September 20, 2019

Office of the Superintendent


We are receiving positive feedback regarding our agenda calendar. While it is an unofficial guide and subject to change, the calendar is a good tool for people to see what is on the horizon. We have added an update to the September 24 agenda to discuss the current status of Stanford University’s General Use Permit (GUP).

As a reminder, the September 24 Regular Board Meeting will begin with a single Open Session topic (Parcel Tax) at 5:00 p.m. We anticipate the item taking roughly 30 minutes. Our consultant, Charles Heath, is only available at that time due to prior commitments. We will recess to Closed Session and return to the remaining Open Session items at our traditional 6:30 p.m. time. 

We are requesting moving the October 22 Regular Board Meeting to October 15. The request would allow our Board of Education and staff to attend the Santa Clara County Supervisors’ meeting in Palo Alto on October 22 regarding the Stanford GUP. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

  • A-G (Report) 
  • Progress of Cubberley Lease Between PAUSD and City of Palo Alto (Report)
  • Elementary Principal Professional Learning Community Update (Report)
  • Parcel Tax Renewal (Discussion)
  • Unaudited Actual (Action)
  • Enrollment & Class Size Report (Information)
  • Physical Fitness Test (Information)

Tuesday, October 22, 2019 (may be moved to October 15)

  • Uniform Complaint (Williams Settlement) (Consent)
  • Developer Fees (Report)
  • Career Themed Pathways (Report)
  • Elementary and Secondary Dyslexia Update (Report)
  • Physical Safety and Start of Year Procedures (Report)
  • 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 PLC – Barron Park & Escondido Update (Report)
  • Staff Housing (Discussion)
  • All CAASPP (Information)
  • Parcel Tax Oversight Committee Report (Information)

Education Services


The Enrollment and Class Size report will be provided to the Board of Education this coming Tuesday evening. This annual report shares information about the 2019-20 enrollment, class size, and associated trends. It is based upon the 14th day enrollment (September 3, 2019) and the data are provided in a variety of tables and graphs.


September 24 is National Voter Registration Day. Observed since 2012, the holiday celebrates democracy and seeks to create a greater awareness of voter registration opportunities. To increase voter awareness, the League of Women Voters will visit Gunn and Palo Alto High Schools. Any student who wishes to register or pre-register to vote will have the opportunity to do so. Students need to provide either their driver’s license number or the last four digits of their social security number. The League of Women Voters was formed 100 years ago to encourage citizens to become informed about, and actively participate in our democratic form of government. As one of America’s oldest and largest voting rights organizations, the League has gained a reputation for its nonpartisan stance. The League neither supports nor opposes candidates or parties. The mission of the Voter Services arm of the League is to spread and defend democracy through voter registration and voter education.


On Monday, September 16, the Elementary Science Pilot and Adoption Committee convened for the first meeting of this school year. Participants kicked off the committee’s exploration phase with a Design Challenge. The importance of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) was reviewed, as well as how phenomena are used as the starting point to motivate science knowledge and raise questions. We wrapped up our time together with a preview of the Elementary Science Pilot and Adoption timeline and the California Next Generation Science Standards Toolkit for Instructional Materials Evaluation (CA NGSS TIME) process. The State-recommended toolkit will be used throughout the exploration and piloting rounds, in order to determine which science program best meets the needs of all students and teachers. The committee will continue this important work next month.


Special Education (SpEd) Directors met with the Business Services Department to analyze the SpEd budget and determine areas where fiscal responsibility might be enhanced. Business Services staff and the SpEd Directors agreed to develop a more detailed monthly report to better support this ongoing analysis. The Directors also met with the Transportation Office to review communication processes that will improve the delivery of this service, and with the Assistive Technology Department to develop a communication tool that more efficiently facilitates requests for collaboration between school sites and District Office.


September marks the kickoff of PAUSD’s Equity Workshop Series. Attendance is expected of all teachers in their first two years of employment in PAUSD. First year participants spend the morning with Milton Reynolds, an outside facilitator, with a depth of expertise in equity in education. His workshop focuses on the historical roots of inequity in education. Teachers also learn about PAUSD history and explore current District data with an equity focus. Second year participants ride the Voluntary Transfer Program (VTP) bus, engage with PAUSD data, and in conversation about relationships, types of learners, and equity in the classroom. Participants then select a follow-up workshop from a menu of options, such as classroom management, special education, culturally responsive teaching, and understanding and implementing accommodations. Ninety percent of participants agree or strongly agree that the workshop was a successful learning experience.



One of the visual art programs offered to elementary classrooms is called, Meet the Masters. This is an age-appropriate art history experience that teaches students how master artists create and communicate through their art. Trained and enthusiastic volunteer docents visit classrooms. In two sessions, students learn about the historical and social contexts that existed when artists created well-known works of art. To learn more, you can check out the Meet the Masters flyer.


