Town Square

Post a New Topic

Palo Alto school board discusses vision, role in annual retreat

Original post made on Aug 12, 2014

The Palo Alto school board met in its annual retreat Tuesday, and with the added opportunity of a new superintendent's fresh set of eyes, struck an optimistic tone on ideas for improving and strengthening protocol, communication and the district's long-term visions.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, August 12, 2014, 5:08 PM

Comments (16)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 12, 2014 at 7:10 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a parent
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 12, 2014 at 9:47 pm

Townsend

"I think many in the community are hungry for a vision -- a vision of our education and what we see ourselves doing,

It's good to refresh visions, and to look at external things, and seek identity. I feel these are about the what and why, but the the issues I've noticed in PAUSD are more about the how.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by parent with a vision
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 13, 2014 at 12:53 am

Can the public address them at this retreat? There is mention of it in the link but no indication of when or how.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on Aug 13, 2014 at 7:57 am

Transparency? Accountability?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Goals
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 13, 2014 at 8:43 am

Evaluation Process for McGee needs to give him goals to:

-Establish a system so parent concerns are responded to, not routinely ignored
-Establish a system so Board members respond to issues parents bring to them, and ensure follow up and action. Administrators only care about problems if you on Board pay attention.
-Reorganize senior administration. Too much power and span of control is under the same people
-Redo goals of senior administrators so they are not focused on succeed at all costs
-Change Special Education Director to someone who does not make the Board look so foolish in the press with bullying, OCR, and silly claims. Manage Special Education Director better.
-Policy to mainstream disabled children may be good, but change goals to no longer pursue it at all costs. Demand true measures of the success or failure. Claims of 100% success by doing nothing but sticking kids in a mainstream classroom with less help cannot be accurate. Failure of this policy has lead to bullying and harm to all students
-Get all new law firms.

FYI, the Board's role is not to do what NSBA tells them to, nor to fight the Federal government, nor to do what PAUSD Administrators tell you to do. Stop fawning over PAUSD Administrators in adoration. It is not your role to motivate them and tell them they are wonderful. That's the job ov Senior Administrators at great expense. Provide oversight instead.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Goals
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 13, 2014 at 9:08 am

@parent with a vision
The meeting is held when children are out of school, when parents do not have child care, so many parents cannot attend the meeting or address the Board.
Is the meeting broadcast?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on Aug 13, 2014 at 9:21 am

@Goals -
Who will check? How?
Who will balance? How?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rajiv Bhateja
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Aug 13, 2014 at 11:50 am

One only hopes that the new superintendent will have the courage to *REQUIRE* all homework to be posted online, along with grades in a timely manner.

This type of communication with students has been implemented in thousands of schools worldwide but here in tech-central, it's been only talked about for 10 years.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Goals
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 13, 2014 at 1:22 pm

@ Village Fool - For checks and balances, the Board of Education is supposed to be the Check, but that didn't happen last year. Fortunately there are citizens who paid attention and voiced displeasure, although it was ignored.

Another thread proposed a complaint process for the Special Education department that could be written and tracked. That way citizens could see if there are trends, if the same issues keep coming up, if staff responds or ignores written complaints.

For it's own employees, the Board of Education should be tracking if staff meets the goals it sets for them.

Board of Education could, like other elected officials, have a form of constituent services that tracks issues and ensures response. Right now, all there is for a check is Freedom of Information Act requests by Palo Alto Online, which are posted but take some time.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by parent with a vision
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 13, 2014 at 1:53 pm

I have a really fundamental question, and I would ask people to really mull this over.

In this day and age, why, really, do we allow schools to dictate how our children spend all of their time after they leave school, to the point that it seriously impinges on family time, social development, and health? Isn't this a boundaries issue? The relationship between schools and modern families is different than in the 19th centruy. Families need to expect schools to teach kids how to work hard and learn the curriculum during the school day, not just tell them to learn at some other time later in the day. In this day and age, one of the greatest challenges is time management, and we should be teaching work-life balance.

Our kids are not coming home to watch I Love Lucy reruns, they're learning languages, playing instruments, programming computers, doing sports and research projects, seeing their friends. The benefits of having dinner with family are well known. There is so little time left in the day after school, isn't it time modern parents established some boundaries for healthy family time?

For every parent who wants no more homework, there's another who wants more: families have different expectations. Kids thrive on different pedagogical approaches. There should be room for both.

But right now, there is no option that favors work-life balance.

That's not the vision I hoped to bring before the board today, but apparently there is no opportunity for public input in this meeting.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Checks
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Aug 13, 2014 at 6:38 pm

@village fool
Some good ideas for checks and balances are on the thread about Tenure Web Link
It is toward the end of thread, after a discussion about lack of faith in Special Education at Addison and PAUSD legal cases


 +   Like this comment
Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on Aug 13, 2014 at 9:27 pm

@Checks -

How can checks & balances work without transparency & accountability?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by legal fees
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 26, 2014 at 8:34 am

PAUSD Board votes tonight 8/26/2014 on $94,000 law firm payments for June, 2014. Is it voting to approve them?
Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on Aug 26, 2014 at 10:26 pm

@Legal fees - I do not understand.

Is this the common practice? Board approving legal fees post fact?

Also, The recent unanimous decision to challenge the OCR comes to mind. This must be a an expensive ordeal.
Does it mean that the board will approve any amount? No discussion before?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by legal fees
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 27, 2014 at 9:39 am

@village fool - Yes it is common practice. It was a voice vote item on a consent calendar.
In this case, the Board approved an increase in the budget for legal fees earlier in the year, which you brought to public attention in this forum. Then the vendor (in this case the law firm) bills, and PAUSD submits payments (Warrants) to the Board of Education for approval. It is usually approved on consent vote without discussion. Consent votes help public meetings move faster by allowing quick approval of routine items and District's administrative management decisions (such as change of school for an aide) without requiring discussion of every item. (Board members can request an item be taken off consent and discussed in a meeting.) Minutes for 8/26/2014 Board of Education meeting are not out yet, presumably it was approved on consent vote.

To your second point, the fees could relate to OCR Resolution. PAUSD documents from Palo Alto Online's Freedom of Information Act Request is include documents of Board Members and the law firm working on the OCR matter, attending meetings, lobbying, writing memos. These are avaialbe at:
Web Link


PAUSD posts the records disclosed in public records requests on it's web site at:
Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by legal fees
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 27, 2014 at 9:51 am

Should add that just because an expense has been budgeted, does not mean the District has to spend the money.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


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

Early Decision Blues
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 0 comments | 2,138 views

One night only: ‘Occupy the Farm’ screening in Palo Alto
By Elena Kadvany | 1 comment | 2,049 views

First Interview
By Sally Torbey | 10 comments | 1,353 views

Death with Dignity
By Chandrama Anderson | 2 comments | 1,271 views

Guest Post #2 from HSSV: Labradoodle Back on His Feet
By Cathy Kirkman | 2 comments | 363 views