December 14, 2018

Superintendent’s Office


In anticipation of our upcoming meeting, the following topics may be of public interest:

  • Closed Session – As a reminder, we are starting Closed Session at 6:00 p.m. for this meeting. This is not a standard new starting time. We just have a light agenda.
  • Consent – Items on the Consent agenda are routine or returning for action after previously appearing on the Discussion agenda at a previous meeting.
  • 2017-18 PAUSD Annual Independent Audit Report – The Annual Independent Audit Report is presented as an information item only. Our independent auditor will be in attendance for questions and comment.
  • Report on Let's Talk! - The School Customer Experience Platform – Our Chief Technology Officer, Derek Moore, will share information about our new communication platform, Let’s Talk! The report will include how the interface works and how back end analytics can help inform our work.
  • First Interim Budget Report – The Board will consider approval of the First Interim Budget Report. A full presentation took place at the December 4 Regular Board Meeting.
  • Approval of 2019-20, 2020-21, and 2021-22 School Calendars – The Board will discuss school calendars for the next three years. This item will return for action in January.
  • Proposed Calendar for Board of Education Meetings for 2019-20 School Year – The Board will determine the calendar for 2019-20 Board of Education meetings. 

Strategic Initiatives and Operations


PAUSD hosts its 1st Annual Joint General Education and Special Education conference on January 12, 2019 at Palo Alto High School. PAUSD has partnered with Palo Alto Housing, the Children’s Health Council, and our very own staff, to bring you high quality sessions designed to build trust, transparency, and meaningful engagement.

This year’s conference is an all-day conference for ALL parents – General Education and Special Education alike. Come meet Superintendent Don Austin and hear about his vision for the District; and also meet Mr. Paul Kanarek, the Princeton Review Co-Founder and Partner for Collegewise, who will discuss college access. In his keynote, Mr. Kanarek will address why emotional intelligence matters more than IQ, how it improves outcomes both from a personal and an educational perspective, and strategies for enhancing emotional intelligence. This presentation is suitable across the entire K-12 population, and will almost certainly resonate with all types of students and parents. 

In addition, well over a dozen concurrent sessions will empower parents and families to be leaders for their child’s education. We will feature interactive workshop sessions, dynamic speakers/facilitators, and a district/community resource fair. Participants will gain information and tools needed to be their child’s strongest advocate. 

Don’t miss out – make sure your school is represented and join us! All District parents/guardians and staff are welcome to attend. Details to follow in a BlackBoard update.


Wellness and Support Services is partnering with Project Safety Net and Kara to host a community event on Wednesday, December 19, at 6:00 p.m. at Mitchell Park Community Center, Matadero Room, 3700 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto, CA 94303. Participants will learn how grief presents at different stages of development; how to talk with young adults and children; and effective methods for engaging with young people around death, grief, and mental health. This event is designed for adult community members. Childcare will be provided. Please see the invitation on eventbrite for more information and to RSVP for this community event.  


Anea Bogue recently concluded her sexual misconduct prevention presentations titled "Building Healthy Relationships and A Culture of Consent.” PAUSD’s 8th-12th graders directly benefit from this crucial and life-changing information. Additionally, all our staff members have been trained by Anea to ensure they have tools to support the creation of “A Culture of Consent” in our schools, rise up as changemakers to advocate for the safety and well-being of our students, and ensure PAUSD is a community that fosters healthy relationships of all forms. It was very encouraging to see parents come out to our Parent Information Nights as well. We believe real change in the interactions of the youth of our community will occur only when we, parents, teachers, administrators, and students, are all working together to “Create a Culture of Consent.”

Whether you were in attendance or were unable to attend the event, we do not want anyone to miss out on this important information. For this reason, Anea would like to share with each of you this complimentary Parenting Handbook focused on “Teaching Consent At Every Age.” If you attended one of the Parent Information Nights, this will serve as a great refresher and step-by-step guide on how to discuss consent with your children at any age. If you were not able to attend, the handbook promises to provide you with the pivotal information needed to begin those critical conversations with your children. Please look forward in the weeks ahead for a recorded version of Anea’s entire presentation.

