December 1, 2017

We support all PAUSD students as they prepare themselves to thrive as global citizens in a rapidly changing world. We develop our students’ knowledge, critical thinking, and problem solving skills, and nurture their curiosity, creativity, and resilience, empowering every child to reach his or her fullest intellectual, social, and creative potential.

Hello to Our PAUSD Community,

Welcome to December! 

To open with a quote from Dr. Suess, “How did it get so late so soon?” The days have certainly gotten shorter, and nightfall is finding us earlier each evening.  However, the activities of the District remain in full speed – and most everyone in the school community feels the reality that there is so much to accomplish prior to the winter holidays.

With a few short weeks until the end of the first semester, thoughts turn to “what will our students need from us in order to have the best possible experience when they return in January?”  To that end, we stay focused on our District Goals below, as well as the priorities and organizational infrastructures required to achieve these goals on behalf of every student.  At the December 5 Board meeting, our Data Slice conversation will provide input into our progress as well as identified areas of focus.  On December 19, an update into our Academic Support and Equity Initiatives will be an important agenda item.


Engage every student in joyful, purposeful learning that appropriately challenges all students to ensure core content mastery and maximizes each student’s opportunity to excel academically.


Assure that every student has access to multiple programs, services, activities, and enrichment experiences that support student learning and enable each individual to achieve his or her fullest intellectual, creative and social potential.


Provide for the social, emotional, and physical health needs of students and staff and cultivate positive, identity-safe school environments that promote high levels of connection, engagement and overall well-being throughout the school community.


Board Meeting

We have a Board meeting scheduled for Tuesday, December 5, 2017.

For your convenience, below is a list of Open Session Agenda Items:

A. Annual Strong Schools Bond Financial and Performance Audits for 2016-17.

B. Citizens' Oversight Committee Annual Report on the Strong Schools Bond for 2016-17: It is the Citizens’ Oversight Committee (COC) annual report to the community on the Strong Schools Bond.

C. Annual Report on School Impact Fees for 2016-17.

D. Approval of PAUSD Comment Letter Regarding the Santa Clara County Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Stanford General Use Permit (GUP): It is recommended the Board approve the attached comment letter.

E. First Interim Financial Report: Pending discussion at this meeting, it will be recommended the Board 1) Give a positive certification to the County Superintendent that the District can meet its financial obligations through the end of the fiscal year and for the subsequent two years, 2) Approve the budget revisions listed in the projected year totals.

F. Data Slice A-G: Staff will present information regarding the class of 2017 and preliminary A-G attainment of requirements for UC/CSU admissions.

G. BP 3290 Gifts, Grants, and Bequests, AR 3290 Gifts, Grants, and Bequests: It is recommended the Board approve BP/AR 3290 Gifts, Grants, and Bequests policy and/or waive the requirement to identify the anonymous donor relating to the Addison project.

H. Approval of Superintendent Search Firm: It is recommended the Board approve the Letter of Agreement with Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates (HYA) as presented.

I. Call for Nominations for California School Boards Association (CSBA) Delegate Assembly: The Board will discuss possible nominee to the CSBA delegate assembly.

J. Term Limits: It is recommended the Board discuss a proposal to limit board member terms and identify actions to follow.

RISE Task Force

We have a meeting of the Superintendent’s RISE Task Force on Monday, December 4, 2017. The agenda will be posted on the RISE Task Force webpage.   Meeting notes are being posted there as well.

Buena Vista’s Community Holiday Posada

Residents of all ages from Palo Alto and at Stanford are invited to take part in the Posada’s candlelight procession as participants seek shelter for the night, eventually finding a lowly stable. This event, including a traditional feast for all, will be hosted by residents of Palo Alto’s Buena Vista Mobile Home Park on Saturday, December 2, from 5:30 – 9PM, at Buena Vista. 3980 El Camino at Los Robles, Palo Alto

This year there will be a continuous slide show of photos over the years of BV residents, past posadas, scenes at city council meetings, rallies, demonstrations and celebrations. Tables will be set up to display news and magazine articles, posters and other items documenting the 5 year effort to save Buena Vista.

