February 9, 2018

*Correction has been made in bold Italics. Please see below.

Good Evening,

We've corrected the inadvertent omission of the name of one of our wonderful School Counselors, and are resending today's Weekly. 

With another opportunity to wish you a great weekend ahead,

Karen Hendricks

Hello to the PAUSD Community,

I hope you’ll join me in recognizing National School Counseling Week, celebrated this year from February 5-9. This is an opportunity to highlight the tremendous impact school counselors can have in helping students achieve success in school, career, and life.

School counselors actively engage in helping students in many ways, including:

  • Examining their abilities, strengths, interests, and talents;
  • Guiding their academic and career planning;
  • Focusing on positive ways to enhance students' social emotional well being, educational, and career development;
  • Working in partnership with parents as they encounter the challenges of raising children in today's world; and
  • Working with teachers and other educators to provide comprehensive support to help students maximize their potential and set healthy, realistic, and optimistic goals.

PAUSD is fortunate to have many dedicated school counselors on our secondary sites. During National School Counselors' Week, we especially want to commend and to thank them for the services and the care they provide to our schools and our students. Thanks also to our Board and community for the full support of counseling services in our District.


  • Ko Vue
  • Ellie Messinger
  • Arvind Arya


  • Betty Krumboltz
  • Meghan Ben
  • Kristen Hartley
  • Susan Curry
  • Kerry Smith


  • Michele Chin
  • Jovi Johnston
  • Jeffrey Gielow


  • Goldie Chan*
  • Jonathan Fidani
  • Shannon Flaskerud
  • Derek Johanson
  • David Leftwich
  • Adrian Hernandez
  • Cora Ross
  • John Christiansen
  • Myesha Compton
  • Linda Kirsch


  • Susan Shultz
  • Selene Singares
  • Charles Taylor
  • James Hamilton
  • Crystal Laguna
  • Sandra Cernobori
  • Stephanie Soria- Mendoza

I also don’t want to miss an opportunity to acknowledge the social-emotional counseling support provided at our elementary sites through outside entities, under the leadership of our outstanding school principals.  

Upcoming Events

Board Meeting

We have a regular Board meeting scheduled for Tuesday, February 13, 2018.

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

A. Superintendent Search Process: Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates (HYA)

B. 2018-2020 Equity Plan Update and Request for Approval

C. Term Limits

D. Authorization to Enter into a Project Management Agreement with ARC Alternatives, Inc.

E. School Bus Purchases

F. Appropriation of Bond Funds for Magical Bridge Playground at Addison Elementary School

G. Appropriation of $7,008,356 from State Bond Funding

H. Authorization to Bid the Addison Elementary School Project

I. Authorization to Bid the Science Addition Project at Palo Alto High School

J. Authorization to Bid the Replacement and Updates to the Fire Alarm System at Gunn High School

K. Facilities Master Plan Project List Progress Report and Evaluation of the Possibility of a Ballot Measure Authorizing a 2018 School Bond

L. Resolution for Full and Fair Funding of California's Public Schools

M. Memorandum of Understanding with the Palo Alto Educators Association re: ARTICLE VI Compensation & Benefits A. 4.c;  AB 1200

Great Things Happening in PAUSD

Food Services

Student Nutrition Services would like to remind you that they will be hosting an À La Carte Tasting Day on Thursday, February 22, from 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. in the JLS Training Room (Room 730) for all secondary students, parents, and interested community members. We want to give students and parents the opportunity to have a voice and input into the potential replacements and to solicit feedback with those selections and any additional suggestions via a short survey conducted at the event. To read more on this event, please read their current newsletter.

El Carmelo Elementary

El Carmelo kindergarten students brought projects made of items that equal one hundred. Students presented their 100th day project as well as explained how they counted- by 1s, 2s, 5s or 10s. Students also worked in groups to create posters to demonstrate 100.

Artwork from El Carmelo Students

Artwork from El Carmelo Students

Escondido Elementary

The Spanish Immersion (SI) 5th graders had a successful camp in Guanajuato, México. They returned last Sunday. The trip included an exchange with a Montessori school from Cuernavaca and a service project at a local school.

In addition, please read the following story regarding our amazing 2nd graders:


Stanford, CA – On Monday, February 5, a cohort of 2nd graders from Escondido Elementary set out to help sick kids and their families. They set a goal to sell $1,000 worth of hand made heart pins this week.  All proceeds will be donated to the Ronald McDonald House at Stanford.

The teachers, Cecilia Ortega and Sheila French, decided to start a tradition of “Kids Helping Kids” which would show their students how good it feels to give back to the community. This aligns nicely with the school district’s vision where “children come first and where students always remain at the heart of our commitment.” (PAUSD website)

The Ronald McDonald House is close to Escondido Elementary in more than proximity. Siblings of critically ill patients can opt to attend schools in Palo Alto Unified School District, and they often attend Escondido. Teacher Sheila French states, “Our students wanted to make this year successful no matter what. When asked about what their fundraiser was for, the students beamed as they told people about the Ronald McDonald House at Stanford.” Last year French’s 5th grade students fundraised $511.00. “My students wanted to double that this year!”

