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In-person class twice a week? School district eyes hybrid model this fall

Original post made on May 13, 2020

When Palo Alto Unified middle and high schools reopen this fall, students could be attending school in person twice a week and learning remotely three days a week.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, May 13, 2020, 9:37 AM

Comments (92)

40 people like this
Posted by Yes
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 13, 2020 at 10:30 am

Where would teachers’ kids be when they’re not in school but their parents are?


18 people like this
Posted by Pat
a resident of Walter Hays School
on May 13, 2020 at 11:17 am

That is a good point about the teachers' children. Especially elementary. Closed elementary schools cause many problems for the families of those children.


7 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 13, 2020 at 11:27 am

>> Where would teachers’ kids be when they’re not in school but their parents are?

Perhaps we need to find a way where "everyone" is on a 4/10 schedule, and, parents and children are on the same schedule?

Web Link

(Not my idea. Mentioned by someone else in another thread.)


Like this comment
Posted by anin
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 13, 2020 at 11:41 am

maybe a large space for kids who can not be home with some spit shields etc if they are all online anyway there could be cohorts of large groups that stay together with a cred teacher and anaid

some charter schools have a mobile sci lab and mobile library


63 people like this
Posted by Sally
a resident of Downtown North
on May 13, 2020 at 12:20 pm

@Yes -- Every parent who is lucky enough to be working and paid right now is fighting with child care. Teachers are no different. I sympathize, because I am in the same boat... but they are no different...

Public employees exist to serve residents, not the other way around. What do my kids do (now) without school when I go to work? I figure it out, like everyone else!


37 people like this
Posted by cmarg
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 13, 2020 at 1:24 pm

I am curious how there will be a one hour zoom call soliciting input :

"The school district will be seeking public input on reopening plans during Austin's [go.pausd.org/backstage-webinar. weekly live webinar on Monday, May 18, at 5:30 p.m. People will be able to ask questions and give feedback in real time.

There needs to be separate forums for high school, middle school and elementary school. It is not at all practical to think that the quantity of parents and students in the district can provide input while online for 1 HOUR!

Send out surveys and have separate forums. My experience when submitting questions at the forum is that only the positive feedback questions and comments are discussed. Not the "real" questions.


8 people like this
Posted by Remote learning next year
a resident of Green Acres
on May 13, 2020 at 1:52 pm

Did they suggest -on the days when kids are not at school- if there will be synchronous learning? Or taped instruction? Or office hours? Or ? Did they confirm that the in-class experience will be available to all children, and not just those who are struggling? Thanks for any input.


24 people like this
Posted by It's pouring
a resident of Midtown
on May 13, 2020 at 2:29 pm

+1 for cmarg - separate elementary, middle and high. We have totally different needs and concerns. Ask for input ahead of time. Respond to the hard questions.

For example:
--- Why is PAUSD claiming to not be allowed to record and re-broadcast in-class lessons? Are other California public schools prevented from doing that? Other public districts are offering live instruction and schedules now.
--- Will PAUSD loosen the restrictions on students taking standardized courses (such as AP) online from outside sources?


11 people like this
Posted by S_mom
a resident of Community Center
on May 13, 2020 at 3:00 pm

Daycare is allowed and available for essential workers, if teachers were classified as essential workers they would have the option to use childcare for their kids. I saw also that some school districts are offering childcare for their workers -- I could see opening up one of the school kids' clubs for teachers' and staffs' school-aged children. For younger kids they would have to use daycare or a nanny (which I imagine is what they had to do before the crisis as well).


24 people like this
Posted by cmarg
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 13, 2020 at 3:01 pm

Please send an email to Don Austin asking for a survey and separate forums for input on the reopening plans! It really helps when the leadership hears from the community otherwise they keep thinking all is ok. Thanks for being engaged and sharing your feedback to Don Austin.


23 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on May 13, 2020 at 3:34 pm

I think our voices are not being heard. PAUSD parents have said many times over that the normal routes of communication via email and emailing surveys for regular communication and surveys would work.

Why is PAUSD using one hour zoom call soliciting input as the method for input?
Parents can not be available for set amounts of time during this incredibly busy period of working from home and homeschooling, to also dial into webinars and zoom sessions.

Please please please return to the normal methods of communication PAUSD, which has always ben through email.
Why are we being forced to dial in to a live webinar at a specific point in time when our schedules are fully booked by work and family obligations.

At least with email and surveys we can do it at our own time and send in input.


15 people like this
Posted by district teacher
a resident of Midtown
on May 13, 2020 at 3:34 pm

- In-class time will be for all students.
- If you are wondering about recording while students are in class, one consideration for recording in class is a privacy issues for students. Every family will need to sign a waiver.


33 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on May 13, 2020 at 3:42 pm

Being forced to dial into a 1 hour zoom session at a specific period in time is ridiculous for providing input to PAUSD. Who came up with this idea? 1 hour zoom session is not a real valid form of getting input because there is no formal record, and no real numbers.

Will an auditor and recording transcribe all the input verbatim on what parents say and write in the chat? This is a very underhanded way of PAUSD trying to say they received PAUSD parent input into their decision.

PAUSD parents demand a formal written survey be sent out via email to every single parent so each and every parent have the fair and equal opportunity to submit their input and thoughts. A 1 hour zoom session is a fairly disingenuous method of saying parental input was received.


22 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 13, 2020 at 4:14 pm

I can see if done efficiently, the new method of teaching could save money.

One teacher at each level for each subject records himself/herself, teaching a new principle lecture style. Does it in front of a white board with graphics and without any students in the room. This lesson is then available by YouTube or whatever for all students in that grade level in that class throughout the district. Each student watches the video, does the homework assignment. If the student needs to watch the video or part of the video a second time to fully understand the information, then it is easy to do so. Then the days that the students are in their own class with an individual teacher that time is used for group discussions. Any presentation that has to be done by a student can be done voice/sound only video and submitted to a teacher.

Now is the time to understand that team teaching will be the new norm for all. The students will all receive the exact same teaching, the exact same homework assignments and have all their work graded and returned in an efficient amount of time. It won't matter which school, which teacher, as all teachers throughout the district will be on the same team.

This type of method of teaching has been done by teaching over the air, ham radio style, for decades, in areas of the world where children live too far away from the school on farms or in outlying areas.

It will work well for middle and high schools, and possibly some of the older grades in elementary. It will be the great equalizer.

It will probably be cost effective also.


2 people like this
Posted by Parent of 2
a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 13, 2020 at 4:32 pm

The Superintendent said he was modeling the input webinar on one that had been done in Berkeley a couple weeks ago - you can read about it here. Web Link. They used Thought Exchange, which is a tool for "crowd sourcing" input. The tool stays open for as long as they want (I think Berkeley did it for a week), so input won't be restricted to the time of the webinar.

At the board meeting last night, one board member specifically asked the Supt to conduct a survey (as Berkeley did), so I bet they will do that as well.

@It's pouring, I have never seen the district say they couldn't record and broadcast lessons - where did you see that? I doubt they know if they are going to "loosen up" online course options - that sounds it would more effectively be put as a request than a "hard question."


31 people like this
Posted by Need Teachers in Person
a resident of Menlo Park
on May 13, 2020 at 4:35 pm

While 2 days of school in person is better than 0, this schedule DOES NOT WORK for the majority of kids with learning differences, or for younger kids that need a trained, effective TEACHER, not a parent that is commonly trying to work full or part time in parallel.

Their educational needs are completely short-changed. On-line learning is a pale distant comparison of the real thing.

Lawsuits in the making for kids not getting their educational needs met.


