August 23, 2017

English Language Learner (ELL)/Hospital School/Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP)/and Academic Supports
Dr. Judy Argumedo

The beginning of the school year has been a whirlwind. My office has welcomed three new staff members: Keith Wheeler, Equity and Secondary Supports Coordinator; Ana Reyes, AVID Teacher on Special Assignment and Margarita Sandoval, Assistant to the Coordinator. My staff has been busy visiting sites, welcoming new families and administering assessments.

The ELL program will be transitioning to the new assessment in the spring. This year the fall testing has been limited to students new to PAUSD.  The ELL staff is welcoming three new English Learner Specialists: Kristin Manks at Juana Briones, Amanda Gantley at Addison and Palo Verde and Sharon Fekete at Walter Hays.

The LCAP for 2017-18 is set to be approved by the county on August 28.  The new cycle for 2018-19 will begin in October with a series of community engagement meetings.

This year the New Teacher Induction Program has moved from my office to Professional Learning, Dr. Kelly Bikle.  My department has been assigned Stanford Hospital School and the Ronald McDonald House.  I have been visiting the two sites and learning a lot about this great resource for families that serves approximately 500 students per year. It is an amazing staff and program and I hope to share more highlights throughout the year.

Equity and Secondary Supports Coordinator
Keith Wheeler

Over the past two weeks, I have been filled with mixed emotions—joy and a slight tinge of anxiety. Relocating to a new part of the state and interfacing with a new community can seem and feel like a daunting feat. However, I started by visiting Paly, as they opened the 2017-18 school year. The seniors were decorated in their camouflage giving tours, students were having schedules adjusted, parents were walking their confident teen to the front doors—all filled with hope and expectation. Additionally, I was fortunate to be joined by two PAUSD Board members on the Paly and Gunn campuses. The energy was magnetic and it was truly a feeling of comfort to see and meet many of our students.

The second day of school, alongside Dr. Judy Argumedo, we toured all but three sites. I will never forget my first visit to an elementary site was Addison and I watched a campus full of eager and active parents, all present to support, not only their child, but the overall climate and culture of the school! Each site was filled with informational booths and goodies, which is always a plus! In all, I was vividly reminded of the passion it takes to facilitate learning from the principal level. We have a group of truly enthusiastic leaders that are aiming to impact the heart and mind of every child.

I have been charged to oversee two very specific programs, Academic Enhancement/Read 180 and Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID). Both programs are housed at the secondary level. To support my work, I have been assigned a Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA), Ms. Ana Reyes. To date, we have established annual collaboration time for both programs where sites will engage colleagues and serve as thought-partners—all to address the many diverse forms of educational equity surfacing from their respective programs. Ms. Reyes and I will be conducting site visitations every Tuesday—just as a means of support and to observe practice, offer support and connect with the student experience.

PAUSD has created the Minority Achievement and Talent Advisory Committee (MATD), under the leadership of Superintendent, Dr. Max McGee. The committee has worked tirelessly to assess research, student data, and make recommendations to the current Equity Plan. At the culmination of the year, student representatives were selected. To complete the work, I am assembling a subcommittee to finalize the adult committee members.

Professional Learning
Dr. Kelly Bikle

Summer Workshops
During the summer of 2017 we filled 872 seats of our district workshops. Highlights for elementary teachers include Responsive Classroom, the Teachers College Reading Institute, Arts Integration, Bridges Mathematics, and technology conferences. Middle school teachers also attended Responsive Classroom this summer, allowing us to begin to build shared understanding and common practices across elementary and middle school in this important area. Secondary teachers attended a week of workshops related to district goals around learning targets, assessment, and engaging learning. The summer concluded with the Social Emotional Learning kick-off with R. Keeth Matheny, and a workshop on facilitating professional learning for our Department Instructional leaders.

