November 9, 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,

This week began with a magnificent Gunn High School Fall Choir Concert on Sunday evening.  Under the direction of Bill Libertore, approximately 150 students sang to a full and very appreciative audience. 

I also had an opportunity to spend time at both Greendell and Palo Verde Schools this week. My appreciation to Principals Hillary Miller and Shannon Coleman, staff, and students for their generosity of time with me. 

Below are photos from two first grade classrooms, where the immense joy of hearing new readers share their skills was a wonderful reminder of the significance of teaching and learning.

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Following a period of transition in October, staffing has settled well across the District and supports our commitment to the best possible student experience. Positions at the senior leadership level have been filled, and the search for a permanent superintendent for PAUSD is underway. That being said, our infrastructure is in stable condition and in good hands.  I wanted to take time to introduce you to some of the work being supervised by District leadership, included in the Superintendent’s Cabinet.

Elementary Education

Barbara Harris is the Chief Academic Officer for 13 schools serving students in grades PK-5. Greendell School has a variety of early learning programs: Pre-School Family, Young Fives, TK and Pre-K Programs. Barbara is proud of these 12 dynamic elementary schools. She coaches and supports the work of principals who capably lead these outstanding schools. Barbara works collaboratively with the Director of Professional Learning, Dr. Kelly Bikle and Dr. Judy Argumedo, who directs the Office of Equity and Academic Supports. Dr. Argumedo works closely with our Coordinator of Equity, Keith Wheeler, who brings passion to the work of ensuring that all students have equity and access to high quality teaching and learning, and a safe and welcoming school environment.

The breadth of the work at elementary encompasses, a rigorous Balanced Literacy Program using the Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System for identification of student’s independent reading levels, leveled classroom libraries, and the Teacher’s College Reading and Writing Units of Study. The math focus in elementary is targeted on the current roll out of our newly adopted Bridges in Mathematics Program. Teachers are working diligently to implement and to explore deeply the new content of the three dimensions of the Next Generation Science Standards: crosscutting concepts, science and engineering practices, and disciplinary core ideas. Schools throughout the district have been gifted with Creativity Carts from our AAR Program. These carts have provided a powerful creative learning experience crossing all curricular areas. Makers Spaces are flourishing in a variety of schools. The Science Resource Center supports the many Full Option Science System (FOSS) lessons throughout elementary classrooms. This center thrives under the management of our Science Materials Resources Assistant, Mary Childress. Finally, a robust History Social Science adoption process is thriving with a committee of elementary teachers, principals, specialists, parents and community members. This department is certainly busy and focused on teaching and learning! Barbara works with four talented Teachers On Special Assignment (TOSA) who coach, design, and lead professional learning in all of these curricular areas. She is supported in all of this work by her talented secretary, Pam Lund.

Secondary Education

Secondary Education is capably led by Chief Academic Officer Sharon Ofek. Sharon oversees all five secondary schools – Gunn, Paly, Jordan, JLS, and Terman. Her responsibilities span curriculum and instruction, support for principals with providing a rigorous 21st century curriculum, leadership development with the instructional leaders at each site, and implementation of district initiatives.

Implementation of the Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and California State Frameworks drive her team’s work. The secondary Teachers on Special Assignment (TOSA) work diligently and collaboratively to support teachers with lesson and unit development in alignment with the state standards and frameworks.

Currently, a team of students, parents, teachers, and History Social Science Instructional Leaders are engaged in a review of soon-to-be state approved instructional materials programs that are in alignment with the newly released History-Social Science Framework in anticipation of an adoption by the Board of Education. Teachers throughout the district are eager to have new materials to use in their classrooms, especially since the existing materials are from a 2006 adoption.

Sharon, along with the Secondary TOSA team and Secondary Assistant Principals, also support the work of steering committees to address important discipline specific matters.  The secondary team is immersed in the work surrounding alignment within and across the District around the Board’s goal of alignment and implementation of common learning targets, common assessments, common grading practices, and common course guides.  Some additional projects they are engaged in, include: a review of the homework policy and test and project stacking, evaluation of intervention programs, and revision of course naming and numbering practices in an effort to ease A-G completion tracking.

The division of Secondary Education strives to support all students, parents, and educators in PAUSD to thrive as global citizens in a rapidly changing world.

Human Resources

Anne Brown, Interim Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, stepped into her role just eight days ago.  Anne brings 30 years of educational expertise to her role. Anne is supported by a dynamic and knowledgeable support team within the entire Human Resources Department.

On her arrival, Anne immediately began to work with the Director of Professional Learning, Dr.  Kelly Bikle to help bring PAUSD into compliance with the Office for Civil Rights resolution agreement, requiring that all employees be trained in Title IX workshops.  The last scheduled training for employees is November 14.

We are at the end of Open Enrollment for employee benefits, and Anne is currently supporting her staff to complete the process.  Working closely with the Director of Classified employees, Martha Hauser, Anne looks forward to the upcoming negotiations with employee bargaining units, as well as reviewing and evaluating processes and procedures in the Human Resources Department.

Anne finds her passion in helping others and working with staff and students to help them reach their fullest potential.  We are thankful to Anne for stepping up to support the District at this time.

Information Technology

Derek Moore, Chief Technology Officer, has been in his role for the last three years leading the Technology Services team that consists of 28 individuals distributed across all district locations. The management team is rounded out by Ignacio Padilla, IT Operations and Security Manager, and Emily Garrison, Coordinator of Educational Technology and Libraries.

Major projects over the past few years have included a refresh of the wireless infrastructure, completion of existing network upgrade projects, transition from a paper based purchasing system, automated account management, streamlined computer acquisition process, implementation of electronic board meeting software, reconciliation of board policies, and updated District website platform.

