May 11, 2018

Hello To Our PAUSD Community,

Used as a verb, the word “mother” can be defined as “bring up (a child) with care and affection,” and “to treat someone with kindness and affection and try to protect that person from danger or difficulty.” On this Mother’s Day weekend,  it’s my hope that we can each take a moment to reflect on and acknowledge all who offer motherly care, affection, and kindness to us, our children, and our community. For me personally, I can extend that broadly: from my own loving and spunky mom to my grandmothers, aunts, neighbors, teachers, mentor colleagues, dear from my daughters and I to you and yours, we extend our warmest regards for the weekend ahead!

Below, please find important information from our Business Services and Elementary Education Offices.

Business Services

State Budget Update

The Governor released the May Revision to the 2018-19 State Budget today. While there is significant increase in General Fund revenues compared to the January budget proposal, there are minimal changes to Proposition 98 funding. The one budget item that will benefit PAUSD is the one-time discretionary grant. The May Revision proposes $2 billion in funding, which is an increase of $286 million from the January proposal. The estimated amount to PAUSD is $4.1 million, which is $600,000 more compared to the estimate in January.

2017-18 Quarterly Investment Report

The quarterly investment reports from the Santa Clara County Treasurer are attached.

For the quarter ending September 2017, the commingled investment fund had a compounded yield of 1.32% compared to 1.19% for a six-month Treasury Bill, and 1.11% for the California Local Agency Fund.

For the quarter ending December 2017, the commingled investment fund had a compounded yield of 1.43% compared to 1.53% for a six-month Treasury Bill, and 1.24% for the California Local Agency Fund.

Details of the reports are available in the Business Services Office.

City School Liaison Committee Meeting

The City School Liaison Committee will meet next Thursday, May 17, at the City Hall. The topics on the agenda are Review of Recent City Council and PAUSD Board Meetings; City and District Comments and Announcements; Safe Routes to School; Transportation Division Department of Planning and Community Environment; and Cubberley Master Plan Update.

The agenda is attached, along with the minutes for the April 19, 2018 meeting.

Elementary Education

High Quality Teaching and Learning

As we look forward to the last few weeks of school, elementary students are abuzz, finishing up their many classroom activities which include end-of-year projects, assessments, enjoying engaging lessons that are coming to a conclusion, and finishing up the last bit of exciting instruction and school events. This year, students have enjoyed a new math curriculum, and they have benefited from our balanced literacy approach using Teachers College Reading and Writing units of study, which has provided an interactive approach to reading and writing. Students have been expressive and have displayed a ton of pride and joy in performance, parades, and art display. They have danced, recited poetry, written stories, sang songs, played music, and created some pretty phenomenal artwork.

Elementary Education thanks our extraordinary teachers for constantly thinking about the ways to create and maintain joy-filled learning environments across our campuses. I know it can be difficult to keep an optimistic outlook with less than two weeks left to go. Yes, spring fever is in force, but I assure you, I see a high level of positivity and flexibility from our staff, which provides an invaluable model for our students.  As your child or children begin to settle into the idea of summer coming and the end to another school year, try to help them to reflect on the happy and fun times they have experienced this year. By acknowledging the accomplishments both big and small, you help your children know that life is a variety of highs and lows, good and bad, and ups and downs. Your gift of perspective about these varied experiences gives them a chance to reflect on those events, activities, and simple experiences in a focused way that demonstrates what they did enjoy and all that brought them joy and meaning. Thank you for thinking about these learning opportunities with them, and for deliberately slowing down to end the year with a heart filled with celebrations and gratitude. As I conclude my five years in Palo Alto, I want to thank all of the wonderful students, parents, and families I have had the great privilege to know and serve. This is a dynamic community invested in wanting all things good for all of our students. That is as it should be… My best, Barbara L. Harris

History-Social Science Adoption Update

After a year-long journey of exploration and piloting, new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) aligned materials, the elementary History-Social Science Committee, brought to the PAUSD Board of Education a final recommendation. The parents, teachers, and support staff unanimously voted for Teacher’s Curriculum Institute (Social Studies Alive California edition). The Board will meet on May 22 with a final approval.

