October 4, 2019

Office of the Superintendent


While the agenda can shift before final posting, the next two agendas are available for general review at:

Tuesday, October 15, 2019 (moved from October 22)

  • Uniform Complaint (Williams Settlement) (Consent)
  • Solar Amendments (Consent)
  • Developer Fees (Report)
  • Career Themed Pathways (Report)
  • Physical Safety and Start of Year Procedures (Report)
  • California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) – Distance from Standard (Report)
  • Progress of Cubberley Lease Between PAUSD and City of Palo Alto (Report)
  • Report of Progress on State Approved Local Indicators (Report)
  • Elementary Principal Professional Learning Community – Barron Park and Escondido Update (Report)
  • Board Bond Advisory Committee (BBAC) (Action)
  • Staff Housing (Discussion)
  • All CAASPP (Information)
  • Parcel Tax Oversight Committee Report (Information)

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

  • Social-Emotional Learning (Report)
  • Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) (Report)
  • District Alignment to Goals Update (Report)
  • CASSY Counselors (Report)
  • Progress of Cubberley Lease Between PAUSD and City of Palo Alto (Report)
  • Elementary and Secondary Dyslexia Update (Report)
  • Rail Committee Update (Report)
  • Disciplinary Practices and Student Outcomes (Discussion)
  • Science Instructional Materials Recommendation Update (Discussion)
  • Bell Schedules/Later Start Time/Common Schedules (Discussion)
  • First Quarter D/F Report (Information)


With legislation sitting on the governor’s desk, PAUSD will likely need to begin discussions regarding our start times in the near future. If signed into law as expected, our schools will have until the start of the 2022-23 school year to adjust our schedules to conform. The mandate may also provide an opportunity to explore other issues tied to secondary school schedules. We will put together groups of stakeholders to look at ways we may streamline and align our schedules to better utilize resources and potentially share teachers, staff, and students between schools. The transition period may prove to serve as an opportunity to improve our system in ways beyond start times and we will not miss the chance to explore options. A recent article in Ed Source captures the proposed law nicely for those desiring more information at Ed Source – Late Start.


The Board of Education will discuss the possibility of creating workforce housing at their regularly scheduled meeting on October 15. The District owns property at 525 San Antonio Blvd. that could serve as a site for a future housing project. No vote or action is anticipated in the near future. Instead, the Board of Education will have several sessions to examine the issue from multiple angles.


The PAUSD and City of Palo Alto (City) staffs are working together to memorialize the term sheet shared at our last meeting. Two key terms are to freeze payments from the City at our current rate and create a stand-alone agreement outlining our relationship for child care rental of facilities. We have agreement that the current financial terms are:

  • 2019 lease payment was $5,118,144.
  • 2019 payment for extended day care sites was $707,672
  • 2019 total payments from City were $5,825,816
  • The city also pays for a portion of utilities at the child care sites which equals about $4k per month

All of the current conditions will appear in a final agreement.

Education Services


PAUSD educators have worked hard to make progress on common learning targets, assessments, course guides, and grading practices. The October 11 Professional Learning Day will take our work to the next level by utilizing Schoology to support these aligned practices. Integrating these two areas of focus will support teachers in their efforts to build common practices and to support student learning across course alike teams. Participants will attend two workshops led by Schoology facilitators, one focused on assessment design and Schoology tools, and another focused on the Schoology Assessment Management Platform, a tool that allows teachers to collaborate on assessments across the District. Finally, teachers have time in departments to apply their learning and collaborate with colleagues from across the District. The collaboration sessions will be led by our Instructional Leaders from each department.


PAUSD’s Induction Program provides two years of mentoring for District teachers during their first two years in the profession. In addition to supporting teachers to meet credentialing requirements for the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, our program provides support from experienced colleagues who can help our new teachers acclimate to PAUSD and develop their teaching skills. PAUSD’s Induction Program is a consortium that includes the Mountain View-Los Altos and Los Gatos-Saratoga Union High School Districts. PAUSD provides leadership for the consortium, including professional learning for mentors, leading the Steering Committee and handling accreditation and program requirements.

