January 11, 2019

Superintendent’s Office

BOARD AGENDA FOR JANUARY 15

The order of items on the agenda is subject to change for any given meeting. Items of special importance for this agenda include:

  • Closed Session – Anticipated litigation regarding Stanford University General Use Permit Environmental Impact Report. 
  • Reports – Director of Agile Teams, Jeong Choe, will share how PAUSD is expanding opportunities for dual enrollment with students earning credit through Foothill College.
  • Assistant Superintendent, Yolanda Conaway, will highlight the Family Engagement Summit purpose and accomplishments.
  • Discussion – Santa Clara County District 5 Supervisor, Joe Simitian, will share his proposal to create below market value rental housing available for PAUSD staff members at 231 Grant Avenue utilizing County land.
  • Information Items – Documents without presentations will include Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) schedule and engagement calendar, school Impact Fee annual report, Public Records Act progress, and historic Strategic Plan results.

STANFORD UNIVERSITY GENERAL USE (GUP) PERMIT

We have created a website dedicated to informing our community about the Stanford University General Use Permit. The website is still evolving and can be found here. The Santa Clara County Office has been notified about our agenda item concerning anticipated litigation regarding the Stanford GUP Environmental Impact Report.

JANUARY 24 STUDY SESSION

In preparation for the January 24 Study Session, the team has now evaluated all previous guiding documents, solicited input from all parents and staff members through a video pod cast and a Let’s Talk! invitation, met with Instructional Leads, worked with the PAUSD Leadership Team, and worked with our principals as a separate group.  Additionally, a survey was sent to all PAUSD employees with a 70% response rate on critical topics.

The Board will hear the results of outreach and research efforts. We will spend approximately 3 hours (beginning at 8:00 a.m.) discussing the resulting 3-year plan, key levers, impactful actions, and accompanying metrics.  

Education Services

SMARTER BALANCED ASSESSMENT CONSORTIUM (SBAC) 4 SUCCESS

Escondido and Barron Park’s principals, 3rd - 5th grade teachers and specialists, Elementary Teachers on Special Assignment (TOSAs), English Learner (EL) TOSAs, and the Assessment Manager met on January 9 for a full-day focused on SBAC 4 Success. The goal is to narrow the achievement gap at these schools by closely studying the SBAC Interim Assessment data, providing opportunities to practice using the online testing platform, explaining how the online tools (such as highlighting and taking notes) can help, and adjusting the testing environment by shortening times and/or adding more brain breaks to boost the students' performance.

Teachers learned how to access, navigate, and analyze data from their interim SBAC results. The group reviewed the subgroup trends, questioned difficulties and mismatches from the workshop, and discussed cooperative learning teaching style to the silent, solo testing format. Also discussed were ways to support students and make one-month sprint goals to help raise students’ performance on the next SBAC Interim Assessment.

The group will continue to use and explore best practices for optimizing students' focus and performance, and to integrate more testing vocabulary into their current practices in order to help students be more comfortable and prepared for the California

Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) spring tests. Additionally, the Assessment Manager and Elementary TOSA Team will continue to work with the administrators and staff from these schools throughout the process. Furthermore, the TOSAs will go into classrooms to model Reading and Writing Workshop lessons that have been modified to best support the vocabulary and skills needed to perform well on the CAASPP.

MATH - Understanding Your Math Choices in PAUSD Secondary Schools

The Math Department will explain the math pathway choices for grades 6-12 on:

  • Saturday, January 12, at the Family Leadership Summit, held at Paly from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, January 16 at the District Office from 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Differences among the math levels and a variety of pathways will be presented. At the Family Leadership Summit, four 1-hour sessions will be offered. Each session consists of a 30-minute presentation, followed by a 30-minute question-and-answer opportunity. A full description of Math Placement can be found here. Additional questions can be fielded or redirected to a student’s math teacher.

Below-grade level middle school math students will receive additional support through an adaptive, self-paced, flexible program called DreamBox. This technology supports and enhances classroom instruction for individual students by combining a rigorous, concept-attainment experience in many Common Core math topics. Math teachers will participate in a training with follow-ups beginning in late January.

WORK EXPERIENCE EDUCATION

The Work Experience Education program has aligned a career speaker series at Gunn with a similar series at Paly. Twenty-five speakers from a variety of industries will present to students about career options and insights into their fields. The newly launched series will be held January 14-18 during lunch at Gunn, and students will have a new set of five speakers to choose from each day. This series is sponsored jointly by Work Experience Education and the Gunn PTSA.

SEVENTH-GRADE HISTORY/SOCIAL STUDIES EUGENICS MINI-UNIT

In many 7th grade social studies classrooms across the District, students came back from break to a mini-unit on eugenics. This unit, incorporated into the curriculum as part of the Board’s decision to rename Fletcher and Greene Middle Schools, was revised in the fall, with an eye toward making the lessons more clearly student-centered. The goal is to give middle schoolers the opportunity to make meaning of this period of history. Students will experience a progression of lessons that start with a reflection on their own names, move into Palo Alto’s role in the American Eugenics Movement, and conclude with a broader look at renaming efforts currently underway in neighboring communities.

