News

Santa Clara County schools will not reopen this academic year

Schools to fully pivot to distance learning for remainder of semester

All 32 of Santa Clara County's school district superintendents and the county superintendent of schools signed a joint letter sent to families Wednesday evening that confirms their campuses will be closed for the rest of the school year.

The letter followed public statements Tuesday and Wednesday by top California officials, including Gov. Gavin Newsom and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, that the state expected — but was not mandating — schools wouldn't resume in-person classes this school year.

Palo Alto Unified Superintendent Don Austin took definitive local action on Wednesday, announcing that all district schools will be closed for classroom instruction for the remainder of this school year. Austin has the authority to make such a decision through an emergency resolution the school board approved in March.

"We empathize with students who were holding out hope for a return this year," Austin said. "Most people knew that reopening this year was unlikely given the challenges facing our nation and a virus still spreading rapidly. At a minimum, I hope a definitive answer can provide a degree of relief. While our classrooms are closed, teaching and learning continues."

Free meals distribution to students and families in need will also continue, he said.

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In the coming weeks, districts across the county will communicate with families about how grades, graduation, transcripts, scholarships, summer school and continued distance learning instruction will be handled, the countywide letter states.

"We acknowledge that distance learning comes with its own set of challenges, and we commit to provide students, families and educators with ongoing support. As all of our districts further implement distance learning options and academic strategies, the social and emotional well-being of all of our students is of utmost importance to us. We are working to find ways to stay connected which will continue to help us learn together and celebrate important milestones," the letter states.

In San Mateo County, districts also announced Wednesday that schools would be closed through June.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

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Santa Clara County schools will not reopen this academic year

Schools to fully pivot to distance learning for remainder of semester

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 6:05 pm

All 32 of Santa Clara County's school district superintendents and the county superintendent of schools signed a joint letter sent to families Wednesday evening that confirms their campuses will be closed for the rest of the school year.

The letter followed public statements Tuesday and Wednesday by top California officials, including Gov. Gavin Newsom and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, that the state expected — but was not mandating — schools wouldn't resume in-person classes this school year.

Palo Alto Unified Superintendent Don Austin took definitive local action on Wednesday, announcing that all district schools will be closed for classroom instruction for the remainder of this school year. Austin has the authority to make such a decision through an emergency resolution the school board approved in March.

"We empathize with students who were holding out hope for a return this year," Austin said. "Most people knew that reopening this year was unlikely given the challenges facing our nation and a virus still spreading rapidly. At a minimum, I hope a definitive answer can provide a degree of relief. While our classrooms are closed, teaching and learning continues."

Free meals distribution to students and families in need will also continue, he said.

In the coming weeks, districts across the county will communicate with families about how grades, graduation, transcripts, scholarships, summer school and continued distance learning instruction will be handled, the countywide letter states.

"We acknowledge that distance learning comes with its own set of challenges, and we commit to provide students, families and educators with ongoing support. As all of our districts further implement distance learning options and academic strategies, the social and emotional well-being of all of our students is of utmost importance to us. We are working to find ways to stay connected which will continue to help us learn together and celebrate important milestones," the letter states.

In San Mateo County, districts also announced Wednesday that schools would be closed through June.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

Comments

Chris
University South
on Apr 1, 2020 at 7:16 pm
Chris , University South
on Apr 1, 2020 at 7:16 pm
20 people like this

Every student should have a project to keep a diary and do a research paper comparing the successes and failures of various states and countries. The first would improve the ability to communicate emotions and the second would allow them to improve command of critical analytical thinking.


Resident
Downtown North
on Apr 1, 2020 at 8:26 pm
Resident, Downtown North
on Apr 1, 2020 at 8:26 pm
31 people like this

This articles implies Don Austin didn't have authority to fully close down our schools until the emergency measure was passed by the Board.

Actually, the Superintendent Don Austin had full authority to close down our schools before March 16 when ordered shut by the County. He chose to not close down the schools and waited for the County to shut things down.

We had to return to our children's school several times after the closure to pick up items from their school. That is how unprepared things were at the district.


Samuel L.
Downtown North
on Apr 1, 2020 at 8:36 pm
Samuel L., Downtown North
on Apr 1, 2020 at 8:36 pm
18 people like this

[Post removed.]


Sally -- In Disbelief
Downtown North
on Apr 1, 2020 at 8:42 pm
Sally -- In Disbelief, Downtown North
on Apr 1, 2020 at 8:42 pm
47 people like this

How on earth can Paly tell my student they are not able to "count" the accredited classes online they started due to this debacle? That is near criminal. They offered NOTHING, but are saying we can't even meet our own needs independently.

The quality of remote "instruction" we have seen from our (limited selection) of Paly teachers is terrible. The kids (and parents) have been left to fend for themselves.

We get that the times are tough. But how on earth can they now tell us they won't "accept" the work my student started elsewhere to fill the gap that THEY left wide open, being completely unprepared for meaningful remote work.

PAUSD, you need to FIX this immediately. You need to be FLEXIBLE to allow kids to continue their education. You need to work to HELP them in the greatest VARIETY of ways possible. You need to do this ASAP.


racist
Barron Park
on Apr 1, 2020 at 8:51 pm
racist , Barron Park
on Apr 1, 2020 at 8:51 pm
14 people like this

[Post removed.]


Resident
Downtown North
on Apr 1, 2020 at 9:03 pm
Resident, Downtown North
on Apr 1, 2020 at 9:03 pm
45 people like this

@ Samuel L.

Well it's the Board that hired Don Austin, so the voters should really pick better Board members. We would be smarter to vote in Board members who have children attending the school system (and not sending them outside to private schools). We need Board members vested in the Palo Alto Unified School District.

It doesn't make sense to have Board members who are not vested and believe a private school provides better education for their child, but sits on the Board of a school their children do not attend.

If it's the Palo Alto way, things can be changed. Voting helps.

