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Face shields and testing: Teachers union asks for protection, flexibility in working conditions this fall

Original post made on May 22, 2020

The Palo Alto school district and Palo Alto Educators Association have begun negotiating working conditions for the next academic year, anticipating a mix of in-person and virtual instruction at the middle and high schools.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, May 22, 2020, 1:06 PM

Comments (55)

51 people like this
Posted by concerned parent
a resident of University South
on May 22, 2020 at 1:42 pm

We definitely need to do what it takes to keep teachers safe. But we should put kids back in school full time next year. A recently published epidemiology paper concluded that "Children are unlikely to be the main drivers of the pandemic. Opening up schools and kindergartens is unlikely to impact COVID‐19 mortality rates in older people."
Web Link

My children are having very clear and strong emotional issues with the current situation. (not to mention the actual teaching/learning issues).

At the very least, PAUSD should provide an Opt-in school situation, where teachers and students who understand and have weighed the risks can attend school full time.

34 people like this
Posted by Vasyan
a resident of Barron Park
on May 22, 2020 at 2:52 pm

Schools should be in person. Schools should be for kids only, no parents access and take pre cautions. I don’t understand why it’s safe to operate Walmart but school is not safe.

Posted by Wuhan Jimmy
a resident of Barron Park

on May 22, 2020 at 3:47 pm

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15 people like this
Posted by Gaston Olvera
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on May 22, 2020 at 4:47 pm

I hope they consider having all siblings in a household shall belong to the same group A or B. This way parents can at least count on two days of children going to school regular hours. I understand this is still in flux and more information and studies are coming out every day.

Having said that. Kudos to the teachers and the children who were able to pívot to online learning quickly. There have been challenges but the children have learned some measure of self responsibility during these weeks. I think the play and social aspect of going to school needs to be considered in these negotiations. It’s not all about content learning, test and grades. Social interactions are also a big part of the school experience.

24 people like this
Posted by RC
a resident of Midtown
on May 22, 2020 at 5:15 pm

Why not have group 1 go Monday and Tuesday and group 2 go Thursday and Friday? Wouldn’t that reduce the risk of cross-contamination between the two groups of students?

14 people like this
Posted by YP
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 22, 2020 at 5:43 pm

Online studies will be a disaster for the younger kids, the underprivileged and those with both parents working. Online "learning" will have a huge impact on creating further educational inequality in our area.
For those parents out there that don't want to take any risk with your kids please home school and allow those that don't have that chance to further their academic lives. Especially important for K-6 where online learning can never replace what goes on in person.

22 people like this
Posted by Pausd teacher
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on May 22, 2020 at 6:43 pm

@vasyan, because when you go to Walmart you aren’t there for 6-7 hours in small enclosed rooms with multiple groupings of people. Also, you aren’t legally mandated to go to Walmart, but students are mandated to attend school.

42 people like this
Posted by Downfall
a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 22, 2020 at 7:57 pm

The schools & teachers could not even prevent vaping from become very prevalent on HS campuses. I have zero confidence they will be able to monitor and enforce the policies necessary to prevent covid spread.

4 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 22, 2020 at 8:02 pm

If institutions like schools re-open, and then proceed provide a constant stream of disposable gloves, free face shields, sanitizing wipes, liquid hand sanitizer to teachers and staff and eventually, all students at taxpayer expense, how will those of us members of the general public, including those in higher risk age groups get ahold of such items!?
Perhaps each household - whoever you are - should be responsible for themselves with respect to these items, whether teacher, staff, parents and their children just like the rest of us out there in our households and working environments!

66 people like this
Posted by Sallly
a resident of Downtown North
on May 22, 2020 at 9:13 pm

Dear Teachers and Admins,

I am a lifelong progressive, so I beg you to please think about serving your students and parents better on their own terms. You are racing Palo Alto towards Charter Schools faster than you realize.

I don't want that to happen, but it may be (sad to say) for the best if we are not able to recalibrate our district. That will be decided by how well PAUSD can change its level of service to our community, top, bottom, middle, and other.

I have commented before that I have multiple friends with kids with learning needs who have left PAUSD because of the disrespect and disservice from admins. Other have left with gifted kids who felt frustrated and held back. Others left with "2E" kids and felt PAUSD was discouraging rather than supporting... sigh....

