I visited both Gunn and Paly this week for the annual Partners in Education (PiE) Donation Days! We are so fortunate to have such a dedicated education foundation in our community to support programs and teachers in our schools. Thank you, PiE, and all of our generous parent, family, and community donors. Your ongoing support keeps excellence in our district. Last year, PiE raised $5 million for district schools. This year's goal is an incredible $5.6 million. If you haven't donated yet, please contribute online at: www.papie.org.
At last night's School Board meeting (11/18/14), we said a heartfelt goodbye to Barbara Mitchell and Dana Tom, who have served this community on the School Board for the past nine years. I will miss their leadership skills, intelligent approach to complex issues, and collegiality on the Board. Barb and her husband Fred grew up in Palo Alto, attended our public schools, and raised four children who also graduated from our district. Dana and his wife Nancy raised two sons in our district, and he was integrally involved in educational issues locally, regionally, and statewide through his participation on the Executive Board of the California School Boards Association. Their experience and wisdom will be missed. We celebrated their many achievements last night in front of a packed house of well-wishers. Supervisor Joe Simitian presented each with a Santa Clara County proclamation for their hard work and dedication on behalf of thousands of students, families, and teachers in our community.
Fall is here and so is Election Day. Remember to exercise your civic duty and vote. My parents were great role models for me growing up; we always had passionate debates about issues on the ballot. I remember my dad being very excited to cast his first vote when he became a citizen of this country. And I remember when I lived in Costa Rica, where Election Day is a national holiday. People take to the streets wearing photo buttons of their favorite candidates, proud to be a model democracy in Central America. Here in Palo Alto, I'm honored to continue to serve as your elected representative on the PAUSD School Board, and I look forward to welcoming two new members to the School Board this week.Read more
On Monday, Oct. 6th, I was invited to attend Escondido Elementary's Tasting Week Demo with Chef Christy Wolf, a Chef at Sur La Table and a PAUSD parent of children at Escondido, Jordan, and Paly. The kids enjoyed delicious, homemade salad and dressing and a fruit yogurt dip on some unusual choices such as dragonfruit and guava. Tasting Week founder and PAUSD parent Rebecca Scholl-Barbier stopped by to check it out, as did several dozen hungry Escondido students. Tasting Week is an international celebration of tastes from many of the diverse cultures and backgrounds represented throughout the Bay Area. Your school may have had a visit from a guest Chef, or may have dined on an "A to Z" salad bar provided by the PAUSD Student Nutrition Department.
This month, our new Superintendent, Dr. Max McGee, has been going around to each school hosting a "Second Cup of Coffee" event to introduce himself and meet parents and teachers at every school. I have attended coffees at Gunn, Hays, and Duveneck so far, and parents have been impressed with his experience, warmth, and excitement about the future of education here in Palo Alto. These coffees continue through October, so check your enews to see when Max is coming to your school.Read more
This past weekend, September 12-14, 2014, Gunn celebrated its 50th Anniversary with an alumni-studded series of fabulous events coordinated by a group of dedicated Gunn parents (Thanks to Sheryl Humble, Miriam Rotman, and Lynn Johnson), along with new Gunn Principal Dr. Denise Herrmann and new Superintendent Dr. Max McGee. The festivities included a Friday afternoon BBQ at Bol Park, followed by a Gunn Titan football game, a Saturday morning tribute event with the Gunn Choir in the new Titan gym, followed by campus tours and lunch, a Saturday evening Gala event, and a Sunday afternoon of field games. NBC Anchor Janelle Wang (a Gunn alum) was the Master of Ceremonies for Saturday's tribute and speakers included Tim Farrell (a Gunn English teacher for 40 years), Robert McLean (Gunn's first Principal), US Representative Zoe Lofgren (a Gunn alum), and Tanya Mota, who spoke eloquently about her grandfather, Henry M. Gunn. (As a side note, Tanya is also a Gunn alum and was the fabulous Director of Juana Briones Kids' Club when my children were there.)
Welcome back to the 2014-2015 school year. I hope you had a terrific summer. For those of you new to my newsletter, this is a monthly update of PAUSD school board discussion topics and activities. As your publicly elected official, I believe in open and transparent communication about what goes on at the school board, where we work with the Superintendent to provide direction, evaluate student learning and achievement, and create budget priorities for the entire District, serving nearly 13,000 students in our community. I appreciate those of you who occasionally send me feedback, questions, and comments. These are helpful in informing my decisions as your representative. If you do not want to receive these newsletters, feel free to use the "unsubscribe" link below. If you think others would be interested in receiving this newsletter, anyone can subscribe on my website at: www.heidiemberling.com. On the website, you will also find information about upcoming events and a blog of my activities around the district.Read more
On Thursday, August 21st, 2014, School Board members, Paly Principal Kim DiOrio, Paly Journalism teachers Paul Kandell and Esther Wojcicki, Paly Journalism students, and Superintendent Glenn "Max" McGee celebrated the opening of the Paly Media Arts Center, an innovative, state-of-the-art building designed to house all media arts courses at Palo Alto High School. There will be a more formal, community-wide grand opening in October.
On August 12th and 13th, 2014, the School Board members met with our new Superintendent, Dr. Glenn "Max" McGee, to discuss our focused goals for the 2014-2015 school year. We met in open public session at the University Club, facilitated by Dr. Dennis Smith of Leadership Associates. Dr. McGee requested the Board read Amanda Ripley's book, "The Smartest Kids in the World," over the summer and he led a lively discussion about the main points of Ripley's extensive research, based on international studies on student learning and achievement, as well as interviews with thousands of high school exchange students around the world.Read more
In June, we had our last two School Board meetings for the 2013-2014 school year, and we get a few weeks off in July before coming back to school in mid-August. I hope everyone is enjoying some fun family time this summer.
Here's the summary of news for the month:
OCR RESOLUTION: The School Board voted to support a resolution calling attention to significant concerns about the investigative practices of the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights. The Board respects and values the purpose and mission of the OCR and we hope that a public discussion of our concerns will lead to a more efficient, effective, and collaborative process that will better serve our students, teachers, and families. To read the resolution and background information, click HERE and download the June 3rd or June 17th Board packets. You can watch our discussion on the MidPeninsula Community Media Center website HERE.