Last time there were people who had children in the district run for Board members, but didn't get elected. When there is skin in the game, behavior changes.


PA parents.
Community Center
on Apr 1, 2020 at 9:06 pm
PA parents., Community Center
on Apr 1, 2020 at 9:06 pm
40 people like this

[Portion removed.] There is zero remote learning so far. They only have an hour of Zoom every week to review each other's struggle during this difficult time. No Math. No writing.


PAUSD Parent
Barron Park
on Apr 1, 2020 at 9:11 pm
PAUSD Parent, Barron Park
on Apr 1, 2020 at 9:11 pm
26 people like this

Spot on Samuel L. Skin in the game for school board members.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 1, 2020 at 9:23 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 1, 2020 at 9:23 pm
39 people like this

There is something that has been going around on Facebook lately that is worth repeating.

It is the year 2030. College students are being taught history, 2020 the Covid 19 year. They are being taught about all the political, economic and social effects on society. They are being asked about their memories. A young student gives an account of personal memories. It was a wonderful time, I remember eating dinner with my family every evening, I remember playing board games after dinner, I remember video calls with grandparents, I remember shooting hoops with my Dad on the driveway and my Mom teaching me how to clean the house including yuck the toilets. I remember taking it in turns to do laundry and to cook dinner and it was fun. I remember getting to be on time and sleeping until I woke up without the alarm. I remember not being tired, not being stressed about homework, I remember reading books I liked, I remember spending time watching documentaries about nature, I remember researching cool things that had nothing to do with school. I remember it being the best time ever. I remember being sad when it was over and I had to go back to school and to needing to know what time it was again.

Let's make sure that the memories of this year will be good and positive as well as challenging.


Anonymous
another community
on Apr 1, 2020 at 9:54 pm
Anonymous, another community
on Apr 1, 2020 at 9:54 pm
10 people like this

Does this admin know they are not private ?

Glad FLO will be over. Who is naming their silly phases. Sounds like a midol ad. What is next. I can not even look. It is too embarrassing . Ok I might look for a laugh.

6 weeks of school is nothing to grieve over. Do something you have not had time for. Bake, learn conversational language,. Try to really understand what is going on and why the last 2 chapters of all your classes are not important. Being with your family is now.


Dissappointed
Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 1, 2020 at 10:14 pm
Dissappointed, Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 1, 2020 at 10:14 pm
42 people like this

Gosh how I do not miss PALY parents. You all brutal.... Give the teachers (and the world) a break. Be lucky your kid has learned this much already and has so much PRIVILEGE. (Seriously you all are sad)


Anonymous
another community
on Apr 1, 2020 at 10:34 pm
Anonymous, another community
on Apr 1, 2020 at 10:34 pm
19 people like this

@ disappointed

If you had to read the paly principals emails, you would not think parents were brutal enough.PDF time and now RolE and a lesson in asynchronous and synchronous vocabulary terms. He could say live or recorded, but is trying to appear quite elite . He has complicated a very easy task.

Also posting rules with no way of enforcing them or providing a safe online learning platform is pretty brutal. My kid will not be on screen in Zoom for some teacher or parent or uncle or whoever to screenshot. They will not wear appropriate attire or sit in our home and be taped. I might put a stuffed animal in their place.

The lack of knowing what has gone on with zoom is brutally sad. The total silence to seniors has been brutal.

My point was to let up so teachers students could relax and gear up for some hard times. Adding the 3 phases of ridiculous rules and contradictions with an added security breach ridden platform like zoom is brutal and sad.


Other Counties?
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 1, 2020 at 10:38 pm
Other Counties?, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 1, 2020 at 10:38 pm
2 people like this

Editor - What about San Mateo County schools? Many Palo Alto students attend school across County lines, including PAUSD students.


SAHM
Palo Alto High School
on Apr 1, 2020 at 11:29 pm
SAHM, Palo Alto High School
on Apr 1, 2020 at 11:29 pm
35 people like this

People seem to forget that there are people out there who are very sick and some have died. Quit thinking about yourself so much. There is a reason for this lockdown!

Paly was closed on a Friday and by Monday, Paly parents were already freaking out that their teens were missing schoolwork and there was no plan yet. Come on, our kids could miss a year of school and it would do no harm, give them a break. I think that parents just want their kids to be kept busy. Let them catch up on sleep, quit nagging them, quit being the enemy. Most of what they learn the rest of the school year will have NO IMPACT on college or life, even if classes were still in session. How about letting them find their interests? How about spending time with them? How about talking and getting to know them? They are part of your flesh and blood, remember when they were babies and you welcomed them into this world, so happy to see them. Quit counting the days until they leave for college and then expect them to care about you when you are old and need help.


Resident.
Community Center
on Apr 2, 2020 at 7:23 am
Resident., Community Center
on Apr 2, 2020 at 7:23 am
24 people like this

My child's dance and language classes are generous. Not only they keep the existing schedules with Zoom, they also add extra free classes so that students can catch up. More materials, more homework and more youtube. Of course, if they don't, parents will cancel and stop paying. On the other hand, PAUSD is truly disappointing. One email per week to tell the students not to be sad.
I understand this is a hard job to be a teacher. At this trying time, shouldn't they think more about their students? Just one email per week? That's disappointing. Couldn't they send out some random youtube, kkhan, or wiki reading or lessons to keep the students happy? A student is happy when he or she is learning.


John
Professorville
on Apr 2, 2020 at 9:26 am
John , Professorville
on Apr 2, 2020 at 9:26 am
10 people like this

Almost all reliable accounts and data indicate that conditions in the Bay Area are improving. Hospitals are not overrun. Infection rates are growing but not explosively -- absolute numbers are very low compared to general population. We're not out of the woods but the existing protective measures seem to be holding.

So what, if anything, has changed to prompt this tightening of restrictions? Is there new data projecting more infections in May and June? I think our officials at least owe an explanation or rationale as to why they made this decision, other than "because we're trying to be safe".


