December 20, 2019

Office of the Superintendent


Offices are closed through January 6 for the Winter Recess. Some people are working at points throughout the break, but most are trying to use time off over the next couple weeks. I am available through email and text if important issues arise.

2020-21 PLANNING

It looks like we are set for a January Study Session. It is a good time to push our thinking in the direction of 2020-21. We will spend some time on my mid-year evaluation, which provides some direction for areas of focus. In turn, it is also the time that our senior managers receive mid-year feedback to guide their efforts. We are only a couple months away from seriously evaluating our staffing needs as related to student enrollment and staffing vacancies.  

Education Services


It’s finally here! 2020-21 school year registration for new students opens on January 8, 2020. All instructions are on the Registration website, where parents can make a registration appointment, and on January 3, can start Step 1 of the process by completing an Online Registration Request Form.

Make sure to navigate through all of the Registration web pages for information on Choice Program options, dates of parent information events, and all registration and enrollment timelines. As always, feel free to contact the Registration Services office with any questions via email or via phone at (650)329-3707.


On December 13, the Elementary Education Department had a conference call with Dr. Sally Shaywitz, renowned dyslexia researcher. Dr. Shaywitz reached out to us after hearing about the important work PAUSD is doing to screen students for dyslexia. She congratulated our efforts, reminded us about the impact dyslexia can play on struggling students' self-esteem, and shared that a new Shaywitz screening tool for middle school students will be released early in 2020.


The Elementary Teachers on Special Assignment (TOSAs) attended the California Mathematics Council (CMC) Conference, titled Embracing Cultural Diversity in Mathematics, on December 6-8, 2019. Some of the highlights of this conference included a protocol called Notice & Wonder: A Culturally Responsive Routine for the Mathematics Classroom, Structures for Analyzing Student Work, and Incorporating Equity into the Lesson Study Process. The conference was timely and sparked many powerful ideas for the TOSA Team to carry back to PAUSD for future Professional Development.


This week, the Elementary Science Exploration Committee met to determine which textbook publishers should be moved forward in the exploration process. However, the Committee requested additional time for reviewing the curricula prior to voting. Therefore, at their full-day meeting in February, grade-level teams will meet for further evaluation, followed by cross grade-level discussions, and the vote.


In the past month, approximately 25 staff members, representing Fletcher, Greene, and JLS Middle Schools, along with the Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) TOSA, attended day-long summits in San Jose to learn more about restorative practices. Aligned with the PAUSD Promise, restorative practices is one component of a positive behavior system that will lead to a culture where all students feel safe, welcomed, respected, and valued as part of the school community. Different from traditional discipline that focuses on negative consequences and punishment, restorative practices strategies focus on strengthening relationships between individuals, as well as social connections within communities, so that the relationships can be repaired when issues arise.

Department of Equity and Student Affairs


The Saturday Academic Boost and Enrichment classes for elementary and middle school students ended on December 7. Over 110 students attended the Saturday program and they enjoyed creating community art projects at the elementary site while learning test taking strategies and working on math problem solving skills. The middle school students focused on test taking strategies while also enjoying an enrichment component. The Saturday program will begin again in February for elementary and middle school. 


The lottery for the Tinsley program ended on December 15. The San Mateo County Office of Education (SMCOE) coordinates the lottery. Families will be notified of their acceptance over the break. The Department of Academic Supports will be given names in late December or early January. PAUSD welcomes the families on January 9 for an orientation meeting to get them started on the registration process.


The Wellness and Support Services team received confirmation from Alisha B. Schoen, Santa Clara County, Deputy District Attorney, that Gunn High School students won the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) Attendance Awareness Video Contest. This video contest encouraged schools to create a short video of fewer than two minutes on why being in school, on time, every day, matters. There were a total of 38 submissions in two categories, K-8 and 9-12. A panel of judges was convened by SCCOE and this was the first time this contest was held. 


