February 11, 2016

Although it is a short week, it has been most productive despite a significant personal setback with food poisoning that had me down - but not out - for a few days.  Now that I am rallying, here’s a short weekly to update you on some important events.

Kindergarten

At the budget workshop, we will be sharing some estimated costs for different models for kindergarten: 1) assuring that all struggling students have four days of extended time, 2) maintaining the current practice but extending the length of the day to coincide with the primary day, 3) extended day for all students with trained instructional assistants for support, and 4) reducing class sizes.  Please note that at this time we are not recommending a model, just illustrating costs of each one. Over the next few weeks, Barbara Harris, Chief Academic Officer of Elementary Education, and I are convening a representative group of our kindergarten teachers and elementary principals to discuss various models and, ideally, develop both a short-term (next year) and longer-term plan that will assure all of our students have the time, conditions, and supports to develop their full social, emotional, intellectual, and creative selves.

S3/Guidance and Counseling Committee

Following the Board meeting, Markus Autrey, Associate Superintendent, Holly Wade, Chief Student Services Officer, Brenda Carrillo, Director of Student Services, and I conferred with the high school principals and the facilitator on how to focus and clarify the charge and criteria.  We discussed committee membership, timelines, processes, and purposes.  We also re-affirmed that our goal is to have aligned models at both high schools and that a social, emotional curriculum needs to be the foundation of our student support systems.  Over the next several days, we will be refining the process and timeline along with the charges and criteria to develop a plan that will be viable and enable us to achieve our objectives.  We will need additional time to prepare these and are looking to returning to the Board in March.

Media Contacts

Jorge Quintana, Communications Coordinator, has already established himself as a credible media contact, and I am deeply appreciative of his professional work with local and regional media.  He prepares a list of daily media contacts, and we discuss who is best positioned to respond.  He is a thoughtful spokesperson.  This week we were contacted by Nightline regarding an upcoming report scheduled later this month on youth suicides and declined to engage beyond a brief interview with Dr. Denise Herrmann discussing the positive changes we have made at Gunn including the bell schedule, staff training, homework policy, and the like.  Jorge worked closely with her on a quality message.  On that topic, I know we are eager to hear the CDC analysis of the degree to which media coverage of youth suicides met safe reporting guidelines.

Professional Learning Day

The Superintendent’s report at the next Board meeting will contain a summary of this day of collaborative learning to help us improve our teaching practices, connections with students, and efforts to address departmental, school, and district goals.  Faculty is learning from their peers, TOSAs, and experts in the field.  Having started the day with kindergarten mathematics and ending it with high school English, I can attest that these days of professional learning investment will have tangible returns in our classes.

Professional Learning Math
Professional Learning Special Education
Professional Learning Elementary
Professional Learning Secondary

Performances

Both the Paly Concert, Choir Pops, and Gunn Student/Staff Musical, Totally Gone with the Wind, were extraordinary.  We are so fortunate to have such talented performing arts faculty that tap and develop the abundant, and nearly boundless, singing, dancing, and acting talents of our students.  The programs are so inclusive!  Seeing so many kids have a wonderful time with each other was beyond elevating, and is one of the best “perks” of my job.  I have to give a special tip of the hat to Mr. Bill Liberatore for including middle schools students in both shows and for also featuring the remarkable talents of so many Gunn staff from leads Jim Shelby, Todd Summers, and Dave Deggeller to the disco DAR trio of Laurie Pennington, Miriam Stevenson, and Denise Herrmann, a roller skating Heather Clary-Wheeler, Liz Matchett as Scarlett O’Hara/Brunhilda, and six Elvises representing four different departments.  What fun!

In closing, we have attached a list of agenda items for the February 23 Board meeting, and in addition we will have the budget workshop that morning.  Both promise to be productive sessions.  

I hope you have a fine weekend with your Valentine.  Jan and I are seeing Beautiful, the Carole King musical.  Released 45 years ago, her signature album, Tapestry, dates us a bit, but the classic numbers still have that special something.

ACTION/DISCUSSION/INFORMATION ITEMS FOR FEBRUARY 23, 2016

A.

Approval of Two New Courses

B.

One Time State Funded Professional Development

C.

Second Interim Financial Report

D.

Addison Elementary School Donation

E.

Funding for High School 2015-2016 Mental Health and Wellness Support

F.

Technical Accounting Adjustments for Strong Schools Bond

G.

California School Boards Association – Delegate Assembly Election

H.

Board Policy Review Committee (BPRC) Meeting – March 3, 2016

Board Calendar 2015-16 Academic Year

MonthDateEvent
FEBRUARY11Staff Development Day – No School
 12Washington’s Birthday
 15Lincoln’s Birthday
 23Board Meeting
MARCH8Board Meeting
 9End of Third Quarter
 11Local Holiday
 22Board Meeting
APRIL1-8Spring Break
 19Board Meeting
MAY10Board Meeting
 24Board Meeting
 30Memorial Day
JUNE1-2Finals Testing Day
 2End of Semester
 2District-Wide Minimum Day
 2Last Day of School for Students
 3Teacher Work Day
 7Board Meeting
 21Board Meeting

School Events Calendar 2015-16 Academic Year

MonthDateEventLocationTime

FEBRUARY

All

Month

Jordan Black History Month Activity

Jordan MS

During the school day

 

16

Family Science Night

Addison ES

6-8:00 PM

 

16

Principal’s Coffee

Hoover ES

MP Room

8-9 AM

 

 

16

PTA Executive Board Meeting

Hoover ES

MP Room

4:30-5:15 PM

 