This year the consortium is supporting 46 teachers, 28 of whom are employed in PAUSD. The grade level of the 28 teachers range from preschool through high school, with seven being special education teachers. We have 13 mentors across the three districts, 6 of whom are PAUSD teachers.  Mentors and mentees meet weekly to work towards goals connected to the California Standards for the Teaching Profession (CSTP). Goals and support are personalized to meet individual teacher needs. At the end of each year, teachers submit a portfolio of their work to document progress across the CSTP continuum. 

Not only does our Induction Program support teachers new to the profession, it is also a great example of how PAUSD grows leaders. The mentor role provides opportunities for teachers looking to develop coaching skills and instructional leadership. Among PAUSD’s mentors this year, we have two returning to the role and one of whom has taken a leadership role in planning and leading professional learning for the group.  Four others are new to the Induction mentor position, three come from roles as coaches or specialists and one from a teaching position. One of our open positions this year came about because a mentor went on to become an administrator in our District.


Fifth and sixth-grade teachers from across the District came together at Fairmeadow Elementary School last Wednesday, September 25, for their fall articulation meeting.  Facilitated by the Elementary and Secondary Teachers on Special Assignments (TOSAs), the meeting included information about local writing assessments administered PK-5 and 6-8 as well as an update on the elementary and middle school science textbook adoptions. During the second half of the meeting, 5th and 6th grade teachers were given an opportunity to talk about their shared students and to hear about some of the academic and social highlights of the previous year.


PAUSD Blended Learning courses feature innovative instructional practice and are delivered in a non-traditional modality. The classes meet less face-to-face and require more independent learning by students through online tools. Although the physical class time is reduced, the curriculum and educational outcomes are the same as traditional courses.

Students who have participated in PAUSD blended learning courses in the past, report high levels of satisfaction year after year. Blended learning teachers, who must complete extensive professional training to be certified to teach in this modality, also express positive experiences in blended courses.

At the start of the 2019-20 school year, the PAUSD blended learning program underwent some changes to past practice. As of September 30, students participating in blended learning release periods may remain in their classrooms for asynchronous online coursework time or choose to do their work in other designated and supervised locations on campus such as the library.


The Palo Alto Adult School (PAAS) held a Career Tech Ed (CTE) Fair last week in conjunction with DeAnza and Foothill College. The community colleges sent instructors from their various CTE programs to inform and educate Adult School students about their programs. Certificate and Degree Program representatives spoke about the Automotive, Medical, Accounting and other various CTE programs available at the two colleges. There were approximately 150 students that went by the tables to learn about the programs.

This work is being conducted by the adult schools in collaboration with the community colleges through the work of the consortium comprised of three North Santa Clara County Adult Schools and the Foothill/DeAnza Community Colleges.


The Special Education Department joined the Community Advisory Committee hosted Family Fun Day. The event was well attended and provided District staff the opportunity to spend time with our families and children. The event was made possible through the support of many volunteers. In addition, the Special Education and the Wellness and Support Services Departments have begun meeting on a monthly basis for the purpose of developing training for staff who are supporting students with health concerns.


A presentation on the status of career-themed pathways in PAUSD will be provided at the upcoming Board of Education meeting. The presentation will clarify the state definition of a pathway and present the developments within established and emerging PAUSD pathways.


In October, music students combine across grade levels and schools to perform together at football games, evening concerts, and festivals. Listed here are a few highlights from those events. Link to the PAUSD Performing Arts Calendar.

Voices in Harmony: Angel Vazquez-Ramos, visiting professor from CSU Bakersfield, inspired our middle school students to “feel what the words mean so your audience can be inspired by your sound.” For two days, Vazquez-Ramos visited seven classrooms, inspiring students to improve their tone production, enunciate their words so the audience could understand what students were singing about, and have the courage to make mistakes. In an evening concert on October 2, PAUSD’s choir students in grades 7 – 12 from Paly, Gunn, Fletcher, JLS, and Greene, performed together under the direction of Dr. Vazquez-Ramos.

