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Board to discuss testing, new facilities tonight

New pilot lunch program at Terman, district's yearly goals also on agenda

For the first time in years, Palo Alto students this spring will not take state-wide, standardized tests following legislation that cancels the California STAR test in preparation for a not-yet-finalized replacement.

The Board of Education tonight will discuss possible ways to gather achievement data in the interim on Palo Alto's 12,500 K-12 students.

Earlier, several board members suggested the district independently purchase the old test as a means to gather data this year, but school district staff reports that test booklets and machine scoring will not be available, making it impossible to merge new data with that of previous years.

However, Palo Alto students will participate in pilot-testing of a new standardized assessment program known as Smarter Balance, being developed to measure achievement under the newly adopted Common Core State Standards.

The district also maintains a database of other standardized assessment results, including the DRA trimester reading assessments, trimester math assessments and the ERB writing test.

In other business tonight, the board will discuss the planning process for a new elementary school in Palo Alto, a location for which is to be selected by May.

Also tonight, the board will hear an update on the district's annual goals, discuss a solicitation of bids for construction of a new performing arts center at Palo Alto High School and continuing a Terman Middle School pilot program that uses a new contractor, ChoiceLunch, to provide meals to the school.

Following a 5 p.m. closed session to discuss legal matters, the board will convene in open session at 6:30 p.m. in the boardroom of school district headquarters, 25 Churchill Ave.

Chris Kenrick

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