8 people like this
Posted by Silver Linings
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 13, 2020 at 4:38 pm

I think PAUSD should pay for students to take a class or two from any one of many experienced, WASC-accredited online education vendors, thus giving the students a more beneficial online education and freeing up teaching staff to concentrate on the in-class time, to make it more interactive, flexible, and social, since kids will have fewer opportunities to see each other. Many of the online courses don't meet every day, they're more in blocks usually, and students get more flexibility with assignment dates so that they can usually accommodate more other coursework without becoming overly stressed. i.e., it's probably easy to find online vendors, perhaps even community college instructors.

Additionally, it would free up staff for more one-on-one and individual instruction and tutoring. Instead of one teacher having to deal with 30 kids, it could be 5 or 6 teachers for one subject or class.

It would be further helpful to separate out different kinds of learning programs based on whether students do well online or don't (working with someone who knows how to offer good synchronous online instruction, not someone who is just learning).

For some students, it might be beneficial to have all instruction on just the in-person days, and let the students do their work when they are home, at their discretion. This will be more like college, and give them the opportunity to do projects and research that would otherwise be difficult with neverending school schedules.


35 people like this
Posted by Need Teachers in Person
a resident of Menlo Park
on May 13, 2020 at 4:46 pm

Online learning only works for older, mature kids, or ones that have a full-time caregiver keeping the kids on track.

It does not work for most elementary and middle schoolers. Full-stop. I have 2 in the weeds right now.


73 people like this
Posted by Confused
a resident of another community
on May 13, 2020 at 5:27 pm

Who else is being asked to go to work and be exposed to 1000+ people every single day? 10-20 students in a tiny classroom for 90 minutes, x4 every single day? 15 minutes in between for teachers to sanitize every surface in their rooms? How will they handle breaks, lunch, passing periods, bathrooms? Will everyone be wearing masks? Do you all know something I don't - is there a secret vaccine somewhere? This just seems ridiculous. Of course students benefit from in-person teaching but with the news about what this virus does to children (since almost nobody gives a sh*t about the adults who work at these schools), I'm surprised at the demands for school on an open campus.


12 people like this
Posted by Silver Linings
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 13, 2020 at 5:38 pm

@in person,
I agree with you to some extent, that younger kids are better off with real-world experiences. I think not all online instruction is made alike, though, and your comment is most appropriate to online instruction that is made to match school. It does not have to be.

I do disagree with you about middle schoolers, though. Kids who are put in very rigid programs without a lot of choice and autonomy learn to rebel. It turns out to be possible to give as good or better instruction without the rigidity. It takes time to undo the attitude that school is something someone is externally controlling to get the kids to do something other people want all the time. But it can be undone, for practically everyone. Being independent in schoolwork isn't a trait like blue eyes, it's learned.

Especially with younger kids, I wish the district would turn to outside for help with online instruction to let teachers have fewer students each to focus on during this time.


31 people like this
Posted by Resident DTN
a resident of Downtown North
on May 13, 2020 at 5:38 pm

There are no good options here, nothing is going to replace the 5 days a week live teaching, maybe we will be there in the Winter, maybe in the Spring, but 2 days a week is better than nothing for Fall. We are all going to have to sacrifice something during the next few months, saying that this does not work is not helpful and you cannot sue your way into a better situation. Let's think constructively and work with the district to come up with the best possible non ideal solution. Educators and administrators are doing their best given the circumstances, there is no roadmap for this, and we can antagonize or work constructively, lets do the second.


28 people like this
Posted by Anon123456
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 13, 2020 at 8:57 pm

I hope there will be a 100% remote option for students who live with high risk family members so they don't have to face the excruciating choice of missing an education or putting family members at risk.


11 people like this
Posted by Remote learning next year
a resident of Green Acres
on May 13, 2020 at 9:36 pm

I just read over this pretty good article, which talks about where the risks seem to be (and not be): Web Link

It doesn't bode well for school opening if I understand it. I'm just forwarding it not to be alarmist but to agree with the poster above who pretty much says we don't have great choices, let's be flexible and develop resiliency in ourselves and our kids.


10 people like this
Posted by Silver Linings
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 14, 2020 at 3:13 am

@Anon123456,

If you have vulnerable family members and your kid doesn't want to go to campus, you may wish to enroll in a homeschool charter like Ocean Grove (which as a waiting list, so start now). They are a public charter that can provide those accredited online courses, and have experience fostering independent learning. They provide a state-mandated education specialist to meet with your child and keep them on track. Many of them are former public school teachers who got fed up with the system.

You don't need anyone's permission, and if your child isn't in high school yet, they can just transition back when kids can meet in person again. They do seem to do a better job supporting special education, too.


15 people like this
Posted by S_mom
a resident of Community Center
on May 14, 2020 at 7:49 am

This is tough. I wholeheartedly agree that remote learning doesn't work for younger kids. For the youngest (like my kinder) it works only if the parent is there teaching almost the entire time. There is just no way around the parent being the teacher. I'm not sure the remote learning adds all that much except for easy access to materials (which, realistically aren't that hard to find for a kinder online or in workbooks). So I wouldn't at all say that the young ones are being taught by the school with remote learning -- if they learn, it's because they are being taught by the parents. This is not compatible with a full-time job.

For people with means, this is a solvable problem, either because one parent already doesn't work, or because they could hire a nanny to care for and run remote learning for younger kids (nannies are allowed under the state order). But of course not everyone in Palo Alto schools can afford these options.

They should consider whether to do what some other countries are doing and prioritize getting the elementary school kids in live school and have the older kids continue with mostly remote learning. Other countries have done this so that they can have a workforce. Without in-person elementary school, parents can't work because those kids are too young to be left alone. Or, Don Austin has said that they may let low-income kids come to school full time while others come part-time. Hopefully that's not stigmatizing but it might be a solution, if it's not killed by lawsuits.

These are hard decisions because they impact so much more than just the kids.


17 people like this
Posted by Concerned
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 14, 2020 at 8:20 am

I am reading about toilets without lids being super generators of aerosols, and that the virus is abundant in feces when the sick person is infectious. Are there plans to install lids on toilets? Automatic lids, automatic flushers, automatic faucets, and automatic soap dispensers would certainly significantly reduce risk in bathrooms.


6 people like this
Posted by Anon123456
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 14, 2020 at 8:25 am

@Silver Linings

Public charters are great for families savvy enough to take advantage of them and sign up in time for the limited slots. It is not a solution for significant numbers of families. Palo Alto needs to offer something for those who need to do 100% remote learning. I am hearing about 50% attendance rates in countries that have opened schools, and not serving the other 50% of the students is not an option.


13 people like this
Posted by think restrooms not just classrooms
a resident of Midtown
on May 14, 2020 at 9:21 am

Students attending don't just use the classrooms, they use the restrooms which could get crowded. Should students keep social distance and wait outside restrooms? Hand sanitizers available? Toilet paper? What about school bus?
What about parents pick-up area? Playground? Will classrooms be sanitized?
5 minute tardy rule or 15 minutes so they can keep social distance?
And, remember, cloth masks can be carriers of the virus if not used and
maintained properly - what is the expectation that students take good care
of them?
When students come back home, would they be a danger to parents and
elderly?

It's not just "bell schedule", "hybrid" learning buzzwords - we must
be prepared for the new normal lifestyle until a vaccine is available.
The new normal requires widespread availability of RELIABLE, RAPID
COVID19 virus testing for everyone, "not just the top 1%" to quote
a popular campaign slogan :)

Look at absentee record last year due to flu, or the lack of absences
when students showed up with flu-like symptoms and kleenex because
parents had to go to work, no day care, etc.