Please think about this and help convince future generations that A++ levels of effort (from staff) and engagement (from community) and service (for all kids) really can be done through by you.

Otherwise, you will be outdated faster than AOL or My Space were! ... and they both launched in my 60s.

Yours Truly,
An Old Curmudgeon (Maybe) Who Really Wants Public Schools to be Excellent Again

8 people like this
Posted by Member
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 23, 2020 at 2:13 am

Any comment that is not fun or critical is contested and parents are shamed for asking for help.

All online instruction needs to be taped . They need to secure phone contact and tape any interaction with students. Foothill has a uniform platform that they should adopt.

Independent study with textbooks would be better for many kids

14 people like this
Posted by Current PAUSD Employee
a resident of Terman Middle School
on May 23, 2020 at 2:48 am

How is PAUSD going to implement the Proper guidelines for the Custodians. If the District Custodial Supervisor Position has been recommended to the Board to be cut on the next Board Meeting Tuesday May 26 .. The person currently in that Position has so much knowledge to support the health and Safety of the Students, Staff and Community wrong move PAUSD!! .. Not the right time to be cutting vital positions .. PAUSD is going to become a COVID-19 cluster of exposure to this deadly Virus without the guidance and the proper support for the Custodians from the District Custodial Supervisor they will be left without Training, PPE, Disinfecting Process and much much more.

59 people like this
Posted by A PAUSD school district
a resident of South of Midtown
on May 23, 2020 at 8:22 am

I wonder who represents the parent's interests in these "negotiations"....
Does anyone realize that in this crisis the parents are put into a central role to facilitate, even enable distance learning? Why don't the parents have a seat at the table on what should occur?
Is it time to form a "parents union"? If parents' interests aren't represented, then they will move
their kids to domains where they have a stronger say, namely private schools. I see that coming.
Many parents are already upset with their cavalier treatment by the district administration in this health crisis, and their embarrassingly sluggish response and shocking lack of preparation. Combined with the realization that PAUSD's reputation and performance is very overrated and much more dependent on parents' initiatives than most realize, I see dark clouds coming for PAUSD.

21 people like this
Posted by Laughable
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 23, 2020 at 8:31 am

A PAUSD school district
Your comment regarding a parents union is laughable, and only exposes how weak your resolve is. You have to deal with your child's learning for a few months and its time to form a union? There has always been a "parents" union in Palo Alto facilitated by frivolous lawsuits and a revolving door of superintendents. You wonder why the district is the way it is? It has become a liability nightmare because of the parents and their unachievable demands over the years. Just because you paid way to much for your house doesn't change the fact the PAUSD is a public school district. [Portion removed.]

43 people like this
Posted by Sally
a resident of Downtown North
on May 23, 2020 at 9:08 am

Laughable -- I appreciate you want service for all in great public schools. You and I agree firmly on that. That's what I am hoping we can get back to by shining a light on what is afoot in our community. We might not agree on much more.

In your theory, the source of PAUSD's problems is frustrated and annoying parents. Please do consider how backwards that story could be. Please consider how anti-growth-mindset that is for our district. Growth mindset is considering that a non-trivial mass of parents frustrated with your bureaucracy is likely a symptom of real problems, and you should lean-in to it to learn where you can improve.


Also, truly "frivolous" lawsuits would be easy to dispense with for a quarter billion dollar per year bureaucracy. Settlement and settlement hits our ledgers because the complaints are usually well-founded, usually to the disservice of students that don't fit the standard mold. .... Again, I am with you in wanting to serve all types of students in the public arena. Usually that means (at a bare minimum) following the law... and much much more.

15 people like this
Posted by Frustrated and Annoying Parent
a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 23, 2020 at 11:50 am

Frustrated and also possibly annoying parents are the district. They make all the demands of a public system that struggles always to keep up. Forget about the teachers, at this point Palo Alto is lucky to have any. Certainly the pay is not what is attracting them to the district. I have to agree with Laughable, the thought of a teachers union is ridiculous. A growth minded scenario would be to pay teachers what they are actually worth and stop expecting them to get your kids into Stanford, its not their job. Its also not their job to be a daycare center. Their job is to educate, that is it plain and simple. Parents for sure are free to argue about curriculum, but until they stop building new theaters, and MP rooms, and buildings and start focusing on how to attract the best talent with wages that are at minimum livable you can expect the "bureaucracy" to only care so much. The teachers union is the only thing they truly have on their side, take that away and no one will go into the profession because it is simply not worth it. Sorry kids, your parents may have to become your teachers from now on, how is that working out for you?

