News

Palo Alto school district ranks sixth in state

Officials highlight gains by African-American, Hispanic, low-income students

The Palo Alto school district ranked sixth among California K-12 districts in standardized test results released Thursday.

Palo Alto students overall earned a score of 932 on the 2013 Growth Academic Performance Index (API), down one point from last year. The only K-12 district with better overall scores were the significantly smaller districts of San Marino Unified with a score of 953, La Canada Unified with 947, Sunol Glen Unified and Manhattan Beach Unified, both with 935 and Piedmont City Unified with 933.

See this web link for a Palo Alto school-by-school breakdown.

In an analysis of the results, local school officials highlighted gains among its African-American, Hispanic and socioeconomically disadvantaged students as well as its students with disabilities.

All of those subgroups in Palo Alto exceeded statewide averages, but even in Palo Alto those subgroups remained below the 800 API score that California education officials have targeted for all students.

For example, Palo Alto's African-American students earned a 761 compared to a statewide score for African-Americans of 707. Palo Alto's low-income students earned a 768 compared to a statewide score for low-income students of 745. Palo Alto's Hispanic students earned a 795 compared to a statewide average for Hispanic students of 743. Palo Alto's students with disabilities earned 734, compared to a statewide average for students with disabilities of 615.

East Palo Alto's Ravenswood City School District earned a 708 overall API score, with African-American students at 691; low-income students at 706, Hispanic students at 706 and students with disabilities at 555.

See this web link for a school-by-school breakdown in Ravenswood.

"Palo Alto is proud of the significant growth demonstrated in the socio-economically disadvantaged, African-American and students-with-disabilities subgroups," Palo Alto district officials said in a press release.

Other "key findings" highlighted by the district were that seven Palo Alto schools increased their scores over last year, with the greatest gain -- 26 API points -- at Ohlone Elementary School.

In addition, Terman (968) and JLS (942) middle schools posted their highest-ever API scores this year and are in the top 50 middle schools statewide. Jordan Middle School earned a 934.

Gunn (917) and Palo Alto (905) high schools "continue in the Top 50 High Schools Statewide list," the district said.

Overall, 9,247 of Palo Alto's 12,396 students were tested, including 225 African-American students, 951 Hispanic students, 875 low-income students and 988 students with disabilities. Tested students also included 4,211 whites, who earned a 2013 Growth API score of 941 and 3,151 Asians, who collectively scored 976.

Comments

Posted by data please, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Aug 30, 2013 at 9:56 am

[Portion removed.]

Our scores place us 6th in the state overall but our scores for minority and low income students, compared against minority and low income students in other districts, are near the bottom. We are slightly better than the statewide average for those students, but we are worse than dozens of other districts in the education of poor and minority students. And when compared only to districts of comparable size, configuration, and means we are one of the worst for black students in the state. Please, PAUSD, stop patting yourself on the back like this. It is particularly embarrassing when the "achievement" is chiefly the result of parents' educational status, race, and income.


Posted by on the bright side, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 30, 2013 at 10:00 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Posted by Chris Kenrick Palo Alto Weekly Staff Writer, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 30, 2013 at 10:06 am

Data Please and Bright Side,

Here's the latest analysis by the Education Trust-West on how Palo Alto did relative to other California districts in educating low-income students and students of color: Web Link

Note that it is from 2012, so does not reflect the 2013 API data.
For those unfamiliar with Ed Trust West, it's an "Oakland-based statewide educational policy, research and advocacy organization that works for the high academic achievement of all students at all levels." It has a particular focus on exposing opportunity and achievement gaps that separate students of color and low-income students from other youth, and identifying and advocating for strategies to close those gaps.


Posted by Not Again, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 30, 2013 at 10:14 am

I am so tired of the same ole, same ole of screaming foul for our minority and low income students. Our schools can only do so much. They can't hold the hand of every child, nor can they visit the homes of children who have parents who do not value education. [Portion removed.] There are plenty of teachers and free tutors who are willing to help if students want help. [Portion removed.]


Posted by on the bright side, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Aug 30, 2013 at 10:15 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Posted by Gunn Dad, a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 30, 2013 at 10:21 am

[Portion removed.]
Our schools do very well with students who have highly educated parents, and who have access to well-paid external help in the form of tutoring. They don't do so well with students who don't have those advantages.
We could conclude that those students without those advantages should go out and get some advantages, by golly! Or we could conclude that our schools, which are after all funded to the tune of $160 million a year, should figure out how to teach those students.
Reminds me of that famous quote of Ann Richards about George W. Bush: "Born on third, thought he hit a triple."
And Ms. Kenrick, how about amending your story so that it reflects the facts you have linked to, rather than just putting a link out there?


Posted by Bob, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 30, 2013 at 10:24 am

Edwest is not the end-all and be-all of education analysis. It's extremely clear that parents are a significant component in the education of their children. The relentless denial of this fact by professional educations [portion removed] has so perturbed our view of education, that the average person has little idea of what the public school system is about, what it is capable of, and how important the role of parents is in the educational attainment, and performance, of our kids.

Edwest is not an organization that seems to want to believe that parents are, or even should be, involved in the educational process. They are obviously free to push their agenda, but thinking people are equally free to see it for what it is.


Posted by Gunn Dad, a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 30, 2013 at 10:30 am

Bob,
[Portion removed.] I saw from a post on another thread that you are quite exercised over the whole way in which the push for "equality" is affecting our society (I think in that one you were worried about excessive "rights" for immigrants).


Posted by on the bright side, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Aug 30, 2013 at 10:37 am

[Post removed.]


Posted by A different way to think about this., a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 30, 2013 at 10:37 am

I am less interested in hearing how we compare to other districts than I am in hearing how we are doing compared to previous years performance. Are we doing better or worse?

I tell my kids all of the time not to compare themselves to others, but to set goals for themselves and to make sure that they are moving toward meaningful goals that amount to real personal growth. I wish our district would do the same.


Posted by Alphonso, a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Aug 30, 2013 at 10:37 am

I doubt the relatively low Black and Hispanic scores have much to do with the way the kids are taught in the schools. Unless you want to focus on the real causes (economics, parental involvement and lack of peer pressure) nothing will change. It all comes down to something very simple - focused effort.


