February 21, 2020

Superintendent’s Office


The tentative schedules for the next two meetings are listed below for review.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020 

  • Temporary Employee Release (Closed Session)
  • Probationary Non-Reelects (Closed Session)
  • Award of Wired Network Refresh Bid (Consent)
  • Authorization to Transfer Funds From Measure Z Reserve to Tech Fund (Consent)
  • College and Career Indicator Report: A-G Eligibility Discuss Steps Taken By Our Sites to Impact the Achievement Gap Between Groups (Report)
  • Equity Snapshot (Report)
  • Quarterly Strong Schools Bonds Measure A and Measure Z Progress (Report)
  • Bid Results for Gunn and Paly Fields (Action)
  • Review Budget Assumptions - Draft (Discussion)
  • Science – Middle School Instructional Materials (Discussion)
  • Addison Magical Bridge (Discussion)

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

  • Equity Snapshot (Report)
  • College and Career Indication Report: CTE and Dual Enrollment (Report)
  • Capitol Advisors Legislative Update (Report)
  • Facility Rentals Community Tool (Report)
  • Appointment of High School Principals (Consent)
  • Second Interim (Action)
  • Science – Middle School Instructional Materials (Action)
  • Professional Development Plan and Budget (Discussion)
  • Budget Assumptions (Discussion)
  • Suicide Prevention (Information)
  • 2 Year Persistence Rates and 6 Year Graduation Rates for College (Information)

Education Services


Beginning on February 24, students in grades 6-12 will complete the annual Student Survey. Given during the school day and completed in one class period, the survey will cover the following subjects: homework, school climate, social emotional learning, and sexual harassment. (The last section is mandated in the District’s resolution agreement with the Office for Civil Rights.)

The District and school sites will use this information as a “local measure” in the state Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) process. Survey results also help to benchmark progress toward individual school improvement plans, as well as fulfillment of the PAUSD Promise. 

For questions, contact Christopher Kolar, Director of Research, Evaluation, and Assessment.


The Elementary Teachers on Special Assignment (TOSAs) recently attended a K-2 Literacy Academy on Foundational Reading Skills at Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE), to consider it as a possible professional learning opportunity for PAUSD teachers. This workshop focused on what is needed when learning how to read, such as, the structure of English words; phonological and phonemic awareness; morphology; and blending routines. A key takeaway is the importance of word recognition development.

According to Ehri and McCormick (1998), there are five phases of word recognition development. As readers progress from the earliest to most proficient phases of reading, they learn to read words using several different strategies: using context, decoding through the use of letter-sound associations or spelling patterns, analogy, and sight. At each phase, reading improves as new skills for recognizing words are added to the learner’s repertoire. When readers reach the automatic phase, all of these cueing systems are under their control.

Students in preschool or kindergarten are usually in the first phase, called pre-alphabetic. Prior to learning to recognize the letters in the alphabet or sounds associated with those letters, the child depends on visual cues to “read” words. This is demonstrated when a child “reads” a logo, such as Star Wars, or a book that’s been heard repeatedly. 

Children move into the partial alphabetic phase once they can identify at least some letters and sounds. At this stage, it’s common to see students unreliably guess words, based solely on the first or last letter of a word. 

The next phase is full alphabetic, because the students know the alphabetic system, recognize letters and sounds, and attend to each letter in words. Although decoding begins slowly and laboriously, it improves with practice. Children become familiar with common sound/spellings and multi-letter patterns, such as vowel digraphs, consonant blends, phonograms, and simple sight words.

Phase four is consolidated alphabetic. Students begin to use individual sound/spelling, multi-letter patterns, or chunks within words. Additionally, students begin to use an analogy from known patterns, such as syllables, affixes, or phonograms, to recognize and commit words to memory. They begin to commit multi-syllabic words into memory through a string of units. Their command of sight words steadily increases.          

The automatic phase is when the majority of words readers encounter have been memorized. The reader has multiple strategies to help solve unfamiliar words and reads words fluently.

Understanding the phases of word recognition allows teachers to acquire a more refined sense of how far students have progressed in their ability to read words, and of what types of instruction are most helpful for advancing their development as readers. With this knowledge, teachers can better meet the needs of students during differentiated small group instruction (Reading and/or Writing Workshop).


The Superintendent and Elementary Special Education Director visited school sites to review the current continuum of programming and supports for students with autism. Site staff had the opportunity to give input. The visit yielded specific goals that will encourage expanding the continuum of support and services for the 2020-21 school year.

The Department held workshops specifically designed to address the training needs of student attendants in the District during the February 13 Professional Development Day. Trainings were offered at both the elementary and secondary level. Aides received training in facilitated play at the elementary level and learned specific and practical strategies they can use to help students with social weaknesses engage more successfully with peers. The secondary workshop focused on strategies for supporting English Language Learners.  