Kaleidoscope Concert: On Thursday, October 10, at 7:30 p.m. in the Spangenberg Auditorium, the music program will present a “kaleidoscope of sound” in 60 minutes of uninterrupted music. The groups scheduled to perform are: Gunn Wind Ensemble, Fletcher Chamber Orchestra, Freshman Trumpet Quartet, Freshman Clarinet Choir, JLS Chamber Orchestra, Gunn Orchestra Piano Trio, Fletcher Chamber Winds, Indian Tabla Drums, Piano Duet, JLS Flute Ensemble, Freshman Concert Band, Symphonic Band Trombone Choir, Junior Flutes, Orchestra Cello Soloist, and the JLS Treble Choir.

Department of Equity and Student Affairs


On September 14, 21, and 28, PAUSD held an ACT preparation course for first generation students at the District Office at no cost, 17 students participated in the course. Students shared that they felt prepared to take the exam and enjoyed the opportunity to take the course. All students were eligible to receive a free ACT prep book. Both high schools participated in administering the ACT to first generation and low-income students free of charge on October 1 during the school day. Over 190 students participated in the test administration.


The Saturday program is funded by the Low Performance Student Grant through the California Department of Education. The grant is funded by one-time monies from the state that is meant to target students who scored a 1 or 2 on the CAASPP, and are not identified as special education. The Office of Academic Supports coordinates the program and will be sending invites to eligible elementary students. The fall SABE program will focus on mathematics, and the spring SABE program will shift to literacy. Students will rotate among three classes; math Dreambox class, math application, and an enrichment arts/science component. TheDreambox program is computer-based, interactive, and adjusts to student levels. The teacher is able to view student progress and identify in real time areas of student need and pull a student to provide individualized instruction. Students will be provided a brunch during the day. The elementary program will begin on October 19 at Fairmeadow Elementary.


Gunn’s Wellness Outreach theme is diversity and inclusion in honor of our Districtwide Unity Day coming up October 23. The Flex time wellness activities will be focused on unifying to create connection and acceptance of others. The activity on Tuesday October 1 was Board Game Speed Friending. Students start a board or card game and would play with their selected group for about ten minutes, at the end of ten minutes students would rotate games and groups in order to meet new people and include new friends! 

The Paly Wellness Team is busy preparing for their upcoming Wellness Resource Fair on Tuesday, October 15. Local agencies as well as student wellness clubs will host interactive and engaging booths educating students about resources and topics related to their services. There will be two more additional visits to Living Skills classes this week for more Wellness Center Workshops related to mental health, stigma, and connecting students to resources. 


PAUSD Wellness & Support Services in collaboration with Health Connected hosted the Family Talk: What’s Happening To Me? Workshop from 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 2, in the Board Room at District Office. Almost 80 students and their families participated in the workshop designed to focus on discussing the physical, mental and emotional changes that youth experience during puberty. All types of family structures participated in this event to facilitate and promote healthy communication within families about the sometimes sensitive or difficult topics to discuss. Family Talk Workshops are being held this year in advance of Comprehensive Sexual Health Instruction during the 5th and 7th grades to help families start or continue conversations that their students will be learning more about. Families who attended the interactive workshop shared that they had a better understanding of puberty, were more comfortable communicating with each other and many even had fun.


District Office departments and members of the PTA Executive Council are collaborating on ways to better coordinate family engagement events and provide effective and equitable promotion and support. The Fall edition of the Community Events Calendar is a result of this collaboration. For registration or current event information contact your PTA, the host or Wellness & Support Services.


On Monday, September 30, members of the Office of Equity and Student Affairs attended a training on the suspension and expulsion process hosted by the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) and attorneys from Lozano Smith. The presentation covered best practices regarding expulsion appeals and a review of a countywide expelled youth plan. The training also included an overview of interdistrict transfers and attendance agreements, serving expelled youth, trends, and data related to suspension/expulsion. 


College and Career Advisors are attending local counselor workshops to get current information about testing and initiatives from the College Board and ACT as well as updated information about the financial aid application process from the California Student Aid Commission.

Technology Department


Take this opportunity to discuss cybersecurity with your family. A timely topic to discuss is spam and phishing emails. Here's a few quick tips:

  • If you are unsure if an email is legitimate, try to contact the sender directly via a known method, such as a form on the official company website or by phone to a known telephone number.
  • Don't reveal personal information in an email or respond to email solicitations for this information. 
  • When in doubt, throw it out: If an email looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it's best to delete the message.

More information on spam and phishing can be found on the Stay Safe Online website.