Posted by Doing something right, a resident of Ohlone School
on Aug 30, 2013 at 11:03 am

Ohlone is doing something right - scores are significantly up for all groups Y/Y:
Web Link

Disabled: +119 points
Socioeconomically Disadvantaged: +81
Hispanic: +22
White: +27
Asian: +9
Overall: +26

Ohlone's overall score (946) is now about the same as Addison's (948).
Not bad for a school that doesn't teach to the test.
We should share some of the learnings with Barron Park Elementary (870) to help them along.


Posted by Member, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 30, 2013 at 11:06 am

6th out of how' many k-12 districts? How many k-12 districts were ranked?


Posted by palo verde parent, a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 30, 2013 at 11:51 am

@ data please

I am a little perplexed by your statement below and am not sure what I am missing. How can we be near the bottom if we are above the state average? I guess there could be some data points that are real outliers causing the average to be much lower than the median but I don't know how likely that would be. I would imagine that if we are above the average (and I understand this is different than the mean) chances are we are better than close to 50% of the districts. How does that put us near the bottom? Where did you see the list of districts that placed us near the bottom? Just trying to get an accurate picture of the data.

"Our scores place us 6th in the state overall but our scores for minority and low income students, compared against minority and low income students in other districts, are near the bottom. We are slightly better than the statewide average for those students,"


Posted by Doing something right, a resident of Ohlone School
on Aug 30, 2013 at 11:52 am

Just for some perspective:

Los Altos and Cupertino school districts are only K-8 and outperform Palo Alto K-8 schools. This may be due to Palo Alto's higher diversity, but it would be interesting to see if Asian/Whites in Los Altos/Cupertino perform better than those in Palo Alto.






Posted by Fred, a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 30, 2013 at 11:52 am

Re: Ohlone. I've noticed from now 15 years of watching these things that the scores bounce around a fair amount from year to year, so y/y results don't tell you a lot. The kids changing, random chance, etc. play more of a role. Probably better to take a 3 year moving average and look at trends than compare y/y changes or across schools on a single year of testing.


Posted by Mr.Recycle, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 30, 2013 at 12:31 pm

What happened at Duveneck last year? Dropped 18 points from 974 to 956.


Posted by data please, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Aug 30, 2013 at 12:45 pm

@pvp Just glancing at the Ed Trust West ranking posted above by Chris, but not reported in the story (!) you can see that PAUSD ranks 134 out of 146 districts statewide for improvement among students of color. That is near or at the bottom.

In addition, PAUSD also ranks 40/148 for performance levels among students of color and 70/148 for perfomance levels among low income students. That means that there are many many districts -- dozens of districts -- that are doing better at educating poor and minority students than we are, but only 5 that are doing better at educating whites and Asians. That is the problem.

If we are 6th in the state -- then we should be 6th in the state for all groups. Why are we 6th in the state for whites and Asians but 40th or 70th for black, Latino, and poor kids? Think for a minute before you render a knee jerk answer.

In order to be 6th for whites and Asians but 40th for students of color (those gaps are actually larger in high school and in math in particular) we have to be doing worse for our minority students than other, similar, districts do for their minority students. It means that if we compare our white students to other white students (non-poor) then we are at the top, but if we compare our black students or our poor students to other black or poor students, we fall precipitously in the rankings.

Unless you think PAUSD URM students are worse than the URM students elsewhere, the only reasonable explanation is that something is happening in PAUSD that makes us do worse for those students than other districts do. Perhaps we have low expectations for minority students (see, e.g., the Paly math letter). Perhaps we shunt them all in to special ed dumping grounds (see, letter from State of California finding disproportionality). [Portion removed.] But whatever the reason, we aren't 6th in the state for our minority students. We are at best 40th. In some subjects in math and science we are nearly dead last.


Posted by Parent & teacher in another district, a resident of Addison School
on Aug 30, 2013 at 12:49 pm

I have to ask the same question that another parent raised, how many K-12 school districts are there in California?
I guess the new PR manager is working in PAUSD -- nice spin!


Posted by Tired of all this, a resident of Professorville
on Aug 30, 2013 at 1:09 pm

Palo Altans, let's get over ourselves. Not everything has to be #1 in Palo Alto lest it trigger a feeding frenzy like this on Town Square. Honestly, our kids will do just fine even in a less-than-perfect school setting.


Posted by palo verde parent, a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 30, 2013 at 1:25 pm

@ data please

Where can I find a list of all k-12 districts with their API's for underrepresented minorities etc. The Ed Trust West ranking I find is a ranking based on a variety of things including improvement. And I would bet if you measured the amount of improvement of our Asians and Caucasian students their improvement would be poor as well. Improvement percent is not a great indicator for many districts as previous scores can easily skew that data (in both directions). Schools that have VERY low scores can show a big improvement but still score far below our students in various categories. I would love to see just a straight API score (in descending order) for all K-12 districts (not magnet or speciality schools) for each of the sub groups. If you know where to find that I would really appreciate the link.


Posted by Fun in learning, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 30, 2013 at 1:35 pm

I'm happy with the scores either way. I'm glad that our schools don't force the kids to practice the exam questions on the daily basis like other schools. It's important to have fun in learning.


Posted by Other issues, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 30, 2013 at 1:39 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Posted by Surprised, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Aug 30, 2013 at 2:23 pm

I am actually surprised that PAUSD sored as high as it did. I have not yet compared this year's s ores, but last year many districts in less affluent regions ( such as Fremont, Danville, San Ramon) scored higher.

I suspect that higher incidences of parent involvement in certain communities other than PA are why so many districts performed better.


Posted by Bob, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 30, 2013 at 3:17 pm

> Equality

What is equality? Does it exist anywhere in world? What political system has managed to mandate total equality for the people living in that system? Equality simply does not exist. We can create mandates that all children must attend school, but how does the State implement this mandate so that all children are equally educated, so that all children get the same grades on tests, that all children are able to transition into adult life and get jobs that pay the same, and with this State-mandated education---live lives that are equally prosperous and equally long?