If you have any further questions or inquiries, we invite you to contact Anea directly.


Health Services staff participated in a webinar on December 6 about immunization requirements for school entry. The webinar reviewed key changes to the school immunization regulations for the 2019-20 school year, and updated resources to support compliance. The new requirements for K-12 admission includes students transferring to PAUSD. If your student will be advancing to 7th grade in the fall of 2019 or later, they must meet the updated requirements (i.e., 1 dose of Tdap and 2 doses of Varicella). Students with an expiring personal belief waiver entering TK/K or 7th grade will need to meet all current immunization requirements. For more information on the new requirements, please see the CDPH’s Guide to Immunizations Required for School Entry. For questions on how the new immunization regulations will impact your student, please contact ourHealth Services Department.

Education Services


Curriculum & Career Education (CCE) hosted an Appreciation Luncheon on December 11 for volunteer mentors and PAUSD community partners who have been providing guidance and support to our students. Our guests included those who support our students via the Advanced Authentic Research (AAR) program, Work Experience and Internships, and Career Technical Education (CTE) pathways. This event provided our mentors and partners a platform to connect and collaborate to best serve our students. This also allowed us to show our appreciation for their dedicated work, which makes our CCE programs possible.


Gunn and Paly’s History-Social Studies (HSS) Departments are collecting appropriate texts and support materials from a variety of publishers for the upcoming textbook adoption committees for Government, and World and Contemporary World History courses. The committees will begin meeting in January and complete their work in mid-March. The collection of examination copies was verified and enhanced by the Paly HSS teachers’ attendance at the November 2018 National Council for the Social Studies 98th Annual Conference in Chicago.


The District AVID program is providing opportunities and rigorous academic experiences for students across all secondary sites. A few highlights of the fall semester include college visits, Socratic seminars, and visits to local social media companies.

  • The Palo Alto High School AVID class has participated in two college tours: one to University of California Santa Cruz, and the other to Notre Dame de Namur University. The junior and senior AVID classes have also partnered with AJ Tutoring in Palo Alto, prepping for the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT).
  • The Gunn High School AVID class visited UC Berkeley. Students recently did a deep read of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream.” They also watched former President Obama’s speech at the site of the Selma Civil Rights March, and concluded with a Socratic seminar as a way to discuss civil rights. The AVID class is excited about researching current events and what race relations look like in America today.
  • Ellen Fletcher Middle School AVID students had the pleasure of visiting Facebook headquarters where former AVID student, Selamawit Yilma, led the 7th and 8th grade class on a tour of the Facebook campus. In addition to fun activities, including a visit to the Sweet Stop, the Arcade, and the requisite photos with Facebook signage, students had a conversation with Ms. Yilma (Gunn ’14, UCSC ’18) about her experience at PAUSD and UC Santa Cruz. In her own words: “I was a part of this program nine years ago when I was a student at Terman. As an alumna of the AVID program, I can personally attest to the impact that this program and others like it have on underrepresented communities.” She was especially eager to share information about Facebook University Internships, and she encouraged them to apply after their freshman year in college. This field trip, like others the AVID program takes to universities, instills in students that their preparation in the AVID program empowers them to achieve their highest aspirations.


The PAUSD Elementary Computer Science Committee will be surveying all elementary schools to determine the current level and depth of computer science instruction that is currently taught. Gathering this information will inform the committee on next steps. The California Department of Education (CDE) releases its Computer Science Implementation plan in late March 2019.

The PAUSD Middle School Computer Science Committee has completed its current tasks of (1) supporting the Computer Science Wheel course; and (2) identifying Computer Science integration possibilities into core classes (English-Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies). The Computer Science Wheel course at all three middle schools includes programming basics and applications to robotics over a three-week period. Middle school computer science integration opportunities in science, social studies and mathematics are particularly appropriate in both the Data & Analysis Collection, and Visualization & Transformation fields. Currently being explored are some limited opportunities for integration in specific science labs and in a computer science coding application in math.

The PAUSD High School Computer Science Committee has identified two possible one-semester courses for implementation in Fall 2019. Teachers are currently narrowing the choice to one.


