September 16, 2018

Superintendent’s Office


The September 25 agenda is in progress. While items or their positions may adjust, our draft agenda is starting to take shape. As of this point in time, we are planning the following items:

Closed Session: Under development.

Open Session Consent: Approval of certificated personnel report, classified personnel report, minutes, warrants, purchase orders, Briones Occupational Health Center lease to Santa Clara County, Strong Schools Bond Change Orders, Gelfand Amendment for Addison / Hoover Additional Design Services, increase of Goldfard and Lipman legal services contract by $10,000, ratify past warrants from the spring of 2018 (with explanation).

Special Report: The Board of Education will receive a presentation about the current Voter Rights complaint. The item is positioned before Action and Discussion items to make it easier for the public to comment.

Action Items:

  • Approve the 2017-18 Ending Balance and Budget Update and related documents
  • Certify Sufficiency of Instructional Materials
  • General Counsel

Discussion Items:

  • Cubberley Update
  • Enrollment and Class Size Report
  • Voter Rights complaint presentation

Information Items:

  • Legal Expense Report
  • Unfunded Liability – Retired Employees Benefits


  • Memorandum of Understanding between PAUSD and Palo Alto Police Department to address the financial and service agreement between both parties
  • Board Study Session – Negotiations (TBD September or October)
  • Local Accountability Indicators – October or November
  • Board Study Session – Budget Development (TBD in November)
  • Local Control and Accountability Plan Process Update – November


We held a meeting with the Palo Alto Police Department (PAPD) to discuss the MOU outlining services and finances defining our use of PAPD Resource Officers. Both parties believe that simplifying the scope of the MOU to create a contract of services would be a good step. Additional areas, such as Title IX training, can appear in separate MOU agreements. It will allow for more time to work through complex issues without clouding the specific function of our services agreement.


Dr. Jim Novak has assumed daily responsibilities as our Chief Business Officer. Ms. Cathy Mak is working on special business-related projects until her official retirement in mid October. 


We are continuing conversations with the City to discuss the significant reduction in parking permits for the staff of Addison Elementary. We will walk the site with our City colleagues soon to problem-solve the situation together. 


We have a staff meeting scheduled with two representatives from Stanford University next week.  I have asked Ms. Karen Hendricks and Dr. Jim Novak to join me. This is not a negotiations session. Our goal is to hear their thoughts about a possible process for future discussions and problem-solving. 

Secondary Education


In early November, the California Department of Education’s Instructional Quality Commission will approve a recommended list of Next Generation Science Standards-aligned programs for grades K-8. A middle school committee comprised of students, parents, and staff, is gearing up to review, pilot, and recommend a program for adoption this coming spring. Student and parent participation has been solicited, and applications were due this week. All meetings are open to the public. Further information about the committee can be found on the PAUSD website under the Committees section.


Last Friday, history-social science teachers from all three middle schools and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital School staff came together for an all-day training on the recently adopted Teachers’ Curriculum Institute (TCI) History Alive! California Series instructional program. Teachers were able to choose between a basic overview of the new program or a deeper dive into some of the more advanced features of the online platform, followed by trainer-supported planning time where teacher teams worked with the trainers and Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) to further develop shared units and assessments.


Representatives from each secondary school and from the District office, secondary mathematics teachers, and support staff attended the conference, Rehumanizing Mathematics, A Vision for the Future, sponsored by the Santa Clara County Office of Education. The keynote speaker, Dr. Rochelle Gutierrez, is a well-known advocate of under-represented students in mathematics. Breakout sessions included: Culturally Responsive and Relational Inclusion (speaker: Cathery Yeh), SF USD Untracking report (speaker: Lizzy Hull Barnes), and Social Justice in Mathematics (speaker: Rochelle Gutierrez). Attendance at this conference supports PAUSD’s efforts to continuously reflect and refine both middle and high school mathematics programs, especially in relation to opportunity and groupings.


On September 7, 2018, the California State Board of Education passed Computer Science (CS) Standards. The adopted CS Standards are not widely different from the preliminary standards released in June 2018. The implementation plan is in its discussion phase and will go to the California Board of Education on September 20, 2018. The implementation plan includes the reasons that all students should study CS, California’s CS Vision, Mission and Principles; strategies for expanding the CS offerings in K-12 public schools; improving access to CS; supporting educators to teach CS; and creating CS credentialing for secondary schools.


