle in the air this morning. Regardless, the students brought chairs out to the blacktop area for the program. I laughed as classes with young students arrived in St. Patrick’s Day hats and beards. Before the students were seated, I already knew this was going to be a perfect way to start the day!

Fairmeadow students award teacher the bullder award with a a construction hat Students prepared a program that began with celebrating Women’s History Month. They highlighted the accomplishments of four women with stories and examples of their meaningful contributions. The program transitioned to a performance by primary students, which helped to explain the St. Patrick’s Day costumes. Coach Bryant turned a portion of the program into a pep rally with kids getting to use their outdoor voices! They celebrated students in the walking club. There was a “fashion show” which consisted of students walking through the audience holding up lost and found items for reclaiming. I saw some very happy kids reuniting with jackets and water bottles. Student Council celebrated the “Builder” award with 4th grade teacher, Trebor Winslow. The program concluded with the Fairmeadow song, which follows the tune of the Notre Dame fight song.

Today was a great reminder that our schools are providing fun and supportive experiences for kids at all levels. Clouds and drizzle had no impact! The adults were totally engaged, smiling, and even dancing.

Sometimes we just need a reminder that life is beautiful!

Black History Month Literary Contest

We are pleased to announce the successful conclusion of the Black History Month (BHM) Literary Contest, which took place throughout the month of February. This event was made possible through collaboration with PAUSD parent, Joy Oche, the Amazon Black Employee Network (BEN) Bay Area, and iD Tech.

During the contest, students had the opportunity to delve into stories of unsung African/African American heroes, showcasing their creativity and appreciation for our cultural heritage. Congratulations to the winners, who were recognized for their outstanding contributions with prizes generously provided by Amazon and iD Tech.

The event concluded in a community engagement celebration at Amazon East Palo Alto on February 23, where we proudly announced the winners of the BHM Literary Contest. Attendees enjoyed games, a speaker panel, light refreshments, and music, creating a vibrant atmosphere of celebration and unity.

This collaboration served as a platform for promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) awareness. Amazonians graciously shared their inspiring science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)  career journeys.

We extend our sincere gratitude to all participants, sponsors, and supporters for their dedication to fostering a culture of inclusion and diversity within our school community.


Elementary School

  • First Place - Taewoo Kim, Lucille M. Nixon Elementary School

  • Second Place - Mary Finley Snyder, Duveneck Elementary School

  • Third Place - Pavithra Aneesh, El Carmelo Elementary School

Middle School

  • First Place - Yunhan Luo, Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle School

  • Second Place - Ellis Cox, Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle School

  • Third Place - Leela Bhushan, Frank S. Greene Jr. Middle School


Parent Education and Mental Health Support

PAUSD is grateful for the support of our community as we process the loss of one of our students. In collaboration with Kara, Children’s Health Council, and Stanford, we are offering parent education sessions that focus on grief, and teen mental health and well-being. Please feel free to join any of the upcoming sessions. Grief support groups are offered for students and families through allcove. We hope you find these sessions healing, informative, and supportive.

  • Friday, March 1st, 5:00-6:00 PM 
    Grief Support Group for Parents/Guardians (in-person)
    allcove  2741 Middlefield Road - Register Here
  • Monday, March 4th, 6:00-7:00 PM
    Supporting Children and Teens through Grief - Kara
    Selina Sanchez Cristobal, Community Outreach & Crisis Response Manager
    Meeting ID: 830 8198 6898; Passcode: 529903

    Kara’s mission is to provide grief support for children, teens, families, and adults. This workshop will discuss the process of grieving,and focus on identifying and supporting grief in teens. Our vision is to see people of all ages compassionately supported on their journey through grief so they can move toward renewed hope and meaning.
  • Tuesday, March 5th, 6:00-7:00 PM
    Fostering Teen Mental Health & Well-Being - Children’s Health Council
    Dr. Pardis Khosravi, Licensed Psychologist and Clinical Director

    Join us for this webinar on fostering teen mental health and well-being. The talk will give an overview on risk and protective factors during adolescent development and how to recognize warning signs of depression and anxiety in teens. Dr. Khosravi will then share five practical strategies for how parents can foster resilience and well-being in teens, equipping them with the tools needed to navigate life’s challenges with confidence. A Question and Answer session will follow.

In crisis?

Call or text 988 – Suicide and Crisis Lifeline – or Call 911.

Below is the PAUSD Parent’s Guide to Risk Assessment and Safety , which can be used as a reference if you feel your child is experiencing a mental health emergency.

Additional Resources

Palo Alto Middle College High School Preview Day

Palo Alto Middle College High School (PAMC) hosted a preview day and tour last Saturday, 2/24/2024. 

This event was an exciting way to showcase PAUSD’s third high school, opening Fall 2024. PAMC is a high school on the Foothill College campus, where students, as part of a small, close-knit learning community, will be immersed in a hybrid model of high school and college courses.

The event was a huge success, drawing in an enthusiastic group of prospective students and their families. Attendees had the opportunity to tour state-of-the-art facilities, where innovation and learning converge to create an environment that nurtures academic excellence and personal growth. Please  visit our website to learn more about this exciting new chapter and learn about the application process.

Work-Based Learning in Action: Career Speaker Series

The Palo Alto High School student-run Career Speakers Series committee organized events this week with professionals from various industries to showcase their career pathway and personal journeys. Many speakers emphasized the importance of exploring various opportunities, highlighting that career planning does not follow a straight path. Industry sectors represented included health and medicine, law, engineering, entrepreneurship, education, science, politics, and non-profits. We thank our  amazing speakers for presenting and engaging in lively Q & A sessions with students. Gunn High School will be hosting their Career Speaker Series in March.

Student Nutrition Services

On Tuesday, March 11, the Student Nutrition Services new menu system will “go live!” 

Nutrislice will enhance menu accessibility by offering parents and students user-friendly access to the PAUSD menu in an interactive online format that one can browse online or on a cell phone using the Nutrislice app.

The online menu and app provide the ability to click on a specific entrée to see nutrition facts, and to query for specific dietary and allergy restrictions.

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