The PAUSD Math Department is adding an intensive course to its summer school offerings to broaden the pathways to Calculus. The course, IAC-Focus-For-Calculus Topics, or IAC FFCT (the IAC Effect), has been designed for students who have not completed Algebra in middle school and who would like to take a calculus course while in high school. Students must have completed Alg2/TrigA with a grade of A or B as 11th graders. Successful completion of IAC FFCT makes the student eligible for AP Calculus AB (or Paly’s non-AP Calculus course).

The purpose of the course is to make sure that students matriculate to Calculus having seen topics that are applicable in Silicon Valley (vectors and matrices), and prepare them for higher level “C” Calculus topics (parametric, polar, vectors). The topics include the Laws of Sines and Cosines, de Moivre’s theorem, sequences and series, 2-D and 3-D vectors, basic graphing in 3-D, matrices (basic operations, solving systems, on technology, transformations), probability and counting, parametric equations, polar coordinates and functions, and an introduction to Limit Theory. The rigorous summer course is three-weeks long; 5 hours/day with 1-3 hours of homework per day.


At the October 23 Regular Board Meeting, Eric Goddard, Barron Park Principal, shared that raising academic achievement for all children is Barron Park’s number one goal. One sprint goal he shared referenced kindergarten progress through early intervention prior to the start of extended day. Next steps were to research and implement new and different methods of intervention to improve student achievement. Barron Park staff has instituted a variety of new strategies to support Social-Emotional and Academic Learning this 2018-19 school year:

  1. Additional warning bells before school, at the end of recess, and lunch to reduce transition time and maximize instructional time.
  2. Increased the staff-to-student ratio at the breakfast club to serve more students in a more organized and meaningful manner.
  3. Increased outreach to parents by increasing the contacts between classroom and home.
  4. Clarified routines and procedures to improve efficiency of instructional time throughout the day.
  5. Additional noontime activities to engage students in meaningful play and exploration.
  6. Unanimously voted to become a lab school and spend ten days this year working with professional staff developers from Teachers College, and the Reading and Writing Project to improve teaching in literacy.
  7. Identified students not meeting grade-level standards and began discussion for targeted support, with special attention given to Socially Economically Disadvantaged (SED) students.
  8. Set literacy SMART goals for all students and start reviewing progress in early February.
  9. Sent a contingent of teachers to the Teacher’s College one-day institute, Preparing for the SBAC Test, in San Francisco.
  10. All 3rd-5th grade teachers have given Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) Interim Assessments in both reading and mathematics.
  11. On January 9, Barron Park 3rd-5th grade teachers will meet with Escondido 3rd-5th grade teachers and District Office Teachers on Special Assignments (TOSAs) to analyze the results to inform instruction in reading and math that targets the areas students need support.

Barron Park staff school goals are frequently shared with parents to strengthen the partnership between home and school. Most recently, this information was shared this past Tuesday at the PTA-sponsored Principal’s Coffee.


The Elementary TOSA Team attended the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Phenomena-Based Instruction Workshop for grades K-12 at the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE). This workshop explored and explained the creation and usage of NGSS Phenomena-Based Instruction to engage student inquiry through NGSS Storylines. The team will use this information to create professional learning opportunities for teachers in science instruction.


The Elementary TOSA Team attended the NGSS Performance Tasks Workshop for grades K-12 at the SCCOE. This workshop expressed the importance of Performance Tasks, and the need for them to be in place for student learning of NGSS lessons to be effectively revealed. Participants learned how to create Performance Tasks and embed them into instruction. The team will use these resources and tools to create professional learning opportunities for teachers. 


The Elementary TOSA Team lead the first of a series of Wednesday Workshops focusing on differentiation strategies in math. Teachers collaborated with one another to use their assessment data to create differentiated small groups. They also learned how to apply differentiated strategies suggested within Bridges to plan their next math unit. In addition, teachers were introduced to various tools and resources to assist in meeting the needs of both their highly capable and struggling math students. The next TOSA Wednesday Workshop will focus on efficient and effective literacy planning.