NEW HIRE EQUITY WORKSHOPS IN FULL SWING!

Winter and early spring are busy months for our work with new hires around equity. Almost 100 teachers will attend workshops focused on a variety of topics, including: case studies in Social Justice, providing accommodations and supports for all students, gender, and sexual orientation; special education; and a student panel. Our workshop topics were generated from academic and wellness student outcome data. Each workshop is clearly connected to the data to raise awareness and empathy, and to the California Standards for the Teaching Profession. While workshops target teachers in their first two years in PAUSD, they are open to all teachers.

*** ADULT SCHOOL WINTER CLASSES BEGIN MONDAY, JANUARY 14, 2019! ***

Strategic Initiatives and Operations

PARENT PROJECT – SPRING CYCLE

Enrollment is still open for the Spring Cycle of Parent Project. Interested participants need to join before Thursday, January 17. Parent Project is a 12-week parenting skills program that provides practical tools to help parents find solutions in addressing challenging adolescent behaviors and strengthen 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 Palo Alto Police Department (PAPD) and Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD), and is offered in both English and Spanish.

Please contact Agent Brad Young (650) 329-2274 or Lissette Moore-Guerra (650) 329-3722 for information. The cost for participating in this program is $120 per person or $155 per couple – financial aid is available. Childcare is provided for toilet-trained children ages 3 to 13.

  • What:              Parent Project Program
  • When:            Every Thursday from January 10 – March 28
  • Time:              6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. (Light dinner will be served)
  • Location:        Classroom 214, Palo Alto High School, 50 Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto, CA 94301

MIDDLE SCHOOL CONFERENCE

Wellness and Support Services is working with middle school counselors and administrators to select 25 students to participate in the 3rd Annual Middle School Conference on Thursday, January 31, from 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE). The theme of this year’s conference is “Turning Dreams Into Reality” and will focus on the health and well-being of students. The goal of the conference is to help students navigate middle school, prepare for high school and beyond by developing leadership and self-advocacy skills, and empower students with the knowledge to make healthy choices. The deadline for registration is Wednesday, January 16. Parents who are interested can contact their school counselor or administrator. 

The Middle School Conference is hosted by SCCOE’s Safe & Healthy School’s Tobacco Use Prevention Education Program. Please watch a video of last year’s conference for more information. This year’s conference will include workshops, presentations, and resources on:

  • Tobacco/Vape/Marijuana Use Prevention
  • Physical and Emotional Health
  • Healthy Relationships
  • Online Safety 
  • Bullying Preventions
  • Gang/Violence Prevention
  • Making School Safe for ALL Students 
  • How to Thrive in High School
  • Great Decision-Making
  • Leadership and Communication Skills
  • Youth Advocacy

PUBERTY TALK PARENT NIGHTS

  • Parent Night #1: The first 5th Grade Puberty Talk Parent Night was held on Wednesday, January 9, with about 40 parents in attendance. Parents learned what the California Healthy Youth Act entails and the topics of each classroom session. Puberty Talk is a five-session course designed as an open forum for pre-teens to ask questions and get medically accurate, unbiased information about puberty. The course was developed by Health Connected. The dates of future Puberty Talk Parent Nights are listed below. Parents and guardians from all sites are welcome. Puberty Talk materials are available for viewing at your school’s front office during regular office hours, and at the District Office in Educational Services from 8:00 a.m. – 4:45 p.m. Parent Night information, lesson dates, and frequently asked questions can be found on the PAUSD website.
  • Parent Night #2: Monday, February 11, 6:30 p.m. at the Walter Hays Multi-Purpose Room.
  • Parent Night #3: Monday, April 8, 6:30 p.m. at the Fairmeadow Multi-Purpose Room.

If you have any questions or inquiries, please contact the PAUSD District Nurses.

Technology Department

AGING TECHNOLOGY INFRASTRUCTURE

With the exception of wireless and web filtering, we don’t talk very often about the wires and devices that compose the base infrastructure of our networks. The set of wires, fiber optics, battery backup systems, servers, and network devices that compose our network was last refreshed in 2011, and is beginning to show signs of aging. Staff has been working on a plan to refresh this equipment over the next few years. Stay tuned for more information as individual projects move forward. 

A BIG STEP FORWARD

With the opening of new registrations for the 2019-20 school year this week, the Registration Services Team has transitioned from the production of paper cumulative folders to an electronic-only version. This major change in process is a giant first step to improve efficiency, accuracy, and the speed of workflow in getting information disseminated to the appropriate staff and departments. Kudos to the Registration Services Team for their efforts and willingness to embrace process change for improved District Office operations.