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Help: Will Administrators help support Neighborhood Schools?

Original post made by Parent, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 20, 2006

I have no idea who the administrators are that are disgruntled about the District management, nor do I know how to contact them other than on this forum. So I would like to ask publicly for their help, or ask least ask for their consideration on this matter.

It strikes me that if PAUSD decides to move to an Alterative/Choice program model, away from Neighborhood Schools, then the concept of Site centered leadership (i.e.: site principles) becomes obsolete to the concept of Program Directors.

It strikes me that a successful Alternative program model requires program leadership that is particularly peaked, knowledgeable, experienced, by Program, an organization of specialists rather than generalists organized by geography. Decisions for those programs for everything from staffing, funding decisions, curriculum, student performance, accountability, all would probably need to run through a program director for ideal results.

We already have seen this at work with our current choice programs, with the principals and/or programs moved and matched to create alignment of expertise, interest and experience (Spanish Immersion, Hoover come to mind.) I'm sure the same would need to occur for a successful Mandarin Immersion choice program.

I'm not arguing against this organizational structure, since it is probably the way it has to be if we are to be a district of Alternative/Choice programs. We will need program specific experts running those programs for optimal results, rather than site generalists. But it will have an impact on the types of administrators PAUSD employs in the future.

It's a philosophical change for this district, and it really hinges on whether this community supports moving away from generally equivalent Neighborhood schools to a district primarily of Choice Programs. It’s a strategy decision the Board should be making publicly (with public and educator inputs). So far the board has not been acknowledging the need to address the broader strategy implications before they make more yay/nay decisions on additional choice programs.

Can or will the administrators take the opportunity to support our Neighborhood Schools? They'll have a mediator now, so perhaps they have a golden window of opportunity NOW to stand up for what they believe.

(Whatever that may be, because certainly we've heard not much about which model they support, perhaps fear or political correctness has squelched their voices to this point.)

I wonder if this long term strategic model is something the principles and administrators are thinking about, and talking to the board about. Perhaps they are in a unique position of bargaining power right now to help support the Neighborhood School concept. I hope so. Please help us save our neighborhood schools.

Comments (4)

Posted by Get a life
a resident of Fairmeadow School
on Oct 20, 2006 at 1:36 pm

one new program in 12 years, working through 4 years of guidelines, policies, and adminstrative processes, is not moving the district to a choice model.

get some perspective!

Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 20, 2006 at 2:04 pm

It certainly is 1 step farther away from a Neighborhood model. And if the district spent 4 long arduous years working out guidelines, policies and administrative processes to pave the way for a new choice program, why would we think it stops with just one? Doesn't this set the stage and the precendent for more to come in quite easily? Why not? (Is the board making policy statements on 'it stops here'? No,they are not.)

But even so, maybe the administrators and princpals are completely neutral and indifferent on this anyway. Why should they care? If they don't care, I don't care. Its not my job(s).

Posted by Wolf
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 20, 2006 at 3:36 pm

Hoover and Ohlone were established over 30 years ago. Check Web Link and Web Link . Spanish immersion started in 1995, 11 years ago. Mandarin immersion supporters have been working for over 4 years, and it will not pilot before 2007 at the earliest. Choice program guidelines were established about a decade ago, and revisited in 2002. Web Link

If MI will be established, that will make almost 3 elementary schools out of 12 to be a choice schools (2 schools, 2 immersion strands that equal to about 2/3 of a school) instead of today's ... almost 3 schools.

Methink the fear of flooding Palo Alto with choice programs, while abandoning the neighborhood school model, is somewhat premature.

Posted by Tyler Hanley
digital editor of Palo Alto Online
on Oct 20, 2006 at 5:05 pm

Tyler Hanley is a registered user.

We're going to lock this thread since it is attempting to start another discussion on a topic that already has several other threads going. Please add new comments to these existing threads. Thanks.

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