Average SAT scores and college-going rates of Palo Alto students far exceed those of students in California or the nation as a whole, according to data that will be presented to the Palo Alto Board of Education tonight.
Tonight's presentation is the third in a series of reports analyzing student achievement in light of the school district's goal to support "all students so they thrive and achieve their academic potential every year."
The statistics portray a district with SAT averages so high that a student in Palo Alto's 25th percentile ranks in the state's 75th percentile.
Earlier academic achievement reports, presented to the board Sept. 13 and Oct. 25, also described numerous efforts to close the gap for low achievers, which have been met with mixed success.
A group of parents organized under the name "We Can Do Better Palo Alto" urged its members to attend tonight's meeting to dispute the report's characterization of high Advanced Placement participation as "super impressive."
"Focusing on AP exams and SAT scores is both narrow and not particularly informative about the actual successes and failures of the schools," said parent Ken Dauber, an organizer of the group.
"The high school achievement report underlines the need to broaden and deepen the definition of success in the high schools, beginning with the district leadership," he said.
Dauber's wife and co-organizer, Michele Dauber, said there is a "disconnect between the Board's professed interest in turning down the stress-o-meter" and the presentation lauding high AP participation and test scores.
In other business tonight, the board will hear from the Citizens' Oversight Committee on the Strong Schools Bond, the $378 million facilities bond approved in 2008 that is funding massive renovations across Palo Alto's 17 campuses.
The bond program, now in its fourth year, has completed several projects including the Gunn industrial arts building and aquatics center, the Paly multi-use field and technology improvements at elementary campuses.
This past summer, the district awarded more than $50 million in construction contracts for major new buildings at Gunn and Paly and other major projects are under way on middle and elementary school campuses.
The board also will discuss nominees for a 10-member Citizens' Oversight Committee for the 2010 Parcel Tax, as well as a proposed "process and timeline" for discussions with the City Council on the future of the old Cubberley High School campus.
The board is expected to approve a resolution designating Dec. 5-9 as "Inclusive Schools Week," noting progress made in "providing a supportive and quality education to an increasingly diverse student population, including students who are marginalized due to disability, gender, socio-economic status, cultural heritage, language preferences and other factors."
Also on the agenda is approval of the district's memorandum of understanding with Project Safety Net, a community coalition focused on youth well-being that was formed in response to a series of Palo Alto student suicides in 2009 and 2010.
The public session of tonight's meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in the board room of school district headquarters, 25 Churchill Ave.
It will be cablecast live on cable services Channel 28 and webcast live on the Midpeninsula Community Media Center website.