What system of State mandates has ever produced true equality for its people? Why do some people seem to think that government can mandate/guarantee equality of outcome?

As to children with special needs, how do State schools serve children who are not capable of learning, or working, at the same levels as their peers? If the State can not determine an course of education that is truly equal, so that these kids test at the same levels as their peers, and join the work force and live truly productive lives—then is it your contention that these children have been discriminated against?

It would seem obvious that there is no equality in life, and therefore no true equality in any State-mandated education system. Currently, it seems that extra-accommodations are made for many of those with various learning problems. But if, at the end of these efforts, these children still have learning disabilities—what exactly do you believe the State should do, and what financial liabilities do you think that the State should be responsible for each of these children?

At some point, once the State's efforts at educating disabled students has come to an end, then parents should look to other sources for help for their children.


Posted by objectivity, a resident of Meadow Park
on Aug 30, 2013 at 3:18 pm

My issue with this story is that it just repeats the district's press release without getting any comments from anyone else. I agree with the poster who was deleted. It's not objective reporting to just print the PR officer's spin. The ED Trust D+ should be right in the story. SEAN should be asked to comment. Where is the balance and other perspectives/voices? Why just type up the press release?


Posted by mom mom mom , a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Aug 30, 2013 at 4:19 pm

A question I have is the following:

Are there many school districts in California, outside Palo Alto and San Mateo county, where students from poorer communities (eg East Palo Alto) go to school in more affluent communities (eg Palo Alto).

The reason I am asking is that unfortunately, performance on such tests are tightly tied to socio economic level. Thus, there will be less difference in test scores between white and black of lower socio economic level living in the same poorer community than there would be between whites from an affluent community vs. blacks from a poorer community (even if they attend the same schools!).

Our Tinsley arrangement might actually skew the achievement gap if other California school districts do not have Tinsley style arrangements.

Also, I see on the that Education Trust-West report that URM students in Palo Alto have an overall achievement rated as a B. That's not bad. A would be better of course, and I am sure teachers are striving for that, but B is not a disaster.


Posted by Sara, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 30, 2013 at 4:59 pm

6th in the state.... and the state is 48th/ 49th in the country. You all know the saying from the California Board of Education...."thank god for Mississippi (50th)."

This is nothing to be proud of. Our state is a mess, the public educational system is mess, and the sooner people recognize this basic fact instead of being myopic about which school in PAUSD is better, the sooner we might be able to affect major change in the state.

Look at Educate our State Educateourstate.org. Get involved in a positive way. If you want to make a difference, then Stop bickering about what "Tiger Parent" really means and do something positive.

We are all failing the children of this state.




Posted by Just saying..., a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 30, 2013 at 5:23 pm

re: Just for some perspective:

"Los Altos and Cupertino school districts are only K-8 and outperform Palo Alto K-8 schools."

Not true. There is a district in San Jose (Union SD) that has comparable scores. Also, Los Gatos produces solid stats.

Instead of looking at API results, look at the SIMILAR SCHOOLS ranking.

Jordan was a 7/10.
JLS was a 5/10.
Terman was a 9/10.

SIMILAR SCHOOLS looks at 100 other "similar" schools in student populations, whether it be in ethnicity, financial status, or other educational "opportunities".

(5/10 and 7/10 are NOT good scores)


Posted by mom mom mom , a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Aug 30, 2013 at 6:18 pm

Of all the SIMILAR schools listed in the API reports, which ones have Tinsley style agreements? I am really curious about this. For example, do Fremont, Orinda or Moraga have Tinsley type agreements? Are we comparing really comparable situations?


Posted by sam, a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 30, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Palo Alto is lacking in equality for their students. All students must be treated the same or else we will continue to have a horrendous gap in scores between privileged, over-entitled white and asian students, versus the deserving and underserved minority and disabled children.

Parents should not interfere, they must allow the school to educate equally, even if this means Palo Alto should ban extra cost tutors and outside help for those over-represented, over-privileged students. That is only fair for the egalitarian society that we all want in palo alto.


Posted by A Kinder Parent, a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 30, 2013 at 9:14 pm

I really am surprised at the folks saying the kids success has to do with the parents education and wealth. I don't think that is the real issue. They need to stop complaining that "the School" needs to do a better job for the minority students. It isn't "the School" or "the government" that needs to do a better job - it is the parents.

I ask my Kinder "what did you do in school today?", "what did you learn today?", "What issues came up as school?", and he is learning to share and we discuss the issues. If parents would take an interest, and show support for the education system, (limit TV, pressure the kids to do their homework, etc.) then I suspect we'd see their scores go up.

"The School" can only provide an opportunity - and I know they provide the same opportunities to all the students, regardless of race and socioeconomic status. It is up to the kids to put forth the effort to succeed. It's the old story - You can lead a horse to water...


Posted by Mr.Recycle, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 30, 2013 at 9:22 pm

@Just saying...

Union in SJ is a great district, but did score lower than Palo Alto. 925 vs 932.

@sam - Maybe we could force fathers out of Palo Alto to simulate the underclass and help drive down scores to a more equitable level.


Posted by Carlos, a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 30, 2013 at 10:59 pm

I find it ridiculous to read those ideas about banning private tutors in order to fix the achievement gap. If parents decide to spend their hard-earned money on after-school programs, let's support their lofty goals for their kids. If other parents do not do this because of whatever reasons, I have no problems with it either. Just don't complain when the kids' academic achievements turn out very different,

Bottom line: stop blaming the schools and the hard-working or more talented kids. Life doesn't owe you anything, and if you choose to blame underperformance on socio-economic status or ethnic background, you are not preparing your kids for the real world after their years in the pausd.


Posted by Just Saying..., a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 30, 2013 at 11:10 pm

Posted by Mr.Recycle, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, 1 hour ago

@Just saying...

Union in SJ is a great district, but did score lower than Palo Alto. 925 vs 932.

-------------------------

The difference between a 925 and 932 is minimal. Factor in the over-scheduled students, inflated home prices, and overly involved PA parents and I'll happily recommend other districts such as Union to families. Carlton Avenue received a 10/10 on their similar school ranking. Dartmouth Middle received a 10/10 as well.

