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Superintendent's Update - October 22, 2021


As long as an interim elementary school can be created at Cubberley in time, Palo Verde Elementary School will be temporarily relocated to Cubberley at 4000 Middlefield Road for the 2022-23 school year. Planning is in motion for the move at the recommendation of our construction team.

Our Palo Verde Principal, Ms. Lee, has scheduled a Principal's Coffee for November 4 at 6:30 p.m. She has communicated directly with Palo Verde families to discuss the move and answer questions. Feedback and suggestions from parents are important for the planning efforts leading to our temporary relocation. She has also sent a link to a form to submit questions in advance of the upcoming meeting.

Without the move, Palo Verde would have experienced more than two years of construction with constant noise, no play area or grass, and portables on Louis Road. Instead, all construction is scheduled to be completed in one school year, with students returning to the site in August of 2023.

Ms. Lee and a team visited Greendell and Cubberley earlier today. The Greendell play equipment and fields can serve all K-3 students. PAUSD owns the fields at Cubberley which will serve our 4-5 grade students in combination with the Greendell field space. We will work through logistics with the City regarding use of the existing gymnasiums and other facilities. We are also already engaged with the City about traffic, safety, and other logistical issues. The visit today was a reminder of the beauty of Greendell and the excellent condition of the rooms our temporary guests will inhabit.

The combination of Greendell and portions of Cubberley will be secured and safe. The visitation team was encouraged by the space today. We now have nearly eight months to work through the details of a one-year move.


We received questions about the future of Greendell after announcing the use of Cubberley and Greendell for interim elementary school sites. We should have anticipated confusion about Greendell and apologize for any unnecessary anxiety. Greendell will remain fully intact and will benefit from having more young learners to add energy. The Adult School classrooms will be vacated at Greendell and will be occupied by students in grades K-3 as part of the interim relocation. Adult School participants will move to Building I at Cubberley (two-story building).


The Board of Education heard the staff recommendation to preserve a minimum of 20 acres for a potential high school in the future. There are no short-term plans for a new school. In fact, the current school board members will have expired terms and the superintendent will be retired before there is any chance of a new high school on the site. There is no urgency around planning for a future high school. The decision to preserve space is simply a long-term decision to maintain options for future leaders.


PAUSD is moving forward to completely redesign Hoover Elementary School. We expect to temporarily relocate Hoover students to Cubberley in the years 2023-25, with a return to campus in the fall of 2025. The new design will take advantage of green space currently behind the school and will dramatically improve traffic flows.

Our construction team and members of the Property Committee met with Hoover families today. The plan includes removing all of the existing buildings at Hoover. As many people know, Hoover has not been significantly upgrades for many decades. The new campus will be a beautiful addition to our PAUSD facilities.


Our early literacy and equity goals are in full implementation across the 13 elementary schools. Teacher observation of Orton-Gillingham (OG) lessons is happening with colleagues. This week, Duveneck's remarkable team of 1st and 2nd grade teachers continue to welcome their peers from across the District into their classrooms. First-grade teachers from El Carmelo and Walter Hays, their Reading Specialist, and District Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) observed the Duveneck team's OG instruction.

These observations create another layer of professional learning beyond the week-long training. Being welcomed into a colleague's classroom to watch them teach is a compelling experience for the teacher who is teaching, the teachers who are observing/taking notes, and the students who are learning. Following the observation, teachers have time to plan lessons with their Reading Specialist and District TOSA.

"Our students are making incredible growth and progress with daily OG instruction." Principal Crane shared with the team, "The skills that the children are learning in OG are transferring to reading and writing in all content areas." Principal Crane beamed with pride as she shared a well-crafted fully developed math word problem written by a student who started the school year as an emergent writer.

Teachers who observed expressed lesson highlights including classroom routines that allowed students to focus on learning, high levels of engagement, students understanding what they were learning and why they were learning it. They appreciated seeing the unique ways teachers have made OG their own. This is the art of teaching which remains even when explicitly teaching systematic phonics. Above you see blending in two different ways. Both teaching methods are effective at meeting student needs.

Duveneck's teachers have inspired other PAUSD teachers to open up their classrooms for peer observation of OG instruction. As a result, they will have the opportunity to observe their peers too! We are transforming lives through growing readers and increasing teacher effectiveness. The power of literacy is mightier than the fear of being critiqued. We are forever grateful to Duveneck's brave teacher leaders! Thank you!


Both high schools were able to administer the PSAT to juniors on Wednesday, October 13. In addition, seniors at Paly who were interested in taking the SAT had the opportunity to sit for the exam on October 13 as well. Interested Gunn seniors will be taking the SAT on Thursday, October 28.

For the 2022-23 school, Gunn and Paly will provide both PSAT and SAT opportunities for juniors and seniors in the same manner as this year. We anticipate that the PSAT day will be on Wednesday, October 13, 2022, and all juniors will be taking the exam. For seniors at Paly and Gunn, the SAT will be offered sometime in October during a school day. The College Board has not yet published the school day testing dates yet.


This message is a kind reminder for all parents of students at Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD). Please complete the anonymous online California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) to share your perceptions about your child's school. Your participation is voluntary, but very important. The information you provide will help guide the District and school's efforts to promote safety, enhance learning supports, and improve student achievement. We appreciate your participation and support!

If you have any questions about this survey, contact the district social worker, Lulu Skafi by email at, or click on this link for Frequently Asked Questions.