The Elementary CS Committee held their first meeting and set the year’s goals. Following up on the PAUSD Board’s support to expand the exploration and hone the implementation plan, the elementary team is inviting membership on the committee to include a teacher from each site, as well as elementary principals. The committee is considering the full implementation of the CS Specialist model in 2019-20.


The Middle School CS Committee also held their first meeting of the year to set the year’s goals and discuss methods for achieving them. The broader interest of the committee is to integrate the computer science standards into a variety of coursework. In order to identify the standards for each discipline, the committee recognized that each department should be represented on the committee.


As reported last week, the High School CS Committee met and tackled the creation of a one-semester CS course. Such a course may be initially attractive, as it isn’t a full-year commitment. Access and equity are foremost on the committee’s list of objectives, and student voices are crucial to include in the design of an exploratory course.


The Curriculum and Career Education (CCE) office has been working to support dual enrollment articulation with Foothill College for Paly’s Early Childhood Development (ECD) program. Students will receive four college credits for “CHLD 1: Child Growth & Development: Prenatal through Early Childhood” for the first semester, and “CHLD 56N: Principles & Practices of Teaching Young Children” for the second semester.  The course will continue to be taught at Paly, while students earn college credit upon parent consent. CCE started working with Foothill on the articulation process in April and it is exciting to see this come to fruition!


This week the CCE office hosted Advanced Authentic Research (AAR) students at Gunn to sit down with their mentors in their chosen field at the first AAR Mentor/Student Forum. This event provides a project-focused, structured collaboration opportunity, and is one of several such opportunities offered by AAR throughout the year. Students discussed progress on their research projects and had the opportunity to share ideas, ask questions, and get feedback on issues that impact their research as they explore their area of interest and work to refine their specific research question. The AAR event for Paly will be next Tuesday, September 18.

Elementary Education, Art and Music


All teachers new to PAUSD are expected to engage in our New Hire Equity Workshops. On Thursday, September 13, we held our equity workshop. Mr. Milton Reynolds, from Facing History, led the morning session with a focus on the historical root and manifestation of inequity in education. In the afternoon we turned to PAUSD and data. Survey data from the workshop indicates that 100% of participants (35 teachers) agreed that the workshop was a successful learning experience. The feedback survey asks participants to: reflect what steps they will take as a result of the workshop; identify increasing connections with families; build relationships with all students; learn more about students in sub-groups that stood out in the data; implement instructional strategies; and reflect on practice and beliefs.


Many elementary schools have started to lead grade levels through calibration of scoring the reading Benchmark Assessment System (BAS). The purpose of these meetings is to ensure teachers score the assessments consistently. The process for calibration involved one teacher giving a student the assessment and scoring, while other grade level teachers observing also score simultaneously. The child is then excused and all the teachers discuss the scoring results and strengths, teaching points, and strategies for future instruction for the student.


On Monday through Wednesday, K-2 teachers at Nixon Elementary School worked with their Teacher’s College Reading and Writing Project staff developer from New York, Rachel Rothman. Their focus was learning about the new phonics units of study that they are using this year.


PAUSD has a thriving and comprehensive K-12 Arts programs. Students experience visual art, dance, theater, and music starting in their kinder years. Our students have numerous opportunities to develop their skills, discover their artistic passion, and thrive as artists. Our Music Coordinator works with 29 full-time K-12 music teachers. Our Art Coordinator works with 20 part-time Elementary Visual Art teachers and supports 20 Visual Art and Theatre Teachers, from grades 6-12.

Both departments also work collaboratively to support the Arts Integration Network for classroom teachers. They are partners with Stanford Live and TheatreWorks through the Kennedy Center’s Partners in Education Program. In addition, they work to sustain and foster new collaborations with state and local arts organizations.

