January 2013 Newsletter

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. 

WEIGHTED STUDENT FORMULA: This month, the governor will outline more details about his new statewide education funding plan, referred to as the Weighted Student Formula (WSF). WSF aims to provide additional funding to districts and schools to meet the needs of low-income students and English learners and to simplify the state’s education funding system.  The proposal has been somewhat controversial, for a variety of reasons.  We don't know how this will affect funding for our district yet.  For more details: EdsourceThe Education Trust-WestSilicon Valley Education Foundation.

COMMON CORE: You'll be hearing a lot this year about Common Core State Standards (CCSS), California's new curriculum standards for instruction and assessment.  Our district believes this is a powerful opportunity for teachers to engage in a deep study of both teaching and learning and to create consistent, clear goals for students within and across grade levels.  Major changes in literacy standards include balancing instruction in fiction and non-fiction reading, teaching students close reading and textual analysis, and incorporating a focus on argument in writing. Major changes in mathematical standards include making sense of problems, reasoning abstractly and quantitatively, constructing viable arguments and critiquing the reasoning of others, modeling with mathematics, using appropriate tools strategically, communicating precisely, and looking for and making use of structure.      

STRATEGIC PLAN REFRESH: Melissa Baten Caswell and I were appointed by our fellow Board members to be the liaisons for our Strategic Plan refresh this year.  Stay tuned, because we will be forming some community focus groups, talking with parents, teachers, and students, and doing some big picture thinking about how to improve outcomes for every student in our district.   

UPCOMING BOARD MEETINGS: All our meetings, agendas, and minutes are listed on the district website: http://pausd.org/community/board/index.shtml.  Feel free to come out and share what's on your mind.  Our mid-year Board Retreat is this Thursday, Jan. 10th, at the Garden Court Hotel, from 8:30am-4:30pm.  All our meetings are open to the public. 

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