School board to discuss student survey data

Varied picture of student 'assets' said to be a 'conversation starter'

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.

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Like this comment
Posted by aoebpas
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 22, 2011 at 10:19 am

"Adoption of English books at Palo Alto High School - Web Link"

Dune?! Really? I must be so out of touch.

You can download "The Death of Ivan Ilyich" for free. Why is this so much more expensive than the other books?

Like this comment
Posted by huh
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 22, 2011 at 10:35 am

The DEATH of Ivan Illyich? Are we sure?

Like this comment
Posted by More-Money-Down-The-Rabbit-Hole
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 23, 2011 at 8:47 am

The Death of Ivan Iyich:
Web Link

Yep .. it can be found on-line in various formats.

This is another example of how clues school administrators can be about the shift towards digital information, and/or how much they enjoy spending the taxpayers' money.

These books will disappear in a few years. E-books will stay around for ever. Even if there are downstream charges for new e-formats, the time, effort and space required to manage/store these e-texts far outweigh paper books.

This shift in awareness needs to be driven by Sacramento. Local schools see themselves in terms of "how much money can we spend", not "how little". That change needs to be driven at the State level.

Like this comment
Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Palo Verde School
on Mar 26, 2011 at 8:38 pm

I read the comments about this book, and there was a warning saying that it is a very depressive book. Our kids do not need more depression. They had enough with the suicides. I was going to speak up at the meeting abut the books, but I waited til almost 11:00 pm, and left because they were not addressing the issue yet. Hope they did not choose this one. I the board went for it, hope they have enough psychologist available to help them deal with their feelings.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of East Palo Alto

on Jun 5, 2017 at 5:56 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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