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Superintendent's Update - September 8, 2023

Superintendent's Update - September 8, 2023


From the Office of the Superintendent:



View Calendar of Board Items 2023-24 


I truly appreciate being a part of PAUSD and all the wonderful aspects it offers. It's a privilege to be involved in our collective efforts. Lately, I've been engaging with site staff members to gain insight into their perspectives and to gather ideas for our future improvement. Additionally, I've had the opportunity to meet with various groups and organizations to ensure we hear from a diverse range of voices. This work has been significant and has left a positive impact.

Listening directly to the individuals contributing to our mission is as essential for me as students' feedback is for our teachers and principals. Once these meetings are concluded, I will provide a summary of the insights gathered. I want to ensure that I don't inadvertently influence or bias the opinions of groups scheduled for upcoming meetings. What I can confidently share is that the people I've met with are deeply dedicated to our students and are committed to their best interests. It's an excellent place to begin!

We're taking a slightly different approach to developing our 2024-2025 budget this year. We're looking ahead to the future, aiming to prioritize areas before allocating new funds. This approach is intended to allow us to address high-priority needs first before diverting resources elsewhere. Between now and the official start of the budget process in January, we'll be reaching out to everyone for their input and participation.

Early Literacy Author Visit / Educational Services

In support of the PAUSD’s Every Student Reads Initiative, elementary sites, in a district-wide collaboration with teacher librarians and Linden Tree Books, were treated to a virtual visit with bestselling authors Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead on September 6. 

Nearly 2,000 students joined on the call with their classroom teachers and librarians, listening as the authors discussed The Lost Library. According to Wendy Mass, when co-authoring the book, “It was nice that we both had the same idea of the kind of story we wanted to tell—about the love of books and reading, and an obsession with libraries, little and big!” (Publisher’s Weekly, July 2023). 

The two authors discussed their inspiration for the book, the challenges of the writing process, and the influence reading has on them as writers. Students and teachers submitted questions to the authors during the webinar. The student participation added to an exciting interaction with inspiring adults who exemplify the benefits of reading and the growth it brings to life. 

September 11 / Patriot’s Day

In recognition of September 11, the 2001 joint resolution (Public Law 107 - 89) is reminding governments and all people to lower U.S. flags to half-staff for the entire day.

Recognizing the Value of Journalism

Students in the Media Arts Center are now responsible for SIX distinct Pacemaker Award nominations. This award, a journalism tradition, is one of the two highly-recognized honors a student staff receives for its publication. The Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Crown is the other. This week, the National Scholastic Press Association released its annual Pacemaker Finalist award list for newspapers, newsmagazines, and specialty magazines. 

Results for the Pacemaker include 54 overall finalists. Two states, including California, received 10 or more nominations. Palo Alto High is honored with SIX of the 16 nominations in California.

The overall winners will be announced at the Journalism Education Association / NSPA National High School Journalism Convention this November in Boston. 


Student hand-blown glass art is on sale this weekend at Palo Alto High School.

Vehicles, Bicycles, Pedestrians, and Construction Crews

  • September 11 through 15 / Construction Crew Activity from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Between September 11 and September 15, Caltrain will be performing potholing work in Palo Alto. The work will require a partial closure of Alma Street between Tennyson and Seale Avenue and Alma Street at Forest Avenue. This work will impact vehicle, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic. Temporary closures are required due to construction equipment and crews entering and exiting the Caltrain right-of-way.

All are invited to register for construction updates.

District Food Services 

In order to maintain quality guidelines, parents and students are reminded that all breakfast and lunch are to be consumed during meal hours at school. Food transported home will lose quality after being exposed to improper temperatures.

Collaborative Progress:  Multi-Tiered Student Support (MTSS) Framework

An ambitious undertaking, the comprehensive Multi-Tiered Student Support (MTSS) framework, involves close collaboration among various division leaders across the district, including those in behavior, student services, literacy, mental health and wellness.  

The Multi-Tiered Student Support (MTSS) framework's development directly aligns with the district's priority goals as outlined in The Promise. By weaving these priorities into the fabric of the MTSS framework, the district is forging a comprehensive and forward-thinking approach to education. It encompasses the holistic well-being and academic growth of every student. This collaborative effort ensures that the framework being developed is both comprehensive and holistic, addressing a wide range of student needs.

New Course Guidelines

According to Board Policy 6143, the Superintendent shall recommend courses of study to the Board by December for implementation in the following school year. The courses submitted are vetted through an established process.

Input from content area teachers, Instructional Leads, and the Instructional/Education Council has been incorporated into the design of recommended courses. The site principals review the recommendations and approve the courses for consideration by the respective District Content Area Steering Committees. The District Content Area Steering Committees review the courses and recommend the approval of courses to the Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education.

Finding Gold in Hungary

Gunn High School junior Agastya Goel received a gold medal during his recent trip to Hungary for The International Olympiad of Informatics (IOI). This programming competition, for high school students, involves a series of two five-hour tests. 

Each test consists of three programming problems. Participants from 90 countries are seated, and each is given a computer with no internet connection. Students use the computer to write code. The submitted code is automatically run on a series of test cases to evaluate efficiency and correctness. Students do not see the test cases.

After online competitions, the US Academic Computing Olympiad invites a selected group of students to an annual camp where the final team is selected based on performance. Goel was selected as one of four US team members who traveled to Hungary in August. 

Trip to Rome Brings NBC Bay Area Interview to Gunn High Award Winner 

Gunn High junior Abhivir Iyer received the honor of being interviewed by NBC Bay Area news anchor Raj Mathai. Hear about Iyer’s love for history.

What is Linktree ?

Linktree is your new quick link to the Palo Alto Unified School District. Take a look here.

Airport Day in Palo Alto

Gain more details for the September community-wide Airport Day.

Stanford Athletics

PAUSD students are invited to be a part of athletic action at Stanford University this year. More information can be found here.

Click on the link below to receive up to four free youth tickets (with a paid adult) at upcoming Stanford athletic events. 

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