March 6, 2020

Education Services

INNOVATION & AGILITY

The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO), in partnership with the California Department of Education (CDE), announced annual funding to implement a regional technical assistance structure to assist teachers and industry partners in implementing high-quality Career & Technical Education (CTE) programs through K12 Pathway Coordinators. PAUSD, through an application process, is approved by the CCCCO to host a K12 Pathway Coordinator for the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, working closely with Mountain View-Los Altos (MVLA) Union High School District and Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE). The K12 Pathway Coordinator will act as a point of contact for and work with high school and community college CTE programs and various stakeholders, as well as provide technical assistance to ensure sequential CTE courses align with regional post-secondary pathways.

SPECIAL EDUCATION EVENTS

The Special Education Department worked collaboratively with the PAUSD Community Advisory Committee (CAC) and Parent Teacher Association (PTA) to hold a Special Education Transition Night on February 11. The event was for families with children matriculating into 6th and 9th grades and the post-secondary programs. Department leadership provided information about Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), including transition planning, primary school contacts, and how to effectively and collaboratively communicate with school staff in order to provide support for parents and students.

The PAUSD CAC Annual Sweetheart Awards ceremony was held on February 26. Over 100 teachers, aides, bus drivers, neighbors, students, and community members were recognized. A bit of history from our CAC president, Kimberly Eng Lee: 

“This event, which began in 2005, is a unique opportunity to thank people individually for their support, teaching, inclusion, and kindness toward students with exceptional needs and differences. It is a night to share personal stories that celebrate excellence, inclusion, and friendship from people who go out of their way to make school a positive and meaningful experience.”

All award recipients received a Sweetheart Certificate, a nomination letter, and a handmade gift.  

The special education elementary team attended a symposium, hosted by a Fagan Freidman and Fulfrost (F3) legal team, which provided legal information about the following topics:

  • Assistive Technology and Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE);
  • English Learners with Disabilities; and
  • Service Animals at Schools. 

The information will be shared with the rest of the team and featured in the department’s upcoming newsletter.

The secondary team attended an Edgenuity conference on blended learning and the effective use of the Edgenuity program. The program will be used in summer school in the Extended School Year (ESY) program. Staff training will be provided to ensure proper implementation. 

VISUAL & PERFORMING ARTS

February 18-21, PAUSD’s Visual and Performing Arts leadership team, along with partners from Stanford Live, and TheatreWorks, attended the Kennedy Center’s National Partnership annual conference in Washington, DC. Throughout the week participants engaged in workshops that focused on Arts Integration (AI), and heard success stories from school districts who are using AI strategies to support equity initiatives, close the achievement gap, and successfully engage student learning in new and innovative ways.

March is Arts in Education month – support the arts by asking your students what they learned in Music, Visual Art, Dance, or Theatre class this week. Ask them what they think the composer of the music is trying to communicate; if they wonder about how certain sounds are made; or how they feel while they are creating art!

Art and sculpture created by students from Gunn, JLSPalo Verde, Fairmeadow and Ohlone is currently on display at the District Office. Lastly, please try to attend some of the District’s outstanding performing arts events.

MIDDLE SCHOOL LITERATURE COMMITTEE

The Middle School Literature Committee met on February 26 to continue vetting new literature for grades 6-8. Committee members first revisited and deepened their understanding of what it means for students to engage in regular practice with complex texts. This concept is central to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Members refreshed their understanding of the three factors that determine text complexity:  qualitative measures, quantitative scales, and reader and task considerations. They practiced determining text complexity using a sample passage. Each grade-level reading group analyzed the literature list it has been working on for the last semester to determine the average complexity of texts on the list. Using teacher recommendations, awards lists, booklists, and reviews, reading groups spent the second half of the meeting continuing to find and review new titles. The Committee convenes again on March 25. To learn more about the Middle School Literature Committee and its process, please visit Committees and Task Forces on the District webpage.

MIDDLE SCHOOL COMMON WRITING ASSESSMENT: NEXT STEPS

Over the course of the last month, we have provided some background on the Middle School Common Writing Assessment (CWA) and shared the results of a study that the Department of Research, Evaluation and Assessment (REA) conducted last year into two site-specific CWAs previously being used at JLS and Fletcher. We have also written about the development of the new Districtwide CWA by cross-site teacher teams, and last week, we discussed the connection of the CWA to the PAUSD Promise. This week, we are focusing on next steps.

CWA scores for 6th and 7th grades have already been emailed home and 8th grade scores will be sent in mid-March. Students are being given the opportunity to view their writing in class and/or to confer with their English teachers about their scores and about their writing progress in general. Teachers are using the results of the assessment to inform their second semester writing units. Additionally, teachers will be using a future Joint Middle School meeting to begin revising prompts, sources, rubrics, administration instructions, and other materials, in preparation for next school year. 

Meanwhile, high school English teachers are gearing up for a release day in late March to begin developing their own CWA. Similar to the middle school process, a team of three volunteer teachers from each high school will create a Districtwide writing assessment for 10th grade. The first release day will focus on developing a prompt and a common rubric, as well as deciding on what additional materials would best support students and teachers. The 10th grade CWA will be administered for the first time during the 2020-21 school year.

LITERACY UPDATE - CDE INSTRUCTIONAL RESOURCES

The Elementary and Secondary Teachers on Special Assignment (TOSAs) most recently partnered to learn more about the resources offered by the CDE to support struggling students. Two consultants from the Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division came to PAUSD to share some of those resources for students with disabilities and students with dyslexia.

Clearinghouse for Specialized Media and Technology (CSMT) provides instructional resources in accessible formats to students with disabilities in California. This CDE service is available to all public school educators of students with visual impairments and other disabilities. Teachers may access large print versions and audiobooks of state-adopted materials, as well as trade (supplemental nonfiction, picture, fiction, etc.) books for students who are challenged by conventional print formats. To learn more, please visit the CDE website.

Additionally, the CDE Education Programs Consultant, who specializes in developing and supporting dyslexia policy and programs, provided valuable resources and feedback regarding K-12 struggling readers. Through our discussion, phonemic awareness was highlighted, along with the importance of orthographic mapping. PAUSD was commended for the strides made to address the Dyslexia Guidelines. The Elementary and Secondary Departments will continue to work together as systems are developed to assist struggling readers, more specifically students with dyslexia.

Department of Equity and Student Affairs

PARENT ENGAGEMENT EVENTS

  • Tuesday, March 24, 6:00-7:30 p.m., “Supporting Healthy Gender Development in Our Elementary-age Children” at Walter Hays 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 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.
  • 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.
  • Thursday, March 26, “Families Connecting Across Generations Workshop” Sponsored by Wellness and Support Services with Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI). This is an 8-week workshop educating families on preparing for their children's future with culturally focused parenting for more information contact Yifan Wang, AMFT, at 650.329.3999 ext. 6975 or via email. Look for registration steps through Eventbrite in the near future in your inbox. 
  • Saturday, March 28, “Beyond the Books,” a youth-led conference for parents on how to support their children’s success.

COUNSELORS

Gunn counselors have been hard at work helping 8th graders through the course selection process for next year. Over the past 3 weeks, counselors:

  • Spent a total of 86 hours on our three middle school campuses;
  • Led 22 hours of course-selection presentations;
  • Provided one-on-one course selection reviews to every student in 8th grade (about 400) in the District planning to attend Gunn next year.