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Superintendent's Update - September 24, 2021

BOARD OF EDUCATION CALENDAR

The calendar is temporary until officially posted. The calendar can be found HERE.

WATER MAIN BREAK AT GUNN HIGH SCHOOL

Our construction crew hit a water main pipe while trying to repair an irrigation pipe at Gunn High School on Thursday, September 23. The pipe's location did not appear on original plans and was not seen on an underground sonar test. Unfortunately, we were unable to isolate the issue. With no running water for restrooms, we were forced to close the school. The staff and students handled the situation well and the repair was completed in the late afternoon. School resumed Friday without issue. Temporary restrooms were delivered in case of any problems. Luckily, they were not needed.

AMENDMENT TO AB104 - GRADE CHANGE

Senate Bill 167 included an amendment to Assembly Bill 104, passed in July 2021, focusing on grade changes for high school students. The bill extends the date to request grade changes from a letter grade to Pass/No Pass for the 2020-21 school year. Grade change applications for current 10th - 12th grade students must be received by October 15, 2021.

There is no limit to the number or type of course eligible for a transcript change. However, families should consider the impact of the requested grade change on the college application process. Here you will find a list of postsecondary schools who have indicated that they will be accepting Pass (P) or No Pass (NP) grades without prejudice to the applicant.

To submit an application, please visit pausd.org/AB104 and complete the application.

UNIVERSAL DESIGN FOR LEARNING (UDL) CERTIFICATION

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is defined by the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) as "a research-based set of principles to guide the design of learning environments that are accessible and effective for all." In support of an ambitious vision for schoolwide implementation of UDL strategies, all secondary site administrators completed CAST's UDL Credentialing & Certification Initiative Level 1 course.

Topics in the "UDL Associate" certification included acknowledging learner variability, designing lessons that reduce barriers to learning, providing flexibility for how students express their knowledge, and supporting students to manage their strengths and challenges to achieve their educational goals. By understanding what is needed to proactively design lessons so all learners have access to instruction, students who historically struggle academically have a greater opportunity to meet the learning goals within the classroom learning environment.

This year, starting October 1, secondary professional learning days will focus on UDL and as a result of the certification of site administrators, they are well equipped to support staff with incorporating strategies in support of improved learning experiences for all learners.

EARLY LITERACY

On September 21 and 22, the English Language Arts (ELA) Pilot and Adoption Committee comprised of Young Fives, K-5 teachers, a 6th grade representative, specialists, parent representatives, and administrators screened eight curricula using the District criteria.

The energy in the Staff Development Center demonstrated both the excitement and the seriousness with which each member took responsibility. Committee members discussed the elements of reading and writing and how the curricula addressed the District lens. The conversations were student-focused, analytical, positive, productive, and inspiring.

The process yielded three curricula selected for piloting this school year: Benchmark Advance published by Benchmark Education Company, myView Literacy published by Savvas, and Into Reading published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

The team will meet again on Oct 12, 2021, when one of the three publishers will present their program to the committee in the morning and the afternoon will be planning the pilot lessons for review.