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Parent organization to host two town hall webinars this week

Superintendent, senior administrators will join online discussions

The Palo Alto Council of PTAs is hosting two town hall webinars on reopening elementary and secondary schools on Aug. 3 and 4, respectively. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

The Palo Alto Council of PTAs (PTAC) is hosting two town hall webinars this week to give families an opportunity to discuss questions related to reopening schools.

A webinar focused on elementary schools will take place on Monday, Aug. 3, and a second one focused on secondary schools will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 4. Both events begin at 5:30 p.m.

The town halls will feature Superintendent Don Austin and senior administrators, including Associate Superintendent of Educational Services Sharon Ofek, Elementary Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Anne Brown, Assistant Superintendent of Equity and Student Affairs Lana Conaway, special education administrators and school principals.

PTAC President Christina Schmidt will moderate the discussion. She said the town halls grew out of the parent organization's desire to provide clarity and answer questions during an unprecedented time for the school district.

"It became clear to us that our communities were frustrated and fearful, and our duty as PTA leaders is to provide information on resources and an opportunity for inclusive engagement of our community as families are navigating the reopening process," Schmidt said.

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To prepare for the town halls, PTAC sent surveys out to parent leadership groups at every school — including PTAs, site councils, special education representatives and others — and collected more than 150 questions they have about reopening, Schmidt said. Based on the surveys, PTAC created a set of questions that they'll ask the district administrators during the town halls.

Palo Alto Unified is preparing to start the school year later this month fully online. The school board has expressed support for setting a firm date before which schools would not reopen in person — likely sometime in October — while the teachers union is lobbying to keep the schools closed until January 2021.

To watch the elementary schools town hall, click here.

To watch the secondary schools town hall, click here.

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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Parent organization to host two town hall webinars this week

Superintendent, senior administrators will join online discussions

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Mon, Aug 3, 2020, 9:21 am

The Palo Alto Council of PTAs (PTAC) is hosting two town hall webinars this week to give families an opportunity to discuss questions related to reopening schools.

A webinar focused on elementary schools will take place on Monday, Aug. 3, and a second one focused on secondary schools will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 4. Both events begin at 5:30 p.m.

The town halls will feature Superintendent Don Austin and senior administrators, including Associate Superintendent of Educational Services Sharon Ofek, Elementary Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Anne Brown, Assistant Superintendent of Equity and Student Affairs Lana Conaway, special education administrators and school principals.

PTAC President Christina Schmidt will moderate the discussion. She said the town halls grew out of the parent organization's desire to provide clarity and answer questions during an unprecedented time for the school district.

"It became clear to us that our communities were frustrated and fearful, and our duty as PTA leaders is to provide information on resources and an opportunity for inclusive engagement of our community as families are navigating the reopening process," Schmidt said.

To prepare for the town halls, PTAC sent surveys out to parent leadership groups at every school — including PTAs, site councils, special education representatives and others — and collected more than 150 questions they have about reopening, Schmidt said. Based on the surveys, PTAC created a set of questions that they'll ask the district administrators during the town halls.

Palo Alto Unified is preparing to start the school year later this month fully online. The school board has expressed support for setting a firm date before which schools would not reopen in person — likely sometime in October — while the teachers union is lobbying to keep the schools closed until January 2021.

To watch the elementary schools town hall, click here.

To watch the secondary schools town hall, click here.

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

Kathy
Greater Miranda
on Aug 3, 2020 at 10:24 am
Kathy, Greater Miranda
on Aug 3, 2020 at 10:24 am
21 people like this

Hope that PTAC will ask --- if San Jose Unified, San Mateo Union HSD, and Dublin Unified, among others, can provide live streamed teacher instruction to students, why can't PAUSD and the teacher's union?

Also, hope PTAC will ask about PAUSD's obligation to serve medically fragile and at risk students via distance learning, as well as trying to 'force' families into 'selecting' distance learning for a full year, when circumstances might change.


JLS mom
Fairmeadow
on Aug 3, 2020 at 11:34 am
JLS mom, Fairmeadow
on Aug 3, 2020 at 11:34 am
17 people like this

Was PTAC MIA the entire spring? I forgot they exist.


Facts and Figures
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 3, 2020 at 12:14 pm
Facts and Figures, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 3, 2020 at 12:14 pm
17 people like this

Why does our District follow some rules and not others? Let's look at SB 98. It requires

1. Live instruction
2. A lower amount of instruction than pre-pandemic
3. Paying teachers 100% (no layoffs/no cuts)
4. Letting families choose distance learning for health regardless of having a doctors note
5. Distance learning of a challenge and quality substantially equivalent to in person

But our District:

1. Won't apply for a waiver for elementary, letting families who can afford it pay for pods and just offering help for 10% of students who need it through PAUSD plus. There are almost 6K students in elementary who would benefit from in person with social distance rules.

2. Is setting a date by which it will consider LIVE INSTRUCTION. If the County says we can open. We should open. When Santa Clara County clears the Watchlist, why won't PAUSD open?

