March 13, 2020

Education Services

PALO ALTO ADULT SCHOOL MID-CYCLE WESTERN ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL AND COLLEGES (WASC) REVIEW

The Palo Alto Adult School recently completed a midterm Western Association of School and Colleges (WASC) visit and review. We are happy to report that the visiting committee did not identify any new critical areas during this progress visit.

We are appreciative of the work and effort performed by our staff, and thankful for this report. One of the outcomes of the WASC preparation was the production of a “fact sheet,” which gives a brief and clear summary of the Adult School and notes some pertinent facts. 

PAUSD JOINS PARTNERSHIP TO DEVELOP SCIENCE INSTRUCTIONAL PRACTICE GUIDE

Instruction Partners is gathering a team of educators from five states to develop an Instructional Practice Guide for Science, consistent with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Their guides for Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Math and English Language Arts are already used in schools around the country. This new venture will help schools ensure that science teaching is rigorous and provides equitable opportunities for all students to engage in meaningful learning. Teachers and administrators can access this tool to highlight the shifts necessary to implement NGSS in K-12 classrooms. PAUSD will join these efforts and meet with collaborators this week. Mountain View-Los Altos and Morgan Hill Unified have also joined this consortium. The Teachers on Special Assignments (TOSAs) from all three districts will team up to test and offer feedback on the tool. This work has been supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. More information about the sponsoring group can be found at InstructionPartners.org or by contacting Tammy Wallace.

SPECIAL EDUCATION WORKSHOP AT SANTA CLARA COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION (SCCOE)

On March 11, Special Education directors & District Office administrators attended the 2020 Comprehensive Coordinated Early Intervening Services (CCEIS) workshop on significant disproportionality. Currently, the District is working to complete the first two phases of the CCEIS plan, which is due April 13. The first phase includes identifying a leadership team and stakeholder group to address disproportionality. The directors selected a Technical Assistance Facilitator (mandatory component of the plan) and developed a list of types of data that will be used in decision-making to address disproportionality. Phase two activities include 1) listing current Local Education Authority (LEA) initiatives, 2) choosing a self-assessment tool to monitor progress, and 3) conducting a data analysis for the purpose of determining root causes for disproportionality.

INNOVATION & AGILITY

The Innovation & Agility Department, in collaboration with Research, Evaluation, and Assessment (REA) Research, met the California Department of Education’s (CDE) mandatory reporting requirements for surveying the 2018-19 graduates. We received over 250 responses through US Mail and electronically. The data collected was processed and submitted to the annual Career Technical Education (CTE) survey to ​Perkins V (Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act). The data will also be utilized to help PAUSD improve CTE program offerings and reported to the California Longitudinal Pupil Assessment Data System (CALPADS) through the new Postsecondary Status (PSTS) File, in the CALPADS Fall 2 submission. Please visit the CDE website for more information.

ELEMENTARY TOSAS PRESENT PAIRING DIVERSE PICTURE BOOKS WITH STUDENT IDENTITY AT WEDNESDAY WORKSHOP

On Wednesday, March 4, the Elementary TOSAs presented a Wednesday Workshop called Pairing Diverse Picture Books with Student Identity Maps to elementary teachers and teacher librarians.

The workshop informed teachers about ways to select diverse books to foster opportunities for students to see themselves (a mirror) and others (window), in children’s literature.According to Teachers College at Columbia University, “… diverse books that depict the variety of ethnic, racial, and cultural groups in the United States can both affirm the identities of diverse students and also provide opportunities for students to develop understanding about others.” The workshop included criteria for selecting diverse books that consider character representation, authorship authenticity, story context and relevance, and age-related content.

The Elementary TOSAs modeled a Teachers College Reading and Writing Project lesson that instructed workshop participants to create an identity map. Once the identity map was completed, teachers were encouraged to participate in open conversations with partners about all the ways we are the same and different. Using this lens, teachers listened to a diverse picture book and discussed how the book could be a "window or mirror" for students. 

Throughout the workshop, the excitement around the topic was tangible. Teachers wanted to continue exploring additional titles to bring into the classroom and libraries. As we focus on equitable ways to include and learn from all students, literature is one of the most important avenues for children to see themselves in books, as well as opening windows to learn about others. 

Human Resources

PALY AND GUNN PRINCIPALS ANNOUNCED FOR THE 2020-21 SCHOOL YEAR

Pending Board approval on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, PAUSD is pleased to announce Mr. Brent Kline as the Principal of Palo Alto High School and Ms. Wendy Stratton as the Principal of Gunn High School effective July 1, 2020.

Brent Kline

Brent Kline has over 15 years of experience as a high school principal in both California and Washington State.  He is currently the principal of Santa Cruz High School. Prior to being a principal, he was a high school assistant principal, music teacher, and band and orchestra director.  He holds a bachelor’s degree from California State University at Hayward and a master’s degree from Western Washington University.  Kline was awarded the Western Association of Secondary Administrators Outstanding Achievement Award (2008), Western Scholastic Conference Distinguished Principal Award (2008, 2012), and the Washington State High School Principal of the Year (2013). He was also a finalist in the 2014 MetLife/NASSP National Principal of the Year Program for his significant contributions to student achievement at Mariner High School in Washington.

Kline has an unwavering focus on professional development, particularly in aligning curriculum, instruction, and assessment practices, and diligence in engaging the community and parents to support students holistically. 

After living in Washington State for 25 years, Kline and his wife Danielle returned to California in 2016.  Being a high school principal is Kline’s passion and he is thrilled to be joining the Palo Alto community.

Wendy Stratton

Wendy Stratton is currently the Assistant Principal of Palo Alto High School.  She came to PAUSD with five years of experience as an Assistant Principal at Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley. Prior to becoming an administrator, she was an Athletic Director, teacher leader, and teacher at Redwood High School in Larkspur, CA and a middle school physical education teacher.  She holds a bachelor’s degree from Mills College in Oakland and a master’s degree from San Francisco State University.  She is currently in a Doctoral Program in Organizational Leadership at the University of La Verne which she expects to complete in 2020.  Stratton is a National Board Certified Teacher and received the Golden Bell Teacher of the Year award in 2014.

Stratton’s core value for equity drives her leadership approach.  She is a team-player with instructional expertise, motivated to participate in an inclusive community where students and adults are committed to continuous improvement.  In her view, all students learn at high levels when teachers, administrators, and the staff surrounding them behave purposefully to create a high trust culture that embraces innovation and excellence. Wendy understands the importance of including multiple perspectives in decision making processes.

Stratton has a son who is a current senior at Palo Alto High School. She is delighted to join the highly talented staff and students at Gunn High and looks forward to establishing purposeful partnerships with all stakeholders.

Superintendent Don Austin stated, “We are fortunate to find two exceptional and proven leaders to take the reins of our high schools.  The competition for the positions was fierce, as we expected for the principalships of two highly regarded institutions.  Wendy Stratton continues our effort to promote qualified and passionate internal candidates.  Her dedication to equity work, attention to detail, competitive personal nature, and desire to invest deeply in PAUSD are attributes we value highly.  Brent Kline is an accomplished veteran high school principal with a complete understanding of complex organizations.  Brent is recognized as one of the top high school principals in the nation and will immediately hit the ground running.”

We look forward to welcoming these two leaders to our district and know they will add incredible value to the school sites and to our management team.