Learning to play the string bass is extremely challenging. The size of the bass is more than most 5th graders can handle! We begin offering the chance to switch to string bass in 6th grade. Storing the instrument and carrying it back and forth to school creates an additional challenge. This year, the music department purchased several half-size string basses to encourage our 6th and 7th graders to make the switch. On Saturday, September 14, eight middle schoolers participated in a “Bass Camp” at JLS. The camp was led by a local bassist and professional musician.


Stanford Live hosts yearly student matinees and teacher workshops. This year, some of the options include Music of China, Music of Cuba, Dance of Cuba, and a remake of Scott Joplin’s, Treemonisha. Prior to attending the matinee performance, classroom teachers participate in workshops to learn about various artists, and how to prepare students for the live performance. The first teacher workshop took place this week, with 28 teachers in attendance.

Department of Equity and Student Affairs


The Department of Academic Supports will hold a VTP Community Conversation with families who participate in the Tinsley Program. This will take place on Wednesday, September 25, at the Board Room in the District Office, 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. This is PAUSD’s 4th VTP Community Conversation. A data collection process will be used to encourage all voices to have an opportunity to engage. The goal of the meeting is to learn from the VTP community what are the strengths, challenges, concerns, and ideas for the program. Translation, childcare, and a light dinner will be provided.


Wellness and Support Services is partnering with Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI) to bring workshops educating families on preparing for their children's future with a culturally focused parenting workshop series, “Families Connecting Across Generations.” The workshop is designed to help navigate across generational and cultural differences. Topics include parenting skills to help promote the bicultural identity of immigrant children, manage stress, enhance parent-child understanding, and effectively utilize rules, reinforcement, and consequences in this country. 

The new start date for this workshop series is October 2. It will run every Wednesday from 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. through December 11, with no class on November 27, at Palo Alto High School, Room 301. For more information and to register, please contact the facilitator, Yifan Wang, Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (AMFT), at 650-329-3999, ext. 6975, or by email at You can also register online at Eventbrite.


District Nurses and Health Services Staff play a key role in sharing information and guidance to help reduce the spread of seasonal influenza (flu) among students and staff. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide several recommendations to assist in reducing the spread of the flu. These recommendations include receiving your yearly flu vaccination, taking preventative measures to stop the spread of germs, and remaining at home for those who get flu-like symptoms. The flu vaccine is recommended for all children aged six months and older and ideally should be administered by the end of October. Preventative measures include good hand hygiene, routine surface cleaning, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your bent arm, and avoiding touching your nose, mouth, and eyes with your hands. If you or your child get sick, staying home until fever-free (less than 100 degrees) for at least 24 hours without fever-reducing medications is especially important. Should your child become sick, please communicate with your school site so they can support your child’s needs while staying home to rest, recover, and prevent the potential spread of illnesses. For more information on the flu and preventative measures, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.


Wellness & Student Services Staff attended the Safe & Welcoming Schools Network on Wednesday, September 18, at the SCCOE. Districts from around Santa Clara County came together to learn about updates to California’s Revised State Health Framework and the regional leadership and resources to begin implementing. They reviewed using language as a tool to creating lifelong healthy behaviors and promoting a safe and healthy climate at schools via the Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) framework. Agencies presented policy and resource information focusing on Lesbian Gay Bi-Sexual Transgender Queer (LGBTQ) Youth, human trafficking, Santa Clara County Behavioral Health/Mental Health services, Santa Clara County Suicide prevention, and Kognito Interactive, role play training simulations. 


Student Services Coordinator represented PAUSD at the College and Career Consortium at SCCOE to learn about recent efforts to centralize, support, and promote Career Technical Education (CTE) within Santa Clara County. There is a current focus on ways to use data to help identify students who can benefit from CTE. To help promote CTE options in PAUSD, the Agile Team Director trained school counselors on CTE and Dual Enrollment programs on Friday, September 20. SCCOE staff is also available to present to Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs), administrators, and Boards of Education about the benefits of career and life skills development through CTE.