16

Jordan/Paly Jazz Fest

Jordan MS

7 PM

 

16

Principal’s Coffee

Ohlone ES

8-9:15 AM

 

16

Science Fair Experiments Demo

Palo Verde ES

MP Room

 

 

16

Site Council Meeting

Walter Hays ES

3:10-5:10 PM

 

18

PTA Meeting

Addison ES

8:30 AM

 

18

Bingo! Night

El Carmelo ES

6-8 PM

 

18

Principal/Parent Coffee

Escondido ES

Staff Lounge

8:15-9AM

 

18

Noon Games

Palo Verde ES

11:50 AM

 

18

JLS Music Benefit Concert

All Saints Episcopal Church

5:30-8:00 PM

 

18

Gunn HS PTA Meeting

Red Berry Coffee Bar in Los Altos (145 Main Street)

8:30 AM

 

18

Winter Band Concert

Gunn HS

Spangenberg

7:30 PM

 

19

PTA Executive Session

Barron Park ES

9:45 AM

 

19

Coffee with the Principal

El Carmelo ES

8:30 – 9:30 AM

 

19

Paly Student Film Festival

Palo Alto High School Media Arts Center (MAC) Atrium

7-9 PM

 

21

Lunar New Year Celebration

El Carmelo ES

2-4 PM

 

22-26

Invention Convention

Hoover ES

MP Room

 

 

22-26

Invention Convention

Ohlone ES

MP Room

 

 

22

Noon Art

Palo Verde ES

12 PM

 

22

Science Fair, Parent Information Night

Palo Verde ES

7 PM

 

23

Site Council

El Carmelo ES

Library

3:15-4:45 PM

 

23

Terman Band 6/7

Terman MS

MP Room

7 PM

 

24

Jordan MS 6th Grade Ice Skating Party

Winter Lodge

5:30-7:30 PM

 

24

Math Night

Fairmeadow ES

MP Room

6-8:00 PM

 

24

JLS Connections Spaghetti Feed

JLS

5:30pm – 7:30pm

 

24

Terman Band 6/8

Terman MS

MP Room

7 PM

 

25

Play Performance

Nixon ES

4:30-6:30 PM

 

25

Coffee with Mary

Walter Hays ES

8:30 AM

 

25

Jordan Orchestra 7 PM

 

Jordan MS

MP Room

7PM

 

26

PJ Party: The Good Dinosaur

Barron Park ES

6-8 PM

 

26

Play Performance

Nixon ES

7-9 PM

 

26

Great Big Playdate

Walter Hays ES

2:35-4:00pm

 

26

PTA Board Meeting

Palo Verde ES

Staff Lounge

8:20 AM

 

26

Movie Night

Palo Verde ES

Evening

 

26

Chinese Performing Arts Gala

Walter Hays ES

MP Room

6:15-8:15 PM

 

26

Principal's Coffee

 

JLS

Room 730

8:30am – 10:00am

 

27

Barron Park ES and Gunn HS Booster Juana Run 8K/5K

4100 Orme St., Palo Alto

juanarun.org

8-11 AM

 

27

Jordan Day at Stanford basketball game

Gostanford.com

1:30 PM

 

29

Math Night

Palo Verde ES

6 PM

MARCH

1

Family Library Night

Addison ES

6:30-8:00 PM

 

1

PTA General Meeting

Ohlone ES

8-9:00 AM

 

1

Terman Orchestra 6/7/8

Terman MS

TBD

 

2

PTA Executive Board Meeting

Briones ES

7-8:30 PM

 

2

PTA Executive Board Meeting

El Carmelo ES

8:30-10:00 AM

 

2

PTA Coffee Social

Palo Verde ES

Near Reading Garden

8:15 – 8:45 AM

 

2

District Choir Concert: JLS, Jordan, Terman.

JLS MS

Gym

7:00 PM

 

 

 

2

Cornerstone: ABC Reader Training: Book 6

Palo Verde ES

Staff Lounge

8:30 AM

 

3

Gunn HS PTSA International Potluck Lunch

TBD

TBD

 

4

Addison Heritage Night

Addison ES

TBD

 

4

Ice Skating Party

Briones ES

TBD

 

4

Principal’s Coffee

Gunn HS

Staff Lounge

8-10:30 AM

 

5

Barron Park ES Dinner and Auction Fundraiser

University Club of Palo Alto, 3277 Miranda Avenue, Palo Alto,

6-11 PM

 

7

Noon Art

Palo Verde ES

12 PM

 

14

PTA Meeting

Escondido ES

Library

7 PM

 

15

LEGO Night

El Carmelo ES

6-8 PM

 

17

Noon Games

Palo Verde ES

12 PM

 

25

PTA Board Meeting

Palo Verde ES

8:20 AM

APRIL

11

Engineering Night

Palo Verde ES

6:30 PM

Board Reports and Tentative Timeline 2015-16 Academic Year

MonthDateEvent
FEBRUARY9Facility Planning
 16Budget
 23OCR
  Staffing
  Second Interim
MARCH8Goal Updates
  Staffing
  Second Interim
 22OCR
  Celebration of Tenured Staff
  3-Year Calendar Preliminary
APRIL19OCR
  CCSS Budget
MAY10LCAP
  K-12 Health Curriculum
  Special Education Program Review Report
  Mathematics Piloting for 2016-17
 24OCR
  LCAP
  Budget
JUNE7Budget
  Deferred Maintenance
 21Goal Updates
  OCR
  LCAP
  3-Year Calendar Preliminary
  Budget
  Deferred Maintenance