PAUSD continues to partner with PTAC and school PTSAs to host a variety of events and workshop series. Families are encouraged to save the date for events of interest:

  • Parent Project Adolescence classes begin on January 16 at 6:00 p.m., 1700 Building, PALY High School
  • Building Healthy Relationships & A Culture of Consent with Anea Bogue on January 21 at 6:30 p.m., Board Room, District Office
  • Refugee Youth Event, Newberry Medalist Katherine Applegate on January 22 at 7:00 p.m., Fletcher Middle School
  • Community Leaders Breakfast: Teen Vaping Epidemic & Preventing Vaping Outbreak on January 23 at 8:30 a.m., Palo Alto Medical Foundation
  • Parent Project Loving Solutions classes begin on January 23 at 6:00 p.m., 1700 Building, PALY High
  • Screenagers: The Next Chapter Movie on January 23 at 6:30 p.m., Gunn High School 
  • PAUSD Family Leadership Summit on January 25 at 9:00 a.m., Gunn High School
  • Teen Social Media Panel Notes to My Middle School Self on January 29 at 9:00 a.m., Fletcher Middle School
  • Screenagers: The Next Chapter Movie on February 26 at 6:30 p.m., Greene Middle School
  • Mindful Monday Parent Workshops begin on February 24 at 7:00 p.m., JLS Middle School Library


Wellness & Support Services and South Asian Parents Association (SAPA) are partnering to host Mindful Parenting Workshops on Monday evenings February 24 through April 27. 

During this seven-week workshop series, parents will learn a philosophy and practice of parenting that is based on mindfulness, connection, and empathy that is not permissive. They will explore topics such as nonviolent communication, brain development, setting limits, recognizing and managing anger, and more. The classes will be an interactive experience with presentations of mindful parenting tools and concepts, meditations, group and individual activities, and group discussions. Space is limited, please RSVP on Eventbrite.


Registration is open for the next offering of Parent Project Adolescence and Loving Solutions. Both weekly groups provide parents with practical tools to strengthen family unity and relationships and for managing challenging behaviors. Parent Project Adolescence focuses on parenting strategies and managing the behaviors and challenges of children ages 10-17 and Loving Solutions addressed the needs of children ages 5-10. Former participants report appreciating the curriculum, discussions and belonging to a cohort of other parents. 

Parent Project is taught by instructors from both the Palo Alto Police Department (PAPD) and PAUSD in both English and Spanish. Please contact Agent Brad Young at 650-329-2274 or Lissette Moore-Guerra at 650-329-3722 for information or visit the Parent Project website to register. There is a cost for participating in this program, but financial aid is available. 

  • What: Adolescence Program
  • When: Every Thursday starting January 16, 2020, and ending April 2, 2020
  • Time: 6:00-9:00 p.m., a light dinner will be served
  • Location: 1700 Building at Palo Alto High School, 50 Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto
  • Childcare is available on site for toilet trained children ages 3 to 13.
  • What: Loving Solutions Program
  • When: Every Thursday starting January 23, 2019, and ending April 2, 2020 
  • Time: 6:00-8:00 p.m., a light dinner will be served
  • Location: 1700 Building at Palo Alto High School, 50 Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto
  • Childcare is available on-site for toilet trained children ages 3 to 13. 


The window for parents to complete the California School Climate, Health, and Learning Surveys (CalSCHLS) closes today, Friday, December 20. Each family with enrolled PAUSD students has received an email with the survey information. Each family can complete one survey per school regardless of the number of children enrolled in that school. Paper copies, as well as Mandarin and Spanish versions of the survey, are also available at the school sites.

PAUSD conducts the CalSCHLS every other year. The CalSCHLS is comprised of the CHKS, the California School Staff Survey (CSSS), and the California School Parent Survey (CSPS). The CHKS was conducted for students in grades 5, 7, 9 and 11, site staff members, and families across the District, to gather important data on student safety, engagement, and connection in their school community and students’ physical and psychological well-being. Parents are encouraged to participate and review the survey questions on the CHKS PAUSD Website. The survey administration is supported by the Department of Research, Evaluation, and Assessment (REA); use of the data by school leaders, staff, and District committees typically begins in the late spring when results are delivered by the state.