Just because you live in Palo Alto and pay a premium for the schools doesn't mean your child is getting a better education.


Posted by Doing something right, a resident of Ohlone School
on Aug 30, 2013 at 11:14 pm

Wasn't this year the final year of the STAR test?

Isn't it going to be replaced by the Common Core Standards test in Spring 2014?


Posted by Mr.Recycle, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 31, 2013 at 9:51 am

@Just Saying - My over priced Palo Alto education did teach me one thing, 932 is greater than 925.

So if you go to San Marino, the #1 scoring district, they are getting 5/10 and 2/10 in their similar school elementary scores. So if you are number one in the state, and can only get those similar school scores, then I'm not sure similar school scores matter.


Posted by common sense, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 31, 2013 at 1:04 pm

@ data please
You wrote "Unless you think PAUSD URM students are worse than the URM students elsewhere, the only reasonable explanation is that something is happening in PAUSD that makes us do worse for those students than other districts do"

A few years ago the district made a policy decision to use Measure A money, in addition to improving existing campuses, to expand the existing schools rather than renovating or rebuilding Cubberley and a new middle school.

Research shows what an optimal school size is, and we were making a policy choice to exceed that. Traditionally disadvantaged groups tend to the be ones who benefit the most from optimally-sized schools, and are hurt the most from ultra-large schools.

We know this, it was considered and rejected in making the policy choices. We should not be surprised by the results.


Posted by E, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Sep 1, 2013 at 10:34 am

Research shows that when trying to integrate children from background that is too far apart the challenged kids are not doing well. Adding more low income students will not likely to help them in the future. Better to integrate children from medium income families - they would benefit the most. Add housing solutions for the city worker families. Subsidies for families with teachers/Nurses/social workers even outside of Palo Alto. These Children will flourish in PAUSD....
Helping low income families should start from the federal level with higher minimum wage and subsidized housing system in areas a bit less affluent than PA.


Posted by data please, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Sep 1, 2013 at 1:24 pm

@common sense, agree strongly that our high schools are too large. There should have been a third high school at Cubberley. There was a high school task force convened in 2008 chaired by Sandra Pearson that was to investigate whether or not to open a third, alternative high school -- one with an SES approach that could be for the 30% of our students that we know are not well served by our current high schools (that number was from the board charge to the task force, by the way). Regrettably, Kevin Skelly was hired and one of his first acts was to tell the High School Task Force that it could not consider a third high school. He took it off the table and decided on his own that we would make Gunn and Paly larger instead.

Dr. Skelly has been a disaster for PAUSD. He killed local desires for a third high school to serve students who are not well-served by Gunn and Paly. He killed the Foothill deAnza campus at Cubberlely and lost $40 million that would have been invested there and would have improved and expanded Middle College. He bungled the suicide response, insisting that he didn't know what "connectedness" was. He actively rebelled against community and board support for implementing an advisory program at Gunn or even expanding Titan 101 to the other grades; made Gunn and Paly larger over strong community concern over high school size, has created a civil rights scandal, has poisoned relations with parents of disabled and special ed students resulting in a proliferation of OCR complaints and potential litigation. We need new leadership. This school board has to step up to the leadership challenges or depart.

@E, what is the research you reference? I am interested.


Posted by No Skelly 4 Me, a resident of University South
on Sep 1, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Kevin Skelly has tarnished the once-good name of PAUSD far and wide. He has no real people skills, which are integral for someone in his position. Despite all his education, he seems uniquely unqualified for the job of superintendent

Did the Board of Education not see any of this when they interviewed him? [Portion removed.]

BTW, being #6 in a state that is #49 out of 50 is simply not impressive! No wonder we lose so many kids to the private schools.


Posted by data please, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Sep 1, 2013 at 1:48 pm

Here's information on the doomed 2007 High School Task force for anyone interested:

Web Link

"The group of teachers, parents, students and district staff was convened last spring under former Superintendent Mary Frances Callan to study ways to meet enrollment growth at high schools. Wednesday was its fourth meeting.

Although initially slated to consider opening a third comprehensive high school, like Paly or Gunn, the group's focus changed after current Superintendent Kevin Skelly arrived in summer.

There won't be enough students for at least five years to need to look at another comprehensive high school, Skelly said in meetings with the high-school principals, group facilitators, and Assistant Superintendent Scott Laurence, who acts as the group's district liaison.

Instead, the task force should focus on programs to help the 20 to 30 percent of students who don't thrive in the comprehensive setting, Skelly said."

And here:Web Link

"Skelly, who has said at other meetings that he does not believe larger schools mean lesser educational quality, attempted to nudge — or push — board members toward consensus that exploring curriculum improvement is more important than exploring a third school.

"We want to be clear that two high schools with alternative programs for kids is a better option," he told the board.

"Examining or building a third high school would diminish our ability to serve our kids," he warned. Resources for programs such as comprehensive foreign language would be spread too thin, he said."

And here's a letter to the editor from a task force parent member who specifically said that the task force expected to discuss a third high school and that Dr. Skelly told them that they couldn't (Web Link):

Third high school?

Editor,

As a parent member of the High School Task Force, I would like to correct the reporting that appeared in the Weekly on Sept. 14 regarding the decision by the HSTF to drop consideration of a third high school as a potential remedy to the school district's projected growth in enrollment. The story reported that "over the summer ... task-force members grappled with their task" and determined that they did not "feel qualified to look at whether the district should re-open a third high school."

In fact, the HSTF had one introductory meeting last May and did not meet again until Sept. 19. The decision to eliminate the consideration of a third high school was, to my knowledge, made by the superintendent and his advisers and not by the HSTF.

Any representation that this decision reflected the position of the HSTF as a group is simply incorrect.

While the decision to table consideration of a third high school may, in fact, be the correct judgment on this matter, it is an option that I would like to have had the opportunity to consider as part of the HSTF's agenda.

It is disingenuous and self-serving to say that the HSTF did not feel qualified to study this alternative. The HSTF is comprised of people representing a cross-section of the community and we are highly motivated to assist our community in reaching the most effective solution addressing the enrollment issue.