Addison Elementary

Addison works with Project Cornerstone (A YMCA of Silicon Valley initiative) to empower all members of the school community—students, parents and caregivers, teachers and staff—to reduce bullying, promote achievement and help all students feel valued and respected. Project Cornerstone is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, December 6, from 8:30 – 10 a.m. in the Hawaii Room.

Barron Park Elementary

Computer Science Week – Hour of Code will take place from Monday, December 4, - Friday, December 8.

Duveneck Elementary           

Get ready to show your school spirit by celebrating Sports Day on Tuesday, December 5! During the assembly, students will be asked to stand up and show off their outfits.

So, come to school dressed in sports jerseys, or in the attire of your favorite sport, but please wear regular shoes. (Don't wear cleats or bring equipment such as baseball bats or hockey sticks.)

Participation in our school spirit days is always optional, but we enjoy showing a variety of athletic interests across our community.

Escondido Elementary

Bake Sale/Fundraiser Event for the Mattress Firm/Sleep Train Foster Kids Program!

In the spirit of giving during the holidays, the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th grade Spanish Immersion classes will be hosting a bake sale/fundraiser event to help support foster kids in our area.  All proceeds will be donated to the Mattress Firm/Sleep Train Mattress Foster Kids Program.   This is a non-profit organization that raises money and accepts donations of clothing, shoes, toys, and school supplies for local foster kids.

This is a great way to get the kids into the spirit of giving during the holidays and teaches them the value of reaching out to others less fortunate than themselves.  It also builds self-esteem and a sense of belonging, purpose, and connection with their community.

The date for the bake sale/fundraiser was changed this year and is now scheduled for Wednesday, December 6th, from 2:00pm - 4:00pm in front of the main office.  It would be wonderful if you could join us in supporting the students and local foster kids! This event will take place on Wednesday, December 6, from 2 – 4 p.m. outside of the Main Office.

Hays Elementary

Walter Hays is looking forward to their 13th Annual Community Building Holiday Dinner. This exciting community event will take place next Friday, December 8, from 5:30-7:00pm at the East Palo Alto Senior Center, 560 Bell Street, East Palo Alto All Hays families are encouraged to take part in this much-loved Walter Hays tradition - now in its 13th year. This annual event is a celebration of the spirit of Walter Hays and its vibrant and diverse school community.

Gunn High School

of Strength: A wellness program based on building resilience at both high schools will take place on Tuesday, December 5 from 10 – 10:50 a.m.

Palo Alto High School

Shop Paly Glass for Holiday Gifts @ the Fiery Arts Winter Glass Sale
Friday, December 1, 3-6:00pm and Saturday, December 2, 11am-4pm INSIDE the Administration/Tower Bldg.

50 Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto. Exquisite Paly-designed decorative and functional hand-blown glass. PALY GLASS is a triple win - they make impressive and memorable gifts, your proceeds benefit Paly's Sculpture classes and there's easy parking. The glass is hand made by instructors, alum, and students. It is our last public sale for the school year to fund the program. There will be free demonstrations, hot apple cider, and cookies, too.

Paly Choir Annual Madrigal Feaste

King Henry VIII Welcomes you to his 2017 15th Annual Madrigal Feaste! Two performances: Saturday, December 9 and Sunday, December 10. The Madrigal Feaste is a wonderful highlight of the year for all Paly Choirs. This special concert with a Renaissance flair features beautiful choral music, all choir students in costume, and delicious and abundant refreshments for the guests. Attending the Madrigal Feaste is a festive holiday tradition you will treasure. Tickets may be purchased at

Inclusive Schools Week is an annual event sponsored by the Inclusive Schools Network (ISN) and Stetson & Associates, Inc., which is held each year during the first full week in December. Since its inception in 2001, Inclusive Schools Week has celebrated the progress that schools have made in providing a supportive and quality education to an increasingly diverse student population, including students who are marginalized due to disability, gender, socio-economic status, cultural heritage, language preference and other factors. The Week also provides an important opportunity for educators, students and parents to discuss what else needs to be done in order to ensure that their schools continue to improve their ability to successfully educate all children.