Staying Young Through Kids
Old Palo Alto
on Apr 2, 2020 at 9:41 am
Staying Young Through Kids, Old Palo Alto
on Apr 2, 2020 at 9:41 am
4 people like this

I have to wonder how many of the parents complaining here actually made sure their kids were reaching out to their teachers?

The last 2 weeks of FLO have been really solid for our kids. They reached out to each of their teachers, received responses, and were able to continue with classwork with support.

People who complain without being proactive are going to be lost for their whole lives!

Now, Starting after Spring Break (Geeesh "PDF" SERIOUSLY!?!? The district never should have used that language during this crisis), the teachers had better be in touch with every single student individually! That's going to be a lot of work, but remote learning is going to be different and will present challenges. FIGURE THEM OUT!

It would be great if PAUSD would add something like Remind (remind.com) as a resource in addition to Schoology. Kids use messaging, not email. For them it's as easy as talking, and would lead to better, more fluid, communication with teachers. Schoology is REALLY missing the boat on this. Especially for reaching EPA families, texting is far better than email.


Sally
Downtown North
on Apr 2, 2020 at 10:11 am
Sally, Downtown North
on Apr 2, 2020 at 10:11 am
35 people like this

"I have to wonder how many of the parents complaining here actually made sure their kids were reaching out to their teachers?"

I can only speak for my Paly student, but you might successfully infer that a student that went through the trouble of signing up for 2 accredited online courses first tried really hard to have a quality online experience managed by their Paly teacher. They were first told (by both teachers) that they weren't "allowed" to offer more, connect more to keep them on track. From what we saw of so-called "FLOs", they were so minimal and silly/meaningless that we felt it was easiest for all (including Paly) to enroll in two classes elsewhere.

To be now told that those CAN'T count with NO justification makes no sense at all. If you could explain it to us, please do. I don't know why Paly won't answer us.

As to the constant refrain of "there are other, bigger problems in the world"...
or "advocating for good education reeks of PRIVILEGE"... well of course there are big issues out there. Read about what's going on with the ultra-poor in India and other places. It's a nightmare. The conversation about how PAUSD is doing has nothing to do with this, and it reeks of the district defending itself with the loads of (paid) time it has on its hands hands.

As to the comments about enjoying this time... We are, as much as one can! Lots of letter writing, Zoom with grandparents, bike riding, board games, quality family time. Again, none of this has anything to do with why PAUSD is so ineffective at making sensible decisions and communicating.


Gunn student
Gunn High School
on Apr 2, 2020 at 11:00 am
Gunn student, Gunn High School
on Apr 2, 2020 at 11:00 am
44 people like this

[Portion removed.] Please spare us the lamentations against teachers and school faculty. Please spare us the demands that people should be fired whenever they don't do something perfectly, that any mistake is incompetence.

Please have some empathy and listen to kids.


cmarg
Palo Alto High School
on Apr 2, 2020 at 11:22 am
cmarg, Palo Alto High School
on Apr 2, 2020 at 11:22 am
9 people like this

I ask that PAUSD allow for students to make a choice on credit/no-credit or grades. To date, there is 1 high school in NJ that is doing this, one high school in NC that is doing it for seniors. There is a school in SC that said that the colleges they spoke to wanted grades not credit/no-credit (pass/fail).

Why can colleges offer the students an option?
Why is it that all other districts are giving students grades/
There will likely not be SAT/ACT tests given until the fall. They will likely not be able to offer the June sessions since school buildings are closed and that is where the tests are taken.

Colleges are saying they want to see that the Juniors are working and learning and putting effort into their classes even during this time of on-line learning.

Again, not finding all these high schools coming on board for credit/no-credit.

There should be some out-reach to other schools to find out how they are managing to do grades. Even they can ask colleges or the AP testing organization. They are all giving grades.


International Emergency-Step In, Step Up
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2020 at 11:38 am
International Emergency-Step In, Step Up, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2020 at 11:38 am
16 people like this

Well said, Gunn student.

We aren't being asked to go to war as previous generations were. We are being asked to stay at home, to be creative and find meaningful things to do while we are with our families.

We are being supported by other members of the community who are putting themselves at risk to keep our utilities running, our community safe and essential services open. What a blessing. I am grateful for that.

How can I help? I'll be calling some elderly neighbors today to see if I can get groceries for them when I do my own shopping. My kids are helping us paint our home interior, cook, and do gardening and other chores and taking online courses. They are keeping diaries and staying in touch with friends online. We are enjoying more family meals together. We have family conversations about how we can help each other be productive and happy, acknowledging that there will be challenges sharing our small living space and taking responsibility for caring for each other, and expressing appreciation for the kindnesses we receive.

Two friends gave been hospitalized. One died. One is on a ventilator. In the midst of grief, we count our blessings.


PA parents.
Community Center
on Apr 2, 2020 at 12:01 pm
PA parents., Community Center
on Apr 2, 2020 at 12:01 pm
14 people like this

This is a time that we should pull together and share all the information as the school district and the city have failed us. We got no information about what's going on. Each week, we get a long email about the situation in the country but nothing specific about the school.
At this time, students and parents need guidance and leadership from the teachers and the school district. That's why you should groups and groups of teenagers outside Walmart and Costco.
If your child wakes up at 7am every day, reads for 3 hours and writes, then he probably does not need schools. For most less motivated people, it's just xbox and netflix.


S.O.
Midtown
on Apr 2, 2020 at 12:24 pm
S.O., Midtown
on Apr 2, 2020 at 12:24 pm
14 people like this

What Gunn student said is SPOT on for this forum , good for you [portion removed.]


No hypocrites
Ventura
on Apr 2, 2020 at 12:38 pm
No hypocrites, Ventura
on Apr 2, 2020 at 12:38 pm
10 people like this

[Post removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]


Resident
Downtown North
on Apr 2, 2020 at 12:41 pm
Resident, Downtown North
on Apr 2, 2020 at 12:41 pm
11 people like this

@Staying Young Through The Kids

You write, "The last 2 weeks of FLO have been really solid for our kids."

