Town Square

Post a New Topic

District proposes new school calendar

Original post made on Mar 27, 2017

Under a proposed calendar negotiated with the Palo Alto school district's teachers union, students and staff would have a full week off for Thanksgiving for the next two years.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, March 27, 2017, 10:13 AM

Comments (19)

Posted by Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 27, 2017 at 12:35 pm

No idea what this week off for Thanksgiving will do to making the school year start earlier (and earlier) in August. We are pretty much disgusted that August is back to school month and getting together with extended family is getting harder. On top of that, many parents are unable to take time off until after the end of June which means that the early start to break gets earlier in the spring and does nothing to make family vacations easy.

We were told that PAUSD would look into transferring into a quarter system as is common in other countries. I have not heard that anybody is doing anything to looking into this very common sense idea. Is this another promise (like FLES) that we are told about as a counter to some of these ridiculously unfair issues PAUSD invokes.

I am coming to the conclusion that the BoE do not listen to parents, ever. They are supposed to be working with the community and coming up with solutions that suit most of the community, not taking things into their own hands. They are not superior beings, just volunteers willing to sit on this board. They are only there because of the votes from the electorate and they should be listening to those who have voted them there.

Posted by Mom
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 27, 2017 at 1:26 pm

I hope Palo Alto teachers think about their students, not only their convenience. If Palo Alto makes their summer break earlier and shorter, our students have to give up many great summer programs because they usually demand full participation. I don't know why PAUSD can not work like Saratoga or Mission San Jose, their calendars really blend in students' environment, not for teachers' inconvenience due to some students who are absent. Why don't they care about the students who come to school? I think the origin of students' stress is teachers's opinions making things worse because they have very limited information.

Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 27, 2017 at 2:30 pm

The new schedule ignores that many parents work at places that are closed for most of the last two weeks of the year, but reopen right after New Years. Once again, as with Spring Break, the PAUSD schedule makes no effort to comport with Stanford's or other local companies' practices

Posted by Enough
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 27, 2017 at 3:07 pm

What happened to the former 2 days off (Thursday & Friday)? That's when most employers are closed.

Posted by Paly Mom
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 27, 2017 at 3:57 pm

I'd rather they bring back Ski Week, plus Thanksgiving for a week, and all the days off in between. These kids are working so hard that the breaks are welcome. Doesn't matter if they are released later in the year because the breaks are helpful. Why do people need so much summer vacation? Geez.

Posted by check
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 27, 2017 at 4:05 pm

i'm happy we finally have a calendar

Posted by Parent
a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 28, 2017 at 10:19 am

I wish school was extended 1 or 2 more days each semester. Finals week is a major stress factor for kids. On some days, there are 3 final exams back to back with 10minutes break in between. PAUSD puts a lot of money into emotional well being. However, it does not consider homework load and Finals Week to relieve stress.

Posted by your tax dollars
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 28, 2017 at 12:07 pm

$180 per hour Travel Time?!

Get off the teacher bashing, and pay attention to what the lawyers are getting away with.

Posted by parent of future Paly student
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 28, 2017 at 1:25 pm

I feel a week off at Thanksgiving is a bit excessive. It would serve the students if the extra days were used in September and October to give them a bit more of break.

Then, having the first week off in January; I guess they assume that there is a stay at home parent since no businesses are off that week.

Ending at the start of June means there are not camps for the students since PAUSD is unique in this schedule. And then starting early in August (August 4th for those doing Paly Sports) is just crazy. This is prime vacation time, not the beginning of June.

Posted by Suggestion
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 28, 2017 at 1:47 pm

Why not do what most of Europe--excepting Italy and Spain-- do, which is:

The entire month of December off for Christmas and the shopping and travel that go with it. One month off in the summer, usually August, for "summer vacation". Then a day of here and there for various national holidays.

In Germany, Mother's Day and Father's Day fall on Fridays, and are considered national holidays which everyone has off.

The best part is that the kids are not out of school so long that they forget much of what they learned previously.

Posted by Observer
a resident of another community
on Mar 28, 2017 at 5:02 pm

Camps don't exist in a vacuum. Local camps will adopt to the school schedule if summer vacation change--again--because parents will be willing to pay.

And why they teachers don't care about the students that are there--you lose $$$ from the state if students aren't in class. Possibly that's why the union is so interested in it?

Posted by Mom of senior
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 28, 2017 at 6:27 pm

So seniors will one less week over the break to get college apps in? As most are due January 1, this will really hurt some of them.

Posted by Mom
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 29, 2017 at 12:43 am

@Mom: "Most are due January 1." That's incorrect, as I have a senior too. UCs are due November 30. You must be referring to the Ivy League schools, which are due the first week in January, because the non-Ivy League schools do not have deadlines in the first week, besides NYU. Well, if those Ivy League applicants are waiting until the last minute to complete their applications, then perhaps they should reconsider their schools. The students applying to Ivy Leagues in PAUSD are not the majority.

