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School board to discuss annual priorities

Original post made on Aug 27, 2013

Palo Alto school officials say they want to boost district-wide consistency in "academic rigor, grading and curricular elements" while still giving principals leeway to innovate at their own schools. That proposal, and others, will be discussed tonight at a meeting of the Palo Alto Board of Education.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, August 27, 2013, 9:56 AM

Comments (16)

Posted by School Bored, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 27, 2013 at 10:58 am

This school board is completely dysfunctional. [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]

Posted by Wondering?, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 27, 2013 at 11:01 am

A lot of material in the two documents offered via links in the article. Wonder how much of this material each Board Member actually reads, and assimilates?

But--given that the PAUSD Admin is suggesting metrics, wonder how many of the programs will actually be instrumented, monitored, and reported upon to the public, as the two semesters proceed?

Posted by Wassup?, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 27, 2013 at 11:57 am

I am sure the board members read it. I do NOT think they process and comprehend any of it!

Posted by wondering, a resident of Stanford
on Aug 27, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Will the calendar be discussed at this meeting? IMO this could certainly be revisited

Posted by Gunn Parent, a resident of Gunn High School
on Aug 27, 2013 at 4:30 pm

There is a complete lack of continuity between the goals set this year and those from last year. Gone is any mention of improving A-G attainment and reducing the number of Ds and Fs for historically underserved youth. Last year there was a goal to understand why students were not attaining A-G and if the programs in place were effective. Where is that report?

Gone is any mention of implementation of the homework policy. Last year a committee of parents, teachers and community members drafted a homework policy that was adopted by the Board. The goals was to have this policy in all school site handbooks. Is it there? Is the policy being followed?

What about Guidance? Last year there was a goal to report comparable and high quality services and outcomes in the results of the 2013 Strategic Plan survey at both high schools. The report at the end of the year continued to show lower levels of satisfaction with Gunn Counseling. No follow up this year. There is no mention of improvement of Guidance Services in this year's plan at all. No follow up on the recommendations of the Gunn Advisory Committee - a group of parents, teachers and staff who met for the better part of a year and came back to the Board with a prioritized list of changes.

The Board invites community participation to make policy and then ignores these recommendations or does not follow-up with staff on implementation.

Where is any mention of improvement in school lunches? Parent advocates have been working for two years to bring about changes. How will these changes be measured and rolled out across the district?

We all know from reading these posts what the Board has been focused on - fighting with the feds.

We need a Board that focuses on improving the quality of our schools and responding to the needs of their constituents around issues that impact our children every day - homework, lunch, guidance. We need a Board that takes the responsibility of ensuring that high quality education is available for all students - including those with disabilities and those who are struggling academically.

This year, it appears that little will be done. The current Board is content to follow the misguided leadership provided by Dana Tom and Barb Mitchell wasting time and taxpayer resources on their own political agendas.

In the mean time, I hope that the Weekly continues to report on the goings on at 25 Churchill and that candidates like Ken Dauber and others do the necessary coalition building and fund raising to bring in a new slate in 2014.

Posted by sara, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 27, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Annual priorities remain the same:

take credit for all the hard work families do to make up for the crap that goes on at PAUSD

Posted by Paly Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 27, 2013 at 4:52 pm

I tend to agree that there is no accountability.

During the calendar discussions, for example, staff were asked to report on how uneven length semesters could be accommodated to enable a later start date and still have before break finals. Has this been done?

Also, as part of the same discussion, staff were asked to look into the viability of trimesters as opposed to semesters and whether a trimester system could be utilized. Has this been done?

Likewise, there was a similar question about sports and the new calendar (I am sorry I don't remember the details). Once again, has this been done?

We are now starting on the second year of the calendar pilot. There have been some surveys which have had questionable questions. But the above questions asked of staff, if they were ever explored, have never been mentioned since. We will soon need to have the 2014/15 calendar fixed and it is negligent not to look at these important questions before discussing the date of the start of the 2014 school year.

Or is it supposed that there will be no more discussion and the early start is a done deal?

Posted by You deserve this!, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 27, 2013 at 6:28 pm

PAUSD is not operating anywhere near a level of excellence, which says something about Palo Altans. We are not as special as we would like to think and this is the quality of superintendent, asst. superintendent, special ed staff, and board that we deserve. I invite the district cheerleaders to begin their schtick.

Posted by Bob, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 27, 2013 at 6:46 pm

> Gone is any mention of improving A-G attainment and reducing
> the number of Ds and Fs for historically underserved youth

It's long past time we Palo Altans stop describing underperforming students as underserved. The schools are open the same number of hours per day for these students, as the other students. There is no evidence of PAUSD teachers putting tags on certain students, and not answering their questions, or providing the necessary in-class help that teachers provide other students.

Education requires work, and educational attainment must be earned--it can not be wrapped up in brightly wrapped packagess, and served up on a silver platter.

[Portion removed.]

Posted by You deserve this!, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 27, 2013 at 6:51 pm

And thank you to our new PR person, who has finally fixed the August 13 press release (its led, not lead). It proves someone is reading Is that what you are being paid $150,000 for? You have not shown that you are worth it. That money could have paid for two teachers to focus on underperforming students who are not excelling in the PAUSD system. What's worth more? This PR person or two teachers. Let Skelly read on his own time. Not the best district by any metric.

Posted by hot type, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 27, 2013 at 9:02 pm

@you deserve: It's "lede" not "led," as it was when I worked on the copy desk of "The Wall Street Journal" in the 1950s.

Posted by You deserve this!, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 27, 2013 at 9:59 pm

The part that I wrote about not being as special as you thought, well, your reference to your work on the WSJ is what I was referring to. Also, I wasn't referring to the lede or lead paragraph. Don't waste your time trying to figure out your error. Focus more on working together to throw these bums out. They are truly that bad.

Posted by Sue, a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 27, 2013 at 10:40 pm

There aren't "underserved" youth but there are certainly underperforming students. Define "underserved" please. Does this refer to average middle-of-the-road kids who aren't genius (or genii)? Or to the socially inept? Those from households not in top income brackets? Maybe kids who'd rather learn carpentry than trig? Kids testing at "below average" learning ability?

It's beyond the capacity or purpose of schools to equalize all factors & produce uniform results in all students. Parents have responsibility to see that their students show up for class, do assigned work, and follow basic rules for appropriate classroom & campus behavior.

It's also a mistake for parents to insist on their kids being placed in courses which, based on previous grades & test scores, are likely to be above the capacity of their students. Are the kids who are trying unsuccessfully to compete above their abilities
considered "underserved" if they aren't successful?

Posted by Catalan, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 28, 2013 at 7:17 am

The school board's priorities are to identify a problem, then drop it forever. Certainly take no action or responsibility.

This is the worst school board ever, and I have lived in Palo Alto most of my life!

Posted by Paly Parent, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 28, 2013 at 1:17 pm

It is amusing when people post "dysfunctional" when they really mean "won't accept my policies." Perhaps the School Board is very effective, just implementing a different policy from yours?

Posted by Brownie, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 28, 2013 at 5:32 pm

The school board is doing a heckuva job.

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