Note: Boardroom viewpoint may not match actual reality. Prepare for
the new normal. Push for COVID19 testing. Call out incompetent,
ineffective leadership at State and Federal levels. Just claiming
to care about health and safety is just empty words without
widespread reliable, rapid COVID19 testing availability.


8 people like this
Posted by An Excellent Move!
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 14, 2020 at 9:37 am

(1) This measure will also provide an opportunity to reduce teacher salaries as many will now be working on a part-time basis...a sound fiscal move.

(2) The measure will also allow students to complete their educations via a 'correspondence course' format...another good move as the University of Phoenix operates in this manner while churning out MBA and JD degrees to countless students.

(3) Social distancing mandates will also force the elimination of many sports programs which will save money as well. Since most team sports (i.e. football, basketball & baseball) represent mere entertainment (but with scorekeeping), no big loss.

On the other hand...sports like swimming, tennis and golf (the 'country club recreations) should remain available as they are individual activities that one can carry into adulthood.

No 75 year-old person plays baseball or football but many seniors continue to enjoy the above aforementioned sports activities.

Besides a large number of kids today are more involved with video gaming and that can be conducted offsite via their cell phones and computers. Maybe offer varsity 'letters' for those with the most nimble thumbs.


9 people like this
Posted by Silver Linings
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 14, 2020 at 10:51 am

@Anon123456,

>>Public charters are great for families savvy enough to take advantage of them and sign up in time for the limited slots. It is not a solution for significant numbers of families. Palo Alto needs to offer something for those who need to do 100% remote learning. I am hearing about 50% attendance rates in countries that have opened schools, and not serving the other 50% of the students is not an option.

I agree with you about the limited slots problem. The constraint on their end is that they have to hire education specialists, and some have seen so much growth in the past several years, they can't keep up and keep the quality high.

That said, usually if you sign up now (like as soon as possible),they will find spots for you by fall. It's first come first serve. There are many other homeschool charters that are either available in Santa Clara county or could be if they had enough interest from one place to make it worth hiring an education specialist. Any charter available in a county that touches Santa Clara is available here. The office of independent study in the department of education is not too much help, but maybe you could ask a homeschool organization or the county supervisor if they could help you get information.

But you're right, you have to be a bit savvy to find what you need, because with the freedom and the amazing benefits of it comes political attacks. Someone in the legislature with amazingly bad timing and an insular attitude, just passed a rule that would strip charters of funds that families use to purchase the programs (like the accredited online vendors) their children need to learn, based on a sensationalized article in a San Diego newspaper that made it sound like the funds were being misused. An example was a Disneyland trip, when Disney has educational programs (that include a day in the park) that are mainly used by schools, and it's rarer for homeschoolers to access these because of the coordination it takes. (In fact, schools should be really concerned about this rule because what it's really going to do is strip their ability to pay for enrichment for all students.) The reality is that despite the funds, homeschool charter students are underfunded compared to school counterparts.

People think the lower level of financial support is worth the freedom and personalized support from the school/education specialists, and for many, it allows them to put their energy into what their kids need instead of fighting large wealthy districts that may not ever behave in an ethical or strictly legal manner no matter what parents do.

I agree with you also that Palo Alto needs to offer something for those who need 100% remote learning. They also need to identify and serve students with learning disabilities. They also need to treat everyone like they would want to be treated and be upstanders not tools for some administrator's misguided vendettas (and remember that turnover alone does not fix this).

There's what they should do, and what you need to do in order to ensure your child is safe and gets a great education. We signed up in late spring and were offered a spot by August. We would definitely have preferred working with the district for some independent study and some in-school education. I feel really sad for people that they cannot see how that could be a way better education, social experience, and balanced life.

I think the district could offer different programs that it works with the parents to be sure the community believes are equitable, to meet the very different needs of students and families through this time while optimizing everyone's educations (instead of bumbling through perhaps to be sure everyone is fed up and wants things the way they were when the pandemic is over?)

My Kid has had superlative courses online, synchronous, in which no one ever uses video, not even the teacher. Some in which everyone knows everyone in the real world and everyone is on video who wants to be. Also had flipped classroom courses from the CC. School is not 6 or 8 hours learning experience from start to finish. If you can't have the childcare aspect because of the pandemic, many aspects of school can be done at home and the social and childcare aspects focused on if children have less time at school, improving their value to students.

If your child has to be home 100%, you may help others by pushing to get the district to support that for some kids. Their attitude in the past has been that home learning has to just be what's being offered at school only at home, so it's always inferior. Maybe parents can get them to change now. If not, there are public alternatives, but to ensure quality, they can't just expand and contract on short notice. To some extent, the quality of the ES is irrelevant for older kids, but for the younger ones, it's important to find a good ES.


13 people like this
Posted by Resident DTN
a resident of Downtown North
on May 14, 2020 at 10:54 am

To Duveneck Resident:

(1) This measure will also provide an opportunity to reduce teacher salaries as many will now be working on a part-time basis...a sound fiscal move.

What makes you think that teachers will be working on a part time bases? Teachers will have to work same or even more hours juggling the same amount of live work for in class students (reduced class size, but same hours) and then manage all of the online learning. If anything the district should be looking into hiring more teachers.

From a parent - not a teacher


8 people like this
Posted by Silver Linings
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 14, 2020 at 10:56 am

If your child has to have 100% online learning, maybe also pushing the district to make some on-site programs that exist ONLY outside might be a way to let kids spend time with other kids during this time...


10 people like this
Posted by An Excellent Move!
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 14, 2020 at 11:08 am

> "What makes you think that teachers will be working on a part time bases? Teachers will have to work same or even more hours juggling the same amount of live work for in class students (reduced class size, but same hours) and then manage all of the online learning. If anything the district should be looking into hiring more teachers."

(1) They will not have to dress & commute to work everyday. Teachers can work in their PJs (if so inclined) via computers. Plus they will be able to prepare their lessons at home whenever they feel like it (i.e. via mornings or evenings) which allows them the latitude to sleep-in and manage their time accordingly.

(2) PAUSD also hires teacher's assistants for various high school classes which makes some teaching jobs far EASIER than others. Much of the curriculum will be passed on to the assistants assigned to dabble away on their computers as well.

(3) All NON-TEACHING coaches should be laid-off as well as there will be minimal need for their roles due to social distancing mandates.


5 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Barron Park
on May 14, 2020 at 11:10 am


I hope the school district is prudent in how they place the students. I count on my older child being home with the younger children so I can work. I'm sure I am not the only person in this situation. Given the lack of common sense the school district tends to display let us hope families are not broken up with children attending different days of school. Thank you.


17 people like this
Posted by Lead while following the science
a resident of Midtown
on May 14, 2020 at 11:15 am

Social distance is a theoretical mitigation with great cost for schools and students. An informed discussion of sending everyone back to school with masks instead of relying on social distancing is needed. Social distance is likely ineffective compared to everyone wearing masks. There is increasingly evidence that masks could make a big difference because droplets with pathogens are emitted when people speak and stay suspended in still air for many minutes. Keeping droplets from an infected individual from being emitted broadly will likely emerge as way more important than a "six foot" rule. NIH research. Web Link

This type of foundational work is critical to decision making.


3 people like this
Posted by Follow the Public Health Officer
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 14, 2020 at 11:22 am

@Lead while following the science - luckily we have a public health office with a team of trained professionals to tell the schools and the rest of us what to do. No need for us to track down links from anonymous internet posters. Thank goodness!


16 people like this
Posted by @Follow the Public Health Officer
a resident of another community
on May 14, 2020 at 11:37 am

Was that remark helpful or necessary? Many Asian countries have been back at school without social distancing, but with strict mask-wearing and hand washing, open ventilation, plexiglass barriers, frequent temperature monitoring, and all without elevated infections.