32 people like this
Posted by Sally
a resident of Downtown North
on May 23, 2020 at 12:59 pm

I shouldn't try to speak for other people, but I think is quite clear that the suggestion of a parents' union was supposed to be satirical.

His/her point is / was fair, though, in my view. Why are the folks that this system is supposed to be serving, families, parents, children, not given a seat at the table?

12 people like this
Posted by High schooler
a resident of Gunn High School
on May 23, 2020 at 1:33 pm

Hopefully we can go to school 5 days a week next year. It would be really sad if the school got cut into two groups who never are able to see each other.

However, I understand the public health advantage that might come from this and if the district makes the decision I will respect it.

27 people like this
Posted by Insider/Outsider
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 23, 2020 at 2:04 pm

We are in the middle of a pandemic - the normal rules do not apply. Whatever is put in place will not address the reality that it takes one asymptomatic person, teacher, student, admn. or staff to infect others. Exponential infection beyond the classroom and into people's homes becomes a reality, along with death.

Online teaching is not desired, but let's get a reality check here - we are in the middle of a pandemic with a high fatality rate that does not discriminate according to age. Listen to the epidemiologists and scientists.

12 people like this
Posted by District Teacher
a resident of Midtown
on May 23, 2020 at 8:43 pm

Parents do have a seat at the table and it's called the School Board they elect. (And school site councils, in terms of individual school decision-making.)

38 people like this
Posted by PA Parent
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 23, 2020 at 9:34 pm

From the article:
>The teachers union has asked that the district delay the start of school in August by three days and use that time for staff development, with training on topics including blended learning, flipped classrooms, Schoology and Google

Really? This is the teacher's proposal? The teachers and the kids will have been working from home or not working for 6 months at this point and they want three more days. This makes me so angry. The teachers are by and large kind, caring people as individuals but their union is destroying education.

If I were on the school board, here would be the counter-proposal:

All PAUSD teachers and administrators take an across the board 20% pay cut for 2020-2021. Teachers spend the last month before school starts training on Zoom, and learning how to teach both synchronously and asynchronously.

As a parent, I am would be ok with sustaining a long strike by the union if it comes to that. There is not much learning happening anyway.

21 people like this
Posted by Independent
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 23, 2020 at 10:54 pm

The students need live streaming of and recorded instruction as well as in person instruction. Students also have underlying health conditions as well as family members who do - not just teachers. Students may be quarantined. A second wave is predicted. There are many reasons live streaming of instruction and recorded instruction is needed, in addition to in person instruction.

Pausd and its teachers need to provide this instruction for students. Don't ask to be paid unless you do. It is feasible and you owe this to your students.

24 people like this
Posted by Independent
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 23, 2020 at 10:57 pm

I am happy to support anyone who wants to form a charter school in Palo Alto - one actually focused on student learning unlike PAUSD, and one that tries to help students reach their academic potential. Charter schools are public schools, but generally non union, and thank goodness for that.

25 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on May 23, 2020 at 11:07 pm

Do Board members always represent parents' interests? That is debatable and up for question. Sally is on point. Laughable, you make a lot of unverified statements. Do you know other public school districts surrounding PAUSD were providing asynchronous learning from the 1st week of being closed down? Meanwhile PAUSD parents waited patiently for four weeks (yes we did) before our students were given real asynchronous learning on the 5th week of school closure. The asynchronous learning Menlo Park District and other school districts provided, PAUSD parents had to wait for 4 full weeks before something of substance "Phase 3" was started the 5th week of shutdown.

Something is afoot and it's not the so-called demanding parents of PAUSD. PAUSD parents have taken the 4 weeks of no real lessons in stride and patience while Superintendent talked of "phase 1" and "phase 2" while nothing was being taught. We all know other public schools nearby were providing asynchronous learning much earlier, 4 weeks earlier than PAUSD.

Pausd parents supported in the midst of working from home taught our children for 4 weeks on our own with little guidance. There is a lot of jargon used "phase 1" and "phase 2" and then "phase 3" but the real asynchronous teaching happened in "phase 3" which sadly was implemented by other surrounding public school districts during week 1.

