October 6, 2017

Hello to the PAUSD Community,

In this first of my Board Weekly’s, I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself to you, provide you with some timely information and good news, and also offer my appreciation to each of you. It is my privilege to have been selected to serve in the role of Interim Superintendent for the remainder of this school year. With change can come many emotions, including uncertainty. Please know that I will, with all certainty, do my absolute best to support the people and the work of this school community. My commitment to you is in supporting the most positive student experience possible for each of our students, and to partnering with you on behalf of that goal.

PAUSD’s reputation for strong academic success can be attributed to our creative and talented student body, devoted faculty and staff, a board that is committed to excellence, and equally important, our community. As the interim superintendent, I will stay the course  towards improvements in high quality teaching and learning, equity and access, and student and staff wellness and safety as outlined in our strategic plan.

I want you to be  confident that the Superintendent’s Office is in caring and capable hands, and that a strong system of support exists during this period of transition. We have a significant amount of important work ahead of us; this includes abundant opportunities to expand upon what’s working well and also to address and mitigate challenges that exist. In partnership, we can continue to focus on meeting the needs of all students, and preparing opportunities for them that align fully with our Vision Statement:

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.

On a personal note, I have gotten myself relocated from Aptos up to this area, and am so excited to become a part of your amazing community in every way possible!

A Few Highlights of Great Things That are Happening in PAUSD!

Four students from the Gunn Band were accepted and participated in the first annual San Jose State University Honors Wind Ensemble. They spent two Sundays in rehearsal and presented a concert on September 24 at San Jose State University. 

On Thursday, September 28, over five hundred elementary school students (and their teachers and chaperones) were treated to an extraordinary performance, and a question and answer session afterwards with the Paly actors and stage techs. The 4th and 5th graders were spell-bound, clapped at every blackout, and loved The Miracle Worker. The beautiful Performing Arts Center made the experience even more enjoyable.

We have outstanding Professional Learning taking place today:

  • PK-5 grade teachers were working on Bridges Math during either morning or afternoon sessions, and then participating in site specific development opportunities during the flip session.
  • Education Specialists, Aides, Occupational Therapists, Vision Specialists, Mental Health Therapists, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Teacher, Behavior Support Team, Speech Pathologists, and Assistive Technology Team were some of the professional learning communities utilizing time to further support the work of supporting students.
  • In our secondary schools, all sites have worked to provide valuable learning opportunities for their staffs. At Gunn and Paly, the day consisted of a strategic of pertinent breakout sessions, as well as opportunities for “Deep Dive” meetings and conversations. At JLS, Ken Mattingly presented on Learning Targets, Assessments, Feedback, and Alternative Grading Practices. Jordan hosted a Solution Tree presenter to focus on their Professional Learning Communities, and Terman emphasized Special Education support and ELL work with embedded data exploration.
  • Many of our classified staff were busy in job related professional growth as well. The great folks who keep our schools looking clean and well cared for were engaged in learning more about composting. Knowing that the health of our environment is a responsibility we all share, it was wonderful to see a focus on our “green efforts.”

Days such as these remind us that we are all truly a community of learners. It would be impossible to recognize everyone involved in the extensive logistical details of assessing needs, and presenting learning opportunities that support ongoing growth. All participated with such thoughtful and energized engagement. So, a huge Thank you to Team PAUSD.

October 10, 2017 Board Meeting will include many important items:

  • Hoover Elementary School Schematic Design Approval: There will be a discussion about the schematic design for Hoover Elementary School.
  • Conceptual Design Approval for Multipurpose Buildings at El Carmelo, Escondido, and Walter Hays Elementary Schools: There will also be a discussion about the conceptual design and scope of the projects for each school as outlined below.
  • District Goals: PAUSD has developed three overarching goals:

High Quality Teaching and Learning: Engage every student in joyful, purposeful learning that appropriately challenges all students to ensure core content mastery and maximizes each student’s opportunity to excel academically.

Equity and Access: Assure that every student has access to multiple programs, services, activities and enrichment experiences that support student learning and enable each individual to achieve his or her fullest intellectual, creative and social potential.

Wellness and Safety: Provide for the social, emotional, and physical health needs of students and staff and cultivate positive, identity-safe school environments that promote high levels of connection, engagement and overall well-being throughout the school community.

At this meeting we are asking the Board to approve these three goals as well as the action steps to achieve them. We are also interested in receiving additional feedback on the metrics that the Board would like to see provided regularly for each goal and action step.

We are also providing a draft version of a different graphic representation of District Goals to facilitate discussion about priorities for the 2017-18 school year. This draft includes additional specificity around systemic supports and accountability measures.

  • Next Steps in the Stanford General Use Permit (GUP) Process: With this information item, we’ll be suggesting that the Board utilize a current subcommittee or create one to work with staff to develop draft comments to the Stanford GUP Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR).
  • Authorization to Award Pool Renovation at JLS Middle School: The Board will be reviewing the recommendation to authorize the award of contract for renovation and upgrades and also to authorize the Superintendent to execute change orders as necessary.
  • Replacement of Eleven Copiers: Staff is requesting authorization to solicit bids for eleven copiers.
  • Replacement of Print Shop Large Production Copier: As with the item above, staff is requesting authorization to lease a new large production copier for the Print Shop.
  • Interim Superintendent Contract will be discussed.
  • Approval for Second Amendment to Assistant Superintendent Contract: The Board will discuss and consider approval of the Second Amendment to the Contract of Karen Hendricks.

Data Breach

You may also be aware of a data breach that occurred yesterday on the Paly Campus. A Notice of Data Breach was posted on the website. 

I’m closing this with my note of appreciation for the opportunity to serve the Palo Alto Unified School District, first from the Human Resources Office and now in the role of Interim Superintendent.  If I have not had the opportunity to meet you yet, I truly hope to do so soon.

My best to you as your weekend begins!

Karen Hendricks