Homework loads and school environment will be among the topics tonight as the Palo Alto Board of Education considers broad goals for the 2011-12 academic year.
Superintendent Kevin Skelly has recommended a long list of principles, or "focused goals," to guide the district, including "planning for fiscal uncertainty" and "planning for enrollment growth."
But the items that have generated the most heat revolve around academic stress and school environment, as leaders seek ways to support the emotional health and resiliency of students amid the high-achieving culture of the local community and schools.
Skelly's recommendations also draw heavily on a series of focus groups held with parents in May, in which parents expressed a desire for more consistency across the schools.
Among Skelly's recommendations are:
"Improve the consistency and quality of instructional practices to challenge and prepare every K-12 student.
"Develop a plan to have more students complete college preparatory coursework and more fully support those who do not.
"Implement additional ways to create a more supportive school environment and culture and the ability to learn and reduce unnecessary academic stress.
"Expand the examination of the purpose and volume of homework K-12 and a system that distributes test and project deadlines that will lead to a board policy.
And "examine the system of distributing test and project deadlines."
School board members will discuss the recommended goals tonight (Tuesday, Aug. 23), with a vote on the final list likely Sept. 13.
The public session of tonight's board meeting begins at 6:30 in the board room of school district headquarters, 25 Churchill Ave.