June 2, 2017

What I like best about graduations is hearing the student speeches. One of the Terman speakers talked about how she overcame her challenges learning complex mathematics (and resulting anxiety) by having a teacher who believed in her, by persisting despite setbacks and poor quiz grades, and by being remarkably resourceful in finding Khan Academy videos and other sources of learning. Another Terman student spoke about how some of his happiest moments are when he volunteers to play piano at a senior center every week, and he recounted the initial challenges he faced as patrons fell asleep and even yelled at him! Now, two years later they are singing along and always requesting “just one more number.” The other two speakers were equally as moving and received well-deserved long and loud applause.

Gunn had three phenomenal speakers, and I appreciated one of them recounting her journey through PAUSD, beginning in kindergarten, as she was always aspiring to be one of the older, “cooler” girls and finally finding fulfillment in just being herself. The other two were also powerful as they shared thoughts about the defining moments at Gunn – both the light and the dark ones – that shaped their character and strengthened their spirit, and how the diversity of their class sustained and strengthened them and gave rise to their voice. Seeing and hearing these graduates and sharing in the exuberant joy of their families was both inspiring and illuminating as to what is so special about our schools, students, and community. 

That said, we still have some serious matters to address in improving our Title IX processes and tackling sexual harassment and assault, both in and outside of school. To assist in our endeavors, beginning next Wednesday, John DiPaolo, J.D., will be serving as our interim Title IX Compliance Officer. He is being contracted through the Cozen O’Connor law firm, and we will have a separate letter of engagement for him until we are able to find a full-time Compliance Officer. Moreover, his experience will be most helpful as we tackle our challenges. Most recently, he was employed at the U.S. Department of Education as 
Deputy General Counsel for Postsecondary Education and as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy (2012-2014), Chief of Staff (2011-2012), Office for Civil Rights.


On Tuesday, we have a regular Board meeting and it is a long agenda. Here is a short summary of the items we will be covering.

Superintendent’s Report

Meet Our Middle School Principals 

Today, we announced the hiring of Dr. Valerie Royaltey-Quandt and Ms. Melissa Howell for the principal positions at Jordan and Terman. These are outstanding, experienced educational leaders and the perfect fit for our middle schools.

Update on Sexual Harassment Policies and Investigations 

In addition to repeating the news about Mr. DiPaolo above, I will update the Board on discussions I am having with our attorney regarding ongoing investigations, changes to our policies, and progress on the resolution agreement (later today, June 2) and with the Office for Civil Rights.

Agenda Items

Secondary Single Plans for Student Achievement (SPSAs) 

Presenting SPSAs to the Board is an annual agenda item.  Chief Academic Officer Sharon Ofek will briefly present the goals each school had this year and their progress toward accomplishing them.

Sexual Health Education

The Board will briefly review the process for selecting Health Connected as the program this year and discuss staff recommendations for moving forward to statutorily required sexual health education in 2017-18.  The recommendations are:

  1. PAUSD teachers receive training in teaching the required materials in phases, following the timeline of the initial plan which includes first co-teaching with the Health Connected staff and then in the future having the Health Connected staff coach and advise our teachers as they teach the program.
  2. We have sexual health education overseen by Student Services, specifically our District Nursing Team. Our District Nurses have been trained in Health Connected and have expertise in this area.
  3. We add information on the California Healthy Youth Act to our website for parents and the community (already in process).
  4. District staff will also make available clear opt-out guidance for sexual health lessons or activities, in multiple languages. In May of 2017 a survey was given to assess the parental experience of the sexual health lessons delivered during the first year. Survey results will be used to determine next steps or revisions to the planned implementation.  It is important to note that PAUSD is statutorily required to provide comprehensive sexual health instruction.
  5. We develop formal specific, detailed, informational presentations for parents and teachers regarding the content of sexual health instruction, materials from the Health Connected program, instructional methods, and statutory requirements of sexual health education.
  6. We provide parents with full access to all materials prior to delivery of instruction and allow parents to opt-out of sexual health instruction.  For parents who choose to opt-out, the district will provide a list of sexual health education resources.
  7. If the majority of the Board requests that the sexual health education program should be adopted under the processes outlined in BP 6161.1 - Selection and Evaluation of Instructional Materials, staff is ready and willing to do so, though given the time required for a full curriculum adoption it is not likely a new program could be put in place for 2017-18.

Board Calendar  

The Board will discuss the dates for Board meetings during the 2017-18 academic year.

Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP)

Following a public hearing, Dr. Judy Jaramillo Argumedo will present the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) goals we had this year, our progress toward achieving them, and how we will use results to frame next year’s LCAP goals.

2017-18 Budget 

Following a public hearing, we will have two items on the budget. One is to approve the final round of cuts, adjustments, and additions. The other is to discuss recommendations related to the formal budget adoption process.

Addison Renovation and Playground 

The Board will discuss the plans required for submittal to the California Division of the State Architect and a plan for a Magical Bridge Playground that would be a model for all elementary schools.

Hoover Schematic Design

Dr. Robert Golton will present the schematic design for renovations to Hoover Elementary School.

Facilities and Equipment 

Dr. Golton will present a series of items related to facilities, the Bond program, and updating equipment.

Required Personnel Actions

Dr. Scott Bowers will present two items. The first is a resolution for reduction in service to classified staff and the second authorizes eight teachers to teach in departmentalized single subject areas.

Recommending School Names Committee Membership

As a reminder, we are still actively seeking community members – including students – to participate on the school renaming committee. Here is a link to the application!

It’s hard to believe that the academic year has come to an end. For our twelve-month team, the busiest season starts today as our facilities crew is hard at work repairing and cleaning our sites, our administrative leaders prepare for next year, and our district leaders and Board review our goals and prioritize goals and projects for next year.

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend and that you do something special, no matter how small, with your children who have worked so hard and done so well this year. As our kids grew up, Jan and I had a last day of school party for them that didn’t involve much more than a whole lot of ice cream and a game, movie, or sleepover. It wasn’t much but we find it pretty cool that they still remember the first and last day of school celebrations, even in their thirties.

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