November 12, 2019

Office of the Superintendent


The full agenda is available. I would like to highlight some areas of special interest for the upcoming meeting.

Parcel Tax Polling Results PAUSD consultant, Charles Heath, will present recent polling data measuring a potential parcel tax renewal. The tight timeframe did not allow for publishing the presentation prior to posting the agenda. We will attach the data and presentation to the subsequent agenda, under Information, to preserve the data as a historical document.

Individualized Education Program (IEP) Goalbook –  The Board of Education will hear a brief presentation of Goalbook and our application of the tool to write consistent measurable goals for special education students.

Dyslexia Update  The Board of Education will have an opportunity to review and discuss data from our first year of screening all K-3 students for dyslexia. 

Vaping Resolution  A resolution will be presented for Board consideration dealing with the epidemic of vaping.

Homework Policy Update  At a previous meeting, the staff committed to forming a comprehensive goal around homework as a formal part of the PAUSD Promise. The new goals are included for review.

Education Services


This week, November 12-14, El Carmelo's kindergarten to second-grade teachers worked with a Teachers College Reading and Writing Project (TCRWP) Senior Staff Developer. The kindergarten and second-grade teachers focused their time on the new Phonics Units of Study. While the first-grade teachers focused mainly on Writing Workshop.

The kindergarten and second-grade teachers continued their work on the new Phonics Units of Study curriculum. They analyzed the phonics assessment results and planned differentiated small group lessons. Additionally, they delved deeper and compared the assessment data with student writing to see if phonics skills were being transferred. The Staff Developer also shared research about how to prioritize the continuum of skills; which ones are better taught in Reading Workshop versus Writing Workshop. Teachers then planned next steps for differentiated small group lessons for their classes.

First-grade teachers focused their time on Writing Workshop. They looked at the First-Grade Informational Writing Skills Checklist and analyzed student work, sorted it by need, created writing conference toolkits, and planned for differentiated small groups. Additionally, this group looked at the Phonics Units of Study curriculum to determine best practices for transitioning into the Reading and Writing Workshop.


The Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System (BAS) for reading provides a snapshot in time of a student's literacy development and will be given three times a year in grades K-5. The assessment helps identify a student's specific reading strengths and appropriate instructional reading level for small-group instruction. The data gained from this standardized assessment helps identify goals and plan instruction that supports a student's reading progress during the school year.

PAUSD is now in its third year of BAS administration. With only two years of BAS data to review, we are not yet able to identify any trends.

How do the BAS and the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) assessments compare? The BAS benchmarks are aligned with the District’s rigorous reading program from Teachers College. The end of year benchmark is intended to be predictive of student success on CAASPP. If a student can read independently at the end of year benchmark, they should be able to access the reading and comprehension requirements to respond successfully to English Language Arts (ELA) and Math sections on the CAASPP.

Both the CAASPP and the BAS measure a student's knowledge of:

  • Central Ideas
  • Reasoning and Evidence
  • Key Details
  • Word Meaning
  • Analysis of Text
  • Text Structures and Features
  • Language

CAASPP is a summative, computerized, 14-16 item, multiple-choice assessment in literary and informational reading, while BAS is a formative, 10-12 prompt-driven comprehension conversation between student and teacher. The conversation is about information within, about, and beyond the text. One thing the BAS administration assesses that CAASPP cannot is a student's fluency and accuracy while reading.

In the first and second year of BAS implementation, focus was on administration, scoring, and identification of instructional needs for students. In the second and third year, we added a focus on tightening the calibration at and across grade levels.

We look forward to analyzing trends in BAS results after this third year of data collection.


The Department’s Adaptive Physical Education (APE) team organized a Special Olympics soccer event, which was hosted at Greene Middle School. This event was attended by K-12 students in our moderate to severe learning centers and students in the Futures program. Kudos to our APE team for a successful, enjoyable, and all-around fabulous event!

The Department also partnered with Health Connected to provide a Teen Talk Parent night for parents of students in the Futures program. Teachers informed our Program Specialist that parents had questions regarding the Sex Education curriculum implemented in secondary programs. Parents who attended the ensuing information night shared that they appreciated the information and now feel comfortable about the curriculum.


This Tuesday and Wednesday high school science staff continued work with Jody Bintz, from Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS), regarding the use of the Five Tools and Processes protocol. Teachers met at Foothill College in cross-school teams to apply the 5E Instructional Model to the unit of study that they had mapped out in October. In addition, they determined appropriate phenomena to drive learning and refined the alignment of their instructional practices. In this process, staff evaluate what to keep, tweak, or develop, so that learning activities are consistent and coherent with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).