I think this is variable. There are teachers who are going above and beyond and sending out learning items.

I have one child whose teachers are solid. My other child has not gotten anything in the past 3 weeks other than to ensure they have access to wifi/internet.
I think it is school specific and teacher variable at this point. So do believe us when parents on here are saying their children are not getting anything. LIkewise your children may be getting solid distance material, while some children are not. This speaks to the leadership at the very top. It's not uniform.

I think the district likely gave a baseline minimum (which really wasn't much) but if teachers felt motivated to go above and beyond (they did). That explains this random "The last 2 weeks of FLO have really been solid for our kids" versus "my kids are getting nothing and it's laughable"

Both comments likely are valid. Palo Alto online should not remove negative comments thinking criticism in a time of crisis is not helpful. Without perspective and an honest look at how we as a Board and district are handling things, we can not learn from our failures. To brush our mistakes under a rug is to pretend all is great and leadership is awesome and everything is perfect.

Let's take an honest look at what is not working and why.



Jonathan Brown
Ventura
on Apr 2, 2020 at 1:04 pm
Jonathan Brown, Ventura
on Apr 2, 2020 at 1:04 pm
14 people like this

What puzzles me is why "asynchronous learning" is mandated, especially when the Zoom guidelines the school sent cover live meetings. PAUSD has not explained why it can't use Zoom (as the guidelines assume it will be) to conduct at least some live lessons. Other schools are doing this successfully, as are after school sports and other activities. School normally follows a rigid schedule (not one chosen at each student's convenience), and the school is making available extra computers for all students who need them (our local tech companies are competing to donate any more that are needed). Even families that need the school-provided meals have internet access.

Synchronous teaching is best for students' learning, and it's what our teachers were trained to do. I feel bad that our dedicated teachers are deprived of rich emotional connections that make their work fulfilling. All parties--students, teachers, administrators, and parents--would benefit from a regular schedule that includes live (albeit virtual) interaction that more closely replicates the physical school environment. I've asked the administration if, before they start their "Playtime, Downtime, and Family time," to consider this option starting the week after "Spring Break."


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2020 at 1:22 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2020 at 1:22 pm
7 people like this

I am reposting my comment from other threads because I think it is important. I hope Gunn student and others are able to think it through. Our young people are not being called up to go to war as others of their age have done in previous generations, but they have an opportunity that most in times of peace are not able to take advantage of.

I think we can now let our high school students, seniors and even juniors, know they now have a wonderful opportunity to innovate and learn, discover a passion and be in charge of what they want to do. This is my message to them. You may not realize it, but you are lucky, living in a time such as this. You have the opportunity to learn so much more than your counterparts did even this time a year ago. You have time to be amazed by what interests you in the world and not by being locked into what you are told to study.

I wrote a comment on Jessica Zang's blog in the blog section. This generation is going to be defined by this pandemic and how they grow from it, much the same as those who were your age during WW1, WW2, Korea, Vietnam, 9/11. All of those were times of war which divided the world. Now the world is united against a common enemy which can't be seen and is not human in nature. Now is the time for your generation to shine, to learn how to overcome, to be united, by your young age, to grow in a maturity level that those a few years ago have still not yet attained.

Education is not about As or Bs, or where you go for tertiary formal education. Real education is growing within yourself from all the things you encounter and learning how to deal with them.

The winners from this will not be those who go to the Ivy League colleges. The winners from this will be the ones who have helped others, who have found new ways of doing things, of learning how to overcome when the odds were stacked against them, who have learned compassion and empathy, have understood that privilege is much more about whether you have a bed to sleep in or food in your refrigerator or even the opportunity for a daily shower and clean clothes to wear.

Now is the time when positive differences can be made to your future without worrying too much about the normal since normal no longer exists. What an opportunity!

Remember some of the people who have made huge differences in the world never graduated college. Microsoft and Facebook were both founded by college drop outs. Apple was started by a couple of teens in a garage.

Use this time to change the world, by being different, not by following the accepted path. The accepted path may still work out for you, but just in case it doesn't, the world is still your oyster. Use it wisely.


Anonymous
another community
on Apr 2, 2020 at 1:27 pm
Anonymous, another community
on Apr 2, 2020 at 1:27 pm
17 people like this

@ Jonathan

They will not even read your email. The admin down not want interaction they set it up and are now done.

But.. the “ caring” paly counseling staff did take the time to go against ca Ed code and board policy and declare that even if a kid had pre approval for an outside class, they refuse to keep their promise in that written contract and will not post those grades on the transcript .

Not sure how the pandemic takes away the students rights. Seems like the staff enjoys hurting kids and and taking away things they promised.


cmarg
Palo Alto High School
on Apr 2, 2020 at 1:45 pm
cmarg, Palo Alto High School
on Apr 2, 2020 at 1:45 pm
12 people like this

Looks like even on the California Department of Education website, Palo Alto is the only one opting for credit/no-credit. There are many options available. Refer to the link below

Web Link

Again, lone on this journey to use credit/no-credit! And not allow students to take outside course for grades, even ones that would be summer school!


Independent
Esther Clark Park
on Apr 2, 2020 at 2:48 pm
Independent, Esther Clark Park
on Apr 2, 2020 at 2:48 pm
17 people like this

@Sally - please check out EDC 51228.2. PAUSD cannot legally say that properly WASC accredited courses will 'not count.' Is PAUSD trying to help protect someone's job security?

UC Scout has WASC/UC accredited a-g courses that are aligned to the common core, is already and online platform and will provide grades and course completion, and is currently being offered free to CA public school districts. Per EDC 51228.2, PAUSD cannot assign to a course that the student has already completed to the satisfaction of post - secondary institutions, such as the UCs.

Do online learning options threaten members of the teacher's union?