Social distancing means class sizes cut in half, which means staggered attendance, which is a major hurdle for many families.

The fear for some parents is that schools will do social distancing, but not enough of the other things above. The American response so far has been very limited on daily habit changes (no Santa Clara County requirement to wear masks and states that have reopened schools don't require masks), but big on drastic changes.

County officials are experts whom we should appreciate, but America isn't alone, and other countries deserve our attention too.


3 people like this
Posted by Follow the Public Health Officer
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 14, 2020 at 12:30 pm

Yes, your comment shows exactly why it is helpful and necessary to state the obvious - follow our public health officers. Our ability as lay people to figure out remotely the strategies of far0away societies and apply them to our own is, well, laughable, as is our ability to understand the rapidly changing medical and scientific findings and apply to our own situations.

The countries that ARE doing well listen to their own public health officials and don't practice DIY public health.

So yes, sure, be informed and read whatever and talk to your friends about it. But in the end, we and our elected leaders need to follow the guidance of our public health officials. If you personally want to be more careful, for whatever reason, be my guest, people do so all the time - but a school or business that ignores the orders and guidance of the Public Health Office should be shut down.


19 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 14, 2020 at 1:50 pm

I saw in the recent school board meeting that they are planning on eliminating a couple dozen positions. This is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of cuts.

Does anyone know if we are still paying the PE teachers at the high school level? My daughter is in high school and her PE "class" this semester consisting of answering a single question about the largest muscle in the human body. It took her somewhere between 30 and 45 seconds to Google it. Is PAUSD really planning on continuing to pay for this type of teaching?


5 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 14, 2020 at 2:21 pm

I think to give a- g credit normally there needs to be a certain amrt of real time teAcher contact. They can not get credit for taped classes AP used to have this requirement?? Curious if anyone knows what the ca requirement is.

I would send my kids to foothill today get a 60 unit transfer and take the ca hs proficiency exam if offered. Any parent can have their own private school through the cal gov website in a few minutes.

Anyone can self study and take any AP class test?


9 people like this
Posted by Samuel L.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 14, 2020 at 3:26 pm

@@Follow the Public Health Officer - There will not be staggered attendance in any form that requires additional time for teachers. The union won't agree to teaching more or doing anything beyond that which is spelled out in their contract.

@Parent - yes all teachers are getting their regular pay (and benefits) no matter how disconnected they are to actually teaching anything. Don Austin and the teacher's union signed an MOU explicitly starting that teachers will not be evaluated based on how they teach during the closure. I wonder how many other companies are paying 100% but not expecting anything from their employees.


7 people like this
Posted by Wish
a resident of Green Acres
on May 14, 2020 at 3:41 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


12 people like this
Posted by Silver Linings
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 14, 2020 at 3:42 pm

@ Anon,
My DS did online course with a real-time teacher and got official AP a-g credit. There are two parts. The organization was WASC-accredited, and the course itself went through a strict process to be approved as a-g. a-g credit goes by course not by organization. Plus a good score on the test. I doubt a taped class would meet the requirements.

There are online providers of AP classes with a lot of experience, not just the one DS used. If a student takes the AP test and does well, the student gets the GPA bump and can report it on the college application.

So, there are two different issues that often get confused. UC's have requirements for admission. Either students take the a-g official units from sanctioned providers, or if they are close they can replace any class with testing and other substitutions. OR, they can apply by test-only, which is like an SAT/ACT and 2 subject tests. That's it. That qualifies you for admission. There is admission by exception but you don't want to go there, they admit athletes that way and limit the total to 6% of admittees.

That said, they like to see students take courses in all the the a-g areas they specify. These do NOT have to be official a-g courses in order for the UC's to see a student has taken courses in all those areas. They do have to be official to get an honors GPA bump, but they limit the number of GPA bumps to a total of 8, I think.

California proficiency exam is this coming June. No word on whether it will be cancelled or not. You can get an AA degree instead of transferring if you want, and enter college as a freshman, but probably only in a non-major degree, for example, if you want an AA in TV production but wanted to go major in Chemical engineering. They'll probably let you enter as a freshman rather than a transfer. Probably not in a similar field.

It's harder to do APs on your own starting this last year, because you have to sign up in the fall prior. But if you take a sanctioned online course, it's not difficult.


4 people like this
Posted by Fact Checker
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 14, 2020 at 4:20 pm

Re a-g credit:

UC Scout, Apex and others offer online classes without a live teacher--there are videos, tests, homework--and you absolutely get a-g credit.

Would someone please explain what it takes for a high school student to take all her classes at Foothill and take the GED? Is this actually possible?

Los Angeles has said classes will not open until there is adequate testing and also face coverings. If the District can provide clean masks daily to every student and testing, then classes can possibly open.

I certainly hope Sara Cody and her team will set similar clear standards for safety for school return in Santa Clara County. Please remember the District refused to close until the County told it to do so. Many students had stopped attending prior to the closure and no one from the District offered any extra services to those students.


9 people like this
Posted by Messifan
a resident of Ventura
on May 14, 2020 at 4:31 pm

To those who say follow the public health officer, I want to offer a quote from her (Dr. Sara Cody): "The outbreak is steady — neither seeming to grow dramatically or reduce considerably. For every one person infected, that person on average infects one other person." That is from Web Link. Now look at the Santa Clara County Covid Dashboard (Web Link). Notice how the case numbers are declining (despite increased testing), the hospitalizations are declining, and deaths are declining (except that last piece of info is hidden, but it is true). Dr. Cody is either not truthful or innumerate. Save us from Dr. Cody.


1 person likes this
Posted by AP classes
a resident of Professorville
on May 15, 2020 at 9:28 am

What happens to taking AP classes and exams, and the rigorous preparation they need?


19 people like this
Posted by got all the story?
a resident of Barron Park
on May 15, 2020 at 5:46 pm

all I have to say is thank god my kids are out of PAUSD , what a mess. If what I'm reading comes to fruition we will be the only wealthy country in the world to implement such draconian measures, many countries have reopened schools this month realizing the low risk and importance of sustaining education.

All of this for what? 330 million people in this country , how many have died from COVID. Yes protect the at risk, but geez the rest of us need to get on with our lives

What a disaster for young kids and those from underprivileged backgrounds.


9 people like this
Posted by Silver Linings
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 15, 2020 at 6:02 pm

@story,

It could end up being a disaster or an opportunity. Having homeschooled on a shoestring, I can tell you that kids can end up way better off educationally and emotionally than in school. But it takes knowledge of how to do this (I was never the teacher, by the way).

It's really tragic that PAUSD did not let the few dozen parents who asked (McGee was superintendent) to split off and form an independent study program, including us. There was a lot of interest following that film Most Likely to Succeed. Had they done this, they would be lightyears ahead of where they are now, and would have been able to offer the children of this district a superior experience now and with the uncertainty of the fall. It's really painful to watch how little they understand about what is possible (including for children of underprivileged backgrounds).


7 people like this
Posted by Silver Linings
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 15, 2020 at 6:52 pm

@ Fact Checker,
>>"UC Scout, Apex and others offer online classes without a live teacher--there are videos, tests, homework--and you absolutely get a-g credit.
>>Would someone please explain what it takes for a high school student to take all her classes at Foothill and take the GED? Is this actually possible? "

Taking class at Foothill:

If the student would like to remain in high school but take all her classes at Foothill, she can take the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE). This is not the GED and does not confer a diploma. It is an equivalency test. A student could remain in high school and go get a job that requires a high school diploma, for example, or a student could use the CHSPE to enroll in community college as a college student and go back to high school if they decide they aren't ready, with no penalty.

The CHSPE is not offered as frequently as the SAT, so check the dates. I do not know whether there will be a sitting this June.