Corey A. Levens

Glenbrook Drive

Palo Alto








Posted by gcoladon, a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 1, 2013 at 3:00 pm

gcoladon is a registered user.

Could anyone please show me the reference for the claim that California's schools rank 49th out of 50? The only statistic that seems to come close to that claim is this one:

Web Link

CA 49th in spending, per child. What gauge do we have for CA student achievement levels vs those of the other states?


Posted by Carlos, a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 1, 2013 at 3:27 pm

As some of you have pointed out, trying to integrate kids from extremely different socio-economic backgrounds into the PAUSD (e.g. Tinsley program) is just a recipe for disaster.

Being a Latin-american immigrant myself, I can guarantee you that the achievement gap some of you are crying about also happens in the countries of origin of many of these underperforming kids. It's not that PAUSD is making it difficult for them. These kids' family situations simply won't allow them to do well in a high-performing school district like ours, regardless of their ethnicity.

It's time to stop feeling guilty about this situation. We cannot blame the schools, the white/asian kids, PAUSD leadership for these realities of life. If these underperforming kids do not make a serious effort to create a better future for themselves given all the opportunities PAUSD has given them, I do not see what else we can offer them.


Posted by Sigh..., a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 1, 2013 at 4:20 pm

"BTW, being #6 in a state that is #49 out of 50 is simply not impressive!"

So do you mean that because California ranks 49th then every school in all the 48 states ranked above California is better than the top California school?

Let me put it another way, I've seen a survey where Massachusetts is ranked as the top state for public education. So that means that the worst public high school in Massachusetts is still better than PAUSD?


Posted by Leeza, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 2, 2013 at 10:43 am

I don't think the Tinsley program is helping these kids on an emotional level. They are placed in a school with high achievement and they are becoming socially and academically isolated.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 2, 2013 at 10:54 am

What will be interesting to see in the future is whether the demand for Tinsley (currently more applicants than spots available) will drop off 5-8 years from now. SUHSD is looking to change its attendance boundaries - where all of EPA will be slated to attend M-A....a very good school. The families can still choose to attend one of the other SUHSD high schools, but with reduced travel/commute and the advantage of going to the same school as your friends and neighbors, M-A may become the preferred HS for most EPA families in the future.


Posted by just wondering, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 2, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Crescent Park Dad - that is a good point. M-A has a reputation of a school that is trying to serve all students. That reputation have also some of the more affluent families in the area (Stanford professors and more) choosing to send their kids to M-A, expressing their belief that diversity also serves their own kids. The elementary level is not going to be impacted by the boundary change, though.


Posted by Culloden, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 2, 2013 at 3:04 pm

[Post removed.]


Posted by Cyber genie, a resident of Stanford
on Sep 2, 2013 at 3:10 pm

@Sigh: No silly, it means the #6 schools HERE cannot hold a candle to the #6 schools of the higher-ranked 48 states!


Posted by Palo Verde Parent, a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 2, 2013 at 4:01 pm

@ cyber genie

"No silly, it means the #6 schools HERE cannot hold a candle to the #6 schools of the higher-ranked 48 states!"

Really? Where did you get that data? I believe any ranking comes from an overall performance average for the schools in each state. The top 10 districts in CA (and maybe more) are likely outliers and there is no way to determine how they compare to a top 10 school in a different state using this ranking. It seems to me that all the PAUSD nay sayers would be much happier if they cashed in on the local real estate market and moved to a different district. Many people will tell you they moved here because of the outstanding school district. If I didn't feel the school district was a VERY good district and I wasn't happy with the education my children were receiving I would certainly move somewhere else!


Posted by Sara, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 2, 2013 at 5:16 pm

From:

Web Link

scroll down the article and you will find.....

"As it happens, California's level of its funding lines up pretty neatly with the performance of its students.

Much as it ranks 49th on cost-adjusted per-pupil spending, its nationwide standing in academic performance on math and English tests among fourth- and eighth-graders ranges from 46th to 49th, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress -- the most authoritative source of interstate comparison on academic performance."

Agh. And we're stuck with spending $$$ on Skelly's PR director.


Posted by Mr.Recycle, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 2, 2013 at 10:03 pm

@just wondering - M-A is a fine school and may have a reputation for serving all students, but African Americans at Paly score better than M-A, Hispanics score better at Paly than M-A, and the socioeconomically advantaged do better at Paly. The only group that's doing better at M-A is white kids. So not sure why everyone is crapping on the job PAUSD is doing for the non-whites/non-asians.


Posted by just wondering, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2013 at 7:19 am

Mr.Recycle - the % of minorities, the achievements of sub groups relative to the school's overall API score etc. makes Paly's Achievement Gap pretty clear.


Posted by Mr.Recycle, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 3, 2013 at 10:48 am

@just wondering - The gap is lower between african american students and white students at Paly than at M-A. Second, who cares about the gap, look at the positive results - they do better here than they would otherwise. The whole idea of moving kids out of their community to be a minority (racially and economically) is problematic, and will create handicaps that are impossible to completely overcome. Local charters schools are ultimately a better option.


Posted by gcoladon, a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 3, 2013 at 9:23 pm

gcoladon is a registered user.

@ Sara, thanks!


Posted by OPar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 4, 2013 at 8:23 pm

So I'm interested mom mom mom's question. What is the socio-economic gap between our high achieving white/Asians and URMs?

The Tinsley situation is really, really unusual in that it imports URM kids from outside of the district. This means, among other things, that there is a huge gap in housing prices for in-district residents and out-of-district residents. In just about every other high-achieving district I know of, high test scores go along with high housing prices. It's not a one-to-one correspondence--other factors impact housing prices, but low housing prices and high-achieving districts don't go together.

I'd be surprised if the size of the achievement gap *didn't* reflect the socioeconomic gap.


Posted by probably too late for this thread, a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 12, 2013 at 7:11 am

SEAN should get involved in doing volunteer work at Barron Park. They may see a difference in teaching style from their North PA schools and be able to influence the new principal there. They will also see clearly why some people were opposed to the new graduation requirements.