Wellness & Student Services hosted the annual retreat for PAUSD’s secondary school counselors on Friday, September 20, at Foothill Community College. Many thanks to Foothill Community College’s Associate Vice President for Marketing and Relations and Foothill-De Anza Student Trustee, for hosting our school counselors and discussing the range of resources and benefits available at community colleges to support the success of diverse students. Other work during the School Counselor Retreat included:

  • Student and Family Engagement (SaFE) Program Updates
  • Best Practices for Early Interventions
  • 504 Process Updates and Practices
  • College Career Life Readiness Scope and Sequence
  • Dual Enrollment CTE partnerships 
  • Documenting and Linking to Services Education Training and Research (ETR) Wish & Care Solace

Paly’s Guidance department hosted Junior Parent Night in the Performing Arts Center (PAC) on Wednesday, September 18. Topics included:

  • Student Wellness
  • Graduation vs. four-year College Eligibility
  • Supports for All Students
  • Post High School Options
  • Types of four-year Colleges
  • How Applicants are Evaluated
  • College Eligibility vs. Selectivity and Admission
  • Testing Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test, National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, Scholastic Aptitude Test, American College Testing, Advance placement (PSAT/NMSQT, SAT/ACT, SAT Subject Tests, AP)
  • Advisory


This week, the high school Wellness Teams continued outreach efforts to Living Skills classes with presentations on wellness services, stigma, and access to resources. The Wellness Outreach Workers are working with the student clubs and leadership to organize this year’s Wellness Fairs, which will feature partners on and off campus who support student health and well-being. Staff and students will be able to engage with various booths from partners all over the area to learn about the many resources available to them. Gunn’s Wellness Fair will be held during lunch on Friday, September 27, and Paly will hold their fair the first week of October during 6th period and tutorial.


On Monday, September 9, and Tuesday, September 17, around 200 7th grade students and 50 adults participated in Challenge Day at Greene Middle School. Challenge Day is a day-long experiential social and emotional learning program for grades 7-12 and offers schools and youth organizations an opportunity to ignite a shift toward greater school connectedness, empathy, and inclusivity (source: Founded in 1987, the Challenge Day Program was developed to combat bullying, truancy, violence, separation, isolation, and loneliness. Challenge Day is designed to build community through a fun and powerful transformational day that builds student’s understanding of others and empowers them to be the change and create the type of school climate they want. Greene will hold one more Challenge Day for 7th grade students on Monday, September 30. Thank you to Greene’s administration and staff for making this day possible for students.

Business Services


Bike Palo Alto kicks off the fall Walk and Roll Week in PAUSD Schools. Bike Palo Alto is an annual, free event for all PAUSD students and their families to enjoy biking around Palo Alto together. This year, the event starts at Fairmeadow Elementary School, on Sunday, September 29, at 1:00 p.m. Students can practice bicycling in preparation for participation in Walk and Roll week, which will be held across PAUSD during the first week of October. 

Both Bike Palo Alto and Walk and Roll Week are components of PAUSD/City of Palo Alto Safe Routes to School Partnership. The goal of the partnership is to enhance and sustain the City of Palo Alto/PAUSD/PTA community relationship to reduce risk to students on route to and from school and to encourage more families to choose healthy, active, sustainable alternatives to driving solo more often. This improves community and personal health, benefits the environment, increases safety, and decreases traffic congestion around schools. 


The excavation for the building is now complete. The excavated portion has been filled with engineered material with the continuous supervision of a Geotechnical Engineer. The building pad has been approved by the Geotechnical Engineer and certified by the Surveyor. The foundations were laid out and excavated; rebar installation will follow. The site utilities such as storm drain, sewer, and water have been connected to existing lines. 

Technology Department


The classroom technology refresh pilot group had its first meeting this past Monday, September 16. This volunteer group of 14 teachers will be piloting different options to replace the aging fleet of SMARTBoards, which have been used in most of our classrooms since the adoption of our last bond a decade ago. An essential consideration for this group is how new technology such as flat panel displays and untethered touch devices can support modern elements of instruction and student-centered learning. A special thank you to the teachers volunteering for this group, your time and expertise are appreciated.

Research, Evaluation, and Assessment Department


The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires states to test at least 95% of all students and student groups in English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics. It also requires states to factor the participation rate into the Academic Indicator. In California, 95% participation is required on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) summative assessments (Smarter Balanced and the California Alternate Assessment) and the Academic Indicator is reported on the California Dashboard.

The US Department of Education (DOE) allows two exemptions from CAASPP summative assessments: 1) English learners who have been enrolled for less than 12 months in U.S. schools (ELA only), and 2) students with significant medical emergencies.  Although California Ed. Code 60615 provides parents with the right to exempt their children from CAASPP summative assessments, the federal government does not recognize parental exemptions.

Beginning in 2018, participation rates were factored into the California Dashboard (see Board Information Item, 2018 CAASPP Participation Report October 9, 2018). The DOE has determined the 2018 methodology does not meet ESSA requirements. It has since been decided that if an LEA, school, or student group does not meet the 95% threshold, California must assign the Lowest Obtainable Scale Score (LOSS) for each student needed to bring the district, school, or student group to the 95% participation rate.  These calculations apply to the California Dashboard only. Parent waivers do not exempt students from the participation rate calculations. This methodology will be applied to the 2020 California Dashboard.

We will continue to update stakeholders as new information becomes available from the state.