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Superintendent's Update - March 22, 2024

Superintendent's Update - March 22, 2024

From the Office of the Superintendent .  .  .

Board Agenda Calendar

View Calendar of Board Items 2023-24

Superintendent Austin’s Message . . . 

I had the honor of attending the ALAS-NABSE 100 Superintendents March on the Hill  this week. In fact, I am writing from Washington, D.C. this morning, joining superintendents from school districts across the nation. Many of these districts are not as well-resourced as PAUSD. Actually, that is an understatement.

I served on a legislative panel yesterday to share thoughts about high-leverage legislation that could positively impact students. I sat next to a superintendent from Kentucky who was also sharing her thoughts. She said her district is funded at $4,200 per student. I had to check with her after the panel to make sure I heard her correctly. For context, PAUSD is funded at over $30,000 per student.

Other school districts talked about not having a psychologist or therapist in their entire organization. We have dedicated psychologists and therapists at every site. It was a reminder that we are fortunate in many ways, and should do the most with the funding we have. I left thinking it is a shame that others in our nation do not have the opportunities or supports our students receive. 

I will share more about the trip and some potential lobbying areas that may make sense for PAUSD. For today, I am thankful for our community, staff, and everyone who invests in the success of our students. 

Gender Development in Childhood and Early Adolescence

Monday, March 25, 2024 /  6:30-8:00 pm 
Open to all PAUSD families and staff

Sponsored by the PTAs of Barron Park, Ohlone, JLS, and Walter Hays

Gender has morphed from Are you a boy or a girl?  to a question that is much more complex. If you are hoping to more fully understand this changing landscape, join us for an informative session with Joel Baum, Director of Education at the Child & Adolescent Gender Center at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). He will help us become gender literate, from the importance of pronouns, to understanding what it means to be non-binary, to how gender develops, and how we can best support our children and their friends in being their most authentic selves. We will also have a parent perspective, a former student perspective, and time for Q&A. This is a webinar format, so attendance is anonymous. Submit questions here.

Register for the event here

Virtual meeting link (via Zoom)
(Password: 297536)
View more event details

Youth Mental Health First Aid Training for Parents and Caregivers

Wednesday, March 27, 2024, 5:00pm – 9:00pm

Youth Mental Health First Aid teaches adults how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness and substance use disorders in youth. This 6-hour training gives adults who interact with youth the skills they need to reach out and provide initial support to children and adolescents (ages 6-18) who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem and help connect them to the appropriate care.

This is a free Zoom training for parents and caregivers, presented by the City of Palo Alto and Momentum for Health.

View more event details.

Register by email Kennya Rodriguez before Friday, March 15, 2024.

Student Nutrition Services

Hey students! Can you cook? Future Chef's National Challenge

13th Annual Future Chef Competition!

Student Nutrition Services & Sodexo Food Services jointly host an annual student chef competition.

Come join us! 

Wednesday, March 27, 2024 
2:00pm – 4:30pm
JLS Cafetorium
480 East Meadow Drive
Palo Alto, CA 94306

Students from 11 elementary sites will prepare their winning recipes for a panel of judges. All recipes will be judged on originality, healthy attributes, ease of preparation, best plate presentation, best taste, kid-friendliest, and best use of vegetables.

The PAUSD Grand Prize Winner’s recipe will be moved forward and entered into the Future Chef National Challenge Regional Level Competition.

All are welcome to come and support their school’s finalist!

School Smarts Parent Engagement Academy

Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) and Parent Teachers Association (PTA)and are proud to partner this year to bring  School Smarts Parent Engagement Academy  to our families. School Smarts is a seven-session, research-based curriculum for families. The content guides them in understanding our school system, and empowering them as leaders and advocates for their child’s education.

This year, a partnership between Barron Park and El Carmelo Elementary Schools formed to bring their families together to attend a special training session. The  School Smarts curriculum was used to offer a Saturday morning program called SABE (Student Advancement, Boost, and Enrichment), which began in February 2024 and will conclude in May 2024.

Training topics include family values, literacy, growth mindset, college education, academics, setting goals, systems, funding, Special Education, English Learners, parent/teacher conferences, and supporting your child. This has been a wonderful opportunity to engage families and guide them through the public school system. Thank you to Judy Argumedo, Leonel Argumedo, and Luzely Alvarado for their leadership in hosting the program, and to our PTA for funding the training and curriculum. Next year, we plan to expand this opportunity to other school communities! 


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