August 31, 2018

Superintendent’s Office

BOARD AGENDA HIGHLIGHTS SEPTEMBER 4, 2018

The Board of Education will consider approval of Ms. Karen Hendricks for the position of Deputy Superintendent. If approved, Ms. Hendricks will continue leading the Human Resource office.  

The Board will revisit a 2015 decision to employ on-site legal counsel. 

Ms. Cathy Mak will present the PAUSD current budget, including recent revisions and adjustments. 

Detailed information regarding each of these items is available in the posted agenda and packet.

SENATE BILL 328 - PUPIL ATTENDANCE: SCHOOL START TIMES

The City of Palo Alto has taken a stance to oppose SB 328. They cited the potential of placing students commuting to school on bicycles during peak congestion times as a primary concern. Under SB 328, secondary schools could not begin traditional first period classes before 8:30 a.m. More information about SB 328 can be found here

CHIEF BUSINESS OFFICER ARRIVAL

Dr. James Novak will join the PAUSD team on September 1. He will have the benefit of a one-month cross-over period with Ms. Mak before her retirement. During that time, Dr. Novak will meet with numerous stakeholders to gain insight and identify areas of focus.  

STANFORD GENERAL USE PERMIT 

Staff from PAUSD and Stanford University are making arrangements to meet later this month to discuss efforts to mitigate the impact of additional students resulting from a proposed new housing development. No date has been set at this point, although both parties have an interest in opening a dialogue soon. Our desire is to establish rules of engagement and to begin a dialogue that protects our excellent community schools.  

BUDGET UPDATE

Ms. Mak will present our budget revisions and general update at our next meeting. Her report is detailed and adds context. Particular attention should be paid to the appropriate depletion of assigned one-time funds (Educator Effectiveness Funds, Common Core, New Schools, Prop 39, etc.). It is also important to be mindful of the difference between one-time and ongoing revenues and expenditures. Increases to State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) and Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) local contributions continue to challenge school districts across California. Her complete report can be found with the September 4, 2018 Board agenda.

DEPARTMENT OF RESEARCH, EVALUATION, AND ASSESSMENT (REA)

Elementary teachers will begin administering local assessments to students in reading, writing, and mathematics. These formative assessments are used at the beginning of the year as a chance to understand students better as learners. Now that the data entry systems have been built, Assessment Manager Janine Penney and REA Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) Clarisse Haxton have been working with Elementary and Secondary Education Departments to plan professional learning opportunities supporting teachers and specialists in using the data to inform student grouping and instruction.

The Division is leading professional learning sessions to help school staff to use district data systems and reflect on their intervention systems. These practices allow administrators and teachers to track student progress and inform student interventions and school goals.

REA is working with Student Services to prepare data from the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) for presentation through the Parent Teachers Association Council (PTAC). The CHKS data is an important part of the conversation between the Wellness Department, principals, site councils, and PTA groups in planning to meet the needs of all students.

REA is preparing fall enrollment data for the fall California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) submission.

REA and Academic Support Services have been supporting sites in the administration of the new English Language Proficiency Assessment of California (ELPAC). The ELPAC is the required state test for English Language Proficiency (ELP) that must be given to students whose primary language is a language other than English. English Learners (ELs) receive instructional support from general education teachers and EL Specialists (elementary) or EL Coordinators (secondary). For more information about the ELPAC and EL services, visit PAUSD’s English Learner Program webpage.

In August, PAUSD began the mailing process of individual student score reports for students who participated in Smarter Balanced Assessments in grades 3 – 8 and 11. These reports include detailed information about their child’s performance in English Language Arts/Literacy (ELA) and Math. As of August 30, PAUSD has yet to receive the final 2% of Smarter Balanced Student Score Reports from the testing vendor. These reports will be mailed to families as soon as they are received. For more information about CAASPP testing or interpreting your child’s results, visit PAUSD’s Assessment Webpage.

REA is on Twitter!   

Business Services

ENERGY PROGRAM AND SUSTAINABILITY UPDATE

In 2011, PAUSD began an energy conservation program in partnership with Cenergistic. This program focuses on the conservation of electricity, natural gas, and water at all school sites. This past year, the program saw an 18% use reduction across the three main utility types. This reduction resulted in $620,000 in avoided utility costs. These savings were achieved through a blend of staff behavior change and decisions about how to run large systems like pools, lighting, and HVAC equipment. June represented $70,000 of the total avoided spending, as the greatest opportunity to save is achieved when school is out of session, and the school sites are diligently prepared for the time when staff is away.