She could take the GED and then take all college courses, too. The GED means she would be graduated from high school and is no longer a high school student.

Many students enroll in middle college to start taking CC courses, and they stay with their high school cohorts for some of their classes. It's for students who aren't ready yet to just graduate but want the freedom or advanced/diverse coursework. Middle college is routinely full and they don't have enough spaces for everyone who wants to join.

If your high schooler wants to graduate high school and go to Foothill or DeAnza (and doesn't want middle college), and then go on to college with an associates' degree or as a transfer student (I've met quite a few who left high school at 15 or 16 and started CC because they were more mature and wanted more diverse classes, more control of their time, etc), then they can take the GED or the CHSPE and enroll.

The GED gives a real diploma and the student is through with high school. The CHSPE does not. However, students can enroll in community college as regular college students with both, not as dual enrollment high schools students but full-fledged college students. One important difference is that dual enrollment students have last priority in enrollment, behind even adults taking classes for fun. It's the pits. Also, the state may have recently changed the ability of students who use dual enrollment for graduating high school to use those courses also as transfer credit, too, so if your student is ready to attend only community college, it's probably better to just take the CHSPE.

If your student cannot get registered for the CHSPE this June, she can still file a PSA (private school affidavit) with the state. It's a simple form that means she is enrolled in a private school of 1, basically, homeschooling. Then she is free to take whatever courses she wants. She can also join a private school satellite program if she doesn't want to go it alone. There are private schools that even offer single ala carte (pre-pandemic in-person) classes for homeschoolers, and they handle the transcripts, etc., and for the rest of the time she would be homeschooling on her own. Or, her parent could be the administrator for the PSA.

She could then enroll as a dual enrollment student at Foothill and DeAnza, with the caveat that dual enrollment students are pretty low on the enrollment pecking order. I do not know the ins and outs of a homeschool parent simply graduating a child and sending them early to community college, but I'm pretty sure it can be done, too. I know people whose little kids were ready for CC, and they do have special exceptions for gifted students, so she may be able to enroll that way.

You can look at the community college website for enrollment requirements.

An advantage of remaining in a PSA rather than graduating is that she could also take online courses from other colleges who allow remote learning by high school students, like BYU (differently from everyone else, they have experience with remote learning). In this way, she could design her own custom education. She could also use resources like Coursera and EdX to round out a custom education. When she graduates high school from your PSA, then all of those courses can be listed on the homeschool transcript.

That said, if she collects a lot of college credit while still in high school, you need to be mindful that some colleges will consider her a transfer student but then not accept her based on not fulfilling the transfer requirements if she isn't careful. This is a pitfall discussed among homeschooled students. The current rule of thumb seems to be take less than 35 or 40 (quarter) college credits or more than 90 (and be sure to fulfill all the transfer requirements in the major of choice). Or finish an associates' degree in a major unrelated to the 4-year-college major.

I know this is probably very confusing. There is an office of independent education for the state of California. It used to have a really experienced, helpful contact in the office, but the person there now is not so much. Homeschoolers might be able to help if you have more questions.

Honestly, I don't know why more high schools don't put together good independent study programs like COIL or SJUSD Homestudy. She can, by the way, transfer to those programs and take CC classes as dual enrollment, too, but there may be limits on the number of CC classes she can take.




Posted by Name hidden
a resident of College Terrace

on May 15, 2020 at 7:44 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


2 people like this
Posted by Amom
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 15, 2020 at 8:41 pm

The hardest thing to do is to get along with yourself and plan your own day and all theses kids have to switch to this from being little boxed up rubric robots that just sat and did as they were told passively.

Parents watch your kids and put computers where you can see screens or check leaderboards for game sites and look for your kids name’

BE careful if you are not home . Children are targets and all privacy settings need to be checked. Remote access during school time is fair game especially with the insecure platforms being used .


13 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Downtown North
on May 15, 2020 at 9:20 pm

As a family of two working parents with one child in middle school and one in elementary school at PAUSD we are really split about this situation.

Our middle schooler can likely manage on his own 2-3 days a week and we can work from home while he is remote learning.

Our elementary school kid, going into first grade, will need someone to spend hours with her 3 days a week to make sure that she is actually learning.

This will leave us with few options, one of us may have to quit our jobs, which will make it hard for us to live in the Palo Alto, the other option is that we give up on most of the learning 2-3 days a week and cross our fingers for the Winter quarter.

We can never reduce the risk to zero, but with really good hygiene, temperature checks, frequent testing, distancing, etc, it can be reduced considerably. In addition, the science points to children as unlikely spreaders of virus (this is not to say that they cannot transmit the virus, they can, it is just much more unlikely compared to adults).

I hope we can come up with a balanced solution, we are also talking 3 months down the road here, where this pandemic should be much more under control than it is now.


28 people like this
Posted by Messifan
a resident of Ventura
on May 16, 2020 at 10:04 am

Right now Palo Alto is at 75 positive cases. When I started checking the covid dashboard like 6 weeks ago it was at 62. So right now it is spreading at like 2 cases a week, and this does not into account the tripling of testing. We paid and we won.

I think older teachers should be given a paid year off, everyone should wear a mask, and the school year should look normalish. We are paying too big a price for too low a risk.


16 people like this
Posted by Fact Checker
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 16, 2020 at 1:26 pm

@Messifan,
Schools can re-open with all teachers teaching. Older teachers (at least in high school) can stream themselves into the classroom. Vulnerable students or students with vulnerable family members can stay home and be streamed to. But, the District is refusing to stream.
Note that streaming would also allow learning to continue during surges, which are expected.
Thanks for listening.


11 people like this
Posted by Silver Linings
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 16, 2020 at 3:22 pm

I wish I could show you all what we learned about independent study. It really would be possible to just teach classes 2 days a week and let the rest be time to do work, play, and projects, and the kids learn just as much or more. Two mornings of online classes so that kids can spend most of their time on campus interacting and developing friendships, and the rest of the time at home uncontrolled so kids can choose what work they do when.

It's necessary to think about education differently, though. Esther Wojkicki would be a good resource, is she still teaching in the district?

Learning to think about education differently can mean kids do better than before with less time and stress. I truly wish the district could see the opportunities here.


Like this comment
Posted by Messifan
a resident of Ventura
on May 16, 2020 at 6:02 pm

@Fact
I like that you have creative solutions. I think streaming out would be great for those who are vulnerable. Streaming in seems more problematic because someone would still have to be in the classroom to provide supervision.


7 people like this
Posted by Fact Checker
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 16, 2020 at 8:07 pm

@Messifan
Thanks.
Yes, streaming in would be more problematic, but aides and substitutes are less expensive than teachers. And, in a surge high school students would be home.
We must hope for the best and plan for the worst. Planning for 50% or full return with no approved vaccine, no clarity on immunity, and no path to ubiquitous contact tracing, testing, and forced quarantine support on the near horizon seems dicey at best.

Be safe.


15 people like this
Posted by Anothermom
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 16, 2020 at 8:09 pm

What a joke. People should get a grip and realize that c19 is just one risk among a whole boatload that we always accept as part of life. c19 is bad but in context it doesn't increase people's total risk by any statistically perceptible amount.

But the damage that these lockdowns and school outages do to our kids is significant.



1 person likes this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 16, 2020 at 11:43 pm

What is legal n requiring kids and teachers to take known rusjs? Does anyone know?


Kids are not damaged. Scared maybe and now will be cleaner and able to work on their own more. Hopefully they will be stronger.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 16, 2020 at 11:45 pm

Known risks sorry .


