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.
STRATEGIC PLAN SURVEY RESULTS: Dr. Diana Wilmot, Director of Assessment and Evaluation for our district, presented an analysis of our 2013-2014 Focused Goals from the Strategic Plan. Highlights include: more than 80% of high school students who responded agreed that teachers challenge students to excel academically and 76% agreed that effective help is provided to students struggling with a subject or course. Also, more than 80% agreed that instruction is appropriate to students' abilities and interests and that teachers use a variety of strategies to engage students in learning. Stakeholders also noted room for improvement: 68% are satisfied with support available to under-performing students, 72% believe that instruction is differentiated, and 63% believe that there is consistency in the curriculum and instructional practices across teachers and courses. In addition, the high-stress culture at PAUSD was a consistent theme throughout responses. To see the whole report, click HERE and download the June 3rd Board Packet.
EPIPENS: The Board voted to update Board Policy 5141.2 "Administering Medication and Monitoring Health Conditions" to add emergency epipens (epinephrine auto-injectors) to our school sites, in case of previously undiagnosed students or adults who may suffer anaphylaxis (severe allergic reactions) on campus. These epipens will be used by voluntary trained unlicensed assistive personnel in the case of an emergency. The Board thanked community members, who worked with District Nurse Linda Lenoir to develop this new policy.
GUNN HIGH SCHOOL CENTRAL BUILDING PROJECT: The Board approved the schematic design for a two-story central building for Gunn High School. Stakeholder groups met from March through May to give input into this project. The groups included the Facilities Steering Committee, Gunn High School Site Design Committee, and City Schools Traffic Safety Committee. This project will create larger facilities for the music programs at Gunn, a new entry plaza, and new student activities areas, in addition to a Wellness Center, College and Career center and new classrooms. To see the schematic design photos, click HERE and download the June 17th Board Packet.
CUBBERLEY: The Board thanked Superintendent Skelly for his work on this issue, which will be taken up again in the fall when Dr. McGee begins his tenure as our new Superintendent. The Board supports the Superintendent recommendation that we align our efforts around the development of Cubberley with the Cubberley Community Advisory Committee (CCAC) recommendations. We agree that the City and School District should work together to develop a master plan with shared use concepts and different City/School construction timelines. The Board also agrees that the Covenant Not To Develop language is outdated, although the District believes that the Utility Users Tax was passed with the expectation that the largest part of its proceeds would flow to the District in the form of the present lease agreement.
BUDGET: The Board adopted the initial budget for the 2014-2015 school year. The three most significant issues to monitor are the funding level of the state pension programs (STRS/PERS), with its unfunded $74 billion unfunded liability, the current negotiations of the lease and covenant agreement with the City of Palo Alto, and the proposed Senate Bill (SB 837) to extend Transitional Kindergarten to all low-income four-year olds.
NEW LIAISON SCHOOLS: This year, I have the privilege of being the School Board Liaison to Duveneck and Walter Hays Elementary Schools, Gunn High School, and the Children's Hospital School. I look forward to meeting new families and getting to know these campuses better.