On the personal side, Derek is kept busy at home by his wife and three sons, ages 8, 5, and 3 weeks old. Derek enjoys the everyday challenges presented as we strive to support all students as they prepare themselves to thrive as global citizens in a rapidly changing world.

Strategic Initiatives and Operation

Yolanda “Lana” Conaway is the Assistant Superintendent for Strategic Initiatives and Operations (SIO). Lana, who moved from Virginia, stepped into this newly created role in August.  Lana brings a wealth of knowledge in student services and special education and is always using data to inform her decision-making. Her primary role is to provide leadership for change in critical areas that impact the students’ experience in our schools.

With the help of a dynamic team, Lana is conducting an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges related to continuous improvement. Lana believes that student success depends on our ability to generate the focus, energy, and resources needed to ensure success for all students.

The Office of Strategic Initiatives and Operations (SIO) houses the Department of Special Education, the Department of Wellness and Safety, the Department of Research, Evaluation and Assessment (REA), and Advanced Authentic Research and Innovation (AAR/I). These departments serve an important role in the overall infrastructure and delivery of programs and services. Lana’s leadership team consists of two Special Education Directors, Alma Ellis and Dr. Stephanie Sheridan; Director of Wellness and Safety, Miriam Stevenson; Director of Research, Evaluation, and Assessment, Christopher Kolar; Program Evaluation Coordinator, Clarisse Haxton; Program Manager, Janine Penney; and Director of Advanced Authentic Research and Innovation, Jeong Choe. SIO also includes assistant, Stacey Ramirez, and a host of talented coordinators, managers, specialists, and assistants who are committed to supporting schools, PK-12.

Lana is committed to working with the special education leaders to develop an improvement plan using feedback from the 2012 and the 2016 program review. In addition, a comprehensive in-house Special Education program evaluation is in the planning stage and will serve as the driver for program improvement in the future. Closely connected to these efforts, are the work of the Wellness and Safety Division, whose focus is on the whole-child and addressing the physical and mental health needs of our students as well as large scale efforts to address issues impacting school climate.

AAR/I is another testimony to the innovative and creative work happening in the SIO office. Founded on principles of research, personalized learning, integration of knowledge, and communication of findings, AAR/I has allowed PAUSD students to engage in authentic research around a topic of interest and that is just the tip of the iceberg of the wonderful happenings in AAR/I.

Lana and her team understand the value of teamwork and leadership capacity building as a foundation for the work around continuous improvement efforts. This month, the core team engaged in a teambuilding exercise to understand how to acknowledge and embrace differences to ensure a true collaborative partnership for continuous improvement.

Business Services

Last week, you received a detailed update from the Business Services Department in this Weekly Newsletter. Today, we wanted to put a spotlight on one of the important functions under CBO Cathy Mak’s supervision: Food Services, and some of the events that have been happening at the sites with Student Nutrition Services this week.

This week Student Nutrition Services held two A to Z Salad Bars, one at Nixon Elementary and one at Barron Park as part of Bay Area Tasting Weeks. Students have the opportunity to try fruits and vegetables representing every letter of the alphabet. This year we even have edible flowers and dragon fruit. I have attached some photos for you. We have Addison Elementary scheduled for next Tuesday and Briones next Wednesday.

Today, we featured Hand Made Sushi (CA Rolls and Cucumber Rolls) at Terman Middle School as one of the food formats available at lunch.

Lastly, since this week included Election Day for adults on Tuesday, we wanted to take the opportunity for a teaching moment and sent out Vote and Be Heard Ballot Boxes to the elementary sites and asked students to vote for their favorite entree that we serve and/or favorite entree they would like to see us offer. We will tabulate the ballots and report out in the next Student Nutrition Services Newsletter. We will also feature their favorites on the menu in December and January.

Upcoming Events:

We have a Board meeting scheduled for Tuesday, November 14. 

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

A. Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) Timeline and Process: Staff will present information regarding LCAP. This item is for information only, no action will be taken. INFORMATION

B. Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) Local Indicators: Staff will present information on the LCAP Local Indicators. This item is for information only, no action will be taken. INFORMATION

C. Data Slice A-G: Staff will present information regarding the class of 2017 and preliminary A-G attainment of requirements for UC/CSU admissions. This item is for information only. No action will be taken. INFORMATION

D. Superintendent Search Process: It is recommended the Board review the timeline and discuss next steps in the Superintendent Search Process. DISCUSSION/ACTION

E. PUBLIC HEARING: Authorization to enter into Contract with REC Solar: The Board will conduct a public hearing and take discussion regarding entering into a contract with REC Solar. PUBLIC HEARING

F. Authorization to enter into Contract with REC Solar: It is recommended the Board authorize staff to enter into contract with REC Solar. ACTION

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

H. PAUSD Comment Letter on the Santa Clara County Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Stanford General Use Permit (GUP): The purpose of this discussion is to review a draft of PAUSD comments on the Santa Clara County Draft EIR for the Stanford GUP. At the next Board meeting, the Board will be asked to approve the comments. This item was previously discussed at a special Board meeting on November 7, 2017. DISCUSSION

I. County Committee on School District Organization Election Materials 2017: It is recommended the Board review and elect members of the Santa Clara County Committee on School District Organization for the District 1, 3, and 5 seats. DISCUSSION/ACTION

On Saturday, November 11, we celebrate and honor military veterans who have served our country. I ask that we pause to reflect on all of the sacrifices our veterans have made to maintain freedom in the USA. We also thank our current active duty members for their service. I wish each of you an enjoyable and restful holiday weekend!

American Flags

My Best,



Karen Hendricks