Department of Equity and Student Affairs


  • Saturday, February 22, 8:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m., PAUSD Family Leadership Summit, Gunn High School.
  • Monday, February 24, 7:00 p.m., Mindful Monday Parent Workshops begin, JLS Library. Space is limited, please RSVP on the Eventbrite page.
  • Wednesday, February 26, 6:30 p.m., Screenagers: The Next Chapter Movie, Greene Middle School.
  • Wednesday, February 26, 3:30-6:30 p.m., “Be Sensitive, Be Brave: Suicide Prevention” will focus on teaching community members how to identify suicide risk and how to approach with cultural responsiveness. Please RSVP on the Eventbrite page. Sponsored by The Project Safety Net Team (PSN) together with Santa Clara County Suicide Prevention Programs and Palo Alto University at the Cubberley Community Center- Room H1, 4000 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto.
  • Tuesday, March 24, 6:00-7:30 p.m., “Supporting Healthy Gender Development in Our Elementary-age Children” at Walter Hayes Elementary School, Multi-Purpose Room.
  • Wednesday, March 25, 3:30-6:30 p.m., “Be Sensitive, Be Brave: Mental Health” will focus on building community responsiveness and cultural sensitivity on mental health and mental illness. Please RSVP on theEventbrite page. Sponsored by The Project Safety Net Team (PSN) together with Santa Clara County Suicide Prevention Programs and Palo Alto University at the Cubberley Community Center- Room H1, 4000 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto.
  • Wednesday, March 25, 6:30-8:00 p.m., Family Talk Workshop: “What Am I Feeling?” at Board Room in the District Office. This workshop is recommended for 7th and 8th graders and their families to discuss brain development, strong emotions, values, sexting, sexuality, sexual behavior, and consent.


Members of the Wellness & Support Services team and some school counselors completed the Brief Intervention Training offered by the SCCOE’s Tobacco Use Prevention Education Program on February 20. Brief Intervention is an approach that uses motivational interviewing, cognitive behavior therapy, and the stages of change model to meet the needs of adolescents who are experimenting with their use of alcohol and/or other drugs. This training concentrates on a specific brief intervention approach developed by Dr. Ken Winters, focusing on adolescents learning and taking a more active and reflective role in their decision making in regard to their current behaviors. The 2-3 session model is designed to assist adolescents in weighing the personal costs and benefits associated with their use and to develop a plan to help make decisions they see as beneficial to increase healthy behaviors. This training will help staff respond to students and is part of PAUSD’s work to build out interventions and alternatives to suspension. 

Business Services


The 2020-21 Budget Development Assumptions is a planning document that links financial decisions to educational policy. These assumptions reflect the current economic situation and District practices, as are known at this time, and are updated during the budget process to include any new developments from the state budget adoption process or other economic indicators that may impact the District's budget.  

A draft of the 2020-21 Budget Assumptions will be presented to the Board at the upcoming Regular Board Meeting on February 25. The Budget Assumptions will be reviewed by District leadership, the Fiscal Advisory Committee, and other stakeholder groups before being brought back to the Board for final approval at the April 21, 2020, Regular Board Meeting.

Human Resources


We are excited to announce our next LI host, PAUSD Interim Elementary Special Education Director, Jennifer Baker. She will guide us in understanding the PAUSD Special Education Promise. In addition, Deputy Superintendent, Karen Hendricks, and Elementary TOSA, Nikole Manou will discuss the topic of meeting facilitation. LI #4 will be held on Monday, February 24, in the Board Room at the District Office from 3:30-5:00 p.m. 


Parents, students, teachers, administrators, staff, and community members interested in serving on the School Safety Advisory Group (SSAG) completed an application and were reviewed based on experience, rationale for serving on the committee, and in consideration of the four neighborhood clusters that exist in the District. The SSAG will consist of two parents, two students, two teachers, and two administrators, and will also include District Office representation. The SSAG will be charged with preparing multiple, strategic, evidence-based, actionable recommendations that will enable our District to improve, design, develop, and implement short and long-term safety and emergency preparedness plans and procedures. The SSAG is scheduled to meet at least once a month with the first meeting to be conducted on February 27. We are happy to announce that all four of our neighborhood clusters will be represented. 


Pursuant to our PAUSD Safety Promise, the Safety, Security, and Emergency Preparedness Office has created this video as an update of the key strategies PAUSD has focused on this year.

Technology Department


On the agenda for approval Tuesday evening is the award of the contract for the refresh of the wired network infrastructure. All the proposals came back over the original staff estimate, which was based on legacy/current generation switching technologies. The proposals submitted were based upon “next generation” infrastructure switching devices that are better equipped to meet our instructional, operational, and security needs for the next 10 years. With all the leading manufacturers in the enterprise switching market now selling “next generation” models, we can anticipate the legacy/current methodologies and equipment will be phased out sometime before we are planning another refresh. The staff recommendation that will be presented is to award the contract to Dasher Technologies with Aruba “next generation” equipment.