The Palo Alto Board of Education will discuss a raft of student survey data when it meets tonight (March 22).
The long-awaited results of the October 2010 "Developmental Assets Survey" of more than 4,000 Palo Alto students paints a detailed and varied picture, with some students possessing enough "assets" to be considered thriving but significant numbers apparently "vulnerable."
In general, the survey results suggest that elementary children have more positive attitudes than older students and that kids feel less supported and less hopeful as they move into their teen years.
Officials said the data represent a "conversation starter" -- a baseline from which families, schools and youth programs can work to "build assets."
"The Developmental Assets Survey results show that the young people in this community have effective organizations dedicated to their well-being and growth, as well as strong support from parents and other caregivers," school Superintendent Kevin Skelly said.
"Our collective community challenge is to strengthen our efforts toward increasing the assets of our young people, thus giving them the skills and talents they will need as adults."
The Developmental Assets program long has been used by the Palo Alto Family YMCA, as well as by schools and other groups across the country.
Following a string of Palo Alto student suicides in 2009 and 2010, the City Council, school board and other Palo Alto groups adopted the "assets" idea, and the baseline survey was administered through the schools last fall.
The district surveyed fifth-graders, seventh graders and all high school students. Permission from parents or guardians was required for a student to take the survey.
In related business today, the board will hear a presentation from Gunn parent Ken Dauber, who has criticized the district's implementation of a policy to foster a "supportive school environment."
Representatives of the parent-led Palo Alto Partners in Education will present a report on their fundraising activities for district schools.
The board also will discuss adoption of English books at Palo Alto High School, staff development activities and will be asked to approve a five-year, $1.1 million Comcast dark fiber lease agreement and a district financial update.
In a closed session at 5:30 p.m., topics on the agenda include district-owned property at Cubberley Community Center.
The public meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the board room of school district headquarter, 25 Churchill Ave.