[Portion removed.]


Independent
Esther Clark Park
on Apr 2, 2020 at 3:02 pm
Independent, Esther Clark Park
on Apr 2, 2020 at 3:02 pm
21 people like this

Board members - how do you defend PAUSD preventing students from getting appropriate placement and other credit for completing wasc accredited courses?


Take it easy
Fairmeadow
on Apr 2, 2020 at 3:27 pm
Take it easy, Fairmeadow
on Apr 2, 2020 at 3:27 pm
9 people like this

Folks,

Let's all take a deep breath, and realize the reality of the situation. While some of you may be in tech and be comfortable dealing with Zoom and working at home, many of our teachers and many of our administrators are not. Additionally, many of the teachers are dealing with young children at home and can not necessarily spend time during the day teaching your children. Next year will be better.


cmarg
Palo Alto High School
on Apr 2, 2020 at 3:43 pm
cmarg, Palo Alto High School
on Apr 2, 2020 at 3:43 pm
6 people like this

To Take it Easy: so what about the students? I have ask the administration before if the teachers can team up and work together when they have challenges - this was before this virus situation. I am sure that there are some teachers who would be open to helping when other teachers have children to take care of and/or are sick. Even aids can be called in to help.

One thing we really have to learn here during this time of trial is that we need to help one another. I am confident that parents have reached out to offer help the teachers. I know I offered several math links for online learning to the teachers. Others have offered to help train, etc.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2020 at 4:34 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2020 at 4:34 pm
18 people like this

I don't get it.

Why can't each subject have a lesson taught by one teacher that is then available to everyone in that level at all schools?

Why does each teacher have to teach the same material to 25 students when one could teach an infinite number of students. This lesson could be put on a YouTube channel for students to watch when it suits their schedule. They could watch it several times if they didn't quite understand the first time round. Then if they had a question or needed additional help they could email their own teacher.

In this way one teacher teaches multiple classes, freeing all the other teachers on this subject to spend time grading or dealing with emails from students with questions. No duplication of effort. All students receive the same lesson regardless of which school.

What is difficult about this?


Incredibly disappointed
Fairmeadow
on Apr 2, 2020 at 5:38 pm
Incredibly disappointed , Fairmeadow
on Apr 2, 2020 at 5:38 pm
31 people like this

As a PAUSD parent I am incredibly disappointed with PAUSD. We moved here for the supposedly great education. I see all the other school districts giving grades and teaching. Not here in Palo Alto. We pay the highest taxes and give the largest donations, and for what? Little to no teacher interaction, no grades or feedback on assignments, no instructions (parents are supposed to do this). What a lousy deal. What exactly are the teacher busy doing? Our kids when they apply to colleges already have a strike against them because we are a supposedly rich city, so our kids are supposed to be better to get the same admissions as kids from EPA, and now we are getting this shamefully lousy non existent lack of teaching. We need to have better people running the district. I am so upset.


Chris
University South
on Apr 2, 2020 at 6:41 pm
Chris, University South
on Apr 2, 2020 at 6:41 pm
13 people like this

Incredibly,

Stanford and many other universities are not giving grades. In that light, why does Paly need to give grades. Do you know s9mething the universities don’t know?


cmarg
Palo Alto High School
on Apr 2, 2020 at 8:46 pm
cmarg, Palo Alto High School
on Apr 2, 2020 at 8:46 pm
10 people like this

There are many colleges that are giving students the option of grades or credit/no-credit. That is all we are asking the teachers and district to do is to make it an option. No other high schools are doing credit/no-credit. Other high schools are teaching the students.

Juniors that are in high school already will have no SAT/ACT tests and scores likely before September and now the students will not have grades for the semester. They have earned 3rd quarter grades and there is limited teaching now for the 4th quarter.


Independent
Esther Clark Park
on Apr 2, 2020 at 9:05 pm
Independent, Esther Clark Park
on Apr 2, 2020 at 9:05 pm
22 people like this

Might teachers be afraid of cannibalizing their own jobs by facilitating online learning?

Aren't teacher's unions threatened by online education? One teacher being videotaped and that lesson being used to educate many students - doesn't it make it hard to collect lots of dues as it's just one teacher and just one salary?

[Portion removed.]


cmarg
Palo Alto High School
on Apr 3, 2020 at 1:33 pm
cmarg, Palo Alto High School
on Apr 3, 2020 at 1:33 pm
3 people like this

Great article...

Web Link


cmarg
Palo Alto High School
on Apr 3, 2020 at 1:34 pm
cmarg, Palo Alto High School
on Apr 3, 2020 at 1:34 pm
8 people like this

Sorry... the title of the article is:

We Are All Homeschoolers Now
COVID-19 will bring about an education reevaluation, if not revolution.


another frustrated parent
Midtown
on Apr 4, 2020 at 11:47 am
another frustrated parent, Midtown
on Apr 4, 2020 at 11:47 am
7 people like this

Every story regarding PAUSD policy is followed by the same types of voices in discussion. At this point, I think we owe it to our kids to move on to the next step. How do we get organized to confront the Superintendent and School Board not with individual protests against Pass/Fail, asynchronous-only, or the refusal to accept online courses from other accredited institutions as valid for fulfilling PAUSD requirements? If the latter of these violates California law, as someone suggested, how do we go about hiring a lawyer to file a collective complaint or lawsuit that has real bite? Soon? We are dual stakeholders here: tax payers and service recipients. Does someone who has expertise with such matters want to step up and organize us? Let us know in this forum if there is an initiative taking shape somewhere?