Posted by sunshine
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 29, 2017 at 9:33 am

Once again we have a bad school calendar.
First, school starts BEFORE Labor Day. This means students and their parents must rush back from summer vacation in order to get here early. School should start after Labor Day. There is no need to start earlier unless teachers want a three day weekend right after the start of the school year. It's a bad idea that keeps getting worse each year. In addition, the weather is usually still very good both here and other areas so we all want to be outside to play.
Start the school year AFTER Labor Day weekend.
Second, A week off for Thanks giving is good. Any families that have members in other areas can get together more easily and it eases their travel possibilities.
Third, there is no need for a winter ski holiday. This messes up families that work. Either the parents must take time from their work for child care or find very expensive part time care for that one week. Usually the weather is bad then so no one wants to go anywhere (unless they ski, which many do not).
For the same reason that a week for Thanksgiving is recommended, take off the week between Christmas and New Year, with a few extra days just before Christmas.
Schools do not need to take so many extra days off during the year.

Posted by Reality
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 29, 2017 at 10:07 am

For those complaining that they Board of Education doesn't listen to parents... They DO. They listen to those who are most vocal. And those are typically the ones who care about keeping zero period, excessive AP classes and favoring testing and higher grades over a useful, well-rounded education. If you want things to change, you need to speak up. As a teacher who has connections with almost every school in the area, both public and private, I can tell you that most teachers are not happy with the situation and many administrators are not, either. But the pressure continues to come from parents (also from within the administration, where some love to hear that their school is near the top of the rankings) to do things that are not always in the best interest of students.

As for the idea of teachers getting extra time off through the new schedule, perhaps you would like to do a survey of teachers to see how much time they put into their job outside of class time?

Posted by Sanctimonious City
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2017 at 3:41 pm

[Portion removed.] They are eliminating the very popular Thursday Tutorial which is a highly valued study hall where students can get help from teachers. So in the name of reducing stress on the students, they are taking away two hours in the day when they could be studying which has the effect of increasing stress on students.

Ironically, according to SEL the "Students’ psychological needs are not secondary to their academic needs" The beauty of that principle is that more and more resources can then be poured into non-cognitive factors and social skills like advocacy, poster board making and protesting. The not so subtle goal is to turn high schools into trade schools for political movements.

Rather than grading whether 2+2=4, they evaluate progressive skills and competencies like whether your micro aggression analysis was thorough enough. With SEL, teachers become pseudo psychologists except they are not credentialed or accountable. So that actually makes them more like Commissars.

The new schedule is so unpopular with students that they have started a petition to Principal Hermann on As of today, there are over 550 signatures. If SEL is really about soft skills then maybe the school should practice the art of listening to the group of people who will be impacted most.

Web Link

Posted by @Sanctimonious Poster
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 29, 2017 at 4:04 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by Agree totally
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 29, 2017 at 4:50 pm

With Sanctimonious in this one. You may call it "babble" but he/she sure doesn't buy into the "bubble".

And frankly, how much more factual you can be than the specifics Sanct put forward?

Posted by Marc Vincenti
a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 29, 2017 at 6:36 pm

It’s painful to watch a school board and superintendent devote so much of a community’s time to issues of very real but very, very, very limited, transitory, and secondary importance--when we have unsolved District problems that have persisted for decades.

Our school leaders—who’ve got loads of intelligence, know-how, and conscience--have a historic opportunity to serve the community differently than their predecessors; but the signs are not promising.

I mean “historic” exactly.

In the Weekly for March 11, 1998--ALMOST TWENTY YEARS AGO--a headline reads:

“Youth speak out at town hall meeting -- school pressure dominates discussion among Palo Alto teens"

Web Link

In the Weekly for December 31, 2003--FOURTEEN YEARS AGO--a headline reads:

“Tough times for teens – in many ways, Palo Alto’s young were hardest hit in 2003”

The article says, “A year ago the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, reported Palo Alto and Gunn high schools needed to concentrate on lowering levels of student stress…"

In the Weekly for February 23, 2012--FIVE YEARS AGO--a headline reads:

“Academic stress a top mental health concern”

The article says, “Academic stress tops the list of reasons Palo Alto teens have sought on-campus mental health counseling in the current academic year…”)

Web Link

In November of 2014--TWO YEARS AGO--Gunn sophomore Martha Cabot, in her soft voice in a YouTube message to the community, practically screamed: “The amount of stress on a student is RIDICULOUS.”

And we went on to have three more teen suicides, the most recent only last April.

I regularly hear from parents of middle-schoolers who are frightened by the prospect of their kids moving on to Gunn or Paly. Why have we so terribly failed to create a community where the opposite is true—where the transition to high school is seen as a great upcoming adventure, to be filled with growth and joy?

Our leaders cannot claim to be unaware of solutions yet to be tried. Sensible remedies, supported now by more than 500 Palo Altans, are in the Save the 2,008 blueprint that's been before our leaders for two years but without a single official publicly backing the implementation of a single one.

Mark Twain said, “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.”

But, of course, he wasn’t seriously describing how Palo Alto ought to be setting its school priorities and addressing its problems.

As of right now, the year 2017, our leaders have a golden opportunity to leave a legacy that is different from the one we've inherited from their decades of predecessors.

Will they seize it?

Marc Vincenti
Chairman, Save the 2,008
Join us, with just the keystrokes of your name, at

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Palo Alto Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

How quickly will we electrify our homes?
By Sherry Listgarten | 13 comments | 2,742 views

Sulbing Cafe brings internationally popular shaved ice dessert to Santa Clara
By The Peninsula Foodist | 0 comments | 1,585 views

Everything Falls – Lessons in Souffle
By Laura Stec | 6 comments | 1,522 views