So it makes sense this memorandum doesn't have any parent feedback or any parent input. Ask the parents of PAUSD, they will tell you. But our voices are being shamed and stifled. There is no growth mindset happening here. Instead of discourse, there is shaming going on by Laughable and other posters about PAUSD parents.

18 people like this
Posted by Fact Checker
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 23, 2020 at 11:22 pm

I'm glad the high schools will be on a common schedule. One critical requirement is missing from the District proposal and the Union response: High schools should be required to stream and/or record all high school classes.


Students who are in isolation (10 days), in quarantine (14 days), vulnerable (all days), or living with vulnerable(s) (all days) should be able to participate in all classes online on the same schedule as students who may participate in person. Teachers may even stream in.

With streaming for high school, the schedule could provide different material on A and B days. Students could benefit from 4 days of instruction, with streaming or recorded material on non-attendance days. This model also works in a full closure. It protects teachers, students, and our community.

14 people like this
Posted by Independent
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 23, 2020 at 11:23 pm

@Resident - It is the teachers'union doing the shaming and deflecting and gaslighting. Where is the education for our students?

45 people like this
Posted by Curious
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on May 24, 2020 at 7:26 am

"Recognizing the range of students in grades 6-12 and the diversity of content areas, teachers will make a reasonable effort to replicate the amount of time allocated to lessons in a way that covers essential content during non-traditional bell schedules." This is not good enough. Reasonable effort means no accountability, once again. So many of the teachers in high school have allocated no time to lessons at all during the past 2 months. They send out assignments and do zero actual teaching and no feedback. No live lectures and no recorded lectures. No feedback on assigned work. The PAUSD Board and District need to step up for the students! The teachers must have more clear standards to follow so they can be held accountable by school administration and parents for actually teaching in the Fall.

Teaching is no doubt a hard profession. But we need to deal with facts - Palo Alto teachers get paid well compared to other Bay Area communities. Not the highest and not the lowest. However, they also get great pensions and tenure after 2 years. Very few jobs have that kind of job security. The pension benefits is what is eating up the PAUSD budget. Pension benefits is the largest growing part of the PAUSD budget and is why, even with declining enrollment, they keep saying they need more money.

I am all for paying teachers well for high quality teaching. However, teachers in PAUSD must be held accountable for high quality teaching by the school administration. When the teacher's union allows teachers to have performance reviews and allows them to be help accountable for actually teaching, then parents will support them. Over the last ten years, we have had too many teachers not teaching, hiding behind the union and relying on parents to do the teaching themselves or through tutors. Look at the performance of different groups of students in the District over the past ten years. The group that has not improved is the group that relies solely on District teachers teaching them. The students that have improved are the ones that have parents willing to supplement outside of school.

The lack of quality teaching has really come to light in this pandemic. Time to demand more accountability for teachers by the District, the PAUSD Board, and school administrations. Your job is to support students and they need proper teaching. "Reasonable effort" means nothing and no one can be held accountable to a vague statement like that - but I guess that was actually the point.

22 people like this
Posted by Independent
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 24, 2020 at 8:18 am

If the teachers' union acknowledges teaching at Pausd won't be safe for all teachers (or a teachers' family members), and some need to stay at home, how can that be different for students?

Live streaming of instruction and recorded instruction for later viewing is required and teachers must provide it, as some students will need to be at home. It's also needed for if/when a second wave comes. And it's needed to make sure students are learning and progressing through course curriculums five days/week. HS students need to finish course curriculums and get grades for college.

8 people like this
Posted by Fact Checker
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 24, 2020 at 12:55 pm

Dear PA Parent,

1.Please consider running for School Board and/or initiating a recall of the entire School Board. See instructions at Web Link.

2. Speak up on Tuesday at the School Board meeting and/or send in your comments to make them part of the public record.

The Tuesday, May 26, 2020, Regular Board Meeting will take place using the Zoom webinar platform. Here is the connection information for this meeting:

Via Video Conference/Internet: Web Link

Via Telephone: Dial 669-900-6833, enter Webinar ID: 977 2085 3617, then press #.

If asked for a participant ID or code, press #.

Instructions on how to join a meeting by video conference are available at: Web Link -Joining-a-Meeting.

Instructions on how to join a meeting by phone are available at: Web Link -Joining-a-meeting-by-phone.