Sad for seniors
Barron Park
on Apr 4, 2020 at 8:19 pm
Sad for seniors, Barron Park
on Apr 4, 2020 at 8:19 pm
1 person likes this

It is better to leave and then have the time with your kids instead of adults who just seem to have no idea of what it means to have decency or a soul or any thought of what this is like for seniors and juniors who have worked so hard and deserved at least fairness . So even in a world crisis, the paly sci teachers will not let up,

The sci dept is focused on rigor and has made up a new grading system!!! Their egos Trump a pandemic. Seniors can actually fail now and will have to be at their mercy. Also, they have announced there will be no instruction, only text And tests. What a horrible last impression.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 4, 2020 at 9:42 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 4, 2020 at 9:42 pm
5 people like this

Now is the opportunity to make it count for juniors. If I was involved with college admissions next year, I would be asking for what the students were doing during the time there was no school. I would be asking to see what innovations they worked on, what they were doing to support their families and community, what they were doing on to stretch themselves.

The article about Paly students setting up an app/website is exactly what I would be looking for.

Now is the time to work on what you will be able to tell the college recruiters next year. Don't spend time wasting away watching tv, playing video games, complaining about being treated badly and how unfair it all is.

Instead, get something started to be proud of. Get working on something you can show as your masterpiece. Back in the middle ages, a masterpiece was a piece of work that showed whether a craftworker was good enough to be called a master in that craft. Work on that masterpiece to show that you are good enough to be taken on as a master of whatever it is you are interested in. Learn from it, if you make a mistake first attempt make the second attempt better. Get thinking of what you can do to change the world. The world is waiting for you.


Sad seniors
Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 5, 2020 at 12:17 pm
Sad seniors, Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 5, 2020 at 12:17 pm
3 people like this

@resident

That was the plan but paly sci dept has added more work, harsher grading, testing from a different site and no instruction. My kids will be teaching themselves and jumping through new hoops instead of what the principal posted.

Paly students should find a way to get responses from these people that say “we are there for you”

No one is there for seniors and juniors.

They should just have some book work and one easy final and a pass grade , not a new 5 point scale, new curriculum and again, NO instruction nothing. They told them to do it themselves. My kids would like to be making masks or volunteering but are stuck with rubrics from hell instead just to get a pass and keep college offers


District Teacher
Old Palo Alto
on Apr 5, 2020 at 7:30 pm
District Teacher, Old Palo Alto
on Apr 5, 2020 at 7:30 pm
13 people like this

Zoom is an option, not a mandate. Trying to do synchronous learning in these circumstances is a waste of time and energy - trust me on this - I have been teaching for 20 years, including teaching kids using technology. We can go back to the "3 R's" for a month and a half and no harm will be done. It's a bummer for the seniors who will miss prom and their walk across the stage and for the kids who were in the middle of their APs, but the colleges will accommodate this and we'll get through it.

This time should be put to the best possible advantage by students, their families, and the community as a whole, and NOT create more stress for families. Teachers have families too, as well as loved ones in vulnerable populations about whom they are deeply concerned. This is a completely unprecedented situation, so all bets are off. Remember that before all this is over, some members of our community will become very ill and some will undoubtedly die. That changes the equation for everyone. The best things we can do for each other are to stay home and stay healthy, try to stay positive, practice kindness on the daily, and remember that we are all in this together.

The kids will be fine, if the adults model proper behavior. That's always been the case.


Parochial
Mountain View
on Apr 6, 2020 at 12:08 pm
Parochial, Mountain View
on Apr 6, 2020 at 12:08 pm
13 people like this

I find this thread very interesting. Both my kids are in parochial school, one middle, one HS. On 3/12 they were both in class, that evening we received email that schools would be closed effective immediately but that we would begin distance learning. On 3/16 we were allowed back in school to get books, backpacks etc and by 3/17 my middle schooler had a daily schedule from 9-3 with ZOOM classes hourly, my HSer had a more flexible schedule but still fairly rigorous workload.

THREE DAYS. In three days our admin and teachers came together and developed distance learning plans and schedules, mastered Zoom, FlipGrid, StudySync and more. In THREE DAYS. Yes, the rollout had some bumps but considering everything it was damn impressive.

THIS is why we don’t do public school. THIS.


A (disappointed) parent
South of Midtown
on Apr 6, 2020 at 1:55 pm
A (disappointed) parent, South of Midtown
on Apr 6, 2020 at 1:55 pm
17 people like this

Can only re-echo how most PAUSD parents feel about the disappointing response
of the school administration to this crisis. One should ask yourself what
the top priority should be for a school district. I would argue the
student's learning should be on the top of the list. But this crisis has shown
PAUSD has a different top priority, I don't know what it is, but it's NOT
the students' learning. Upon asking why online instruction isn't occurring
I am either told excuses like "we are working on it", or "not everyone has a
computer"... It seems, instead of identifying bottlenecks and addressing accessibility problem directly, these phrases are used as excuses not to do anything (as in 30 minutes a day online instruction). If a student doesn't have access, then offer help that he/she does, and not hold all other kids in class hostage. I feel the district has withdrawn from its primary purpose, which is to provide education for the student.
The second BIG deficiency of their response is that
parents aren't part of the decision making process as to what will occur in the classroom. The home schooling load was readily (and conveniently) dumped onto the parents' shoulders, and yet, nobody has asked the parent to provide inputs when/how/if/why online learning
should be organized and delivered. Aren't parents the most important mediators and facilitators in this situation?
Many families have spent fortunes to buy themselves into this expensive neighborhood because of the "good" schools. It's now more clear than ever that the schools are terribly overrated in PA, especially considering to sky-high expenditures per student. This crisis has shown that this is true more than ever.


Resident
Palo Alto High School
on Apr 6, 2020 at 6:11 pm
Resident, Palo Alto High School
on Apr 6, 2020 at 6:11 pm
4 people like this

To a disappointed parent who states
"Many families have spent fortunes to buy themselves into this expensive neighborhood because of the "good" schools. It's now more clear than ever that the schools are terribly overrated in PA, especially considering to sky-high expenditures per student. This crisis has shown that this is true more than ever"

The solution is simple, move. There are plenty of people who would love to have your home.
Please consider that students and parents all over the world are going through the same thing. From Singapore (I am in contact with friends living there), to Hong Kong, and in Manhattan. Order some books to read. Turn off the computer and television.

