ALL PAUSD MIDDLE SCHOOLS MOVE ON TO STATE MATHCOUNTS COMPETITION
All three PAUSD middle schools successfully competed in the Peninsula Chapter MathCounts Competition. The JLS team placed first, the Fletcher team placed third, and the Greene team placed fifth. All three teams will compete in the State MathCounts Championship in March. MathCounts is an exciting competition with individual contests, team contests, and a nail-biting countdown round. Kudos to the students who worked hard on their competitive edge, and many, many thanks to the teachers, high school students, and adult volunteers who coach the teams. Congratulations!
CASE STUDY TO USE COMMON WRITING ASSESSMENT FORMATIVELY AND INCREASE ALIGNMENT ACROSS SITES
The Common Writing Assessment (CWA) is a school-designed performance task that both Fletcher and JLS use to assess students’ writing. This week, the English Steering Committee and the Research, Evaluation, and Assessment (REA) Department met to review and discuss the relationship between last year’s CWA scores and Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA) Writing scores for Fletcher and JLS. Key takeaways include that the CWA is positively correlated with the SBA, and the CWA is a conservative predictor of students’ SBA writing performance task scores.
Given this information, the English Steering Committee is discussing various options to align the CWA. In a first step towards using the CWA formatively across sites, the Fletcher 7th and 8th grade teams decided to move up their administration to January, which parallels the JLS CWA administration timeline. The Fletcher team spent Tuesday, February 12, analyzing their students’ CWA scores and planning for reteaching and extension lessons to improve students’ argumentative writing in preparation for the spring SBA.
HIGH SCHOOL SCIENCE CONTINUES WORK ON NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE STANDARDS (NGSS) STORYLINES
High school Biology, Chemistry, and Physics teams continue work on course sequences and storyline development for NGSS. Teacher teams have been envisioning ways to infuse Earth and Space science phenomena into these core classes. Both schools have been using Professional Learning Community (PLC) time and will dedicate part of the Staff Development Day for this work. PAUSD teachers recently attended the Exploratorium’s Teacher Leader Network Institute, and additional teachers are encouraged to enroll in the next cohort training for this summer.
LETTER OF INTENT FOR STRONG WORKFORCE PROGRAMS
The Innovation and Agility Department is working with Foothill College and DeAnza College on three Career Technical Education Pathway grant applications through the State of California’s K-12 Strong Workforce Program (SWP). If funded, these new grants will provide resources to upgrade and expand our Early Childhood Development, Sports Medicine/Kinesiology, and Culinary Arts programs. This will also expand articulation and dual enrollment through our community college partners, add new career-based learning opportunities through our industry partners, integrate industry-recognized certification to help students achieve career readiness, and implement curriculum updates to meet evolving industry needs. The K-12 Strong Workforce Program was created by the California Department of Education (CDE) to foster collaboration between K-12 education and community colleges to build career pipelines in Career Technical Education (CTE). The application window closes March 15, and grant notifications will be sent out at the end of April.
RESPONDING TO MISBEHAVIOR WORKSHOP
On February 12, 28 K-5 teachers attended a workshop entitled, Responding to Misbehavior. Participants explored effective strategies for understanding, addressing, and reducing challenging behavior in the classroom. The workshop was offered through Responsive Classroom. PAUSD has partnered with Responsive Classroom for the past three years to provide four-day workshops at the introductory and advanced level. Responsive Classroom is an evidence-based approach to education that focuses on the strong relationship between academic success and Social-Emotional Learning (SEL). The Responsive Classroom approach empowers educators to create safe, joyful, and engaging learning communities, where all students have a sense of belonging and feel significant.
CASE STUDIES ON DIVERSITY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE EDUCATION COURSE
Sixteen participants recently completed a PAUSD-developed course entitled, Case Studies on Diversity and Social Justice Education. Using a book of the same title by Paul Gorski and Seema Pothini, participants unpacked case studies from the book using an equity literacy framework. The equity literacy framework provides tools for defining issues of equity by considering multiple perspectives, brainstorming short- and long-term solutions, and envisioning equitable outcomes. Participants also wrote and analyzed their own case studies and then developed tools for engaging in conversations about equity and responding to tricky situations. The course consisted of two face-to-face sessions and two online portions using Schoology: Learning Management System (LMS).
ELEMENTARY EDUCATION POWERFUL PRACTICES 4.5
The Elementary Education Department is bringing Powerful Practices 4.5 to all elementary staff on Thursday, February 14. Powerful Practices provides teacher choice in professional learning. The day will be split into morning and afternoon sessions by school site. Half of the day will be site-based professional learning, and the other District-based professional learning.