In August, we welcomed over 70 new hires to PAUSD. Our orientation sessions are designed to support new hires in learning about our district, including our goals, key aspects of curriculum, instruction and assessment, and technology topics such as Infinite Campus, Schoology and our Acceptable Use Policy.  Most importantly, orientation provides a forum to connect new hires with those who can provide support, including TOSAs, district office staff and other new hires across the district.  In response to the question, “Overall, the New Hire Orientation activities were helpful in building my knowledge of district priorities, programs and goals and connecting with other new hires,” 100% of survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed.  Each year we use the survey data to adjust and improve orientation, and it is good to know that our participants felt welcomed and engaged by our sessions.

On Monday, we welcomed our newest teachers to our Induction program at an orientation session.  Our Induction program is a two-year program designed to provide ongoing support for both short-term and long-term goals for new teachers.  Participants work with a mentor, an experienced PAUSD teacher, to set goals related to the California Standards for the Teaching Profession (CSTP), and collect evidence of their progress.  Successful completion of the program leads to a Clear California Teaching Credential.  This year we expect to serve approximately 40 PAUSD teachers in our program.

Elementary Education
Barbara Harris

Elementary Teachers on Special Assignment (TOSAs): A Mighty Foursome
This year we are grateful to have four exemplary  TOSAs: Joe Young, Mangla Oza, Nikole Manou and Leslie Faust. This team supports 400 teachers in PK-5 classrooms. They are spread out amongst our 13 schools. They provide coaching and guidance, parent education sessions and support for grade level teams. Take a look at these fantastic four super educators.

Parent Education Bridges Math Session
Hold the Date: September 25, 2017. Registration and flyer to follow.

Summer Bridges Training
Over 125 teachers got ahead of the learning curve and signed up for a two-day training of our new Bridges Math curriculum. They had varied comments and shared them with us.

  • Excited about the new curriculum
  • Excited about Number Corner
  • Excited to start
  • Optimistic about Bridges and not the “patchwork" we’ve been using
  • Excited about Year 2 after having Year 1 under our belts
  • Feel better prepared after the planning day on August 3 with the first two weeks planned
  • Excited about the work places
  • Excited Bridges in Mathematics has supplemental materials that were not in Everyday Math
  • Going in with an open mind
  • Ready to go but unsure about the students’ reactions
  • Antsy to try new things
  • Glad there was the summer institute otherwise I would be overwhelmed
  • I have a plan of action

Responsive Classroom Approach
At the core of this approach is the focus on creating meaningful relationships with students and families. Over 150 PAUSD teachers have already been trained, and this summer we offered several other learning opportunities for staff to gain knowledge and expertise with this approach.

Guiding principles that provide the foundation for the Responsive Classroom Approach:

  • Social and emotional curriculum is as important as academic curriculum
  • How students learn is as important as what they learn
  • Great cognitive growth occurs through social interaction
  • To be successful academically and socially, students need to learn a set of social and emotional skills: cooperation, assertiveness, responsibility, empathy, and self-control (CARES)
  • Knowing the students we teach-individually, culturally, and developmentally-is as important as knowing the content we teach  
  • Knowing the families of the students we teach is as important as knowing the students we teach
  • How we, the adults at school, work together is as important as our individual competence: lasting change begins with the adult community

Elementary History Social Science Pilot/Adoption Committee Update:
Please hold the date if you are interested in joining this newly created elementary History Social Science Pilot and Adoption committee. Applications will be forthcoming in the next week. Check the website!

Kick off Meeting Monday, October 2, 2017, 3:30-5:00PM
Teachers and parents will be asked to join the elementary Social Studies Committee to pilot new materials and to recommend Social Studies curriculum to the Board in the spring of 2018.

Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System (BAS), Fall 2017-18
For two years, a committee of K-5 teachers across PAUSD explored assessing reading using Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System (BAS).  After careful consideration, PAUSD has moved forward in using BAS to assess K-5 readers in the 2017-18 school year.

BAS is a one-on-one assessment that helps identify a child’s specific reading strengths and appropriate instructional reading level for small-group instruction.  The data gained from this standardized assessment helps identify goals and plan instruction that supports a child’s reading progress across the school year.

BAS provides a snapshot in time of a child’s literacy development and will be given three times across the year to help teachers better understand where each child needs support with reading instruction.  Please see the link for more information: