August 12, 2019
August 21, 2019

2019-20 District Logo

Dear PAUSD Families,

Welcome to the 2019-20 school year with the Palo Alto Unified School District.  Few things compare to the excitement of preparing for the first day of school.  This is as true for students entering transitional kindergarten as for our high school seniors.  We will do our best to provide an amazing experience for all students.  I wanted to take a moment to provide a few updates.

We have spent a large portion of the previous year creating a plan to lead us into the future.  The comprehensive plan can be found at  The scaled-down version of key components is listed below for your review:

Students: Actions & Behaviors - Performance - Options

  • Preparation for college and career begins with attendance and appropriate behavior
  • Our students will perform at or above grade level
  • Students exit PAUSD advantaged for post-secondary opportunities
  • Demographics do not determine excellence

Employees: Leadership - Teamwork - Development

  • Distributive leadership accelerates systemic improvements and team success
  • Alignment of efforts creates shared ownership of vision and outcomes
  • From recruitment through retirement, employees evolve, grow, and promote

We understand the importance of ensuring a safe and predictable learning environment for our students and employees.  We have assessed every site across the District and will begin making some improvements soon.  Some of the work will include clearly articulating our safety plans and procedures with all stakeholders.  The Palo Alto Police & Fire Departments are excellent partners and are eager to assist with our work.  We will not involve students in live simulations and will limit police maneuver exercises to times when our campuses are empty.  

Thank you for believing in PAUSD and sending us your students.  We treat that responsibility seriously and look forward to knowing you all better!


Donald B. Austin
Superintendent of Schools