Members of the Middle School English Literature Selection Advisory Committee will hold their third meeting of the year on Wednesday, November 20 to continue discussion of the student literature survey. 68% of District middle schoolers completed the survey in September. Members will also read Emily Style’s. “Curriculum as Mirror and Window,” (1988), and reflect on the significance of the central metaphor for their work. Finally, the group will continue to vet current PAUSD titles in grade-level reading groups; a process that they hope to wrap up by the end of the semester. After Winter Break, they will begin to read and vet new titles.


The administration of the first Districtwide Common Writing Assessment (CWA) is rapidly approaching. Seventh-grade students will be taking the assessment during the week of December 9, and teachers are busy making final edits on print-ready assessment materials. They are also testing a new digital interface that the District has created, which is similar to the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) secure testing browser. Individual classes at Fletcher, Greene, and JLS Middle Schools have tried using and printing from the new interface, and teachers are using these trials to help inform the upcoming writing assessment.


The Innovation and Agility Department has been working with Foothill College to support its proposal to develop a Law Pathway. Letters of support were provided to Foothill early June and again, in November. Also, PAUSD’s law curriculum was sent to Foothill to initiate a dual enrollment option.

On another note, the Department hosted the first round of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) committee meeting to evaluate staff and students’ research proposals for any risk of psychological, physical, legal, social, or economic harm, or unethical practices. The second round of reviews will be held next week. Lastly, the Career Technical Education (CTE) Advisory, consisting of industry partners, met on November 13 to discuss establishing bylaws for the group and tackling challenges around providing paid internships for students.


The Faculty Art Show opens this week in the halls of the District Office. All of the art was created by District art teachers or elementary Spectra teachers. If you are interested in purchasing any of the pieces, contact PAUSD Visual and Performing Arts.

Palo Alto High School Madrigal Singers participated in a day of masterclasses and performances at Stanford University on Saturday, November 9. The King’s Singers, a highly acclaimed vocal group from London, worked with students and ensembles to expand vocal skills and performance technique. Six ensembles, and the King’s Singers, performed for each other at the end of the masterclass.


The PAUSD Induction Consortium is supporting 47 teachers across three partner high school districts: Palo Alto Unified, Mountain View Los Altos Union, and Los Gatos-Saratoga Union. 29 of the 47 teachers are employed by PAUSD and supported by six mentors, who are also current District teachers. The program, which has been in place since 2003, provides a no-cost option for teachers new to the profession to meet State credentialing requirements. Simultaneously, it affords experienced teachers an opportunity to develop mentoring and leadership skills.

Induction programs are accredited by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) and provide two years of mentoring for teachers in their first two years in the profession. PAUSD’s program is headed into an accreditation cycle, a process that spans two years. The process not only ensures that programs meet state requirements, but also provides an opportunity for reflection and self-study.

Accreditation steps are:

  • March 2020: Submit Preconditions. Unlike standards, preconditions specify requirements for program compliance. The basis for a precondition is either statute, regulations, or Commission policy.
  • October 2020: Submit Program Review. The Program Review provides a description of program design, including vision, structure and organization. It also addresses qualifications of program staff, processes, and procedures for ensuring candidates receive support and make expected progress.
  • February 2021: Common Standards. The Common Standards address issues of institutional infrastructure, stability, and processes that are designed to ensure that the implementation of all approved programs is successful and meets all standards.
  • 2021-2022: Site visit. The site visit team conducts interviews with a wide range of stakeholders, reviews documents, and makes an accreditation recommendation based on the team’s findings on the standards.

This year we are utilizing time in both Mentor and Steering meetings to conduct a self-study on selected preconditions. These conversations drive our efforts to continually update our program to ensure that it meets our local needs within the context of State requirements.

Department of Equity and Student Affairs


The LCAP is a three-year plan that describes the goals, actions, services, and expenditures to support positive student outcomes that address State and local priorities. The LCAP provides an opportunity for PAUSD to share its story of how, what, and why programs and services are selected to meet local needs. Stakeholders are encouraged to provide feedback on creating the plan. This school year the District will be creating a new three-year LCAP plan. The District Advisory Committee meets three times a year to hear about the process of creating the plan and to give input.

LCAP District Advisory Committee Dates:

  • November 21, 2019            6:00-7:00 p.m.          District Office, Aspen Room
  • February 27, 2020               6:00-7:00 p.m.          District Office, Board Room
  • April 23, 2020                       6:00-7:00 p.m.          District Office, Aspen Room

LCAP Plan 2019-20

2019 LCAP Addendum approved by the California Department of Education

Please contact Judy Argumedo, or (650) 329-3736 with questions.