Posted by paly parent, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 12, 2013 at 10:00 am

@probably too late... What is the difference in teaching style at Barron Park vs. North PA schools? What does teaching style at Barron Park have to do with high school graduation requirements, especially since it is an elementary school?

BTW - for those who don't know, SEAN is the Student Equity Action Network. Web Link


Posted by Seriously, a resident of Walter Hays School
on Sep 12, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Everyday Math was forced upon PAUSD by the former Barron Park principal. She believed the faulty math program would help her school's math scores despite nationwide data stating the program was panned, even by inner city schools. Now, Barron Park children will fall further behind due to disengaged families.

There are no teaching differences, it's just that North PA has more stay-at-home moms to help their children and parents with more money for tutors to make up for any teaching discrepancies.


Posted by Michele Dauber, a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 12, 2013 at 1:02 pm

I agree with you about EDM being pretty lousy (though the situation before EDM with no curriculum at all was also sub optimal and amother problematic instance of site based control. I don't think Barron Park parents are "disengaged." They love their children and are engaged. They are often busier keeping food on the table and a roof overhead than people fortunate enough not to have to worry about those things. They also don't typically have the same degree of education as many PA residents. But that's not about "engagement."

I agree with your larger point that poor kids are at a disadvantage in PAUSD generally and in math in particular due to the lack of resources for tutoring. I wonder why we have schools in which not being able to have a tutor is a disadvantage.


Posted by Seriously, a resident of Walter Hays School
on Sep 12, 2013 at 1:23 pm

@Michele: I agree with your first paragraph. I meant "disengaged" not "disinterested." And thank you for not going on a rampage about disadvantaged minority students. They are clearly disadvantaged and need to have the inner discipline to help overcome it. From what I have seen, many do not have it. And from having children at Paly who have all the advantages and still find some regular lanes challenging, I wonder how the disadvantaged students can keep up. But I have found most Paly teachers to be very caring and most will stay after school to help if a student needs it. And to your point about why we need tutors, when the schools make it so difficult and assign so much homework, what happens? Parents don't want their children to earn zeros, so they "help" them and hire tutors if they can. It's Palo Alto's dirty secret while the teachers just think our children are all geniuses and keep piling it on. College will be so much easier with 3 classes; what a shame.

Check out these two threads about rigor in PAUSD, the first one currently at 6800 viewings:

Web Link

Web Link



Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 12, 2013 at 1:44 pm

>> "College will be so much easier with 3 classes..."

I'd question the future success of anyone who pays full college tuition and only takes 3 classes.


Posted by How did we get here?, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 12, 2013 at 1:50 pm

Michele,

"I wonder why we have schools in which not being able to have a tutor is a disadvantage."

If we had an honest answer to your question, we could also answer why we need a whole fair to let families know the community options to provide, "academic support, mental health services, recreation and volunteer activities"

I would suggest that if there was no need to have academic support after school, or mental health services appointments, you could have time for recreation (including to do nothing or take a nap after school), and you could do something fewer and fewer kids see as a normal way of life (now instead are part of their resume), such as church, scouts, helping out the neighbors with a chore, or having a job.

Even volunteering has taken on outrageous demands. You can't just do something good for others, it has to count towards the 100 or whatever it is hours for President's award, and better if your volunteerism includes destinations like Fiji. Or you actually find a cure for a disease or have developed a master plan to eradicate poverty, for which you also have another award, or it doesn't count of course.

Achievement.


Posted by paly parent, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 12, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Musical - If a college is on the quarter system, taking 3 or 4 classes a quarter is the normal load. (You take 3 sets of classes per year instead of 2.) Even with the semester load of 5 classes, that is still less than the 6-8 classes that many Paly and Gunn students take


Posted by Michele Dauber, a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 12, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Yeah. Sad.

Here's an awesome bit of levity though for all you PAUSD board meeting watchers out there:

Web Link


Posted by Our experience, a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 12, 2013 at 10:40 pm

"I wonder why we have schools in which not being able to have a tutor is a disadvantage."

For the record, we've put 1 kid through to college and a second almost done at Gunn, and haven't had a tutor yet. One kid worked pretty hard, got A's; the second one works a little less, gets A's and B's. Both are pretty happy with themselves and neither has expressed any interest in tutors, including (especially?) from mom and dad.

If people want tutors, that's fine. If they don't, that's definitely fine too. Not sure why anyone thinks they are a requirement, or why not having one is a disability. In our experience, you're fine either way.


Posted by how, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 12, 2013 at 11:12 pm

That was funny, thanks for the link M. Dauber

Our experience,

I don't think anybody expresses an interest in tutors, least of all the kids. People tutor their own kids, of make their kids have a tutor for a variety of reasons. To be ahead of the class is a well known use, I know many parents who do this, then there arekids who actually struggle and need a tutor to keep up.

You're lucky your kids never needed a tutor, and your kids are lucky that you didn't force tutoring on them.






Posted by Our experience, a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 12, 2013 at 11:49 pm

"You're lucky your kids never needed a tutor, and your kids are lucky that you didn't force tutoring on them."

Thanks, but I think we are not so much lucky as just typical. Some kids need extra help; most don't. Some kids get enrichment and acceleration; most don't. Most kids like mine are in the middle - don't need tutors, don't get 'em, and certainly don't feel the lack of them.


Posted by Seriously, a resident of Walter Hays School
on Sep 13, 2013 at 12:48 am

Completely disagree. I never thought I'd pay for tutors for my children, thinking it was for the struggling students or the Tiger kids who want to be ahead of the game. We are in neither category. We've just had some shitty teachers who don't teach well and can't change classes based upon the teacher. And no one announces they are using tutors, so it can't be assumed that people aren't using them. There are many tutoring businesses and they'd go belly-up if there were no customers. Certain accelerated math and science classes at Paly have the majority of students paying for tutors. Even the regular science classes aren't always a piece of cake since they use college textbooks.

