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Superintendent's Update - May 10, 2024

Superintendent's Update - May 10, 2024

From the Office of the Superintendent

Board Agenda Calendar

View Calendar of Board Items 2023-24

Superintendent Austin’s Message . . .

I was the principal of Laguna Beach High School during a time when the TV show,  Laguna Beach, was the top-rated show on MTV. I learned some things through that experience that help me on days like today. Schools need to be safe and predicable environments. In the case of Laguna Beach, it was common for me to escort grown men off campus who were looking for the student-actors. The show invited an unsafe situation for everyone. I was very happy when it came to an end. When school sites or the surrounding streets look or feel different, they become challenging. That is the case today.

Our decisions to restrict access to Town and Country Village for a day, and to release students early from three sites had nothing to do with politics. Protesters were directed to march to Addison Elementary today through fliers posted through social media. They were also asked to gather at Town and Country at noon. In both cases, our schools are directly impacted.

I want to thank our families for being flexible with such short notice. We did the best we could with the hand we were dealt. I am writing my update at 9:30 in the morning, so my fingers are crossed. We are a couple weeks from the finish line. Let’s get there safely!

Special Thanks to Supporters

We are very lucky to live and work and Palo Alto! I want to thank the Palo Alto Community Child Care (PACCC) and Right at School for their immediate flexibility this week. Both found ways to adjust schedules and locations to assist us during our sudden schedule revision today. They are both appreciated.

I am always amazed at the depth and breadth of things we offer for our students. While funding comes from many places, the efforts of our parents through Partners in Education (PiE) are essential to support our students. As the year ends, I want to thank the PiE leadership and all those who donate to the cause.

I will be attending the PTA Honorary Service Awards event this evening. Our PTA is strong from the top leadership to site volunteers. We have an enthusiastic and capable group, who are quick to raise their hands and offer help. Thank you to our parents for making us better through your involvement in PTA.

School News Roll Call

The May 2024 Edition of School News Roll Call  is ready for review! Join our enthusiastic and proud principals as they celebrate the growth and accomplishments of the 2023-24 school year. Consider this newsletter a mini field trip to each schoolsite; you’ll learn a lot and thoroughly enjoy the adventure!

Mark Your Calendar!

  • April 27 ~  May 19 – PAUSD K-12 Youth Art Show 

  • May 16 – 3rd Thursday Music Festival

  • May 18 & 29 – Youth Mental Health First Aid Trainings

Middle School Summer Bike Safety Classes

With more than 53% of PAUSD middle school students biking to school, on-bike safety education is immensely valuable in preparing students for their home/school commute. A Middle School Bike Skills course is open for registration this summer. The course helps students safely and confidently ride to school and beyond. Classes are taught by League of American Bicyclists Cycling Instructors through Wheel Kids Bicycle Club. Financial assistance is available upon request. Register here.

We encourage families to also reference their school's Walk and Roll Suggested School Route Map . Additional transportation safety information is available in the “Getting To” section of your school website, or by contacting

Palo Alto Adult School Partners with 3rdThursday Cal Avenue Music Festival’s
1st Anniversary Celebration: “We Are One”

Thursday, May 16, 2024, 6:00 – 9:00pm
California Avenue
Palo Alto Adult School has selected 3rdThursday Cal AvenueMusic Festival as its Spring '24 Community Partner. 3rdThursday is a wonderful time to meet with neighbors, listen to fabulous live music, and celebrate Palo Alto!

"We Are One" is the theme for the evening’s free and fun celebration. Enjoy four live music performances, in addition to the following performances and instruction provided by the talented Adult School and PreSchool Family team:

Master Sinfonia Chamber Orchestra’s Wind Octet Concert
6:00 – 7:00pm
414 California Avenue
Serenade No. 11 for winds in E-flat major, K. 375; Mozart: Serenade No. 11, K. 375 (1782);
Gordon Jacob: Divertimento (1968);  Beethoven: Octet, Op. 103 (1793)

Dance and Fitness
6:00 – 6:30pm        
Line Dancing
El Camino Band Stage

7:30 – 7:45pm
Ash Street Band Stage

Kids Zone
6:00 – 9:00pm
Play area with sensory table & creative construction activities
360 California Avenue

Youth Mental Health – Free First Aid Trainings for Parents and Caregivers

Saturday, May 18, 2024, 11:30am – 3:30pm
Wednesday, May 29, 2024, 5:00 – 9:00pm

This is a free Zoom training for parents and caregivers, presented by the City of Palo Alto and Momentum for Health. Here’s the flyer for  May 18, and another for  May 29.

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 six-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.

Register by email Kennya Rodriguez by May 10 (for May 18 training), and by May 20 (for May 29 training).

2024 Annual K-12 Youth Art Show! 

April 27 - May 19, 2024
Palo Alto Art Center
 1313 Newell Road
 Palo Alto, CA 94303

Art Center Hours

Tuesday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. - 6 p.m
Saturday, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m
Sunday, 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.


We are pleased to announce settlements have been reached with all employee groups and will be ratified at the Regular Board Meeting on May 21.

Palo Alto Educators Association (PAEA), Palo Alto Management Association (PAMA), and contracted management (Executive Cabinet), all have tentative agreements for 2023-24 and 2024-25. While there are nuances and improvements to the contract, the general agreement calls for 4% salary increases in 2023-24, and again in 2024-25, with a 1% bonus for the 2023-24 school year.

California School Employees Association (CSEA) has different rules and guidelines. For this reason, we were only allowed to settle for the 2023-24 school year. Among other improvements, CSEA members will receive a 4% salary increase, and $3,000; prorated based on the employee’s full-time equivalency (FTE). We will reopen negotiations with CSEA quickly to work on 2024-25.

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