Attached is the most recent Sustainability Program newsletter.

Human Resources

CERTIFICATED STAFFING ADJUSTMENTS

Mr. Jason Miller, currently teaching at Greene Middle School, will be moving to an open Social Studies position at Gunn High School beginning on Tuesday, September 4.  We’re pleased to be able to also share that Ms. Katie Schwarz, District Program Specialist, will be assuming the role of teacher for the classroom at Greene Middle School at this time. With this transition, credential Social Studies teacher and Gunn Head Football Coach Miller will now be an onsite coach, providing him the ability to connect with and support student athletes on a daily basis. Ms. Schwarz has extensive experience teaching students with special needs, and brings great enthusiasm to the opportunity ahead.

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING (MOU) WITH PALO ALTO POLICE DEPARTMENT (PAPD)

Update: District staff met on August 30 with PAPD representatives to review and respond to questions that arose during the initial reading of our updated MOU at the August 21 Board meeting. Responsive clarifications and additional information will be provided at an upcoming Board meeting when the MOU is brought back for further review. 

As a reminder, the revision to the MOU is a requirement under the Voluntary Resolution Agreement entered into by the District with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) on March 7, 2018. The District has included an entire section (Section M – Cooperation regarding Sexual Misconduct and Related Matters) to the MOU, which sets out the roles and responsibilities of both agencies when dealing with matters relating to sexual misconduct.

Technology Department

NEW WEBSITES FOR PALY, GUNN, AND GREENE LAUNCHED

When staff began the OCR remediation plan for website accessibility about a year ago, there were 11 different school website templates/platforms in use across our 20 locations. Only 3 school websites had been migrated to the district template developed a couple of years ago. With the launch of new websites for Paly, Gunn, and Greene over the past few weeks, all but 4 websites have been converted to the common platform! Work will continue this year to ensure compliance with the OCR resolution agreement deadlines.

CITY-SCHOOL LIBRARY CARD PROJECT

Ms. Emily Garrison and the team of librarians have been working hard on the first-year implementation of the joint library card project. All students now have an impressive list of resources available to them by simply using their school-issued student ID card at any Palo Alto City Library location. No implementation would be complete without a corresponding video!

KUDOS TO OUR TECHNOLOGY SUPPORT STAFF

We would like to acknowledge the work of our Technology support staff in their efforts to ensure a smooth opening of school. Below is a chart showing the volume of support requests received over the past year. The opening of school is always a busy time -- thank you for your patience as our staff works to respond and resolve the remaining requests.

Technology Support Request Summary by Month

Strategic Initiatives and Operations

EQUITY AND ACCESS REMAINS A TOP PRIORITY IN PAUSD

With strategic focus, the 2018-19 equity work will be closely aligned with the current PAUSD Equity Plan. PAUSD stakeholders can expect to see:
•    Targeted support and monitoring of school-based climate and culture (secondary);
•    Increased parental and community connectedness through the PAUSD Family Engagement Specialist (FES) Program and PAUSD Equity Coordinator (Districtwide);
•    The PAUSD Family Engagement Specialist Advisory Committee to building a researched-based tool that supports PAUSD families with authentic and ongoing engagement strategies, communication, and resources for support (Districtwide);
•    Increased instructional capacity and confidence of staff to address equity issues that prevent academic, social, and emotional growth (elementary and secondary);
•    Collaboration with teacher leadership teams and guidance counselors to research, design and pilot one-to-one mentoring program for targeted students (secondary);
•    Increased partnership and outreach efforts across the city of Palo Alto that promote and increase diversity, equity, and various academic identified needs of specific students and families (Districtwide);
•    Advancement of the personnel workforce by promoting the value of diversity, with intentional and meaningful recruitment and retention of diverse certificated and classified staff members at all instructional levels (Districtwide);
•    Research of exemplary programs for disciplinary and behavior support, including restorative justice practices (secondary and elementary); and 
•    Cultural competency training(s) that build capacity around Restorative Justice practices (secondary and elementary).

