November 29, 2018

Education Services


The Chief Academic Officer for Secondary Education, District Teachers on Special Assignment (TOSAs), Fletcher principal, and Fletcher English administrative team, met this week to review and discuss analysis of the relationship between the Common Writing Assessment (CWA) and Smarter Balanced Assessment English Language Arts (SBA ELA) scores for last year’s 8th grade class. Given the strong relationship between the CWA, a local performance assessment that is used to measure students’ argumentative writing, and SBA ELA scores, the Fletcher team is moving the administration timeline of the CWA from late spring (2019) to January (2019). This will allow the team to leverage the CWA to better inform teaching and learning for all students and particularly to address SBA performance gaps in ELA and Writing.


The PAUSD-developed and facilitated course, Supports for All Students, concluded this week. Piloted in winter 2016, the course was designed by a cross-disciplinary team from the Professional Learning, Special Education, and Research, Evaluation and Assessment departments. By the end of the 2018-19 school year, we anticipate that approximately 80 teachers will have completed the course.

The three modules in the course focus on the following goals:

  1. Building prior knowledge through evidence-based practices and educational research;
  2. Partnering with students to identify potential supports; and
  3. Planning, teaching, assessing, and reflecting through trial implementation of course strategies.

This course is in a “blended” format, combining face-to-face meetings and online learning. It is also blended in the sense that it combines traditional forms of learning (in face-to-face meetings and online modules) with implementation, reflection, and refinement. This format allows participants to receive feedback and support as they develop new skills and implement new ideas.

The final assignment in the course asks participants to reflect on what they learned in the course and to set goals moving forward. The reflections revealed several themes. Teachers appreciate not only the content of the course, but that the design allows for time and space to reflect, on instructional practices. By integrating the course with work in the classroom, teachers are not only able to learn tools and strategies, but also implement, reflect and adjust in their own classrooms with their own students. Participants also find great value in the community of practice created by the course. The online component allows for some flexibility around when and where the work is completed and, more importantly, allows teachers to connect across sites, grade-levels, and disciplines to support one another in ongoing learning. Finally, teachers reflect on the value of partnering with students to provide access to meaningful learning. Not only do teachers report significant improvement in their work with their focal students, they also report a greater understanding, commitment to, and comfort with their charge to meet the needs of all learners in their classes.

One participant shared the following final reflection on her experience in the course:

“This will be my greatest take-away from this course – I need to actively and meaningfully engage students in their own learning. Think deeply about them and what I perceive to be their strengths and challenges based on data, brainstorm accommodations and designated supports, and then invite them to create a plan for success with me. This will not be easy and will be challenging to find the time to do this for all students. However, now that I have seen how this investment can make such a significant and fast difference in student outcomes, I need to make it a regular practice and priority moving forward.”

Supports for All Students has been a highly regarded course by participants. It will run again in the winter of 2019, and is open to all PAUSD teachers.


District leaders are interested in building early childhood literacy for children between the ages of 3-5 living at the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park. The Chief Academic Officer for Secondary Education and Director of Academic Supports partnered with the Buena Vista Home Association Manager, as well as a Professor from Stanford, to survey families in the mobile park home. The group visited residents identified as having young children, and inquired about interest, eligible children, and current enrollment in existing programs. It was a great opportunity to visit the community and start a collaboration with Stanford and the Buena Vista Home Association.


On November 15, the DAC met to learn about the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). The purpose of the DAC is to provide input on the development of the District’s LCAP. The LCAP is the California Department of Education's (CDE) new process for facilitating school district goal setting and budget alignment. A key aspect of the LCAP process is the engagement of parents/guardians in providing input and feedback. This is facilitated through the formation of a DAC. The DAC, along with the District English Language Advisory Committee (DELAC), will meet to review the LCAP and provide ongoing input into its monitoring and revision.


The DELAC met on November 15 for the first meeting of the school year. Agenda topics included a review of the roles of DELAC representatives, and sharing from a panel of English Learner Specialists and Coordinators. Panelists shared information about how the English Language program serves varied needs of students who qualify. DELAC representatives then merged with the DAC to learn about the LCAP.


Secondary music departments have been preparing for upcoming concerts. Choirs, bands, and orchestras are performing across the District in the next three weeks. Please check your school site’s calendar for specific dates and times or click here for a complete list.  

Additionally, the Gunn High School Wind Ensemble commissioned a new piece titled “Press Play” by Vince Oliver, which will be premiered at their Winter Concert. Each ensemble will present one piece of “electro-acoustic style” which combines pre-recorded electric musical sounds with live performers.

The PAUSD music program is exceptional, and attending the performances is a wonderful experience.


PAUSD’s Annual Faculty Art Show is on exhibit in the District Office through Winter Break. More than 20 art teachers from the elementary, middle, and high school programs have their own artwork on display in a variety of media, including ceramics, painting, photography, printmaking, drawing, and collage.


Deanna Messinger, who teaches Art Spectrum, Drawing & Painting, Advanced Art, and AP Studio Art at Gunn High School, received the Exemplary Visual Arts Program award from the California Art Education Association (CAEA). The State conference was held on the Queen Mary, November 9-12. She was one of only two art teachers in California to receive this award. Congratulations, Deanna!


