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Superintendent's Update - October 14, 2022

From the Office of the Superintendent:

 

BOARD AGENDA CALENDAR  

The agenda calendar can be found HERE.  

SPECIAL OLYMPICS SOCCER EVENT 

I had the honor of attending the Special Olympics soccer tournament earlier this morning, hosted by Greene Middle School. It was a heartwarming event, full of energy, smiles, and caring adults making it possible. I would also like to recognize the many students who contributed by serving others in a variety of ways. Handshakes gave way to hugs and the spirit of the day was beautiful.   

FALSE SAFETY REPORTS TREND ACROSS THE COUNTRY 

There is a disturbing trend that is gaining traction in this region of people making false reports of school violence. The term “swatting” refers to false calls made to authorities stating that an active shooter event is occurring on a school site. Police respond to sites expecting to find active shooters and act accordingly. The calls are dangerous on many levels.  

PAUSD is in communication with the Palo Alto Police Department. Our upgraded and consistent cameras are also a major help when identifying a real event versus a hoax. The phone systems have been upgraded over the last year, adding another layer of protection, and increasing the ability to identify the source of calls.  

Anyone participating in hoax calls will be held responsible for their crime. School safety is not a joke. As a school district, all reports will be treated seriously. At the same time, we will determine if calls are credible and work directly with local law enforcement. Please have discussions with students about the serious nature of participating in hoaxes related to school safety.  

CUBBERLEY DISCUSSIONS CONTINUE WITH CITY OF PALO ALTO 

Staff members from PAUSD and the City meet regularly to discuss intersecting topics. While some topics are complicated and move slowly, the relationship is strong and collaborative.  Recently, both teams have committed to meeting within the next couple weeks to have a substantive discussion about options for Cubberley. We will discuss land swaps, ground leases, and any other options that could create flexibility for use at the site. Any agreements are subject to public discussion and approval of our respective governing bodies.  

ESCONDIDO / HOOVER CONSTRUCTION UPDATES 

The District is committed to improving classroom environments and will accelerate the planning and installation of air conditioning in all elementary and middle school classrooms. In the interim, we have purchased powerful and quiet pedestal fans for every classroom without air conditioning and will install window film to reduce heat gain in the hottest classrooms. 

The Hoover project progresses, and we are committed to delivering a sustainable, environmentally responsible solution that may set a new standard for PAUSD construction. The project will exceed energy code requirements by 25%, divert 90% of construction waste and be carbon sequestering. Prefabricated components will be utilized to build offsite to reduce the onsite construction duration by a year. Due to the offsite construction, the overall project timeline will stay the same, but may allow us to reduce the Hoover temporary campus move by a year. 

With the possible Hoover project timeline change, we are exploring the possibility of relocating the Escondido Spanish Immersion (SI) Program to the temporary campus at Greendell to accelerate the Escondido schoolwide air conditioning installation. The Escondido principal has initiated outreach efforts to begin the conversation about options that may include a temporary move of the choice program. 

PALO VERDE CONSTRUCTION UPDATE 

After visiting the permanent home of Palo Verde Elementary School, it was easy to see why the construction management team recommended moving to the temporary Greendell location. It would be hard to imagine operating a school in the conditions depicted in these pictures. For context, the power has been cut to make upgrades, heavy machinery is operating continuously, and conditions are clearly unsafe for students. The dirt area was the old play area. 

While temporarily inconvenient, the move was necessary and advantageous for students, who will return next year to several new classrooms and numerous upgrades. Aspects of the project require completion after students return. However, the bulk of work that would have restricted movement for students will be completed. At this time, the project is on schedule and progressing nicely. 

ART IN UNUSUAL PLACES - OCTOBER 15 

Arts in Unusual Places is this Saturday, October 15, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Stanford Shopping Center. Inspired by an event that Palo Alto High School holds yearly on campus, The arts will be brought out of the classroom and into the community. There will be small pop-up performances showcasing PAUSD High School music and visual arts. The performances will start in the Center Pavilion near Tiffany & Co. with the Gunn Band at 11:00 a.m. A small pop-up of visual art from both Palo Alto High School and Gunn High School will be on display near Free People, highlighting artwork from drawing and painting, photography, and graphic design. At 11:30 a.m., a jazz combo from Gunn High School will be performing near the visual art and Free People. Come join us in celebrating our students! For more information on our K-12 VAPA programs or this event, please visit: www.pausd.org/vapa 

NEW COLLEGE AND CAREER PLANNING PLATFORM COMING SPRING 2023 

PAUSD is entering into a partnership with the California College Guidance Initiative (CCGI), under which CaliforniaColleges.edu is the official college and career planning platform for the State of California. The platform provides lessons and resources on careers, financial aid, and college selection. To use the tools and lessons provided in CaliforniaColleges.edu, student data is shared between PAUSD and CaliforniaColleges.edu. In turn, CaliforniaColleges.edu shares data with California public colleges. This allows students to track their “a-g” eligibility in a course planner and provides a streamlined application process for the California public schools and financial aid institutions. This new platform will be in addition to the Naviance platform currently in use. 

Parents and guardians of students in grades 9-11 will be receiving a letter today through ParentSquare with more detailed information about CaliforniaColleges.edu. If you do not wish to have your student’s information shared with CaliforniaColleges.edu, please make sure to fill out the form attached to the letter to opt out of data sharing. Please note that the lessons, tools, and resources are only available to students who are participating in the program.  

AD HOC COMMITTEE UPDATES 

Ad Hoc Committees continue to meet regularly, and the Athletic Funding Committee had its last meeting. We thank Ad Hoc Committee members for sharing their diverse views on these important topics. Their participation is key to this process. Below are links to meeting notes.