November 9, 2018

Superintendent’s Office

MEASURE Z (SCHOOL FACILITIES BOND)

Measure Z passed by a wide margin earlier this week, providing a funding source to maintain and enhance our school facilities. The efforts of our many volunteers are appreciated. I would like to bring the core group to a future meeting for recognition. Our community demonstrated strong support of our schools by passing a voluntary tax with the approval of nearly 70% of the vote. We will make them proud.

DATA REPORT

We are providing a tremendous amount of data on the agenda for our November 13 meeting. The presentation is focused on the achievement of students largely not meeting “standard” levels on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) exam. Our Chief Academic Officers and Director of Research Evaluation & Assessment (REA) will share results in ways that may be different than past reports. The team has worked tirelessly to examine, evaluate, and present the data in a way that clearly illustrates our current state.

AIR QUALITY

As everyone can see and feel, our air quality was poor on Friday. As a result, all outside activities were moved indoors today. The cross-country meet was moved to Monday. The Paly playoff football game is tentatively rescheduled for Monday, November 12, at 6:00 p.m. A decision about the air quality will be made prior to the game, should it be necessary. 

STANFORD GENERAL USE PERMIT STUDY SESSION

We are making final revisions to the Study Session item. We expect the item to post by Monday in advance of our Wednesday meeting.  

Education Services

CURRENT 9th GRADE COHORT DATA FOR CAASPP ENGLISH/LANGUAGE ARTS

Over the past couple of weeks, we have been sharing two different sets of cohort data: current 6th grade students and current 9th grade students. This is the final installment of this series and focuses on the English Language Arts (ELA) data for the current 9th graders. While overall performance (slide 2) appears stellar in comparison to meeting standard, upon further inspection, the performance of specific subgroups reveals a disproportionate number of Latino and Socioeconomically Disadvantaged (SED) students scoring below benchmark (slide 7). The outcomes for these students plateaus in middle school, with little to no progress over time, while the criteria for ‘meeting standard’ increased, thus widening the gap. Students who are considered SED, regardless of ethnicity, perform at or above standard until 8th grade, where the results plummet (slide 8).

The cause of this result from the 2018 CAASSP administration warrants additional analysis and conversation among administrators and teachers. One final notable result of analyzing the data is the performance of all Latino students (SED or not). This subgroup enters and exits middle school above standard; however, over the three years their scores decline. Exploration of a cause for this decline is underway. Secondary Education is partnering with the REA Department to evaluate the site-based common writing assessments to determine whether or not they are predictors of performance on the CAASPP. This study is in progress with one schools’ data set and will expand to the other two schools for analysis.

THE POWER OF A NAME

Secondary Education staff presented a thought-provoking session at the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Leadership Summit that explored our journey with renaming the middle schools. Participants learned what sparked the renaming effort, and how our District faced the reality of our town’s complicated past and the challenging legacies of our schools' namesakes. Presenters shared the District’s process for harnessing the power of stakeholder voice, navigating contentious topics, and (re)building an inclusive community.

The Board’s decision to rename the schools also included a unit of study about Eugenics and Palo Alto’s role in it to be included in secondary instruction. The unit of study is in its third iteration, and will be the focus of upcoming release days to reflect upon and revise the unit for greater impact on our students. Currently, the units are being implemented in 7th, 9th, and 11th grades. 

BOOTSTRAP ALGEBRA

Eleven secondary math teachers from all five secondary schools attended a two-day, intensive Bootstrap Algebra training this week. The teachers enjoyed experiencing the materials from the students’ point of view and investigated teaching pedagogy. Mathematical concepts were completely supported and expanded by the computer environment employed. PAUSD is considering the use of this program in all levels of Algebra or pre-Algebra courses in order to integrate computer science into mathematics so that all students have access to computer science in their secondary education.

NEW TEXTS BEING EXPLORED FOR HIGH SCHOOLS’ HISTORY/SOCIAL SCIENCE COURSES

Gunn and Paly are joining forces to find new World History/Contemporary World History and US Government materials. Committees consisting of teachers, administrators, specialists, parents, and students are being formed for each course. Materials are being collected now and the committees will begin meeting in January 2019.

EDUCATION SERVICES

NIXON HIGHLIGHTS THEIR WORK IN WRITER’S WORKSHOP WITH THE HARKER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHERS

On Monday, Nixon Elementary School was visited by teachers from The Harker School interested in piloting Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop this spring. The visitors were thoroughly impressed by the wonderful workshop lessons, as well as the instruction observed by teachers using the new phonics unit of study. Harker teachers left with a clearer idea of the teaching components, classroom organization, and high caliber of teaching necessary to implement this program.  

TEACHER ON SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT (TOSA) LAB DAYS BEGIN AT EL CARMELO

On Tuesday, November 6, the Elementary TOSA team held their first lab day at El Carmelo. The kindergarten and 1st grade teachers focused on the newly released phonics unit of study. Teachers shared the improvements they have witnessed in their children's writing and reading since implementing the new curriculum. The teachers gave one of the new phonics assessments in a classroom, scored them together, and then used the data to plan for small group instruction and next steps in the unit.  

TOSAS SUPPORT PALO VERDE SPECIAL EDUCATION TEAM

On Tuesday, November 6, the Palo Verde special education team met with a TOSA to learn more about the components of Reading and Writing Workshop, including an array of resources and reference tools to help support the students they serve.  

