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Superintendent's Update - March 18, 2022

BOARD AGENDA CALENDAR

The Board of Education agenda calendar can be found HERE. Our meeting will dedicate most of our time to the topic of mental health.

BELL SCHEDULES AND START TIMES

Final bell schedules and start times are not ready for publication at this time. It is more complicated than most would expect. The start times and schedules require coordination of transportation, classified support staff, food service, and traffic patterns. We also share some teachers between our middle and high schools. This means the schedules need to allow for travel time in order to maintain services at all sites. Our Board of Education does not take action on start times or bell schedules.

Our high schools will start at 9:00 a.m. for the 2022-23 school year. We would like to use the next year to have meaningful and thoughtful discussions about our bell schedules and start times. For 2022-23, schedules will remain relatively status quo. We are coordinating the rest of the schools and may have minor adjustments. We are also attempting to align instructional minutes between all PAUSD elementary schools. This has been a request of many for a long time.

We will be communicating with stakeholders interested in reviewing bell schedules in the future. This will include students, teachers, classified staff, and parents.

HOMEWORK SURVEY

We embedded an interactive item in our upcoming Board of Education document. I have never seen an interactive item presented in this way. In this case, we used Tableau to present data obtained from students regarding homework at the secondary level. We don't know if the interactive data will be helpful or confusing. That makes this a bit of an experiment.

The Tableau data for our homework survey can be found HERE. This is an item that would require too many words to explain. You can click on the tabs, highlight areas that are interesting to you, and sort by clicking on the boxes in the margin. You can't hurt anything, so please have fun looking through the data if you would like.

SEAL OF CIVIC ENGAGEMENT

This is PAUSD's inaugural year of awarding the California Seal of Civic Engagement. Out of 1,008 seniors, 83% of Seniors are currently confirmed to earn the Seal of Civic Engagement for demonstrating excellence in civics education and living skills participation and demonstrating an understanding of the U.S. Constitution, the California Constitution, and the democratic system of government. Congratulatory letters to families will be sent in early April. An additional 13% of Seniors are eligible to earn the Seal once 2021-22 grades are finalized.

All district students are afforded the opportunity to earn the State Seal of Civic Engagement, regardless of their background, communities, or experiences. No student is denied such opportunity based on academic ability, alternative school setting, or unique or unconventional expression of civic engagement.

ATTENDANCE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

At Palo Alto Unified School District, we are always striving to make things better. Please know that we remain committed to providing a meaningful education for all of our students.

Now more than ever, "showing up" - attending, participating, and staying engaged - will be critical for our students' success. We are aware that the pandemic continues to affect many families. However, it is important that every student who is feeling well, shows up. That is why we are increasing communication to our parents and students around the importance of attendance. Attending school every day helps our students build a solid foundation for their future in school and in life.

Our new strategy includes an attendance management system that carefully tracks days missed and ensures that parents are notified in a timely manner. Our goal is to connect with parents quickly so that we can remove any barriers that families face in getting students to school.

As we move forward, we will continue to ensure the health, safety, and wellness of our students, families, and staff. Thank you for your trust and partnership in preparing, educating, and inspiring each PAUSD student. Together we will succeed.

EARLY LITERACY

PAUSD's third professional learning day for elementary educators included morning workshops addressing our focus on early literacy, social-emotional learning, and equity. Teachers selected the workshop that spoke to their students' needs, personal interests, and corresponded with their grade level(s). The workshop offerings addressed new research and strategies in the teaching of reading and writing. Presenters lifted the level of educator awareness regarding the diverse learners in their classrooms. They created opportunities to reflect upon teacher instructional practices that increase student engagement and proficiency in all components of literacy: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The afternoon session at school sites included opportunities for teachers to review their middle of the year reading assessment data and work with their colleagues in preparing high-leverage lessons to grow their readers. Post workshop feedback from teachers is illustrated in the wordles below.

Key take-aways from the workshop?

What aspects of the workshop challenged your thinking and/or encouraged you to think differently about your instructional practices?