3. Takes advantage of the lowered instruction when it is paying teachers 100%. We should give students 100% of instruction, not the 2/3 minimum.

4. Is paying teachers and all its administrators 100%. No pay cuts, even when almost the entire community has less income our administrators and Board decided not to cut pay. I guess SB 98 allows it for teachers, so why not administrators too. It's not like we need the money for wireless for kids or PPE or instructional leads at the high schools. Nope.

5. Is requiring doctor's notes and contracts for distance learning. How can that be possible?

6. Is not getting commitments to teach a full year of curriculum, stream or record. What is going on here?

PAUSD, You serve the community. You are paying the teachers 100%, offer teachers unpaid leave or ensure they give 100% of instruction for students live and distance.


Susan Usman
Registered user
Triple El
on Aug 4, 2020 at 7:39 am
Susan Usman, Triple El
Registered user
on Aug 4, 2020 at 7:39 am
4 people like this

Well done Christina! This is the presence and leadership the PTA Council should have.


Equality for Students
Registered user
Downtown North
on Aug 4, 2020 at 4:58 pm
Equality for Students, Downtown North
Registered user
on Aug 4, 2020 at 4:58 pm
Like this comment

Any help with families of disabled kids at NPS and NPA schools who:

-Cannot get free or reduced price lunch because PAUSD does not enter eligible kids in County database if PAUSD sends the kid to an NPA/NPS
-Could not get notice of this meeting or permission to submit questions because PAUSD removed kid from student registration database when it sent them to NPS or NPA schools?

If PAUSD sends and pays for a school for a disabled child, doesn’t that make the disabled child a PAUSD student?
Aren’t they equal to non-disabled students?


Paly Teacher
Registered user
Palo Alto High School
on Aug 5, 2020 at 3:28 pm
Paly Teacher, Palo Alto High School
Registered user
on Aug 5, 2020 at 3:28 pm
7 people like this

@Kathy who said "Hope that PTAC will ask --- if San Jose Unified, San Mateo Union HSD, and Dublin Unified, among others, can provide live streamed teacher instruction to students, why can't PAUSD and the teacher's union?"

I love how Kathy thinks those district can provide something even though the school year hasn't even started yet. Sure, they can promise a service, but how can she be so sure they'll deliver? The answer is she can't and she's just instigating strife and discord in our community without offering any real solutions as usual.

If you think your ideas are so great, file papers and run for school board. You have until August 12.


Facts and Figures
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 5, 2020 at 8:20 pm
Facts and Figures, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Aug 5, 2020 at 8:20 pm
4 people like this

@Paly Teacher:

Kathy speaking up is appreciated by many. Many parents have been asking why cameras have not been installed in classrooms over the summer. Why does someone have to run for school board to speak up?

I thought we could all use a healthy dose of facts:

San Jose "For example, every student will receive an iPad or Chromebook and hotspots will be provided to families who do not have high-speed internet; video-conferencing cameras have been ordered for every classroom to enable teachers to provide live instruction." Mercury News article Web Link


San Mateo "I’ve received a lot of questions about what synchronous learning is and what it will look like. The best way I have heard it described is that, no matter where you are, the instruction is happening in real time and all students are receiving it together. The District is committed to providing synchronous learning for all students almost every day, regardless of what phase of opening we are in." Skelly Post. See Web Link

And wow Dublin. I had not seen this, but found it by a google search. Dublin's plan which clarifies how it meets the requirements of SB98. Web Link


Paly Teacher
Registered user
Palo Alto High School
on Aug 5, 2020 at 10:51 pm
Paly Teacher, Palo Alto High School
Registered user
on Aug 5, 2020 at 10:51 pm
3 people like this

@Facts and Figures: Regarding cameras, I don't know what the definitive reason for not having them is but one potential reason it's possible many teachers don't need them. For example, I plan to just use my laptop's camera. Plus, I hope to give students activities that reduce how much they'll have to look at their screens. Thus, the money that would be spent on cameras might help students in other ways.

Regarding the school board, Kathy has run for school board before so she's more uniquely situated than most to run in November. I wouldn't suggest a stranger to run for school board because they speak passionately about schools. Further, she has a history of making claims based on twisting of words or without sources (e.g. previous posts by her about schools providing synchronous learning) as well as harassing and demanding to speak with students she had no business interacting with.

I appreciate that you provided facts with sources. I'm not sure classroom cameras are necessary. SJUSD says they're being installed to enable teachers to provide live instruction, but PAUSD and PAEA have a tentative agreement that says daily synchronous instruction will be provided. Given that, does it matter if teachers use laptop cameras instead of classroom ones? Please tell me because I could be missing something.

What San Mateo described is what PAUSD will be providing as I described in the previous paragraph.

The Dublin document was long so I wasn't sure which part of it you were referring to. SB 98 only requires daily live instruction, which could include phone calls instead of synchronous instruction. PAUSD will provide the latter.


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