For the conference-style half-day at Paly, teachers, specialists, Special Education aides, and principals will choose one session out of a variety of topics that provide strategies to engage and inspire students with math differentiation, science inquiry, insight on the computer science standards, and methods that foster SEL and mindfulness. At the sites, staff members are involved in a variety of learning activities, including case studies, school safety trainings, writing and reading instructional strategies, strategies to students with special needs, etc.
Strategic Initiatives and Operations
THE SPECIAL EDUCATION DISTRICT OFFICE TEAM GEARS UP TO DELIVER ITS PROMISE
The District Office Special Education Team attended a three-day Every Child Counts Symposium in Anaheim, California. The symposium, hosted by the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) was themed “See Me, Hear Me, and Teach Me.” The team actively engaged in numerous high-quality sessions to build their capacity to provide a higher level of technical assistance to school sites. Topics included: an Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS) Model of Intervention to Reduce Disproportionality and Close the Achievement Gap; Convergence of 504 and IDEA; and Imagining Equitable Education, among many others. The District Office Team plans to use their professional learning to build organizational capacity to serve the needs of students with disabilities in both the general education and special education setting. As we shift practices to meet the needs of all students in PAUSD, our Special Education Team is preparing to provide increasingly higher and more targeted levels of support to students, families, and staff.
For more information about the Special Education Improvement Initiative, contact Yolanda Conaway.
MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH COLLABORATION
The second round of this year’s Mental and Physical Health Collaboration met during the afternoon of Thursday’s Professional Learning Day. All staff that primarily support student mental and physical health were invited to this collaborative forum to review and calibrate practices to build continuity across our District and Ensure alignment with policy and law. District nurses, health technicians, mental health therapists, psychologists, school counselors, social workers, and wellness staff collaborated on refining protocols and tools that support student physical and mental health and safety. Topics included: safety risk assessment protocol and follow-up process, check-in plans, coping plans, and safety plans to help students access skills and connect with helpful people and places.
The Research Evaluation and Assessment Department and Wellness & Support Services co-hosted a four-hour Naviance Workshop for school counselors, college and career counselors, and advising staff during the February 14 Professional Learning Day. The workshop assisted high school staff with Naviance, helping to ensure equitable college and career support for all students and families. Participants received resources and planned for how to better support staff, students, and families to utilize the program to help with their future planning.
- E-Docs – best practices and troubleshooting in the use of the college application document management tool
- Naviance Features – building familiarity for fluidity of workflow and task management
- Program Development – analyzing use patterns and utilizing data to refine college and career planning scope and sequence
- Supporting ongoing needs
HEALTHY RELATIONAHIP FAIR – GUNN
Gunn High School’s Wellness Center co-hosted the second annual Healthy Relationships Resource Fair in conjunction with the Student Executive Council’s Love Week Marriage Event. Wellness Center staff partnered with two student organizations, Bring Change to Mind and Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA), to showcase a variety of ways students can engage in healthy interactions and relationships with others. Each table had activities, information, and supportive staff and students to answer questions. Information was available from local agencies such as Children’s Health Council (CHC), Planned Parenthood, and Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI). The goal of this outreach event is to bring students a common language and set of knowledge as they embark on creating healthy relationships throughout their lives.
WELLNESS-THEMED PROFESSIONAL LEARNING – PALY
Paly’s Wellness staff organized sessions for the Professional Learning Day. Presenters included teachers, administrators, Palo Alto Police Department (PAPD) School Resource Officers, community agencies, Wellness staff and mental health therapists.
- Tech-Inspired Workflow Wellness
- Fearless Conversations: How to Have Healthy Conversations About Sexuality
- Are You Listening? Relationship Building and Behavior Management Tips and Tricks from a Hostage Negotiator
- The Transformative Power of Trauma-Informed Teaching
- Fostering Connections in the Classroom, Culturally Responsive Pedagogy
- SEL In Action – Practical tips integrating SEL skills and competencies into lessons and classroom practices
- Bringing Coaching Techniques to the Classroom
5th GRADE PUBERTY TALK PARENT NIGHT
This year’s second Puberty Talk Parent Night was held at Walter Hays on February 11. Seventy-three parents attended and received information. Puberty Talk is a five-session course, designed as an open forum for pre-teens to ask questions and get medically accurate, unbiased information. The final Puberty Talk Parent Night for this year will be on April 8 beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Fairmeadow Elementary School in the Multi-Purpose Room. Mandarin and Spanish translation will be available.
Puberty Talk lessons cover the following areas:
- Personal Hygiene
- Healthy Body Image
- Decision-making and Asking for Help
- Family Communication
- Boundaries, Healthy Relationships and Consent
- Physical and Sexual Development
- Gender Identity
- Sexual Orientation
- Conception and Pregnancy
- HIV and AIDS