THE SPECIAL EDUCATION DEPARTMENT LAUNCHES A NEW TOOL FOR DATA COLLECTION

This week, the Special Education Leadership Team will begin its launch of LiftEd, a digital data collection and reporting App designed for special educators and related service providers. This new application allows staff to track, analyze, share, and report academic and behavioral progress on student’s Individualized Educational Programs (IEPs) and/or behavioral goals electronically. This year, the application will be used by the Behavior Specialists and coaches. This application will allow for greater collaboration between general education and special education teachers, and allows progress reporting seamlessly to parents. The tool also allows real time progress reporting and data archiving, and serves as a collaboration tool for all service providers and due to its portability, can be accessed remotely. The Special Education team staff are excited about this new addition to their specialized tool kit. The team hopes to eventually expand the use of this tool to all special education teachers and related service providers.

STAFF PARTICIPATE IN SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING WORKSHOPS

PAUSD staff members participated in two professional development days in August facilitated by Social-Emotional Teachers on Special Assignment and national Social-Emotional Learning expert and teacher Mr. Keeth Matheny. Over 60 middle school and high school teachers, teacher advisors, Social-Emotional Literacy and Functionality (SELF) mentors, school psychologists, school counselors, Living Skills teachers, administrators, and community partners participated. 

THE PARENT PROJECT IS UNDERWAY 

The Parent Project Fall Cycle starts Thursday, August 30. This is a 12-week parenting skills program that provides practical tools to help parents find solutions in addressing challenging adolescent behaviors and strengthen the family unity. Former participants report appreciating the curriculum, discussions, and belonging to a cohort of other parents. The program is taught by instructors from both the PAPD and PAUSD, and is offered both in English and in Spanish. Enrollment in the fall cycle of Parent Project is still open. Parents may contact Brad Young at (650) 329-2274, or Lissette Moore-Guerra at (650) 329-3722 for more information. 

SEPTEMBER IS ATTENDANCE AWARENESS MONTH

PAUSD is joining districts and communities participating nationwide to highlight that attending school every day makes a difference for our students. Regular school attendance is the key protective measure to ensure our students are connected to school and on-track to learn and succeed. Everyone can make a difference by building awareness that going to school every day and preventing absences whenever possible is critical to ensuring that all students can realize their hopes for academic, social-emotional success, and opportunity.

SEPTEMBER IS SUICIDE PREVENTION AWARENESS MONTH

Wellness and Support Services is working to update the Suicide Prevention Board Policy 5141.52 and Administrative Regulations 5141.52. The proposed updates can be found on Board Docs. The updated policy calls for expanding suicide prevention trainings for all PAUSD employees that work directly with students. The Wellness Centers at both high schools will be hosting various events and campaigns to highlight the importance of help-seeking behaviors and peer support. Gunn High School is hosting the Sources of Strength Peer Leader and Trusted Adult Training on September 11. This training educates peer leaders, along with caring trusted adults, to help other teens when they are struggling emotionally, might have suicidal thoughts, or are having a tough time with anger, anxiety, or depression. Mental Health Resource Fairs will also be held featuring resources on campus and in the community to showcase safe spaces for students to seek help around social-emotional needs. 

MANDATED VISION AND HEARING SCREENINGS SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER

Mandated Vision Screenings for students in TK, K, 2, 5, and 8 begin September 11 and will continue through the end of December. District Nurses Rosemarie Dowell, Joel Siapno, and Janice Bates will be completing one to two schools per week. Mandated Hearing Screenings for students in TK, K, 2, 5, and 8 will be completed in October. 

Secondary Education

NOW LAUNCHING: GIZMOS SCIENCE SIMULATIONS FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL

All middle school students (and some high school science classes) now have access to Explore Learning’s Gizmos simulation tool to build skills for Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Through engaging scenarios, such as earthquake epicenter, moon phases, mouse breeding, fan carts, or mystery powder analysis, students will predict potential outcomes, plan investigations, manipulate variables, graph and analyze data, and create logical arguments with their results.

PULLING IN COMPUTER SCIENCE BY THE BOOTSTRAPS!

Algebra teachers across the secondary sties met with Mr. Emmanuel Schanzer, founder of Bootstrap World, to investigate integrating Bootstrap: Algebra into our secondary math courses. This program has the potential to support student learning of basic elements in both algebraic thinking and computer science. Interest was sparked, and we are exploring the possibility of hosting a more extensive training locally in the coming months.

FLETCHER THEATRE PROGRAM

The Fletcher site leadership has been working collaboratively with parents and District staff to resolve some concerns brought forward about the drama program at the school. While some of the concerns were related to misinformation, we are confident that the outcome of the team working toward a resolution will provide Fletcher students with a theatre arts program that is inspiring and fun. We look forward to building and sustaining a robust program.