On November 15, the Elementary TOSA team led this year's first Science, Technology, Engineering, Music, and Arts (STEAM) Inquiry Group meeting. A teacher from each school site participated in a design challenge, learned more about the science adoption timeline, and reviewed the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) progressions for each of the three Disciplinary Core Ideas (Earth and Space Science, Life Science, and Physical Science). The next meeting will be on February 4, 2019, when the group will begin exploring state-approved science curriculum.


On Friday, November 16, the Elementary TOSA team attended the conference, "Getting Ready for SBAC: Supporting Analytical Reading, Text-Based Writing, and Academic Vocabulary, 3-8," presented by Mary Ehrenworth from Teachers College. This conference focused on how to use Reading and Writing Workshop to prepare for the SBAC ​​in grades 3-8. The TOSA team will share this information with teachers in order to support them in strategic planning around the SBAC.


Barron Park's 3rd through 5th grade teachers participated in their first round of Lab Days, led by Teachers College staff developer Lizzie Petkanics, November 28-30.

Strategic Initiatives and Operations


Special Education Leadership participated in the Breaking Barriers 3rd Annual Interagency Symposium November 16 and 17. Breaking Barriers is a collaborative of leaders across systems and communities that have come together around the shared mission of ensuring the educational, social, emotional and behavioral well-being of California’s children. The overarching message of the symposium is to breakdown the inequity in education by balancing the scales in providing educational opportunities for underprivileged students. A direct correlation was highlighted between higher income inequality and lower social mobility. The impact is evident in the low success rate attributed to individuals who belong to lower socio-economic status. There was emphasis to nurture the family and build strong communities that promote possibilities for all students, including students with disabilities, through a coordinated system of care. As educational leaders, the Special Education Leadership made a commitment to use “shared governance” as the educational tool that will break down barriers and build bridges toward an integrated and coordinated approach in establishing a system of support for all students.


Reservations for Anea Bogue’s first community presentation on Building Healthy Relationships and a Culture of Consent on Wednesday, November 28, maxed out the capacity of space available. Additional spaces have been opened up for the December 6 event featuring the same presentation focused on providing parents and guardians with insight on how to effectively broach these subjects with students in age-appropriate ways that minimize resistance, risk, and promote mutual trust and greater connection. Anea will provide practical tips for how to be an “askable adult” and to effectively communicate with students about affirmative consent and healthy relationships.   

Please see the Eventbrite invitation or the event flyers for more information and to RSVP for Anea Bogue’s upcoming community events. Childcare and Mandarin and Spanish translation are available.   


On Tuesday, November 28, Sources of Strength and Wellness student and staff leaders presented at Project Safety Net’s Community Event on how parents, educators, and students can work together to increase help-seeking behaviors and promote connections between peers and caring adults to prevent isolation, bullying, substance use, and suicide. Students shared an overview of the Sources of Strength program which focuses on multiple sources of support people can rely on when things are challenging, including positive friends, mentors, generosity, spirituality, mental health, medical access, family support, and healthy activities. It works to develop awareness and a shared vocabulary at home and in our community so that families can support the work that is being done in schools.

Wellness and Support Services Director Miriam Stevenson was invited to present with Mike Walsh, Trustee, Butte County Office of Education, President, California School Board Association (CSBA); Colleen Reilly, MPA, the Reilly Group, Inc; and The Honorable Marc Berman, Assembly member, CA 24th District, on “Turning State Mandates into Successful Outcomes: Leveraging State Policy to Advance Student Mental Health and Well-Being” at the CSBA Annual Education Conference in San Francisco on Friday, November 30. The presentation was designed to help districts learn about statewide efforts to advance suicide prevention through policy, training, and services in compliance with AB2246.

Business Services


PAUSD has a strong energy conservation culture across all school sites. Working together, we save electricity and natural gas every time we shut down our classrooms and work spaces for extended weekends and breaks. Over the Thanksgiving break, PAUSD staff did an impressive job of making sure equipment in classrooms and offices was turned off and unplugged while the rooms were unoccupied. It takes a team to achieve big goals, and we make a great energy conservation team!


Due to the recent Central for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Health Alert, our Food Services Department has discontinued the use of romaine lettuce. We have changed the menu at all grade levels and salad bars to reflect this change until further notice. The CDC is working to isolate which regions/farms are safe for purchasing romaine lettuce. We will not use romaine lettuce until the CDC has completed its investigation, and the produce vendors and farms clearly identify their regions on their packaging. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause, but we want to insure student safety and have erred on the side of caution.


The Food Service Department is conducting a “fireside chat”/focus group with the Gunn Student Executive Council this Friday, November 30. Staff will meet with students to learn what types of foods they would like to see offered, and ideas about how the program can be improved.

Technology Department


We’re making it easier than ever to reach District leadership with the launch of the general feedback page on the Let’s Talk! platform.

Let’s Talk! enables anyone to submit comments, questions, suggestions, and ideas 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And an accurate, timely response is guaranteed. Submissions can be anonymous, but if you share your contact information a direct response is guaranteed within 2 business days.

Click the Let’s Talk!  link in the menu of our District website and select a topic to start a conversation. Let’s Talk! is compatible with any computer, tablet, or smartphone. If preferred, you can also leave us a voicemail at (650) 665-5320.

We also welcome submissions about anything else that’s on your mind. More information is available on our Frequently Asked Questions page.