October 19, 2018

Education Services


The statewide CAASPP system includes federally required science assessments, which are aligned with the California Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). During the spring 2019 CAASPP administration, the majority of students enrolled in grades 5, 8, and high school will participate in the California Science Test (CAST), and a small number of eligible students will participate in the California Alternate Assessment (CAA) per their Individualized Education Plan (IEP). At the high school level, the science test will only be administered one time (i.e., in grade 10, 11, or 12). All high school students must take a science test by grade 12.

To learn more, visit the following resources, made available by the CDE: Parent Guides to Understanding CAASPP Assessments


In PAUSD, students will take the CAST during their sophomore year. Case managers will determine the appropriate grade level to administer the CAA on a case-by-case basis. Although the majority of students take a third year of science, the rationale of administering CAST in the sophomore year is to address test fatigue, typically experienced by juniors (i.e. AP, SAT, ACT, SBA). If a student does not complete the CAST in sophomore year, they will be required to take it in junior year.

To learn more, visit the following resources, made available by the California Department of Education (CDE): California Science Test and California Alternate Assessments.


To gain perspective on the 3 Course Model for NGSS, PAUSD hosted two collaborative workshops for Chemistry and Biology teachers from Mountain View/Los Altos Union High School District, Los Gatos/Saratoga Union High School District, San Benito High School District, Fremont Union High School District, Morgan Hill Unified School District, Saint Francis High School, and Santa Clara Unified School District. PAUSD teachers are collaborating to explore instructional phenomena that address the intersection of Earth and Space Science with the traditional courses of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. An example from the workshop showed ways in which Biology students can explore how the Earth Science of climate change or lava flow has been a driving force behind unique evolutionary changes in organisms, such as the stickleback fish and the rock pocket mouse. Thus, students use concepts from Earth Science to uncover a more complete understanding of other scientific fields and the impact of humans on the environment.


PAUSD’s Math 6 teachers are collaborating with the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) Math Department to expand our differentiation practices. SCCOE-Math staff is bringing appropriate levels of problems for us to explore for incorporation into our common practices. The focus of these collaborative workshops is on how to use many of the materials in a variety of ways. SCCOE-Math has seen quite a of lot of good extension practices throughout the county and will share them at our sessions. The groups are well aware that extension-differentiation is intended to deepen the Math 6 topics rather than move into Math 7/7A materials. PAUSD’s Math 6 teams expect to explore and implement these ideas throughout the remainder of the school year.


The DME team of 15 school teachers and college educators is visiting PAUSD next week. The main purpose of the visit is to partner with PAUSD to find inspiration for their computer science modules and their work with computational thinking and technology in education.

PAUSD has been working on a Computer Science Curriculum Design Plan for grades K-12 over the past three years. This year we are expanding our exploration and are moving forward in our implementation in grades K-5 and 6-8. University College Copenhagen is driving initiatives to introduce new computer science didactics (the science of teaching computer science) and technology in grades K through 9, as well as making explorative learning a foundation in Danish schools and higher education. Denmark is currently implementing pilot projects on computational thinking in middle school, and will make computer science obligatory beginning in 2021.

The collaboration between PAUSD and the DME will include sharing strengths, challenges, and implementation plans. We expect to learn as much from them as they from us.


The fall semester job fairs were hosted at Paly and Gunn’s campuses this week. The employers at these events provided information and access to students interested in employment. A diverse representation across varied industry sectors participated in the job fairs. This continued level of community engagement provides our students with opportunities to gain real world experience as it relates to the workforce of today. The spring semester job fairs are scheduled to be hosted in March.


As with middle school, summer school for the elementary students will also be concentrated into four weeks, rather than the previous two three-week sessions this coming summer. It was decided that second sessions, of the two three-week sessions, found students to be less engaged, and the numbers of students attending were reduced. First day of summer school for elementary will be June 6, 2019, and will end July 3, 2019.

EleMENTORy Partnership

The Elementary TOSAs and AAR (Advanced Authentic Research) Department are collaborating to roll out the "EleMENTORy" Partnership. EleMENTORy's vision is to support the buddy mentoring relationship that occurs at sites between the older and younger grades during buddy time. This opportunity allows for our older buddy mentors to work with their younger buddies to foster creativity and innovation by utilizing the Creativity Carts. More will be shared about EleMENTORy at the Board meeting next week.


PAUSD shares a partnership with Stanford Live and TheatreWorks through the Kennedy Center’s Partners In Education Program. On Wednesday, October 24 at 4:00, Stanford Live will host a workshop for teachers titled “Storytelling for Educators.” We will learn why telling a story well is one of our most powerful communication skills, and how both teachers and students can discover and craft their own stories. This workshop is in preparation for student’s attendance at the matinee performance “Barber Shop Chronicles” on November 9. Workshops are free and open to all teachers.

Strategic Initiatives and Operations


The first Thursday of every month, the Special Education Division of the Department of Strategic Initiatives and Operations hosts a Special Education Parent Forum. The forum is intended to enhance two-way communication with PAUSD and its parent stakeholders. It will address issues related to Special Education with a spotlight feature on a particular topic of interest. Parents will have the opportunity to ask questions and give regular feedback during a Q&A session at each meeting. Feedback from the October session indicated a strong desire to have school administrators in attendance. The Assistant Superintendent of Strategic Initiatives will distribute the invitations to include PAUSD staff. Parents and staff are encouraged to be prepared to engage in conversation with a positive approach focused on continuous improvement. The next forum is November 1, 2018, and will spotlight Dyslexia.


