April 2013 Newsletter

It was an incredibly busy month for the PAUSD School Board.  We had a joint City Council study session on Cubberley, we heard presentations from the Gunn Guidance Advisory Committee and the Elementary School Site Location Advisory Committee, we received the Calendar survey results, and we had a study session on our Strategic Plan progress. 

CUBBERLEY COMMUNITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE: The Cubberley Community Advisory Committee Report was presented to both the City Council and the School Board on March 14th.  Recommendations included, among others, to extend the city's lease and develop a new site master plan for shared City/School District use.  Recommended next steps include a Citywide Community Needs Assessment.  The full report (including the 14-page Executive Summary) can be viewed here: City of Palo Alto website.

GUNN GUIDANCE ADVISORY COMMITTEE: The Gunn Guidance Advisory Committee presented its report to the School Board on March 19th.  The 40+ recommendations were organized under six themes: Support Structures, School Environment & Culture, Communication, Connection & Curriculum, Improve Outcomes for ALL, and Leadership.  The full report can be viewed here: Gunn Guidance Advisory Committee website

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL SITE LOCATION ADVISORY COMMITTEE: The Elementary School Site Location Advisory Committee was given the task of recommending either the Garland site or the Greendell site for our 13th elementary school, slated to open in time for the 2017-2018 school year.  The Committee recommended a hybrid school (combination neighborhood and choice program) at the Greendell site (525 San Antonio).  The board will make this decision after considering the type of program to be created, expanded, or relocated at the new site.  There was no discussion of disrupting either of the language immersion programs currently in existence in our district.  See the full report here: April 9th meeting materials.     

CALENDAR SURVEY RESULTS: A survey went out to parents, teachers, and high school students focused on the effects of the first semester of the new calendar.  The Calendar Advisory Committee wanted to gauge the success of the "work-free" winter break as soon as possible.  There will be a follow-up survey at the end of the year to reflect on an entire year of the new calendar.  The Committee will now begin the task of analyzing these initial results.  Survey Results can be found HERE.  

STRATEGIC PLAN: The Strategic Plan process is progressing well.  Survey results are in, focus groups have been done with key stakeholders, and there are two community forums coming up (quickly) on Monday and Tuesday evening this week.  I've posted the information here: Events page.  Our initial five focus areas for the plan include: Academic Excellence & Learning, Personal Development and Support, Innovative Staff Development & Recruitment, Optimized Budget & Infrastructure, and Transparent Governance & Communication.  You can find the School Board study session packet on the survey results here: April 12th special meeting materials.

In other news, I attended the Schools For Sound Finance (SF)2 Symposium in Sacramento where I heard Assemblymember Joan Buchanan reiterate that California is 49th in per-pupil spending, "We don't have a distribution problem, we have an adequacy problem."  Bottom line: We need a more stable, long-term funding source for education in our state.  The Governor's newly-proposed "Local Control Funding Formula" gives us control over spending, without any way to raise revenue. 

Check out my updated website, which will continue to grow into a useful place to find information about the School Board.  I've added links, a blog, and an events calendar, which should keep you up-to-date.  If you would like to contact me, please drop me a line at: hemberling@pausd.org.  Remember, you can watch our exciting School Board meetings LIVE on Cable Channel 28 or watch the webcasts here: Midpeninsula Community Media Center's website.      

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