On Sunday, August 18th (2013), I celebrated the grand opening of the new Gunn Titan Gymnasium and Training Center. Dr. Skelly often describes the 2008 Strong Schools Bond program as "building facilities that equal the promise of our students," and this new gym certainly reflects that important goal.Read more
Welcome back! I've been touring the school campuses, visiting classrooms and greeting families, and it's wonderful to see the excitement of the kids as they get back into the school routine. I visited Gunn and enjoyed the creativity of the seniors as they embodied the "Hospital of Horrors" senior theme. Paly seniors all wear camo clothing on the first day, so they too were easy to spot. New Paly Principal (and former Paly Assistant Principal) Kim Diorio is thrilled to be at the helm and both staff and parents shared their enthusiasm for her appointment.Read more
On Thursday, August 1, 2013 I was honored to visit the week-long Teachers College Writer's Institute, a professional development opportunity for more than 140 PAUSD elementary (and a few middle school) teachers, held at Jordan Middle School. I spent about 10-15 minutes in six different classrooms teaching workshops like: "Using Storytelling, Shared Writing and Interactive Writing to Support Your Writers," "When You Think You're Done, You've Only Just Begun! Sustaining Independence in the Writing Workshop," "Make the Most of Your Small-Group Instruction in Writing,"Read more
With only a few days' notice, more than a hundred families showed up at the JLS Middle School Cafetorium for Tasting Day, a chance to sample some of the new, healthier food options coming this fall to your school. My daughter and I stopped by and the food was delicious. Bean & cheese burritos in a whole wheat tortilla, sweet potato stars, turkey burgers, cous cous, and an edamame salad were the big winners for us.Read more
The last few weeks of school seemed to fly by. Highlights included accepting the graduating class of 2013 at Gunn High School and the eighth grade promotion class at Terman Middle School on behalf of the Board of Education. What a great experience to shake hands with all those eager students ready for their next challenge. I also participated in the JLS eighth grade exit interviews, which were very impressive, and dropped by Camp Iris Way, a neighborhood tradition with high school and middle school counselors, elementary and preschool campers, and dedicated parents who create a full week of kid magic.Read more
As the school year winds down, the Board is gearing up to celebrate student graduations, plan the June retreat to set our annual goals, and reflect on the successes and setbacks of the past year and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
STRATEGIC PLAN: I've been honored to serve with my colleague Melissa Baten Caswell on the Strategic Plan sub-committee for the past five months. After a robust Board discussion about metrics on May 7, we are now set to adopt the district's Strategic Plan that will guide our work for the next five years. This plan was informed by 30 individual interviews, 11 focus groups, 6 surveys and multiple school board discussions. Thousands of you weighed in on academics, student wellness, budget priorities, professional development, communications, and governance. More details on the individual initiatives can be found HERE.
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.Read more
School districts are busy places with hundreds of decisions being made every day in classrooms, at school sites, and around the district office. As one important issue engages the school board's time and attention, other issues wait to be addressed. Add on the demands of a job and family, and this becomes quite a balancing act! Superintendent Skelly recently told me the school board job can become a "jealous lover," and I see his point.Read more
I just got back from a new Board Member institute, sponsored by the California School Boards Association, where I learned about building a strong governance team, evaluating and supporting the Superintendent, partnering with collective bargaining groups, and managing fiduciary responsibilities. I'm enjoying learning more about my new role.Read more
A very Happy New Year to you! I was officially sworn in on December 7th and have already attended my first two school board meetings. What I've learned so far is that there is a lot to learn! I look forward to sending out monthly updates about our school district and education issues around the state.Read more