I read that those clever kids in Wuhan organized themselves (during the lockdown), and figured out how to take down their study assignment app called "DingTalk" by giving it a one star review.

So kids are going to be kids.
They don't want to do homework, and hopefully all of them will be sick of watching screens when this all over, and perhaps all of them will finally focus on real life, nature, and social skills.

If kids are passionate about something, they will work towards learning it on their own. You can't buy intelligence through force or buying the right real estate.
It has to come naturally.

You are free to move.


Take it easy
Barron Park
on Apr 7, 2020 at 8:15 am
Take it easy, Barron Park
on Apr 7, 2020 at 8:15 am
4 people like this

@A (disappointed) parent
"I would argue the student's learning should be on the top of the list. But this crisis has shown PAUSD has a different top priority, I don't know what it is, but it's NOT the students' learning. "

Please read the PAUSD superintendent's message on LinkedIn. He made it very clear what his top priority is...Equity.

You may not agree with his opinion, but he is being completely transparent.


another parent
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2020 at 12:40 pm
another parent, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2020 at 12:40 pm
8 people like this

"Take it easy" is absolutely right. And not only has the Superintendent been clear on this occasion. School policy at Paly from the beginning of this school year (which is all I can speak to) has been just as clear: Equity and Stress Avoidance for all have been the two goals. The trouble is that the safest and least troublesome way of achieving both is to offer little to all and expect little from all.

Equity for students could mean equity in having one's academic potential fostered, being supplied with whatever it takes to achieve that potential in school, from laptops and internet access for the economically disadvantaged, to special needs education, to guidance on and access to challenge activities for the highly academically talented; and then in turn being expected to put in the hard work required to achieve the learning goals that are within one's individual reach and being rewarded by appropriate credit. That is no different in the current situation than in any other. The current situation simply highlights attitudes that were palpable all along.


Ohlone parent
Ohlone School
on Apr 7, 2020 at 12:44 pm
Ohlone parent, Ohlone School
on Apr 7, 2020 at 12:44 pm
19 people like this

My 5th grader's teacher has pretty much disappeared ever since schools shut down. She sent us a list of things to work on our own, has a one hour zoom session once a week (which did not happen this week because of "Spring break" ) We receive e-mails from the school district saying those who don't have laptops can collect it from the school district. If children don't have proper guidance, what are they supposed to do with the laptops ?

The younger one (who is with a private school TK program) has zoom sessions for about 3.5 hours every day!

I agree teachers have families, some of them don't have child care. However, this class(like every other class in Ohlone) has a substitute teacher, and also a teaching assistant (funded by PiE - to which most of us donate ).

I had to take a 30% pay cut - which I am not complaining - I am lucky to have a job. I work pretty much my regular hours - in the middle of that, I also have to plan/cook meals, also keep children engaged. Everyone is in the same boat!

To the teachers who cannot show up - are you taking a pay cut ? Why are we paying for this ?


Ohlone parent
Ohlone School
on Apr 7, 2020 at 12:50 pm
Ohlone parent, Ohlone School
on Apr 7, 2020 at 12:50 pm
9 people like this

This whole experience has exposed major flaws in our school district. It is not the administration that needs change. Shuffling superintendents and principals every now and then is not going to help students. We need teachers to be more accountable. Lip service is not going to raise academic standards.


LinkedIn?
Fairmeadow
on Apr 7, 2020 at 2:19 pm
LinkedIn?, Fairmeadow
on Apr 7, 2020 at 2:19 pm
7 people like this

@TakeItEasy -- Can you share the superintendent's message on LinkedIn here? Why is he not sending out messages through the normal channels, especially Schoology? I watched part of one video where he claimed PAUSD is leading the country in its policies, but I have not heard more, and would really prefer if he communicated in writing directly to parents of the school district.


Resident
Downtown North
on Apr 7, 2020 at 8:26 pm
Resident, Downtown North
on Apr 7, 2020 at 8:26 pm
9 people like this

Why is Don Austin not sending out emails through our email accounts? I don't know why parents have to go onto social media and Twitter and YouTube and Linked in to read relevant messages that needs to go to parents? Why not send a concise email out to us and post relevant information on the PAUSD website?

Why is he using third party social media accounts to post information for parents? Who has the time to research social media to see if he has an account and then follow him and read it there? This is so ridiculous.

Why is he not using regular channels of communication? We read our emails. Why isn't he sending out emails?


Resident
Downtown North
on Apr 7, 2020 at 8:35 pm
Resident, Downtown North
on Apr 7, 2020 at 8:35 pm
4 people like this

@ Take it easy

Don Austin seems to be using one group of students as a scape goat to say why he won't do something.
If you read his past messages on PAUSD website, he said PAISD won't do online learning because of elementary students.

Why not paper packets? Who said elementary children needed to do online learning?

I also wonder if Don Austin is using his personal LInked In account and Twitter account to post things and then have the freedom to delete things, instead of using regular channels.

PAUSD parents should not need to go trolling the internet searching for Don Austin's personal social media accounts to read communication to PAUSD that should be coming from normal email communication.

Our President twitters. That's irritating enough. Now we have to follow DON Austin and his twitter account to read about PAUSD Information? pfft.


parent sensitive to irony
Midtown
on Apr 7, 2020 at 9:58 pm
parent sensitive to irony, Midtown
on Apr 7, 2020 at 9:58 pm
2 people like this

So we have a superintendent who is not doing his job through official channels? Meanwhile, how is this for private concerns being communicated through official channels: Twice now I've gotten the email below from our principal's office, and so have many others. Note the proposed use of technology:

Dear Families,

I am writing on behalf of our principal Mr. Paulson. He is also a doctoral student at San Francisco State University conducting research on blended learning and the impact this type of class has for HUR students (Historically Under Represented).
Part of this research is interviewing students who currently take a blended course and also those who choose not to. Because he is the principal, he cannot directly ask students to participate which Is why I am reaching out on his behalf. He will be conducting student focus groups via zoom at 3:30 this Friday. In addition, students can fill out a google form if they don’t want to participate in the online focus group. He would like your permission to talk to your student about their experiences at school. If you would like to participate, please just respond to this email with a “yes.” If you agree, Mr. Paulson will reach out to students via email and zoom this week. Thank you for considering this important opportunity. I have attached the permission form which he can get from you at a later date.