"One kid worked pretty hard, got A's". Yes, the kid could have had an easier time if s/he had a tutor instead of trying to figure it out on her own.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 13, 2013 at 7:46 am

Hated the idea of doing it, but we have at times paid for one or other of our kids to have a tutor. Sometimes it is just to help them get caught up when they have really fallen behind or don't understand a subject from poor teaching or an absence due to health reasons keeping them out of school for a couple of days. Usually it is just for a short period, but we have just started one for a longer term because of several reasons. Speaking with other parents, I know that when a tutor is just for a short time, parents don't consider it as real tutoring.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 13, 2013 at 8:21 am

Following on from my previous post.

When we have had to take 2 or 3 days off school for severe flu, it has been hard for students to catch up. Apart from missing the teaching, the homework load is doubled for the first couple of days back. When a child has been throwing up for a couple of days and returns to school while still not fully eating, they do not have the strength or energy to do regular school homework the first day back. Instead, they get a double load.

The policy whereby that if they miss 2 days school they only have 2 days to catch up is very hard on a growing child who has been very sick. I am not talking about a bad cold, but when they are throwing up for 12 hours and not eating for 24 hours and only eating BRAT on returning to school when really they should still be taking it easy.


Posted by Our experience, a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 13, 2013 at 10:55 am

"Certain accelerated math and science classes at Paly have the majority of students paying for tutors."

Curious how you know this. I ask my kids about this from time to time and they say they have no idea. I have seen others assert this as a known fact, but always wonder how they know. My kids seem to do ok without it, so I figure either it is exaggerated or the tutors don't make a big impact.

"'One kid worked pretty hard, got A's'. Yes, the kid could have had an easier time if s/he had a tutor instead of trying to figure it out on her own."

Sure. But we didn't see working hard as a problem that needed to be solved; it was part of the process of trying and succeeding (or not). But if others want to use tutors, that's ok too. We hired a hitting coach to work with my kid in softball one season - is that an unfair advantage, or just helpful parenting?


Posted by How did we get here?, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2013 at 11:53 am



Our experience,

"Curious how you know this"

about the majority of accelerated students having tutors?

I hear it from parents themselves, pride mixed with "it's a given" they make sure their kid is at least one week ahead of the class.

When hiring a tutor ourselves for a "keeping up" situation (not ahead, not struggling), the tutor explained that it was very important to set the time aside for the tutor to teach the material ahead of the class, as that is the way he works with most of his students.

The other thing that is sometimes not counted as tutoring is nurture. For example engineer parents who have their kids doing Calculus before middle school. Not just tigers either,but garden variety engineer families.

When you add up the nurture of these kids in the Math and Science classes, the kids look really smart to the teacher, and the rest look stupid.

There is dumb math, and dumbed down class.

Some people get a tutor just so they are not in the dumb lane.

Never ever heard of any of this?


Posted by Sheila, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Tutoring and private coaching are unfair advantages, but life isn't fair. We've used both and our children benefitted greatly. It's not cheating because it's available to anyone who can pay for it. If people don't pay for tutoring, there are parents who tutor their own children - same thing, only cheaper. I'm right-brained so cannot help with the math/science that they teach in high school these days.

@Parent: Sorry to hear this. Yes, it's really difficult when they miss class, depending on the teacher. Some just go to school sick.


Posted by thoughts, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2013 at 12:13 pm

"engineer parents who have their kids doing Calculus before middle school"

How many kids like these are there - 1 every few years? The most advanced student that my child has ever seen is the 1 who hits Calculus in 10th grade out of 500. Maybe that student got Calc help from mom and dad in middle school to be able to do that but hardly so many to base much on.

What I've seen more of is kids having help outside of school because, with 35 in a class, it's hard to get all your questions answered. After school the line can be long given that the teacher teaches 120 plus students a day.

I see it as parents trying to replicate a private school's student to teacher ratio (1:60?) for their child but at a much lower price point.


Posted by Mom, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 13, 2013 at 12:58 pm

I disagree with Sheila that tutoring isn't unfair because it is "available to everyone who can pay for it." Not everyone can pay for it; there shouldn't be a need to pay for tutoring or helplessly watch your child struggle and fall behind especially in a top district. And not everyone has engineer parents.

To go back to the original topic of this thread, tutoring is so ubiquitous that I wonder whether PAUSD would be ranked 6 without all the tutoring?


Posted by Our experience, a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 13, 2013 at 2:19 pm

"I hear it from parents themselves, pride mixed with "it's a given" they make sure their kid is at least one week ahead of the class."

That sounds like a small sample (parents you personally talk to about this topic), plus if they are bragging about it they may be exaggerating a bit. My kids and their friends report very little personal tutor use. I imagine the truth is somewhere in the middle, but who knows.

I'm sure a little of everything happens among our ~4000 high school students, but our experience has been that our kids didn't need tutors and did/are doing fine. Some people want to use them - fine by me.


Posted by Our experience, a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 13, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Mom wrote: "there shouldn't be a need to helplessly watch your child struggle and fall behind especially in a top district"

I agree, this shouldn't happen. What level are we talking about though? At the high school level, the primary solution to this problem is course selection. I am proud that my younger kid dropped down a lane in a couple areas, recognizing that the top lane workload was more than she wanted to take on. I applaud her good judgment.

At the elementary level, it's different. If a kid can't keep up with 4th grade math or reading, then there needs to be supplemental resources to keep him/her on track. I have not heard much about this concern at the elementary level though.


Posted by Been There, Done That, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 13, 2013 at 2:35 pm

@Mom, as a parent who has paid for tutors, I completely agree that it's unfair that not everyone can afford it, and question why we should need them. There is a whole thread on there being too much homework and rigor in PAUSD: Web Link

I see the elementary parents with wide-eyed pride that they could afford a house in Palo Alto. But they don't know what lurks behind the scenes - the expenses of tutoring ($50-$100/hour), the assistance students need from the parents due to teachers overloading them with too difficult homework or too much homework, private coaching, extracurriculars, expensive camps. It's a candy store living in Palo Alto - so many opportunities here and in cities close by. One needs more money than just the allotted amount for mortgage payments. And don't forget about saving for college tuition.