OCTOBER 5 PROFESSIONAL LEARNING DAY

Plans are underway for the Districtwide professional learning day on October 5, 2018. Secondary staff will attend workshops focused on key district goals, including elements of the alignment goal, inclusive teaching practices, implementation of the NGSS standards, school and classroom culture and climate, and technology integration. The Districtwide days are an opportunity to bring sites and departments together to share best teaching practices and grow common knowledge and language.

PAUSD INDUCTION CONSORTIUM

The Induction Program is off to a strong start, with 32 Participating Teachers (PTs) from PAUSD (as well as teachers from consortium partners, Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District and Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District). The orientation meeting on August 29 outlined the program design and expectations, and addressed questions from participants. Mentors meet weekly with PTs to support them in establishing goals connected to the California Standards for the Teaching Profession (CSTP), which are based on a self-assessment. These mentoring relationships provide an opportunity for teachers new to the profession to learn and grow with support from peers, who have a great deal of expertise in teaching, coaching, and PAUSD practices. The mentor group meets monthly to engage in professional learning. The first mentor meeting was devoted to sharing individual goals and identifying a path for learning together this year.

Elementary Education

FALL WRITING ASSESSMENT

All elementary classrooms are completing their on-demand fall informational writing assessment. The purpose of the assessment is to track writing growth over the course of a school year, and then ultimately over the course of many years. Every elementary school staff will join another school in the coming weeks to score the fall writing prompts together. Prior to scoring their own students’ papers, grade level teachers across the two schools will work to calibrate their scoring on anchor papers. Calibration brings about a greater accuracy and reliability in scoring. It helps to deepen teachers’ understanding of expectations for a student work expressed in the progression of the scoring rubric.

The goal of grade level calibration:
•    Provide a process where a group of educators can discuss student work in order to teach a consensus about how to score based on the scoring rubric (Teachers College (TC) writing progression).
•    Create a culture in which all teachers are collaborative and focused on reflective practices to improve student learning.
•    Score paper samples that are reflective of our PAUSD community. Each grade level packet includes EL samples, high samples, and low samples for the reason of prompting conversation among teachers about how we score these in a manner that respects the calibration process.

BARRON PARK TO BECOME PROJECT SCHOOL

We are excited to announce that Barron Park Elementary School has been chosen to receive direct support for planning, implementation, and assessment in language arts with the expertise of staff developers from the Reading and Writing Project at Columbia Teacher College.   

BACK-TO-SCHOOL NIGHTS

All twelve elementary schools and the Young Fives Program have held well-attended Back-To-School Curriculum Parent Nights, where teachers shared information regarding how they are building a caring and inclusive classroom environment, as well as information regarding reading, writing, math, science, new social studies, field trips, volunteering, PTA, PiE programs, etc. It is always a lot of information to share and to get through, and our teachers have done an amazing job once again. Greendell’s Preschool Family Back-to-School night will be held next Tuesday, September 4.

READING BENCHMARK ASSESSMENT SYSTEM (BAS)

This week, TOSAs continued to work with Reading Specialists and newly hired teachers on the BAS. School sites are working to calibrate in grade levels, and new hires are being trained on the administration of this valuable reading assessment.

SOUTH BAY FOSS COLLABORATIVE

The PAUSD Elementary Education TOSAs and TOSAs from the participating neighboring districts met on Friday to begin planning Professional Development opportunities for their districts in the area of NGSS Standards and Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) education.  

SOCIAL STUDIES ALIVE!

The rollout of the newly adopted Social Studies Curriculum is beginning at all schools. TOSAs have met with various grade levels to support them with navigating the online teacher dashboard.

MUSIC

INNOVATIVE CURRICULUM AND ASSESSMENT IN THE ARTS

PAUSD’s middle schools and high schools have been busy adding and updating their course offerings this last year. The high schools now offer six honors courses in the Arts, and AP courses in Music Theory and Art History. The current list of available honors classes includes: Wind Ensemble, Advanced Vocals, Theatre IV, Advanced Drawing and Painting, Advanced Photo, and Advanced Digital Film Making. Additional courses are being developed. Providing these options allows students to follow their passion while competing with other pathways that provide weighted GPAs. Assessment has also taken a major shift in all of our Arts programs this past year. Teachers are sharing newly developed Learning Targets and subsequent Standards Based Grading Rubrics at back-to-school nights. Their work in this area these past few years has served to clarify, for students, parents, and teachers, specific skills and behaviors learned while engaging in the various art forms.