"It's great to see the 2nd graders working together towards a common goal to help other children. They've learned that they can come together to make a difference in the world," states Teacher Cecilia Ortega.

About Ronald McDonald House at Stanford

Ronald McDonald House at Stanford is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to create a home-away-from-home and supportive community for families of children with life-threatening illnesses receiving specialized treatment at local hospitals. The House accommodates 47 families per night and features a communal kitchen and dining room, Children’s Activity Room, Teen Recreation Center, Computer Center, family library, and fitness center, in addition to a selection of program offerings that promote a sense of normalcy for each member of the family. Since 1979, the Ronald McDonald House at Stanford has made a huge impact in creating the community environment that supports these families in need. Together it all makes Ronald McDonald House at Stanford the place “where hope has a home.”

Fairmeadow Elementary

This week Fairmeadow Elementary and JLS Middle School launched a new collaborative program to benefit students at both schools. The JLS - Fairmeadow Big Buddy Mentor Program pairs 8th grade Leadership Class students with 4th and 5th grade Fairmeadow students for weekly mentor sessions. The sessions this week included friendly discussions, an interactive activity, and planning for the future. 8th grade Leadership students went through training in active listening and mentorship, and are serving as positive role models and influential mentors. There were many smiles and laughs this week as mentorship partnerships got to know each other.  We look forward to many productive sessions, building confidence, resilience, and friendship together!

Walter Hays Elementary

Black History Month:  Aesha Ash, Professional Ballet dancer, will speak to our students next week about being a the only African American woman in the New York City Ballet. Her aim is to inspire all children to dream “Big”,  help people of all colors to welcome diversity, and encourage students to believe in their abilities and to work hard even if they are challenged.

Family Math Night: Last Tuesday night our community gathered for an evening of challenging and fun math games! The Multi-Purpose was filled with children and parents playing games and learning new math concepts through play.

Third Grade Musical at Walter Hays this Week: Third Grade students performed a Rap Musical chronicling notable Palo Alto figures, including Juana Briones, Jane Lathrop Stanford, William Hewlett and David Packard, and Steve Jobs. The musical inspires all of us to take the initiative and advocate for what you believe in, as well as recognize what is important in your life, like family, friends and facing a challenge with perseverance and resilience.

Gunn High School

Junior Haoning Jiang read her piece “Ingredients” at the Flash Fiction Forum in San Jose on January 10th; she was the only teen reader.

These students will represent Gunn in the California All State Band/Orchestra and the Santa Clara County Honor Band: Hyewon Ahn, Matthew Chan, Niklas Goodman, Gaya Gupta, Gio Kim, Youngju Kim, Keenan Lewis, Chris Liang, Mina Oh, Lauren Sheu, Madeleine Speagle, and Alan Yang.

Senior Andrew Shi was one of 300 young scientists nationwide to win a Regeneron Science Talent Search award for his project “Recursive Path-summing Simulation of Quantum Computation.”

Thanks to Rachel Congress for facilitating the January 22 PLC Lead training and organizing and facilitating the January 24 Staff Meeting to support students.

Our WASC self-evaluation process is almost done, thanks to the hard work and organization of coordinator Tara Firenzi.

Our January 25 Blood Drive in the library, a collaboration between the iMed and YCS Interact clubs, was a big success, with 85 donors. Thank you to organizers Diane Ichikawa and Angela Merchant and the Gunn students who arranged appointments.

Four Gunn High School students placed in The 2018 Rotary Speech Contest, which was hosted jointly by the Palo Alto Rotary Club and the University Rotary Club.

First Place: Anna Allport, Sophia Chiang

Second Place: Jenna Kaplan, XiLin Choi

Gunn High School Students

Palo Alto High School

Social Justice Pathway (SJP) is preparing for our first-ever cross-cohort camping trip.  Sophomore, Junior, and Senior pathway students are hard at work planning the logistics, as well as the equity curriculum we will be studying during our trip to the Santa Cruz mountains in mid-March.

Margo Wixsom let us know 88 Paly students won 112 Scholastic Arts and Writing awards. Of these state winners, 27 were Gold Key awards that forward those students to the National Medalist awards for arts & writing. They will be printing photos for those Gold Key artworks for the California Regional Exhibition of Scholastic Arts & Writing throughout March at the Pacific Grove Arts Center. The Opening Reception is Saturday March 31 at the Pacific Grove Arts Center from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. Join us to celebrate their amazing talents in Pacific Grove on March 31.

From Randy Scilingo/Science: We measured and recorded student EKGs with Vernier probe wear in PLTW last week! Pretty cool for 9th graders!

Townley Grammar School from London sent 41 visitors to Paly this week, where Chris Kuszmaul will host them for the 8th year running. This year the Girls In STEM clubs mentored by Ruby Ibanga and Paly robotics organized a large portion of Townleys visit, both on campus and off, including a visit to Stanford's nanotechnology center, and a Panel Discussion by women in STEM from Stanford, Google, and Amazon in the MAC during flex on Tuesday February 6.

Wishing you a great weekend ahead,

Karen Hendricks