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Back to school in July

Original post made on Jul 31, 2013

Nearly 150 Palo Alto elementary and middle-school teachers returned to school Monday for an optional four-day "summer institute on the teaching of writing."

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Comments (3)

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Posted by Miss Management
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 31, 2013 at 10:50 am

There are no comments here for a number of reasons: it's summer, the article is fluff, and it lacks detail. But there are some nuggets here. One, the teachers are being paid to attend and that motivates. Two, PAUSD has oodles of money and doesn't need extra PiE donations, parcel taxes, or even more bond funds. Cathy Mak said she is getting $5 ready to be spent. Three, Kathleen Meagher is very busy but does not do much. Now, Kelly Bikle gets a newly-created position with more money and will free up Meagher to do more things. This is all smoke and mirrors. The focus needs to be on the success of the students. How well are all students doing academically and emotionally? That is the question that we should be asking everyday. Most of the students are doing well because, in part, most of the teachers are doing well. The problem is that this training reaches a fraction of the staff and it will result in fractional implementation, or site-based or classroom-based implementation and fractional success. We are spending a lot of money, but how will we demonstrate that all of our students are achieving?

Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 31, 2013 at 12:56 pm

$5 --> $5M

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Posted by Maybe this will help
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 31, 2013 at 8:21 pm

My daughter spent three years at Jordan and two at Paly, and has escaped with no substantive training in writing. Th teachers range from unskilled to unaware to unorganized. Honestly, writing instruction in this district is a joke. There is no evidence of a curriculum, none of the teachers seem to understand that they are part of a system whereby one year builds upon previous years work. In fact, quite the contrary, each teacher feels 'empowered' to ignore any concept of teaching the curriculum and they all seem to do their own thing. No textbooks, no standards, no goals - it is an unmanaged mish-mash of disorganized individuals operating without any coordination.
Worse, the school throws new teachers into this mess with little or no guidance, curriculum, texts, skills or training. Ms Snell (Paly) even lacked basic skills of communicating. How can a teacher explain writing, when she cannot even write the assignment on the board? Really? How is that going to work?

Parents if you want your kid to learn to write, teach them yourself, or get a tutor. The system ( or lack of system) the school has thrown together won't achieve anything.

I hope this writing class lays out an end-to-end systematic writing curriculum 6th to 12th grade. And put an end to the unmanaged individual-driven mess we have today. It is broken.

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