Posted by Been There, Done That, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 13, 2013 at 2:41 pm

@Our Experience: No, course selection isn't the solution. TEACHER selection would be the solution, but it's not possible. There are regular lane teachers who are much too challenging. Likewise, my older child has taken AP or higher lanes where the class is like an easy regular lane class. There ought to be some sort of teacher evaluations that would reflect if teachers keep their jobs or not. Their salary is $120,000. Their goals should be to help children learn and succeed, not torture them to learn the teacher's favorite subject. There are some remarkable teachers who understand the concept of just the right amount of homework, and plenty of learning. There are other teachers with big egos about their subjects.


Posted by Our experience, a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 13, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Perhaps. I'm sure the teacher is a factor. But I think most would agree that, say, regular US History is less work than APUSH, that Chem 1 is less than Chem H, and that dropping down a math lane usually results in less work and/or better grade. That has been our experience for sure.


Posted by Watch out PAEA!, a resident of Terman Middle School
on Sep 13, 2013 at 7:24 pm

A good teacher can make all the difference for a student, struggling to gifted, but a bad one can set back a student for years, especially in killing a love of learning. Are you listening, Teri Baldwin, PAEA preisdent? Palo Altans, you know it's true: not all PAUSD teachers demonstrate the same ability to teach children, therefore they should not be paid the same rate and they should not get the same raise. We are about a year away from teachers demanding another raise regardless of ability.


Posted by Gunn parent, a resident of Gunn High School
on Sep 14, 2013 at 8:44 am

Tutoring is a huge hidden issue. District surveys have shown that it is very common (I have been on the site council where this was mentioned). The problem is that it is invisible so students don't realize that their peers are getting outside help and teachers think everything is going great and students who don't get the material are just lazy. In fact they don't have outside tutors.


Posted by Interesting but, a resident of Mayfield
on Sep 14, 2013 at 10:41 am

" District surveys have shown that it is very common (I have been on the site council where this was mentioned"

Has anyone else heard of this? I wonder what surveys? Has anyone seen them? I don't recall seeing that in the strategic planning surveys, which is the only ones I know that widely surveys parents. It would be more helpful if it broke down tutoring by level and purpose - e.g., SAT class vs. help for a stuggling student vs. striving to get ahead.


Posted by Interesting but, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Sep 14, 2013 at 11:03 am

I dug around and did find elementary level data on this from the EDM surveys, here: Web Link

57% did report their child received "outside math assistance." The most common by far was "regular tutoring by a parent or sibling" for up to 2 hours a week. Online and in-person programs were a distant second. When asked why, the top 3 reasons were "more challenge," "more variety," and "my child likes math." There was a significant minority who cited "my child needs to do better at math."

This puts a little color on tutoring, though it is at the elementary level. I'm not sure if it makes out tutoring to be a bad thing. It would be interesting to see high school reports, though I didn't see anything that covered it.


Posted by Mom, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 14, 2013 at 11:24 am

There were questions in the strategic plan about tutoring. In 2008, 45% of all parents and 43% of high school students reported using a tutor, and the largest reason why (20%) reported that was to keep up. See page 44:

Web Link

This is a truly mind-boggling proportion of district students using paid tutoring. Again, why do we have a district in which it is a disadvantage not to have a tutor, what are the implications for our district's quality if so many families need outside assistance to "keep up"? This is a very large hidden subsidy of the district with private funds -- clearly the teaching in the schools is insufficient, and students without financial resources are disadvantaged.


Posted by paly parent, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 14, 2013 at 11:37 am

@our experience - you are correct that being in the wrong lane can lead to struggling, but (to use your example) last year was the first year that Paly offered Chem 1, before that the lowest lane was Honors Chemistry.

Teachers make a HUGE difference. A good teacher that believes everyone can learn will teach all their students. While there are many great teachers in our District, many at the middle and high school level are on auto-pilot.


Posted by Our experience, a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 14, 2013 at 5:15 pm

@paly parent - that's interesting. You sure about that with Chem H? At Gunn, the Chem H teachers have for at least the last several years aggressively encouraged kids to drop to Chem 1 if they had any misgivings at all about the workload or difficulty in Chem H, and many do, in addition to those who never sign up. Chem H is treated as a weed-out course, definitely not for everyone. I can't imagine it being the only pre-AP Chem option at Gunn.


Posted by Interesting but, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Sep 14, 2013 at 5:33 pm

@Mom from Evergreen Park - thanks for that survey link from 2008. I can't find anything the 2012 "refresh" survey that tracks that.

Not sure I agree with your conclusion that 15-20% of kids using a tutor to "keep up" is "mind-boggling." If the kid (or parent) wants to see an A rather that a B in a challenging class, tutoring is an obvious option. (So is dropping a lane, but not everyone is comfortable with that.) That doesn't seem like an indictment of the district's quality of teaching, etc. It does reflect that the community values learning and academic performance, and invests time and money to pursue it.


Posted by Been There, Done That, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 14, 2013 at 7:05 pm

Re Paly parents statement that only Chem Honors was available: Regular lane chemistry has always been available. The science class names have changed over the years. They finally put the "H" next to the honors class names so it's obviously an honors class and they can earn honors credit (duh). Prior, they used "1A" for the higher lane so the colleges had to look at the class names to know that 1A was a higher lane.

Bio 1A (regular lane)
Chem 1 or Chem 1A (Honors)
Physics 1 and Physics 1A (Honors)

2011
Bio 1A (regular lane)
Chem 1A (regular lane, NOT honors) or Chem H
Physics 1 or Physics 1A (Honors)

2012
Bio or Bio H
Chemistry or Chem H
Physics or Physics H

2009
Exploratory Thinking (regular lane), Critical Thinking (Accelerated)

2013
English 9 or English 9A (Accelerated)


I think there was an issue with Humanities a year or two ago, where students took the honors class but did not get the honors credit because Paly didn't submit some paperwork for approval.


If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Services, Dining and Shopping Downtown in Palo Alto
By Steve Levy | 16 comments | 2,167 views

Handmade truffle shop now open in downtown Palo Alto
By Elena Kadvany | 2 comments | 1,880 views

It's the End of the World as We Know It: "Snowpiercer"
By Anita Felicelli | 1 comment | 1,446 views

What is the new couple's paradigm these days?
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,109 views

Why is doing nothing so difficult?
By Sally Torbey | 7 comments | 946 views