New superintendent dreams big for Ravenswood | January 17, 2014 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - January 17, 2014

New superintendent dreams big for Ravenswood

Embracing volunteers, she wants new middle schools, and funds for band

by Chris Kenrick

Surveying East Palo Alto's Ravenswood City School District with fresh eyes, new Superintendent Gloria Hernandez sees a lot that needs fixing.

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Staff Writer Chris Kenrick can be emailed at


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Posted by muttiallen
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 18, 2014 at 12:13 pm

muttiallen is a registered user.

I've volunteered and worked in Ravenswood since 1996, and the improvements in the district over the last 5+ years are phenomenal. But there is still a long ways to go, and I'm excited for the things Dr. Hernandez is working on. It also helps a lot that the budget will be growing rather than shrinking. It has always been interesting to me that the test scores in PAUSD for low income students are almost the same as those for Ravenswood. Palo Alto has a waiting list for English speakers into the Spanish dual-immersion program, and Ravenswood has a need for more English speakers in its program. Here's a good opportunity for cross-registration in both directions. RCSD has a new Tech Coordinator last year and a new Science coordinator this year who are doing amazing work with teachers to better prepare RCSD students for high school in these areas. These positions, and money for training and supplies to go with them, are funded by Ravenswood Education Foundation. It's so wonderful that people outside Ravenswood District realize the importance of a good education for ALL children, not just their own.

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Posted by Palo alto parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 19, 2014 at 9:39 am

I wish Ms. Hernandez much luck! She has some great ideas. In her comments about the existing programs, she said she was surprised that science was mostly run by outsiders - that is also true in PAUSD. Up until 7th grade, there are no dedicated science teachers (except maybe at Escondido). The classroom teachers do some and most of the schools seem to pay the Junior Museum to run programs at their schools using PiE money. Having one or two middle schools is also a great idea, the ability to hire single subject teachers and start a band program is terrific. She is also right about the Tinsley program, not only does it pull students (and $$) out of Ravenswood, it also pulls committed parents out of community building, neighborhood schools. Good luck to her!

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Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of Mountain View
on Jan 20, 2014 at 10:39 am

Some research suggest that K-8 have advantages over middle school configurations, the following link is an informative look at this issue:
Web Link

From the link:
"But a study published in Ed Next found that student achievement declines when students enter middle school, and that students who attend K-8 schools perform better."

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Posted by Ravenswood Middle Grade Teacher
a resident of another community
on Jan 23, 2014 at 10:50 am

I think that the main goals to focus on would be transparency of plans for the district and teacher to student ratios. I know that my students can do amazing things with an environment that allows the teacher to focus on individuals. Since last year, the number of students that rotate through my classroom has doubled. This has presented more challenges in my ability to customize my lessons to maximize individual student learning. In collaboration with other district teachers, there is a lot of positive talk about increasing student success with results that are supporting our collaborative efforts.

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Posted by OPar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 23, 2014 at 2:17 pm

Palo Alto Parent,

Ohlone has a science teacher (works out of the Farm), though the over-expansion of the school has meant less for each class.

I wish the new superintendent the best of luck. I think she's thinking in the right direction--EPA should have its own strong schools and EPA residents shouldn't have to send their kids out of the district for a good education. Nine hundred kids going out of district is a sizeable chunk--nearly one-fifth. That a couple of charters have done well there, including a high school, says to me that the right district management could really make the district turn around.

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