The English Learner Program provides English Language Development (ELD) and Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English (SDAIE) for students acquiring English. These techniques develop the academic English skills students need to succeed in school.  Review the California English Language Learner Standards. Parents and guardians are encouraged to participate in providing feedback to school sites and the District by joining their site’s English Language Acquisition Committee.


Each school site with 21 or more English Learners has an ELAC. Parents of English Learners and English Only students may participate on the site ELAC. The ELAC meets with the site principal and advises the principal, staff and School Site Council (SSC). The ELAC elects one person from the Committee to represent the site at the District English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC).

The DELAC meets at the District Office with the director of the English Learner Program and advises the District English Learner Program Director and the Board of Education.

DELAC Dates:

  • November 21, 2019             5:00-7:00 p.m.          District Office, Aspen Room
  • February 27, 2020               5:00-7:00 p.m.          District Office, Board Room
  • April 23, 2020                       5:00-7:00 p.m.          District Office, Aspen Room


This week Gunn High School celebrated  International Friendship Week. Throughout the week, students were asked to engage in activities and games to celebrate friendship and participate in dialogue on unity, bullying, and general mental health issues. For more information on the week’s events, click here. Students still have time to submit cards with three things they are grateful for in this year’s Gratitude Challenge. Names will be drawn from the submissions to be awarded a free Turkey Feast ticket and another prize of their choosing at the Wellness Center.


During Fletcher’s Social-Emotional lessons through the Social Kindness program, students are learning about self-awareness and resiliency. Seventh-grade students are building community through presentations on the theme, “What Drives Me;” sharing with their classmates, aspects of their lives. Topics have included: how to make slime; how to warm up as a ballet dancer; and how to be an advocate for climate change as a middle schooler. In sixth-grade, the Advisory lessons are focusing on resiliency and how self-awareness, perseverance, and optimism can help students overcome obstacles and grow from adversity.


At the November 14 school counselor meeting, school sites shared best practices for using early indicators of students’ needs to provide intervention through the school’s multi-tier systems of support (MTSS). The group shared resources and is developing consistent student assistance protocols and plans. Counselors engaged with Research, Evaluation, and Assessment around the current District and site data on student academic performance and attendance data. They analyzed disproportionality ratios in District, school and subject area data, and shared sitewide responses to the Quarter D/F List. The Assistant Superintendent of Equity and Student Affairs shared recent equity problems of practice that were highlighted during the Board Meeting Equity Minute.


PAUSD’s Foster and Homeless Youth Liaison attended the Santa Clara County Office of Education’s monthly network meeting. The group reviewed the Foster Youth Educational Rights Letter from the Santa Clara County Superior Court of California, and discussed the status and next steps for a Transportation Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of Children and Family Services, responding to chronic absenteeism and truancy, and drafting Local Control and Accountability Plan goals for Foster Youth services.

Technology Department


One noticeable feature missing from the transition to a common login procedure for all staff, students, and parents was the ability for parents to reset their own passwords without the assistance of staff. While procedures have long been established for students and staff, the self-service parent account reset did not exist at the time of launch. The feature now exists in the platform, enabling parents to reset their own ID Portal account password via a link sent to the email or sms number on file. This feature is available in the “Need help?” section on the login screen of the ID Portal.


The PAUSD network and data center serve as the backbone of daily activities across the District, both instructional and operational. The physical equipment that comprises this core has reached or is rapidly approaching the end of its service life. Staff has begun the planning process to refresh this equipment to ensure the continued reliability and security of our daily operations. The three items listed on the November 19, 2019 Board of Education agenda are separated to represent the three separate projects that will be bid, as the “Data Center Servers and Core Networking Equipment” and “Uninterruptable Power Supply Equipment” projects have dependencies upon the  completion/selection of the “Wired Network Infrastructure.” They are presented on the same agenda for a complete picture of the scope of refresh work that is being planned between now and August 2020. For those that might recall the  technology pyramid framework from 2015, these projects fall in the bottom left corner category of “physical network.”

Research, Evaluation, and Assessment (REA) Department


PAUSD school sites are in the process of conducting the biennial administration of the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) to students in grades 5, 7, 9, and 11. The testing window runs from November 6-20, 2019. PAUSD has administered the CHKS since 2003 as a crucial method to gather important data on student safety, engagement, and connection in their school community, as well as student physical and psychological well-being.

Staff will be completing the survey through the end of November. Parents will be invited to take a parent survey in early December. Links will be sent out via email.