Congratulations, Graduates! This week, I had the pleasure of accepting, on behalf of the Palo Alto Unified School District Board of Education, the 2014 graduating class at Palo Alto High School, the eighth grade promotion class at JLS Middle School, and my daughter's fifth grade promotion class at Juana Briones Elementary School. It was a week of excitement, reflection, and an opportunity to celebrate our students' hard work, dedication, and achievement. I am consistently impressed with the students I meet, both for their academic efforts and their commitment to creating caring, supportive environments at their schools and in the larger community. From becoming a "buddy" to a student with special challenges to volunteering time and energy with Youth Community Service, these students exemplify our dual strategic plan goals of excellence in education and strong personal growth and development.
NEW SUPERINTENDENT: The Board of Education is pleased to have chosen a finalist for our new Superintendent.
Dr. Glenn "Max" McGee has impressive credentials (BS, Dartmouth; MA/PhD in Educational Administration, Univ. of Chicago), extensive leadership experience (Superintendent, Deerfield School District-7 years, Illinois State Superintendent-3 years, Wilmette School District-5 years), a focus on STEM education (President, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy--a public residential school--6 years), and a reputation among his colleagues for being "optimistic," "brilliant," "energetic" (he has raced over 100 triathlons), "collegial and collaborative," "a people person," "down to earth," "accessible," and has "a talent for remembering everyone's name." During the Board's validation visit, several themes emerged, including his ability to create positive partnerships with a variety of stakeholders, his talent for creative problem-solving, his belief in the abilities and assets of all students, and his dedication to developing and nurturing talent. Stay tuned in August for several community-wide opportunities to meet Dr. McGee and welcome him to our district.
SECONDARY SCHOOLS COUNSELING PROGRAM: The Board heard a presentation from Brenda Carillo, Coordinator of Student Services, and the secondary counselors of our five middle and high schools. Our counselors have been meeting monthly to create agreement and clarity around shared outcomes and services students receive in three main areas: academic pathways, diverse career and college goals, and personal and social development. Comparability of services is being assessed through individual student planning activities, responsive and accessible resources, and systems support at each school site. To see the new logic model for delivery of counseling services, including short-term, interim, and long-term learning goals for students, click HERE. Metrics developed to assess outcomes include: PAUSD Strategic Plan Survey, PAUSD Alumni Survey, California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS), Palo Alto Reality Check (PARC), and the Developmental Assets Survey.
BULLYING PREVENTION POLICY: I am pleased to report that in my new role as member of our Board Policy Review Committee, we were able to negotiate and present a completed Bullying Prevention Policy to the full Board for approval. This is an optional CSBA (California School Boards Association) policy that I believe represents our commitment to the social and emotional health of our students. We recognize the harmful effects of bullying on student learning and school attendance and we are committed to providing safe school environments that protect students from physical and emotional harm. To read the full policy and administrative regulation, click on the May 20th Regular Board Meeting Packet and scroll down to discussion item 11.
LOCAL CONTROL ACCOUNTABILITY PLAN (LCAP): Under California's new education funding plan, the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), each district must develop, adopt, and annually update a three-year accountability plan, beginning July 1, 2014. There are three broad categories (Conditions of Learning, Pupil Outcomes, and Engagement) and eight priority areas (student achievement, student engagement, school climate, basic services, implementation of Common Core State Standards, course access, parental involvement, and other student outcomes). The LCAP must include goals, progress indicators/metrics, actions with proposed expenditures, and budget allocations, including support for LCFF subgroups (low-income, English learners, and foster youth). To read more about LCFF and LCAP, click on the California Legislative Analyst's Office overview HERE. To read our extensive PAUSD LCAP Plan, developed with community input over the past several months, click HERE. We are fortunate that our current Strategic Plan aligns well with the required areas outlined in the LCAP.
NEW KINDER-5TH GRADE PROGRESS REPORT: PAUSD Elementary Schools are getting newly developed and improved K-5 progress reports, a critical communications tool between parents and teachers. The new progress reports are now aligned with our California Common Core State Standards. Thanks to the Report Card Committee and Parent Advisory Group for all their hard work this year creating a more effective communications tool. To see samples of the new progress report for each elementary grade level, click on the May 20th Regular Board Meeting Packet and scroll down to information item 10.