1 person likes this
Posted by Resident DTN
a resident of Downtown North
on May 17, 2020 at 1:35 pm

Silver Linings:
"I wish I could show you all what we learned about independent study. It really would be possible to just teach classes 2 days a week and let the rest be time to do work, play, and projects, and the kids learn just as much or more. Two mornings of online classes so that kids can spend most of their time on campus interacting and developing friendships, and the rest of the time at home uncontrolled so kids can choose what work they do when."

Agree this may work for middle and high school. How do you suggest we manage on line learning at home for kinder, 1-3 grade with two working parents, ideas please!


2 people like this
Posted by Member
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 17, 2020 at 4:30 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


5 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 17, 2020 at 4:58 pm

We will figure it out one way or another, with more or less pain but please do not assume that everyone has access to helping "grandmothers"; this is not the case for us or for many people I know, in fact we have relatively older parents in PAUSD whose own parents are no longer there or who need help themselves. At the end of the day what folks may have to do is pay a tutor to mentor their kids during distance learning (like a grandma would do I guess...)


23 people like this
Posted by got all the story?
a resident of Barron Park
on May 17, 2020 at 6:05 pm

I sense people from Palo Alto are of touch with reality, The impact of younger kids not attending school is devastating I'm sure many of you on this post have the ability to teach your kids at home because one adult is not working or you are tech savy, or have tudors or nannies,

But think of all the kids that don't have the opportunity, It will be devastating to younger kids, kids from disadvantaged families, those with dual income earners that can't monitor home school.

If you don't feel comfortable sending your child to school, then home school!!


15 people like this
Posted by MiddleAged
a resident of Community Center
on May 17, 2020 at 10:17 pm

Kids need to be IN school. They need to interact with their peers and non-family adult mentors to learn and grow at this age.

We need to weigh the pros and cons of opening school. At this point, pros of opening schools outweighs risks of coronavirus. There are many risks in life. Let’s do what we can to help vulnerability population but open school. Kids are our future. Let’s develop them while they are open to it.


13 people like this
Posted by Teacher
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 17, 2020 at 11:13 pm

The current "plan" seems to indicate that while students would be exposed to half as many of their peers, teachers would still be exposed to all of them, both groups A and B?

I know we ALL want our kids back in school, but let's remember that about one third of the teachers in the US are over 50 and therefore at higher risk for complications from COVID-19.

Even with only half of our 2100 students on campus at one time, I still don't see how we will keep teenagers 6 feet away from each other. Teenagers are unlikely to wear masks consistently and properly. Teenagers are unlikely to wash their hands properly after every class. This year I wasn't even able to get hand sanitizer. That, combined with aging or broken HVAC systems and shared bathrooms, I'm just not seeing how we can reopen safely.

The district seems to be moving forward with a plan to reopen, but it seems unrealistic to me.


8 people like this
Posted by Joe Kay
a resident of Downtown North
on May 18, 2020 at 7:34 am

There will not be enough teaching staff to go back. Usually teachers go to work with mild illnesses. But now if they exhibit: a Fever of 100.5 F, Cough, Trouble breathing, shortness of breath or severe wheezing, Muscle aches, Sore throat, Loss of smell or taste, or a change in taste, Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, or Headache. Then teachers will need to call in sick until they are symptom free for 72 hours. There are not enough substitutes for all the sick calls that will be coming. When there is not a substitute, classes usually join other classes. This will not be able to happen. So will classes just be canceled? Then what?


6 people like this
Posted by Sam
a resident of College Terrace
on May 18, 2020 at 9:15 am

Re elementary schools: It is not possible to reduce the risk of contracting covid at schools to zero, but it can be reduced to the point where the risk / benefit of having kids at school is very favorable, specially since the benefits of having kids physically attend school are enormous (learning, socio/emotional development, providing safe environment - not all family environments are safe-, etc).

To accomplish this we add layer upon layer of protection; these layers are at least additive, at best multipliers in terms of reducing risk:

(1) Children under 10 can transmit the virus, but are very unlikely to be good transmitters, bec they typically do not get sick to the same extend as adults, so this is already a plus.
(2) You are sick, you do not go to school, check fever at home and again before entering the classroom; parents send sick kids to school all the time, well, not anymore.
(3) Anyone is sick at home, highly recommend kid does not go to school
(4) Kids wear masks except for when eating, and avoid touching each other.
(5) Kids to not touch each other; even if they cannot maintain 6 feet a all times this should be fine if high contact environments are avoided. Avoid gatherings in large groups etc.
(6) Externally we will have testing and contact tracing, so clusters of infections should be tackled, the millie in which is would be implemented is low circulating virus in society; if this changes dramatically school can close for a couple of weeks.
(7) Consider closing down school after Thanksgiving for Xmas break.

Do not forget that how we got here was with nothing in place, days before schools shut down we had full stadiums full of baseball fans going, everything was all out. We should be able to keep this in check without draconian measures given how infectious the visur is (more than the flu but nowhere close to measles).


9 people like this
Posted by Silver Linings
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 18, 2020 at 12:49 pm

@got all the story?

>>I sense people from Palo Alto are of touch with reality, The impact of younger kids not attending school is devastating I'm sure many of you on this post have the ability to teach your kids at home because one adult is not working or you are tech savy, or have tudors or nannies,

>>But think of all the kids that don't have the opportunity, It will be devastating to younger kids, kids from disadvantaged families, those with dual income earners that can't monitor home school.

>>If you don't feel comfortable sending your child to school, then home school
!!

Like it or not, everyone is likely to be "homeschoolers" this year. The question is whether people will choose to do it in a way that garners the advantages of homeschooling and as many of the advantages of brick-and-mortar school as possible, or in a way that tries to adhere to all the bad things by trying to reproduce brick and mortar school at home. I'm seeing a lot of the latter.

The first problem is that people don't really know what homeschooling is, and why peer-reviewed studies consistently show better outcomes in achievement, testing, college readiness, social development, etc.

I do think kids need to see each other and play. Homeschoolers realize this, too. For younger kids, this should be the priority of the time they spend together in a physical space. If the gatherings are done mainly outdoors, this may minimize the spread of infection. Or maybe lessons on the picnic tables so the kids *aren't* running around. Public health physicians need to be a part of that decision. Maybe the best thing is making sure the kids see a smaller cohort, consistently, outdoors.

You bring up a really important issue and that is that school has a childcare aspect to it. It's one of the problem areas that homeschoolers bring up -- many wish for a hybrid with school that allows their kids the benefits of the childcare aspect of school at least sometimes and the benefits of the individualization aspect of homeschool the rest of the time. I think it would really help the schools to examine how they can individualize needs, and in that context, make the best schooling year possible for the most number of people. I really, seriously wish they weren't trying to reinvent the wheel and spent some time with experienced homeschoolers.

I do know homeschoolers with multiple children and both parents worked, and no, they didn't leave their kids home alone or hire nannies, they tend to do something called ala carte schooling. That could be a model for successfully homeschooling kids in the district now, optimizing the value of time together and optimizing their learning and home time. Again, learning how to get the benefits of homeschooling first would be necessary, i.e., understanding what it is. There seems to be a real need NOT to understand so that things can continue just the way they were after the pandemic, rather than viewing this as the opportunity it could be to help all the kids in our district.

If teachers of smaller children have to teach online, maybe they should be spending as much time interacting with parents to instruct the parents on how to individually help their children for the short stints of time that instruction is necessary. Remember that kids in school do not spend all or even close to all of the hours in school learning. Many homeschoolers learn that they can pack the traditional instruction into an hour or two a day, or even instruct their kids better through projects. Instruction does not have to be lesson plans and worksheets, it can be games and reading and cooking projects. If kids are just given time to read and play table games that require math between now and when school starts, many of them will be better off than if they had spent all that time doing worksheets and hating learning.

