March 30, 2018

To Our PAUSD Community,

As we head out for Spring Break, I wanted to include another note regarding the lockdown incident experienced yesterday at Palo Alto High School (Paly) and the District Office. This is a note of gratitude.  

First and foremost, it’s important to highlight and acknowledge the extraordinary staff who responded with calm and care for the students at the school site. Paly teachers, classified staff, and administration did a tremendous and courageous  job in very challenging circumstances. Palo Alto Police Department (PAPD), our close partner in school safety, has also recognized the exemplary manner in which adults on site responded.

Our Paly students should also be acknowledged for their composure and conduct during the lockdown. I’m continually and sincerely impressed by the students in our District - yesterday was a magnification of the positive characteristics they exemplify.

To Paly families and to all community members with whom this experience resonated, please also accept our sincere appreciation for your support during and after the threat was identified. We know how fraught with worry and anxiety that period of time was, and we want you to know that we carry the responsibility for the safety of your children in a very deep manner.

Finally, our District Office staff was also in lockdown, providing support for each other while keeping primary concern on the students and adults at our high school. This staff is also regrouping today.

We all wish that our students and community would never have to experience fear for personal safety. In recognition of Cesar Chavez Day, celebrating the birth and legacy of the civil rights and labor movement activist, I share his quote:

“You are never strong enough that you don't need help.” Cesar Chavez

Yesterday was a day in which we all needed help, and were fortunate to find it in those around us.

I hope that the week ahead provides each of you with time for family, friends, and the things that bring you joy.  I’ll be heading to Southern California for a couple of days to catch up with my three daughters near their colleges.  At the ages of 21, 18, and 18, they somehow still think that chocolate eggs mysteriously appear at this time of year… so that just has to happen!

Great Things Happening in PAUSD

Parent Project Graduation

On Thursday, March 29, 16 parents celebrated the completion of the Parent Project Program. This national 12-week program was created for parents with strong-willed teens. Topics addressed include understanding adolescents' development; identifying gang involvement; music and social media influences; friendships and dating; and alcohol and drug use. Parents expressed their appreciation of the course  and expressed how thankful they were for the commitment of the PAUSD staff, Palo Alto City, and Los Altos Police Department. We would like to recognize our District staff: Lissette Moore-Guerra, Student Services Coordinator; Myrna Zendejas, District Social Worker; Cristina Rodriguez, Secretary; Brad Young, School Resource Officer; Chris Moore, School Resource Officer; and Daniel Ortega and Jessica Gallardo-Anguilla, Child Care.

Parent Project Graduation Evening

Barron Park

Barron Park students have been learning and thinking about the power of marches through history and in current events. Led by student council members and supported by teachers, many students chose to spend their lunchtime preparing posters that represent their hopes and dreams for our community and our world. Singing “We Are the World” and “We Shall Overcome,” students' efforts culminated in a joyful event this last Wednesday, March 28.  As the Barron Park community marched together, students raised awareness around a variety of topics close to their hearts. Some messages include: protecting our environment (wildlife, water, recycling), safety and respect in schools, fairness and equality for all, inclusion, peace, love, community connection, and celebration of diversity!

Barron Park students march on siteBarron Park student holding sign during marchStudents march at Barron ParkBarron Park students march with signs


Ohlone 4th and 5th grade students were immersed in Colonial Simulations this week! Students have been learning about the Colonial Time Period over the past month, and the excitement has built up to this culminating event. Everyone is dressed in colonial attire, and parents and staff were in full character. On Wednesday, students “sailed ships” by linking hands to form a ship across the ocean (our field) to get to the New World. Once there, they met with Natives (our 2nd and 3rd grade students) and bartered for the land using goldfish and beaded necklaces.  As a colonial region, they “crossed the swamp” which simulated the difficulties of moving through an unknown wilderness to settle a colony. After crossing the swamp, they used their resources to build a shelter to protect them from a storm (teachers throwing buckets of water).  On Thursday, students spent the day working a trade to experience the day-to-day life of the colonists. We had bakers, apothecaries, chandlers, and many more tradespeople! On Friday, students set up towns in each region and began selling their wares. Unfortunately, King George proclaimed that more money was needed from the colonists and they were taxed heavily.  Revolution!

Apothecaries made by studentsSpice Jars

Wood stamping by studentChandlers made by studentsChandlers made by studentsStudents practicing trade during activity at Ohlone


The Jordan music team returned from another successful SoCal Music Tour. On this trip, students completed a stage concert performance, a backstage recording studio session, and a clinic with teachers from Cal State Fullerton.  

In addition to the musical activities, students were given independent time within the Disneyland and California Adventure Parks where they had to make decisions on their own. This allowed our students to practice skills including time management, interpersonal relationship skills, decision-making, and compromise, just to name a few.

Our students performed admirably throughout the tour, and should be commended on how they represented Jordan Middle School and the community of Palo Alto.  

Here is a link to videos of our stage performances. Please note, due to the rain on Thursday, the Orchestra concert was canceled.  

Finally, please feel free to stop by any of our classrooms to see videos of the recording studio session cues. We are not permitted to copy, upload, or publicly post these videos.  


We had the 6th Annual Bay Area Japanese Speech Contest sponsored by Northern California Japanese Teachers Association this weekend at the San Jose City College.

Allison Kwon (10th grade), Zhaohua (Sean) Yu (12th grade), and Shirley Yu (11th grade) attended. Zhaohua (Sean) Yu and Shirley Yu won the first place for J-3 and AP level. Shirley won a round-trip ticket to Japan, too.

My best to you as your Spring Break begins,

Karen Hendricks