Strategic Initiatives and Operations (SIO)


The Wellness and Support Services Department sponsored teams from PAUSD’s High School Counseling Departments and the College and Career Centers to attend the UC High School Counselor Conference on Monday, September 10, in Oakland. Fifteen PAUSD high school counselors, college and career counselors, Pupil Personnel Services Credential interns and administrators represented Gunn, Paly, and the Wellness and Support Services Department. PAUSD staff joined participants from districts and high schools across the state to learn about the most recent application guidelines, admissions processes, and advising practices. UC Admissions Faculty hosted a variety of sessions to support post-high school planning and advising, including:

  • Access Granted: Insight into How UC’s Review Freshman Applications
  • An Alternative Path from High School to Community College to UC
  • A New Counselor’s Guide to UC Freshman Admission
  • The Art and Science of Enrollment Management
  • The A-Z of A-G Requirements
  • One Size Does Not Fit All: Advising Students with Non-California Academic Records
  • Paying for UC: Putting the Costs into Perspective
  • Putting the “You” in the Personal Insight Question Responses
  • Not Your Typical Student: Advanced Freshman Evaluation
  • Successful Submission of the UC Application: What Your Students Need to Know
  • Better Together: Counselors, Parents, Students and UCs as Partners in the Admission Process


Special Education is very proud to witness student volunteers at the Palo Alto Veteran’s Administration (PAVA) Hospital in action. Twenty-three high school students from Gunn and Paly, as part of their Individualized Educational Programs and Individualized Transition Plans, participate in the Palo Alto Career Training Program (PACT). The students are supported by Mr. Arshdeep Shinh, who is an educational specialist, along with four job coaches. The program is supervised by Mr. Dave Hoshiwara, who works collaboratively with the Special Education Department staff which include the speech and language therapist, teacher for the visually impaired and other itinerant specialists who can assist the students in performing their respective job-related duties.

Some of the students perform administrative and clerical duties, while others work in food services and gain culinary skills. They also participate in the hospital’s research and surveillance department by performing data entry jobs, as well as in the surgical department by sterilizing and packing surgical tools. It was equally impressive to see that a group of our student volunteers assemble knee scooters and wheelchairs, which they take to the physical therapy department for the patients’ use. It was evident that the students appreciate the opportunity to gain valuable experience in the field of medical science and engineering.

It was certainly rewarding to see some of our former volunteers who graduated from PAUSD who have been hired by PAVA. One of them just got promoted to be the coordinator for student volunteers for students with disabilities.


The Department of Strategic Initiatives and Operations (SIO), in conjunction with the Special Education Council, is pleased to announce its Call for Presentations for the First Annual Special Education Summit. Educators, practitioners, advocates and other professionals were invited to submit a presentation proposal for a breakout session, roundtable discussion, a keynote address on an important issue/challenge or best practice in special education, or issues that impact students with disabilities.

The Special Education Summit will occur once in the fall and again in the spring with new topics. Our goal is to engage, empower, and educate our families. Only proposals that meet the following criteria will be accepted:

  1. Engaging program format that involves audience and stimulates discussion
  2. Conceptually strong foundation, well-written with clearly stated outcomes and appropriately documented theory, research, and/or experience
  3. Qualified presenters with expertise/experience
  4. Presentations will be reviewed for relevance and purpose to provide a balanced educational program
  5. All submissions are due by October 1
  6. Presenters will be notified about their proposal status via email by October 5

Contact for more information.


On September 13, the Department of Strategic Initiatives and Operations hosted a webinar on school safety as it relates to the needs of students with disabilities. Representatives from Gunn, Paly, JLS, Greene, Palo Verde, Ohlone, Escondido, and Greendell learned how important it is that the precautions and actions taken reflect consideration of students with disabilities to ensure both their safety and that practices are legally compliant.

Threat assessments, removals from school, safety drills and programming for mental health were covered. School law attorney Mr. Brandon Wright reviewed how schools can make school safety a priority without unnecessarily (or unknowingly) infringing on the rights of students with disabilities, whether they be the perpetrator or the target of safety concerns. A new threat assessment protocol was just shared with administrators to get feedback on its usefulness in the threat assessment process.

Business Services


Dr. Jim Novak has been meeting with department heads and principals to better understand how Business Services can provide the best possible service.  By the end of the day on Friday, September 14, he will have met with the majority of principals in the District.


The leaders in the Business Services Department collaborated and developed shared core values of the collective departments. The Business Services Department is committed to upholding the following five core values: Integrity, Customer Satisfaction, Quality, Efficiency, and Teamwork.

Human Resources


This month, payroll personnel have tracked and reconciled vacation time payments for 50 employees. Per the California School Employees Association (CSEA) Collective Bargaining Agreement, the maximum number of vacation days that may be carried over past August 31 of the next fiscal year is twice the annual allotment of the employee. Vacation days in excess of the maximum carryover will be paid out if not used by August 31. This compensated absence accounting helps the District limit the accrual of liability that comes with untaken personal time off. 