Paraprofessionals (i.e. aides) serve a vital role in our District’s ability to address the needs of students with disabilities. Our Special Education Aides, in particular, provide a high level of support to the Special Education and general education teacher. However, we acknowledge that more investment is needed in our paraprofessionals. With the increase of aide support, it was imperative to find ways to build capacity to address student needs. On October 4, an elementary Special Education aide from every elementary school and their teacher supervisor participated in a hands-on full-day training to implement the PRIDE Orton-Gillingham approach to reading instruction. PRIDE is based on an evidence-based teaching methodology that has been shown effective for students with Dyslexia. The PRIDE program is unique in that all of the planning and instructional components are already prepared. This makes it easy for an aide to implement under the supervision of a certificated teacher. Each lesson is scripted, each activity is engaging, and most importantly, every lesson meets the recommendations of the California Dyslexia Guidelines! We will continue to identify opportunities to build the capacity of our aides to support teachers in the classroom.


The Special Education Division is rethinking its decision to continue with a 2-Director model of leadership for Special Education. As the Assistant Superintendent of Strategic Initiatives reviewed school and parent needs, it became clear that there was a need to redefine the role of the coordinators to better serve school sites and families. Rather than two Directors, a fourth coordinator will be added. This will allow better coverage of family and school site concerns as well as ensure that Coordinators get involved early to address parent concerns. In the past, the coordinator has been perceived as just support for teachers and administrators.  However, the parent may seek support from the District Special Education Coordinator if he/she believes that their concerns are not being addressed. Each coordinator will be trained in conflict/dispute resolution and facilitated IEP’s rather than rely on one expert in the District. Coordinators will be distributed across levels


School celebrations that promote kindness, acceptance, and inclusion in honor of Unity Day will begin next week. PAUSD elementary and middle schools will celebrate Unity Day on or around Wednesday, October 24. The high schools will hold events the week of October 29 following their Homecoming Celebrations. Please check your school’s calendar for events.


On Tuesday, October 17, Paly’s Wellness Leadership Team and student leaders led the student training. The training teaches students to harness the power of their social networks: to spread hope, to help, and to strengthen and change unhealthy norms and culture. The Sources of Strength Program focuses on multiple sources of support including positive friends, mentors, generosity, spirituality, mental health, medical access, family support, and healthy activities that people can rely on when things are challenging. The goal of the program is to increase help seeking behaviors and promote connections between peers and caring adults to prevent isolation, bullying, substance use, and suicide.

Business Services


The first school site in PAUSD's solar portfolio has been interconnected to the utility grid! Nixon Elementary was interconnected with PG&E last weekend, and will be ready to generate enough energy to offset 100% of the school site's electric consumption by the end of the year. The system still needs to complete a commissioning period, and once completed, Nixon students, as well as anyone in PAUSD, will be able to access dashboard data to learn about solar energy generation in an authentic, relevant way. Escondido Elementary, scheduled to interconnect this weekend, will be the second site to come online. All six solar portfolio sites will be generating clean energy by January 2019.

Technology Department


In addition to internet access, the network infrastructure of PAUSD supports the operation of telephones, clocks, bells, speakers, door locks, HVAC, projection systems, financial systems, and other various daily uses. A disruption to network operations can have a significant impact on instruction, as well as the operations of the District. Technology staff works daily to monitor and improve the security of our critical infrastructure to ensure the resources are available when accessed. Recent efforts in this area include: the transition to the PAUSD Wi-Fi network with individual user authentication; the implementation of two-factor authentication with Yubico; the refresh of the District firewall; and the reduction of servers from 263 in January 2015, to just 94 today.

Human Resources


The 2019 Benefits Guide will be posted on Bob on October 26 so that all employees may have access to plan information before making decisions for the next calendar year. Additionally, there will be open enrollment informational meetings held at the District Office on October 30 and November 6, 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. The meetings will be particularly helpful for employees who have trouble navigating BenefitBridge; there will be laptops available and HR personnel to assist the process. Open enrollment is for employees who work in a contracted position for 20 or more hours per week. It will begin on October 26, and close at 5:00 p.m. on November 9. During this time, employees will be able to enroll in plans or make changes to existing coverage. Those who choose to opt out of District-paid coverage will need to re-elect, and those who wish to continue participating in the flexible spending accounts will need to re-enroll, as these are annual requirements.

New for 2019 will be Sutter Health Plus’ (SHP) change to Express Scripts as their pharmacy benefit manager. The drug formulary will still include all generic drugs, as well as many preferred brands, and the same four-tier design will still be in use. Some drugs will change tiers and require new prior authorizations. Current SHP members will receive information about drug plans via mail directly from SHP.


Every October, PAUSD sends our credentials analyst to the CCAC Conference in Sacramento. CCAC is an organization of personnel from school districts, county offices, and universities. It maintains an informational network between credentials experts throughout the state and helps to further its members’ knowledge. The annual conference is an opportunity to learn directly from the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC), the state agency that oversees educator licensing and credentialing. This year, we learned about what is on the horizon at CTC.

The agency will strengthen and streamline its accreditation system. AB 170 allows for undergraduate Education majors to earn a multiple subject credential, special education preparation programs will be revamped in 2020, and a panel in early 2019 will consider new standards for the Pupil Personnel Services credential. There will also be changes to how teacher candidates may satisfy subject matter requirements: they will be able to mix and match exams and coursework, which will address the difficulty that many multiple subject candidates have with the math portion of the California Teacher of English Learners (CTEL) exam. Further CTC efforts will include ensuring that California Educator Credentialing Examinations (CSET) is aligned with curriculum, and updating the basis for their Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (RICA) exam.