For parents who had no plans to homeschool, the above could just make your head spin. But if teachers understood how to individualize instruction, in order to optimize these circumstances, they could be teaching parents to be learning facilitators (not teachers, and NOT task masters, which unfortunately is what most parents seem to feel their role is).

@story, we homeschooled on a shoestring, without any parent being able to be a teacher, without tutors or nannies, without even good internet service. We wished we could have had a hybrid situation with the schools, which you will have. This is almost the perfect set up for the district learning how to educate all children in this district in a much less stressful, more effective way, while giving students the chance to learn how to lead balanced lives. It's a chance for the families to develop healthier and stronger bonds -- I think often schools don't consider how burdensome the educational model is on family life or they believe there has to be a trade off.

And contrary to what is believed, it's a chance to break the achievement gap, not reinforce it. Studies of homeschoolers show that there is not achievement or gender gap in test scores, which makes sense as students' educations are customized and they are not subject to institutional biases. There is a reason for this, and it's not because of nannies or teacher-parents. In fact, the same studies show that kids of parents without much formal education far almost as well as those with well-educated parents.

But you have to realize, effective homeschooling isn't about keeping kids at home. If our district understood what effective homeschooling is, they could make the next year a bright spot for kids that everyone will look back on as the year our district rocketed into the future of education.

There is a great story I read in this book The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin. He witnessed a woman standing on a street corner, who stepped off the curb and was almost hit by a cyclist. Instead of stepping back and taking stock, she shook her fist at the cyclist and yelled at him. At which point a car rounded the corner and hit her.

The district has got to stop with the yelling and shaking fists at the pandemic cyclist. This can be an opportunity, but only if we first accept that things have changed and take stock. It CAN be something better.


8 people like this
Posted by Silver Linings
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 18, 2020 at 1:05 pm

@Middle aged,
"Kids need to be IN school. They need to interact with their peers and non-family adult mentors to learn and grow at this age. "

That's a really interesting thing to say, when the Prussian model of education is less than 150 years old, and for the vast majority of human history, young people matured and learned by doing real things in the real world alongside adults, usually family members, but not necessarily. There is absolutely no precedent for kids being sequestered with exact age-matched peers away from the rest of age groups and adults throughout their development. It's probably no surprise that we have such problems with caring for and having a healthy incorporation of the middle-aged and older people in our society (especially women). Students are kept away from real-world work and interactions long after it's necessary for safety. Homeschooled kids tend to be far better socialized from the standpoint that they are more comfortable with people across all ages.

I agree with you that kids need interaction with others. Absolutely. They do not need for that to look like school. Since what school used to look like poses dangers, how about imagining how to get the benefits of interaction without recreating things exactly as they were?


8 people like this
Posted by Fact Checker
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 18, 2020 at 2:01 pm

@Teacher

One high school model is for teachers to come back to empty classrooms with all their equipment and each other. They stream out 100%. Perhaps teachers convene 8-9:30 daily to give teenagers a chance to sleep in, and we have class 5 days per week on the same schedule at Paly and Gunn so that we can use all our community resources for all levels of learners.


3 people like this
Posted by suzie Q
a resident of College Terrace
on May 18, 2020 at 3:26 pm

There is a solution that is being used already. No need to change students schedules or cause such disruptions. Use the two week in and two week out model set forth for quarantine.
First two weeks half the students go in for DAILY LIVE classes. Students can help to wipe down their seating area before start of class. Masks mandatory. Other students are expected to be on line at home 'attending' as if in class, receiving live instruction along with everyone physically present.
Switch out after two weeks. All students in a family on same two week track. If necessary, high school can be different as they are more independent. Elementary depending on class size, may be able to see students everyday continuously. May be easier for working parents to arrange child care in two week blocks.
Why add a new schedule when students already have so much uncertainty.
Based on the format for input, sounds like the district has already made a decision.


5 people like this
Posted by anon
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on May 18, 2020 at 8:17 pm

i think a staff trained in homeschooling and independent study is needed to help give some confidence back and give some reassurances and resources that will ignite learning lab kits instead of quizlets


5 people like this
Posted by Insider/Outsider
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 18, 2020 at 11:22 pm

Everyone needs to buck up. According to scientists we are in the middle of a 200 year pandemic. Let that sink in.


3 people like this
Posted by Insider/Outsider
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 18, 2020 at 11:23 pm

I mean 100 year pandemic.


4 people like this
Posted by Maggie
a resident of College Terrace
on May 20, 2020 at 8:56 am

Get the kids back on campus. An opportunity for students to learn a skill - good old fashioned cleaning. Wipe your desk, wash your hands, clean your pen, etc. Never to young or old to help out.


10 people like this
Posted by Teacher/Parent
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 20, 2020 at 10:30 am

Can someone please explain to me how 15 kids in a classroom is safe, but anything over that is unsafe?

Try keeping 10 first-graders "socially distant. Its either safe to come to school or it is not. If its safe, then send all 30.

Having 15 kids in a class means exposure. From me, from other kids, etc. You cannot tell me that somehow 15 kids is safe.

All of the hybrid plans are ridiculous. There are so many questions/problems. Either do all distance learning, or fully return . Trying to find a "safe" alternative is ridiculous .


8 people like this
Posted by Fact Checker
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 20, 2020 at 11:00 am

@Teacher / Parent,
No one knows. Even with windows open, face coverings, and frequent wipe downs, when people hang out in the same space for an hour or more, the risk is certainly not ZERO. And, 15 is better than 30, but, of course, there's risk. Only with at home learning, where teachers could be in the classrooms alone, will be 100% safe at least from Covid-19. I think the State is trying to balance mental health, home safety (kids in unsafe homes), education and Covid-19. But, if I were a teacher, I would be telling my union that I demand a 100% streaming model from my empty classroom (or my home if there's a surge).
Even if the proposed "hybrid" model is mostly safe, it does not solve how we teach kids in quarantine:
Let's say of 400 kids at an elementary, only 2 are sick per month (that's 0.5% very tiny). The kids in their classes would need to quarantine. If this is just 2 classes of 20 kids, then 40 kids need to stay home for at least 14 days (unless they get sick and then it's longer) and the teachers as well. Repeat this every month, and that's 8x40 or 320 kids out for at least 2 weeks. Of course if the number is greater than 0.5%, then the number of kids out of school is higher. If it's 1%, it's as much as 640, 2% 1280 (happening on average 3x per year for each kid, which means 6 weeks of missed school).
Please consider advocating for streaming. Be safe and thank you for teaching.


6 people like this
Posted by Joy
a resident of College Terrace
on May 20, 2020 at 2:43 pm

This is not black or white; there is no 100% safe option, there is no "safe" and "unsafe". People need to become comfortable navigating a grey zone, and thinking about risk/benefit. 100% safety is not in reach, but we can minimize risks to the point where return to school, at least on a part time basis, is the best option.


3 people like this
Posted by Amon
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 20, 2020 at 6:30 pm

100 per cent safety is within reach if you shelter in place . Aski g teachers over 100 students one day and then a second batch the next exposes the teacher to 100 kids and all the people they were exposed to. This teacher then carries the exposure to all the students on day 3. This is not a small number. What is the number math people? If every child lives alone and there are 100 students per day? If the cone from a family of 4? If their parents work in an office of 20?

I am curious about actual numbers and realize I have become a horrible scared getmiphobe. Please don’t hate me! During the day I am reasonable but worry when I am not busy.

Kids may be much safer in one classroom doing online learning with a teacher rather than home alone collecting bitcoin on tic tic.