STANFORD LIVE TEACHER WORKSHOPS AND STUDENT MATINEE

On Wednesday, October 24, PAUSD teachers attended a workshop at Bing Concert Hall to practice the art of storytelling. One of the most powerful communication skills, teachers learned how to craft their own stories to help reach students’ imaginations and celebrate their own stories. The Stanford Live Teacher Workshop was a prelude to the matinee “Barber Shop Chronicles,” which tells the story of immigrants from across the African continent gathering in an uncommon space bringing community and culture to life.

CURRICULUM AND CAREER EDUCATION

The Mentor/Student Forums are a series of events that Advanced Authentic Research (AAR) hosts at Gunn and Paly throughout the year to give mentors and students an opportunity to work together in a structured environment and discuss their research. On October 30, we held the second forum. Students and mentors were provided the opportunity to discuss turning their research question into an actionable project. The students also received valuable guidance from mentors on what research methodologies are most feasible and appropriate for their projects. Students were also given time to brainstorm with others that were interested in similar projects.

Strategic Initiatives and Operations

SUPPORTING YOUTH AND SCHOOL AFTER A COMMUNITY TRAGEDY TRAINING

Wellness & Support Services staff and our community mental health partners participated in The National Alliance for Grieving Children (NAGC)’s annual fall webcast: “Supporting Youth and Schools After a Community Tragedy” hosted in collaboration with KARA. This webcast provided insight into the challenges faced by children and teenagers impacted by a community tragedy. It provided practical information and advice for supporting children and teenagers in the aftermath of a tragedy, including methods for talking with children about tragedy, how to engage the community, and ways to offer support throughout the grieving process.

Sessions included: 

  • “Lessons Learned to Promote Positive Outcomes When Responding to Traumatic Events” presented by Donna L. Schuurman, Ed.D., Sr. Director of Advocacy & Training at The Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families 
  • “Supporting Students and Staff in the Aftermath of Crisis” presented by David J. Schonfeld, MD, a developmental-behavioral pediatrician and Director of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement
  • “Partnering with Schools to Support Grieving Students” presented by Meghan Szafran, MS, CT, and Kevin Carter, MSW, LCSW at The Center for Grieving Children in Philadelphia, PA                

DEVELOPING HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS AND A CULTURE OF CONSENT

As part of PAUSD's ongoing sexual harassment and misconduct prevention education, we are excited to welcome back international author, speaker, and health educator Anea Bogue to PAUSD. Anea Bogue brings her expertise for creating a culture of consent by empowering students to know their boundaries, express them, and respect those of others.  

Ms. Bogue will present to our 8th – 12th grade students on “Building Healthy Relationships and a Culture of Consent.”The goal of the presentations is to empower our students with age appropriate language and tools of consent for both non-sexual and sexual situations so they are best equipped to navigate interactions and create healthy and fulfilling relationships. In preparation for the presentations, Ms. Bogue is working with staff, students, and parents to customize her work to the needs of our community and individual school sites. Following her presentations, site staff will be debriefing with students, and additional support will be available.   

Families are important partners in this community work. We want to help you feel equipped, confident, and supported in navigating these issues with your children. Ms. Bogue’s community workshop will focus on providing you with insight on how to effectively broach these subjects with your students in age-appropriate ways that minimize resistance and risk, and instead promote mutual trust and greater connection. Ms. Bogue will provide practical tips for how to be an “askable adult” and to effectively communicate with students about affirmative consent and healthy relationships.  

Below is the schedule of events. Please see the Eventbrite invitation for more information and to RSVP for Anea Bogue’s upcoming community events. Specific schedules of student presentations are available through your school(s). 

  • November 7, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. – Fletcher Middle School Staff Training
  • November 14, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. – JLS Middle School Staff Training
  • November 28, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. – Greene Middle School Staff Training
  • November 28, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. – Community Presentation, Board Room, 25 Churchill, or
  • December 6, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. – Community Presentation, Performing Arts Center, Paly
  • December 5-7 – TBD, High School Student Presentations
  • December 10 & 11 – TBD, 8th Grade Student Presentations at all Middle Schools

Business Services

BUDGET PREPARATION FOR 2019-20 FISCAL YEAR

We are beginning the Budget Planning Cycle for the 2019-20 fiscal year, and welcome any comments you may have about the District’s budget. Are there programs, services, or initiatives that you would like to see expanded in future years? Or maybe you have new ideas about where we should be focusing our resources? Are there suggestions for areas in the budget to make reductions or savings?

We are open to all of your ideas. There will be several opportunities throughout the Budget Planning Cycle for budget input. The final proposed budget will be presented to the Board in early June; however, the Board will be conducting its first Budget Study Session in early December. Any comments by November 30, will be provided to the Board prior to the Study Session.

Please go to the Let’s Talk! Budget page to provide your budget input!

Technology Department

PAUSD IS LISTENING, LET’S TALK!

Today we are launching the Let’s Talk! Platform with a single form to collect input about budget priorities. With Let’s Talk!, you can ask questions or submit comments whenever it’s convenient, while allowing staff to consolidate existing feedback mechanisms into a coherent, consistent system that can be aggregated and measured more easily than existing solutions.

The budget planning form will be followed in the next couple weeks with a more generic form that will include all the areas supported by central office staff members.

You can access the Let's Talk! budget form from the menu of our website, and find more information on our Frequently Asked Questions page.