Science/NGSS Update

Every year, the South Bay Science Collaborative leads three workshops around Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics (STEAM) Education. On April 24, the South Bay Science Collaborative held its third workshop of the school year titled Engineering Extravaganza. Our very own Science and instructional coach, Joe Young, attended and facilitated as the PAUSD representative. Educators from several school districts gathered to experience a workshop on engineering. They collaborated on STEAM Challenges, co-planned possible lessons and units to use with their students, and further explored the NGSS. The workshop not only addressed the what and how of engineering lessons and activities, but it also focused on the why. Each district’s science/STEAM Teacher On Special Assignment (TOSA), who served as the workshop facilitators, focused the workshop on the theme of “Finding Your Why” of engineering. In each segment of the workshop, the why was addressed and purposefully identified, collectively and individually. Participants learned about connecting literature to engineering with the book "The Relatives Came," by Cynthia Rylant. Through the activity, participants identified problems in the book, designed and built prototypes of design solutions for the problems, and shared the life or soft skills the lesson fostered in every learner. In another segment of the workshop, participants engaged in various STEM challenges that stretched their creative and critical thinking, problem solving, and collaborative planning. During the wrap-up discussion, participants named the purpose of the challenges, the life skills that were fostered, and the learning that can be applied to other situations and areas. The workshop also provided educators planning and processing time of the engineering activities and the Engineering, Science and Application of Science Standards (ETS) within NGSS.

The responses from the workshop feedback form showed a positive change in the mindset of the participants towards engineering:

“This workshop gave me some great ideas to take back to my site! I especially liked the engineering mindsets, novel engineering, and the STEM challenges."

“It really debunked the idea that engineering is terrifying to me. It’s accessible and something I can try out in my classroom.”

“This workshop was better than I could have ever imagined! I love the emotional touch point, as well as the different resources and connection to literacy and mathematics standards.”

“The PDs that you guys put together are always the BEST. I love these days. Thanks for all your hard work and sharing with us."

We believe that we can really build solid literacy skills when we extend reading with design thinking because we set a deeper purpose of our students to really understand the characters they are reading about. They need to practice inferences, reading for understanding, and empathizing with the character.

Professional Learning - Induction Program

As the year draws to a close, PAUSD Induction Consortium looks forward to reviewing the first year of providing services under the new State Induction Standards. The new standards mark a shift towards prioritizing personalized mentoring support and developing goals that meet each teacher’s individual needs. Participating teachers need to interact with all of the California Standards for the Teaching Profession (CSTP) across the two years and show progress towards mastery of all the standards. There is a great deal of flexibility in how mentors, participating teachers (with administrator input) set and work towards goals. The Induction team is eagerly looking forward to reviewing the Induction portfolios and survey data from this year.

Responsive Classroom: Beginner and Advanced Sessions

In June, opportunities for K-5 PAUSD teachers to attend four-day Responsive Classroom workshops will continue. The introductory and advanced level courses are offered with space for 30 teachers in each session. Including the June workshops, over 250 teachers in the Responsive Classroom approach will have been trained. The website states, “Responsive Classroom is an evidence-based approach to education that focuses on the strong relationship between academic success and Social-Emotional Learning (SEL). The Responsive Classroom approach empowers educators to create safe, joyful, and engaging learning communities where all students have a sense of belonging and feel significant.” To learn more about Responsive Classroom, please visit the website.

Social Studies Alive! Workshops

Pending Board adoption of the TCI Social Studies Alive! materials, PAUSD will begin offering workshops to elementary teachers to learn about the new curricula. Teachers will have the option to attend in late spring, early summer, or fall. The workshops have capacity for 180 teachers in the June workshops, and the sessions will be specific to each grade level K-5. Middle school History-Social Science teachers have the option to attend workshops in either May or September.


Our PA-YOU!-SD workshops, while targeted to support secondary teachers in working towards alignment, are open to K-12 teachers and administrators. The workshops are designed to strengthen assessment and grading practices to support student growth. The workshops also focus on high-quality assessments that honor the learning process (formative and summative), and high-quality grading practices that accurately measure learning while nurturing a growth mindset. Ken O’Connor and Jan Chappuis, both experts in the field, will lead the workshops in early June. There are currently over 40 teachers registered for each day, and the number is expected to grow.

Teaching Reading to Struggling Readers

PAUSD has partnered with Columbia Teachers College to offer spots in an online course, Teaching Reading to Struggling Readers, this summer. Sixty-one teachers are enrolled in the course, including elementary teachers and middle school English teachers. The course focuses on reading difficulties and dyslexia; reading processes in English language learners; and instructional techniques for struggling readers. For more information about the course, please visit the website.

Advanced Reading Workshop Institute

Once again PAUSD has partnered with Teachers College Reading and Writing Project to offer an Advanced Reading Workshop Institute. The advanced sessions allows participants who have completed the first-year institute to deepen their knowledge about balanced literacy, the workshop model, assessment practices, and the components of workshop including: small group instruction; conferring; guided reading; and word work. In addition, participants will explore teaching interpretation, critical thinking and analysis, integrating reading and writing, and teaching foundational skills. The workshop is almost full with a capacity of 25 each for K-2 and 3-5 teachers.


Emily Garrison has organized sessions that focus on supporting teachers to utilize technology to enhance learning and streamline teacher work. The sessions will be offered right before school begins and will focus on the use of Schoology, The Google Suite, and much more.  All sessions are open to PK-12 teachers.

