Forty-one teachers representing most of Palo Alto's public school campuses will gather tonight for a yearly event known as the "tenure celebration."
The event marks the teachers' earning of "permanent status" under the California Education Code, following two probationary years with the Palo Alto school district and a tenure recommendation by their supervisors.
"We regard the decision to grant permanent status as, by far, the most important human resources decision made," Assistant Superintendent Scott Bowers said.
Tenure, governed by the state's Education Code, is a staple of every public school district in California.
However, the process of evaluating probationary teachers is up to local districts, Bowers said.
In Palo Alto, new teachers get orientation, training, coaching and "release time" to visit the classrooms of experienced teachers.
They are observed by principals and "instructional supervisors" and given written assessments three times a year. Bowers said "student and parent input" also is considered.
In some cases, probationary teachers are observed by principals from other schools or by members of the superintendent's staff, he said.
"All information about the performance of (second-year probationary teachers) is reviewed by the superintendent's staff prior to the final decision regarding permanent status," Bowers said.
Tonight's celebration, involving the teachers, their supervisors and school board members, is from 5 to 6 p.m.
When the school board convenes at 6:30 p.m., members will vote on formal approval of permanent status for the 41 teachers.
Teachers recommended for tenure tonight represent 13 of Palo Alto's 17 campuses.
They are, from Addison School, Monika Hastings; from Barron Park School, Ana Reyes and Ramona McClure; from Juana Briones School, Denise Johnson; from Escondido School, Angeline Rodriguez, Teri Wilde and Kimiko Yama; from Fairmeadow School, Kachina Corti, Carolyn Jones and Jenna Calvarese; from Ohlone School, Makeda Perryman, Michelle Yee and Ying Ying Ren; from Palo Verde School, Amy Sheward and Tori Shaffer; from Walter Hays School, Jessica Fabbre.
From JLS Middle School, Christina Nesberg, Jacqueline Kandell, Kelly O'Brien-Carnevale, Arvind Arya, Ryan Ealy and Francisco Lacayo; from Jordan Middle School, Maria Thomas, Patricia Balbuena and Trevor Diven; from Terman Middle School, Karen Logue.
From Gunn High School, Christopher Bell, Daniel Hahn, Amelia Lombard, Grace Grimaldo, Warren Collier and Lisa Kaye; and from Palo Alto High School, Shawn Leonard, Kate McKenzie, Mary Riordan, Lucinda Filppu, Maria Rao, Shirley Tokheim, Erin Angell, Jason Fung and Sima Thomas.
In other business tonight, the board will be asked to approve a $1.7 million contract for installation of air conditioning in existing classrooms at Gunn; hear a presentation on the school district's counseling services; discuss an authorization to purchase $1.3 million in Apple computers, discuss the adoption of an English book at Gunn and discuss summer maintenance projects.
Following a 6 p.m. closed session in which district-owned property at Cubberley Community Center and the former Fremont Hills Elementary School (now leased to Pinewood School) are on the agenda, the public meeting will convene at 6:30 p.m. in the board room of school district headquarters, 25 Churchill Ave.