Human Resources continues to recruit for the classified substitute pool. This month, we have processed eight substitute custodians, two maintenance substitutes, and one substitute bus driver. Much like certificated subs, these classified workers are critical in the day-to-day operations of the District.

Other new hourly employees who joined the District this month include two AVID Tutors, 28 new Athletic Coaches, and a Japanese Primary Language Tutor. We screen all personnel before they are added to our substitute employee lists, utilizing required background checks. Because classified employment is an ongoing process we also received resignations and retirements during the school year, resulting in changes to personnel and payroll databases, job postings, interviews, background checks, and onboarding of new personnel. 


Responsive, Inclusive, Safe Environment (RISE), a Superintendent’s Task Force, was formed in October 2017 and charged with delivering recommendations to the Superintendent for a strategic plan to address compliance with Office for Civil Rights (OCR) Resolutions, Title IX, state law, Board Policy, and Administrative Regulations; educating the community about rights and responsibilities; and promoting a culture in which sexual assault, violence, and harassment are neither engaged in nor tolerated. RISE is committed to facilitation of exceptional programs that increase student, school, and community awareness, education, and response to prevent sexual harassment, assault, and violence. For the 2018-19 school year, the larger RISE team is moving efforts forward with smaller, focused groups that will include Curriculum/Instruction, Partnerships, and OCR Ongoing Compliance and Communication.

Anea Bogue of REALyou Empowerment Programs will return to PAUSD on September 20 and 21 to continue work with high schools and initiate work with our middle schools. Ms. Bogue is an educator and an acclaimed expert on self-esteem issues and has been working with teens and women for two decades. She will meet with secondary leadership teams and student groups as well as parents and community members in conversations designed to elicit feedback and share thinking on this important matter. Focus for these dates will be on providing an introduction, overview, key concepts, and immediate action steps that can be taken by students, parents, and teachers. This year's work at high schools will encourage greater ‘fluency’ with language and tools for students, teachers, and parents, middle schools will begin presentations uniquely designed for 8th grade students, staff, and parents.

On September 20 at 5:30 p.m. in District Office Aspen Room, a one-hour conversation will be co-hosted by the RISE Parent Group and PAUSD staff. During this less formal event, Ms. Bogue will speak to ways in which PAUSD is continuing the commitment to a safe school culture, allowing time and space for parents to share concerns and requests, and present a few key tools parents can begin implementing immediately at home to support our mission for school campuses and the larger community.

Technology Department


The work to update signage, facilities, and electronic systems to reflect the new names of Ellen Fletcher Middle School and Frank S. Greene Jr. Middle School has been completed. As with any project like this, staff has addressed all the areas that have been identified, but inevitably we have missed a few items. We’re asking for the assistance of the community: if something is identified that still needs to be updated, please contact Mr. Derek Moore ( and it will be addressed.


The California Department of Education released changes to supported operating systems and browsers for the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) 2018-19 administration year. Staff has begun the process to update software and secure browser components on all devices across PAUSD schools. The secure testing environment is estimated to be ready after the Thanksgiving break.


Continuing our efforts to improve reliability of our digital learning environments, the Read 180 platform was recently transitioned from an on-premise installation to a hosted service model. Many thanks to Mr. Keith Wheeler and Mr. Frank Gonzales for their collaborative efforts on this project. This move to a hosted service model continues our migration to cloud-based services that improve efficiency and ability to better support the various services we provide to our students.

Research, Evaluation, and Assessment (REA)

REA has begun data visits to schools sites – providing teachers with refresher briefs on the DataZone system, or meeting 1:1 to consult with principals. Seven schools down!  

REA partnered with Student Services to present and analyze California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) data with the District PTAC Council SEL representatives. CHKS is administered every two years to students in grades 5, 7, 9, and 11, and measures safety, drug and alcohol use, students’ experience of harassment/bullying, as well as student connectedness to teachers and adults at their school. We discussed trends over time, focusing on measures that are important to the District Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). CHKS survey reports back to 2005 are available on the District web site.

REA partnered with the Director of Professional Learning to lead the New Hire Equity Data Literacy Workshop, building data literacy skills by exploring PAUSD data from the CA Dashboard and CALSchls to make an equity commitment in teachers’ classrooms.

The Research team is on Twitter!