This year, the Inclusive Schools Week’s theme focuses on standing up for inclusion. This is particularly fitting because in our world today, we are embracing changes necessary to protect the practices in education and society essential to making a positive difference for all. In schools where inclusive education flourishes, there is an inspirational, more positive culture. This year, we will focus on how and why each person should stand up for inclusion. READ MORE.


Hoover Health and Wellness Update

Yoga classes have begun at Hoover this week! Ms. Patricia Leitch, a certified yoga instructor, is providing 20 minutes of yoga instruction per week in each K-2 class and 30 minutes per week in each 3-5 class. She is blending the exercise with social skills such as kindness/caring/compassion, emotions, expression and integrity, problem solving/conflict resolution/honesty, growth mindset/resilience, creative visualization/positive thinking, and self-reliance/accountability and personal power tools. Students and teachers both enjoyed the first week of classes and are looking forward to more!

Acknowledge Alliance counselors have begun the Project Resilience program with Grade 3-5 students. This ten-week course is designed to support the five areas of social and emotional development, as denoted by CASEL (The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning), as well as their own foundational philosophy addressing the importance of resilience, empathy, strengths-based support, and emotional intelligence.

Also, Ms. Sally Peck will be starting Social Thinking Curriculum lessons with K-2 students in the new year! All of this, in addition to our School wide use of Responsive Classroom strategies and our ABC program provide a well-balanced variety of social and emotional supports for our students so that they can thrive in school and beyond!

Terman Middle School

The week before our Thanksgiving Break, the 6th Graders at Terman went on a 3-day, 2-night Science Camp field trip to Nature Bridge in the Marin Headlands. Half of the students went up Mon-Wed, and the other half Wed-Fri. The first group had sunny and clear weather on their 5-mile challenge hike to Hawk Hill, and saw the sweeping panoramic view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the City of San Francisco. Their campfire rained out, however. It was the reverse for the 2nd group: they did their challenge hike in the rain on Thursday and got the view of fog and rain clouds at the top of the hill, but got a dry evening for their campfire. Thank you to the 6th grade teaching teams who organize the trip each year.

Gunn High School

AP Statistics students have been working on a project that started October 23, 2017. The project is an observational study where students were asked to develop a plan to improve the Gunn student experience. Part of the process was to design a survey, randomly select their sample, analyze the data and make recommendations to the school that may improve the student experience. The students are very proud of their work so far, as are their teachers. The event will be an evening where parents and our community can be included to learn about the work of our students, and will take place in the Gunn Library on December 7 from 6-7:30 p.m.

PAUSD Art Coordinator Earns Tremendous Recognition

Li Ezzell received the Ruth Jansen Award for “exemplifying and promoting excellence in visual arts education” at the California Art Education Association’s annual state conference in San Francisco on November 12. In January, Li will begin a two-year term as President-elect of the Association. He also gave a presentation entitled “The Art of Compassion: Social Emotional Learning & the Arts,” about a collaboration he helped lead in his previous district.


We’ve been notified by the California Department of Education and FCMAT that PAUSD has qualified for 2016-17 California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) Data Management Recognition. While this may not sound incredibly exciting to some (!) it is very important due to the fact that CALPADS is the foundation of California's K–12 education data system that allows for tracking a student's academic performance over time.  I’d like to join the CDE in thanking all of the staff involved in the submission and maintenance of high-quality data, which permits us to continually assess and strive to improve upon the educational opportunities for all students.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend ahead,


Karen Hendricks