Upcoming Events

CMEA Choral Festival

Brighten up your Friday with some beautiful music performed by our middle school and high school choirs. Each group’s performance is not more than 20 minutes long, and the entire event is free and open to the public.

Palo Alto High School Performing Arts Center: starting at 11:00 a.m. today! The full schedule can be viewed here

CAL School Climate, Health, and Learning Workshop

The Wellness & Support Services Department, in partnership with the Research Evaluation Assessment Department, and CA Department of Education (WestEd) would like to invite you to a community workshop “Making Meaning of Data to Inform Meaningful Action” on May 17.

We will be offering four workshops throughout the day at various locations in the District to examine the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) district results. Attendees will have the opportunity to identify and prioritize needs that can lead to future school climate improvement work and inform the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP).

Please visit the PAUSD event page for more specific information about this event. For questions, please contact Myrna Zendejas, District Social Worker, at 650-829-3986 or

Advanced Authentic Research & Innovation (AAR&I)

AAR&I is proud to celebrate over 300 students’ accomplishments at the Celebratory Showcase next week. This community event features the culmination of year-long student projects from AAR, AP Seminar, Social Justice Pathway, Elementary Creativity Carts, Auto Tech, Culinary Science, Early Childhood Development, Gunn Robotics Team, Video Production, and more.

We are eager to come together as a community at the Celebratory Showcase to celebrate students’ accomplishments this year and to thank mentors and teachers for guiding our students as they apply their learning to real life through hands-on learning.

The Celebratory Showcase will be held next Friday, May 18, from 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at the Paly Media Arts Center. It will feature student projects from all of these programs, which represent students’ dedication, teamwork, and perseverance.

The AAR&I Celebratory Showcase Program can be viewed online.

Great Things Happening in PAUSD

Nurse Appreciation Week

On Wednesday, May 9, we honored and recognized the contributions of our school nursing team. Our PAUSD nursing team consists of three district nurses, five health technicians, and four nurse clinicians.  School nurses optimize student health and learning every day of the year by coordinating student care, maintaining medical records, performing health evaluations and screenings, and treating sick and injured students. Our school nurses work with students, the school community, families, and the health care community so that our students are in school, healthy, safe, and ready to learn.

Happy National School Nurse Day to Rosemarie Craig, Joel Siapno, Janice Bates, Joanne Garlejo, Jennifer Kleckner, Lis Darner, Heather Kavanagh, Carol Sontag, Sherry Fowler, Alexandra Beltran, Carol Cannon, and Angel Luong.

PAUSD Nurse Team


Hoover 5th grade students created Beach Blanket Babylon-style state hats and participated in a parade for the entire student body and parent community this week. After the parade, students set up in the MP room for a question-and-answer period for visiting classes and parents. They also created QR codes that parents could process through their phones to access their state reports!

Hoover 5th grade students created Beach Blanket Babylon-style state hatsHoover 5th graders created Beach Blanket Babylon-style state hats

Emma L., a 4th grade student at Hoover, submitted one of the 2018 Best in Class entries in the Asian Pacific Fund “Growing Up Asian in America” contest to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. "Growing Up Asian in America" provides a unique platform for young people to creatively explore and celebrate being both Asian or Pacific Islander and American. Every year, more than 600 K-12 Bay Area students submit artwork, essays, and videos on a single theme, with 20 Best in Class winners receiving an award. This year’s theme is “My wish for America.” It encourages young Asian Americans to take pride in their identities, and helps others understand the varied experiences of our youth growing up in the Bay Area’s diverse communities. We are SO proud of Emma!

4th grade student at Hoover, submitted one of the 2018 Best in Class entries in the Asian Pacific Fund’s “Growing Up Asian in America”Celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month



On Tuesday, May 1, the Palo Alto High School Math Club (Advisor David Baker) hosted the Annual Team Math (ATM) Contest at Paly. Over 120 students attended the competition. The Math Club students created the problems in the contest, which consisted of an individual round and two team rounds. The winning team consisted of Brion Ye (10th grade), Jonathon Youngquist (9th grade), and Jonathan Pei (9th grade). After the competition, many students stayed for pizza and discussed many of the challenging problems they encountered during the competition. The event was a great success!


Some of Paly’s First Gen and AVID 11 students went to Los Angeles April 28-30 to tour six colleges over the weekend. A couple of the tours were led by a Paly alum.  

First Gen Celebration


Two national awards were awarded to Kate McKenzie’s students this past week. Rebecca Cheng and Jessica Lee both won silver medals in a national competition, the Blick Mixed Media Competition. Blick is the biggest online art supplies retailer. The students’ work will be featured in Dick Blick catalogues and online.

College and Career Center

Celebrating our first-gen college-going seniors, at Paly (not all are pictured) with Honor graduation cords and cake.  #proud

AVID L.A. Trip

My best to you as your weekend begins,

Karen Hendricks