Whhhaaat
Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Apr 7, 2020 at 10:28 pm
Whhhaaat, Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Apr 7, 2020 at 10:28 pm
2 people like this

Linkin!? Twitter insta ? Zoom? Why not tick tocj?


Children are targeted online. This is a fact. They have school communication set up by law for this reason . What is going on with the board? Do they think this is a reality show?


Parent
Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 7, 2020 at 11:02 pm
Parent, Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 7, 2020 at 11:02 pm
Like this comment

Adults reaching out to personal emails and insecure zoom sites is unsafe.


Giving lists to others to avoid this breach is very very creepy.

Do not let me Paulson Zoom you child. Block him on emails.

This is a violation of privacy and ca the law to keep lists and ask kids to breach their own privacy online. AND this is a title nine violation.


Aside from that.. it is like the house is burning down and the adult wants us to get his teddy bear from the fire instead of our own kids.

What next? Him congratulating himself on himself?


Don’t let adults zoom your under represented children
Fairmeadow
on Apr 7, 2020 at 11:37 pm
Don’t let adults zoom your under represented children, Fairmeadow
on Apr 7, 2020 at 11:37 pm
Like this comment

Ok. The request states that letting mr Paulson zoom kids is an “ important opportunity” this implies the kids will get something back.

Just the worst think I have seen from paly and there have been some bad things.


Jane Dewey
Barron Park
on Apr 8, 2020 at 10:32 pm
Jane Dewey, Barron Park
on Apr 8, 2020 at 10:32 pm
6 people like this

Paulson is lucky to be leaving you bunch of whiny losers


So happy he is leaving
Barron Park
on Apr 9, 2020 at 3:32 pm
So happy he is leaving, Barron Park
on Apr 9, 2020 at 3:32 pm
2 people like this

Jane

Paly is lucky now

He did not report sexual assault case

Has no plan for any emergency

Allows kids to vape on campus freely


Resident
Downtown North
on Apr 12, 2020 at 8:02 pm
Resident, Downtown North
on Apr 12, 2020 at 8:02 pm
9 people like this

@ Parent Sensitive to Irony

This is ironic indeed.
We have a superintendent who is unable to use official channels of communication to let parents know about online learning and instead uses his personal third party open linkedin accounts and twitter accounts to communicate to parents.

Then we have the Paly principal use official means of communication to get participants for his doctoral studies thesis study?

The whole thing is a farce.

Los Altos students during the 1st week of school closure, from Grades 3 and up had recorded class lessons to watch and assignments given to them on Google Classes. They've had 3 weeks of online school before having Spring break this past week.

Tomorrow, they enter 4th week of online learning. Meanwhile, our kids, are starting "online learning" tomorrow.
But then again, who has skin in the game? Any board members have kids in the district? Or how about the Superintendent?

We need to vote out to the board so they care enough to hire good leadership.


New Gunn principal
South of Midtown
on Apr 12, 2020 at 8:11 pm
New Gunn principal, South of Midtown
on Apr 12, 2020 at 8:11 pm
3 people like this

I am not happy with the communication especially the rationale for 3-4 weeks of nothing. It's been inconsistent. I expect it is out of concern for increasing the achievement gap but I would prefer if the school were clear about that.

I am also worried about the incoming Gunn principal. The announcement was more or less buried. Her experience is in PE and Special Ed. Web Link

Will we continue to deprioritize the education of so many kids in order to close the gap?


Parent
Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 12, 2020 at 11:24 pm
Parent, Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 12, 2020 at 11:24 pm
1 person likes this





Ok we still have no schedule for any class.The teachers have clearly stated there will be limited or no instruction

New rules and assignments, harsh grading and no instruction.

I keep telling my kid it dies not matter but paly principal has done nothing for his students and left them alone and wondering. He has stayed on his own narrow tiny path and sat silently while kids asked him for help or just walked by and pretended not to see them.


Irene Yamane
Gunn High School
on Apr 20, 2020 at 10:27 pm
Irene Yamane, Gunn High School
on Apr 20, 2020 at 10:27 pm
Like this comment

SKY Schools provides evidence-based stress management and SEL to Gunn High School students, educators and parents. During this Shelter-in-place we are offering:
(1) Free Online Well-At-Home Relaxation Series on Facebook Live M-F 6x/day (4 in English/2 in Spanish) for the community. Learn breathing techniques to calm your mind of anxiety and stress and ease sleep. Web Link
(2) SKY Schools Educator & Parent Online Course. SKY breathing technique uses the rhythms of breath to bring your mind into a quiet, peaceful, meditative state. Increases energy, awareness and focus/concentration. Web Link
Contact: Irene Yamane 510.299.5669


Irene Yamane
Gunn High School
on Apr 20, 2020 at 10:29 pm
Irene Yamane, Gunn High School
on Apr 20, 2020 at 10:29 pm
Like this comment

SKY Schools provides evidence-based stress management and SEL to Gunn High School students, educators and parents. During this Shelter-in-place we are offering:
(1) Free Online Well-At-Home Relaxation Series on Facebook Live M-F 6x/day (4 in English/2 in Spanish) for the community. Learn breathing techniques to calm your mind of anxiety and stress and ease sleep. Web Link
(2) SKY Schools Educator & Parent Online Course. SKY breathing technique uses the rhythms of breath to bring your mind into a quiet, peaceful, meditative state. . Web Link
Contact: Irene Yamane 510.299.5669


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