January 12, 2018

Hello to the PAUSD Community,

The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

With lots going on and more coming up as we head into this three-day weekend, we begin by recognizing the national holiday on Monday, January 15, honoring civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Please let me extend a warm welcome back to each of you from the winter break. It’s been exciting to have students and staff back on campuses, with all of the corresponding positive energy that occurs when friends greet friends they haven’t seen in a while, and learning is taking place.  

Student time for me began on Saturday morning, when I was fortunate to spend the morning with the Paly Robotics Team on what they consider to be “the most important day of the robotics season.” Strategic Director Simran Pujji and Strategic Director Annalee Soohoo have established a new effort to introduce people to what the robotics team does. Saturday was the great “reveal” about what the competition will entail for all robotics teams during this season. I’d like to express a huge note of thanks to Paly Senior Devin Ardeshna for taking time to orient me to the work of the team, and to Teacher / Advisor Chris Kuszmaul for extending the invitation. I enjoyed this experience immensely and look forward to joining in the fun again!

Upcoming Events

Superintendent Search Process

On behalf the Board of Education, we want to remind you that you have the opportunity to share input on the superintendent search. If you would like to participate, please complete the Community Engagement Survey.

Responses and comments will go directly to search firm, Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates. The survey closes January 16, 2018.

Complete information on this process can be found on the Superintendent Search page.

Board Meetings

We have a regular Board meeting scheduled for Tuesday, January 16, 2017.

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

A. 2016-17 Annual Independent Audit Report

B. Enrollment Projection Report

C. Data Slice A-G

D. Term Limits

E. Administrative Regulation 3512 Equipment

F. Administrative Regulation 3440 Inventories

Other Upcoming Board Meetings:

Special Board Meeting Budget Study Session Thursday, January 18

Regular Board Meeting scheduled for Tuesday, January 30

Incoming 6th Grade Introduction

Jordan Middle School is hosting an Incoming 6th Grade Introduction evening to meet all students slotted for Jordan!  Jordan Middle School will have its first event on January 25 at 7:00 p.m.

Great Things Happening for PAUSD Students

Academic Support and Equity Initiatives

On Tuesday, January 9, the Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) Academic Supports department launched the first segment of the Equity Lecture Series. Tyrone C. Howard, PhD. was the featured keynote lecturer. Dr. Howard has over 30 years of educational teaching and leadership experience, with deep roots in Southern California, as a native of Compton, California. Now, as a full time Professor of Education at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) where he continues to develop his innovative research and systematic applications to educational reform, he is an expert in the following areas:

  • Social and political context of schools
  • Urban education
  • Equity and access within urban and suburban schools
  • Social studies education
  • Educational experience of African American students
  • Multicultural education

Additional information on this event, as well as important initiatives pertaining to Grades PK-5 can be found in the linked Elementary Educational Services Weekly by Barbara Harris.

Addison Elementary

Our 5th graders just returned from Science Camp at Mt. Hermon this past week. The students did an extraordinary job pushing themselves to overcome their physical and emotional inhibitions by doing a one-hour night hike (in the dark) on Wednesday and a six-mile day hike yesterday. The students demonstrated remarkable compassion, empathy, teamwork, and support to make sure everyone accomplished the goals set forth. It was a wonderful bonding experience!

Addison Elementary Teachers

Escondido Elementary

The Escondido Talent Show is a school-wide event that involves over 100 student participants per year. 5th graders serve as emcees using a theme-based script to introduce student acts. This year's theme is Camp Escondido! The performances are January 24 & 25 in the Escondido Multipurpose Room.

Hoover Elementary

Reflections of a teacher on an Olympic athlete

From Julie Barnea:

"Vincent Zhou, a student who attended Hoover Elementary School, has made the Olympic Men’s Figure Skating team. He was in my fourth grade class during the year he transitioned from Hoover to being homeschooled by his mom in Los Angeles, in order to be closer to his Olympic coach.

Vincent is an amazing young man. He is a diligent student, having completed his high school education by age 16. He is very loyal to his family and dedicated to his sport. As I sat watching an NBC interview of him, I thought to myself, what a great example of the students that we have the pleasure to work with in PAUSD. Congratulations, Vincent!!!!!”

Palo Verde Elementary

Today marks the 90th day of school - our halfway point of the 2017-18 school year. We will celebrate the 100th day in kindergarten (in two weeks), but take note with the older students that we are halfway through the school year.

Palo Verde is hosting its science festival next Thursday:

We are very excited to have the Palo Verde Science festival as a start of new year festivities!

  • Where: MP room, Palo Verde
  • When: Thursday, January 18 -- Session 1 at 6 p.m. and Session 2 at 7 p.m.
  • The festival itself will be conducted by UC Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS) and we have chosen "Wizard's lab" theme

Jordan Middle School

On Wednesday evening, the Jordan Social Studies Department hosted its annual National Geographic Bee, a geography competition designed to inspire and reward students’ curiosity about the world.  All Jordan students participated in the Bee through their social studies classes. We had over 50 students qualify to compete at Wednesday's evening event.  The winner of the GeoBee was Eugene Wei, with second place going to Lucus Guan. Eugene will be going on to the next level of GeoBee competition. They are all truly exceptional geography whiz kids!

Gunn High School

The Orchestra and Jazz Bands performed a Peer Gynt Suite jazz adaptation concert December 13 to a sold-out crowd.

The first order of Gunn holiday socks sold out the first day.

The AP Stat Showcase in Gunn’s library gathered a large attendance.

Lynne Navarro’s 11th grade U.S. History students presented their Immigration Projects to families and staff the evening of December 7 after interviewing immigrants in our community to illustrate the “American Dream” narrative.  

A campus-wide Blood Donation Drive will be held in the library January 25 as a collaboration of Sources of Strength, the Youth Community Service Club, and the Investigative Medicine club.

Appreciation goes out to SELF (Social Emotional Learning and Functionality) coordinators Courtney Carlomagno and Tara Firenzi, and SELF mentors for launching this new program.

Artwork by sophomore Angie Saravia-Ochoa was selected for the 2018 PAUSD calendar.

Congratulations to the Gunn Choir for winning KDFC’s Local Vocals High School Sing-Off. The Choir will appear on the NPR national youth talent radio show “From the Top with Christopher O’Riley” on March 2.

44 students in Gunn’s DECA Club (Distributive Education Clubs of America, focused on marketing, management and entrepreneurship) won 50 awards at their January competition.

Palo Alto High School

Paly's Speech & Debate team has earned recognition from the National Speech & Debate Association for being ranked in the top 21% of schools nationwide, and has earned membership in the Association's prestigious 100 Club.  Congratulations to the team, and to coaches Jennie Savage and Daniel Nguyen (Paly Math teacher)!

The Campanile and Verde both won newspaper/newsmagazine Pacemakers from the National Scholastic Press Association at the national high school journalism convention in Dallas in November. Only 25 publications in the country won Pacemakers, often referred to as the Pulitzer Prize of scholastic journalism. Paly was the only school that had two publications win this prestigious award.

At the same convention, Campanile students Maya Homan, Vivian Feng, and Kai Oda also won national recognition for their individual work. Maya won second place for sports feature writing. Kai took home fourth place for multimedia sports reporting and Vivian won honorable mention for diversity reporting.

The Paly Bands have recently had students accepted into both the Santa Clara County Honor Band and the California All-State Honor Bands. The Santa Clara County Honor Band Concert is Sunday, January 14, at 3:00 p.m.

We have so much to be proud of in PAUSD!

My best to you as the weekend begins,

Karen Hendricks