2 people like this
Posted by glad_to_be_here
a resident of Evergreen Park
on May 21, 2020 at 10:26 am

We should all want to know how the schools will handle safety. Some first things to try to think through:
(a) It now seems likely that kids transmit the virus, just like adults:
Web Link
US CDC’s website: “…persons with asymptomatic and mild disease, including children, are likely playing a role in transmission and spread of COVID-19 in the community…”

(b) Long periods in a shared indoor space increase transmission:
Web Link

(c) Thermal scans aren’t very effective:
Web Link

(d) Regular testing of students would increase safety.

One question to keep in mind: would we accept working conditions like the conditions are kids would be expected to be in?


Like this comment
Posted by Laura
a resident of Barron Park
on May 21, 2020 at 11:00 am

Open the schools! Our kids deserve education and to live a healthy life. Other countries have already fully opened and they were hit worse than the Bay Area. Is this because of a budget cut? Not fair to have our kids pay for this. If you open for 2 days you should open for 5 days.. who doesn’t want to send their kids to school can continue online learning!! There are so many other issues other than covid 19!


5 people like this
Posted by Silver Linings
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 21, 2020 at 11:11 am

">I agree with you that kids need interaction with others. Absolutely. They do not need for that to look like school. Since what school used to look like poses dangers, how about imagining how to get the benefits of interaction without recreating things exactly as they were?"

Expanding on that...

Homeschoolers use many resources for taking AP courses, including online synchronous, online asynchronous, or just text-based self-directed courses. The good online courses have been highly developed with accredited educational organizations, using best practices for online learning (there are professional organizations), they are not just a teacher lecturing or online videos. They respect students' time as valuable. The good ones do not try to reproduce a classroom model.

Like it or not, it will not be possible to return to business as usual in the fall. It can either be an opportunity to make things better than they ever would have been had this not happened, or it can be a limping along until it's possible at some indeterminate time in the future to do things the same as in the past.
Right now, we seem to be in danger of the district putting effort into ensuring children don’t get better, so that people wax nostalgic for the old ways and clamor to get things exactly as they were as if the pandemic were a spigot of nasty sewage that will be shut off one day and just disappear.

Many countries (without chaotic and narcissistic national leadership) have returned their students to school. If we treat this as a wait-it-out ’til we can do that, too, then yes, all students' learning will suffer, and our nation will suffer. (Nevermind the scarier aspects of our nation becoming vulnerable to international power grabs from our government having been hollowed out- our kids will have worse things to worry about than school then.)

I think the biggest hurdle here for our administrators and anyone who has a lot invested in the old paradigm is to be willing to embrace something that is so much better than before. Just the willingness to innovate and really succeed at something different.
Right now, it's not looking good for that. There is a real negative cultural streak in our district to overtly try to sink improvements (for individual students or the district) because a lot of people would prefer to make themselves and the district look good by destroying what's better (and certainly, destroying criticism). The image was always more important than the substance (and maybe still is). It's like the resistance of traditional food companies to developing an organic line because they think it will make their traditional line look bad. Right now, it's as if the traditional line isn't available anymore but the resistance to it remains.

The majority of kids who successfully homeschool spend a lot of time out in the world doing real-world things and "socializing." If anything, they probably have more normal social lives than kids who are sequestered into age-matched school classrooms all day. Independent learners have been, if anything, hit harder by the pandemic, and their opportunities hit harder by the changes to grading and APs.
What's different, and better, in homeschooling, that could be learned from here is usually
1) more efficient learning practices, less time in traditional lecture-based classrooms or more flexible schedules
2) a new paradigm that fosters self-direction and independence in learning rather than dependence on external direction
3) fostering of project-based learning and real-world interaction
4) fostering of actual creativity
5) encouragement of holistic learning, so that kids learn how to take care of themselves, do chores/gardening, handle finances, are capable of basic home repair, etc.
6) overt encouragement of time for socializing, not just kids hollowing that time out for themselves from the overwhelming demands of school
7) supporting learning differences so that students are developing effective strategies for their own lives rather than spending a lot of time trying to learn how to jump through hoops that don't really correspond to anything real-world after they graduate. (Think: a cartoon in which the employer sits across from the prospective employee who recites his best assets: I'm very good at taking tests and turning in homework. Employers are begging schools to stop essentially stamping out students like that.)

It’s not necessary to reinvent the wheel here, many people have been working on fostering independent education for decades. But getting the district to start with a wholehearted WILLINGNESS to offer something that looks really different and is easily superior to what was, that’s the hard part.
Kids do need to see each other and be in community. If physical presence has to be outside, or has to be rationed, really, truly, those moments should not be stolen by trying to do things the old way. How much high-quality time do students have in a regular school day for self-directed autonomous socializing? Or is it all moments stolen from the treadmill of their factory-model education? If the focus of limited time together is the chance to develop positive relationships with other human beings, what should that look like? (If students are home, teaching the rest, as homeschoolers discover, is usually easy to compact into a very short amount of time.)


3 people like this
Posted by OPEN THE SCHOOLS
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 21, 2020 at 11:58 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


4 people like this
Posted by PAUSD parent who plans to send kids to school
a resident of College Terrace
on May 22, 2020 at 1:40 am

UCSF's Grand Rounds this week discussed kids. A summary (and link to full webinar in Twitter thread is below). Summary on schools: George Rutherford favors reopening U.S. schools, carefully. Should be different am/pm kindergarten groups; “The whole point is to keep mixing to a minimum & maintain distancing.” Masks are key. MIS-C [inflammation] doesn’t change his thinking re: reopening schools; it’s too rare.
Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by BJ
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 22, 2020 at 8:44 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


5 people like this
Posted by GraceBrown
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 22, 2020 at 7:07 pm

@BJ

Hoping that homeowners like you will be willing to foot the bill after various PAUSD personnel file class-action suits as the result of unsafe working conditions.

Typically Palo Alto residents are an educated and measured group, so I'm hopeful that your post was a one off.

With respect,

GB


1 person likes this
Posted by GraceBrown
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 22, 2020 at 8:06 pm

@OPEN THE SCHOOLS

Public schools serve the public good, and NOT individual preferences.

How many of our high tech neighbors need babysitting, and not education for their children? Public schools typically keep kids "engaged" so that parents can participate/thrive in the regional/global economy. Nothing wrong with that....until a global pandemic requires a re-assessment of Rossauea's social contract.

It's a valid question - let's be sure we're addressing the need our community has and not the "would be nice" request in order to advantage the bottom line.

Perhaps parents might re-think their own economic paradigm?

Respectfully,

GB


4 people like this
Posted by Donna R.
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 22, 2020 at 9:21 pm

[Post removed.]


3 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 23, 2020 at 2:00 am

Can they legally expect teachers to take a known risk when there is online instruction? Can they force students to attend in person sessions if the students do not want to take a known risk? Who decides? Who accepts the liability?

What can be done legally to protect a persons right to avoid a known risk and maintain employment or their grades and education?

They must have a uniform schedule and have each online class meet live . taped classes will be too
Disconnected.

Not feeling great about my kids as an experiment this fall.


Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 26, 2020 at 9:34 am

There are many private teaching institutions in the area which work with students for UC approved A-G courses 1-on-1 online or in person. My kid as actually already started working with one in Palo Alto and is seeing great results. I expect that many students will turn to them if they have the means.


2 people like this
Posted by Agata F.
a resident of Evergreen Park
52 minutes ago

I think it's a nice attempt to return to the usual lifestyle. I can't say that remote learning is very convenient, but I try to use this time profitably. I use different educational materials, including forums, freebooksummary, youtube, specialized sites. By the way, this Web Link is really helpful for those who haven't enough time to read. I'm sure that everything is in my had, and try to do my best in studying to achieve good results.


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