21 people like this
Posted by cmarg
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 24, 2020 at 4:21 pm

I feel that the PAUSD board and the Superintendent need to put students first. Realize that if the teachers were to strike or something, they would be the laughingstock of the nation. They are paid well and we are in the middle of Silicon Valley.
I do feel there are amazing teachers within PAUSD. I question which teachers Teri Baldwin in checking in with to come up with the MOU? Why aren't the amazing teachers who have been able to teach students these past months being ask for their opinion?
The school board also needs to listen to the parents and students. They have not served us well with the "crisis" learning. Why were other schools in remote locations able to miss 1 day of teaching when in the heart of Silicon Valley are children were given limited to no teaching? Why didn't the school board vote and stand up for students? We all have to voice our opinions and be heard. We cannot have a repeat of Q4. Please send emails to the school board members. They tell us that they are not hearing from parents and students - they think all is going well. Please email your opinions and recommendations. The email is : board@pausd.org
PLEASE let them know.

11 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on May 25, 2020 at 6:47 am

close the campus without discussion.

Live scheduled classes that are taped .

No online testing with mult choice.

Long response or online proctored tests.

teachers will have to change their rubrics that have been the same for them for years and years.

38 people like this
Posted by Not Karen
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on May 25, 2020 at 6:55 am

I am a bit taken aback at the level of hostility in many posts. My understanding is the phased process facilitated PAUSD helping ensure all students gained access to a essential online learning tools, such as laptops. It also provided a bit of a transition. My high schooler was not prepared to immediately jump into full time, online learning and would have struggled were it to have been implemented. There was grief, shock and many new logistics to contend with during the initial weeks of the pandemic response. Furthermore, one week of ‘delay’ was a pre-planned spring break. No learning would have happened then regardless. Teachers are creating content in the fashion the PAUSD administration has mandated. So, please don’t blame them for fulfilling the mandates of their leadership. This has been a public health, economic and mental health crisis of rare proportions. Inevitably, there will be an imperfect execution of school learning when the unknowns are evolving daily and weekly. As a nurse, I believe the A and B groups should be split A: Mon/Tues and B: Thurs/Fri. Tuesday night or Wednesday a deep clean of campus could be performed.

3 people like this
Posted by Roy M
a resident of Downtown North
on May 25, 2020 at 11:00 am

Giving the district feedback is important and the district has a survey out that any concerned parent in the district should fill out. Web Link. We will not be in the district next year, but I still filled it out and there is plenty of room to comment on what you like and don't like. The district requests responses be submitted by Wednesday, May 27 at 4pm.

29 people like this
Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Downtown North
on May 25, 2020 at 11:02 am

In this entire dialogue, there's no discussion about the risks and extra work that the custodial staff at these Palo Alto schools will endure. Who do you think will have to clean these classrooms? Or bear the risk if the classrooms aren't cleaned properly? Or suffer risk of infection as they go into these schools to clean the classrooms? They're cleaning schools that their own children can't even attend. I hope these workers are organized and adequately compensated. When you hear the Governor talk about 'heroes' (the doctors, nurses and medical researchers), I'm sure he's not talking about the hard working, lesser paid men and women who silently show up to work everyday at Palo Alto schools.

19 people like this
Posted by Downfall
a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 25, 2020 at 3:41 pm

A couple more thoughts:

"Wednesdays would be a "blended teacher day" to give teachers time to collaborate, hold office hours, work on lesson planning and to otherwise prepare for the blended learning model."

The teachers have had months now to adjust and prepare for the new learning model. Why do they need still more time, are they really suggesting they need one day each week during the year for this?

"Child care should be provided to any staff member who needs it, the union proposed."

PAUSD teachers are well compensated. I see no reason why they should be given free health care just because of covid.

2 people like this
Posted by Member
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on May 25, 2020 at 4:14 pm

They just need to have a schedule where each class meets every day. Online or not. This way they can have them at school any day or no days. Use texts so parents can have material on hand to help kids and to keep the kids off online gambling gaming for bitcoin or running pixie schemes to avoid the painfully stupid online testing that can all be googled

11 people like this
Posted by Old Tank
a resident of Gunn High School
on May 25, 2020 at 6:26 pm

Haven't you all figured out how our sloth school district works?

11 people like this
Posted by PAUSD Employee
a resident of Terman Middle School
on May 25, 2020 at 9:42 pm

@Concerned Parent- I am with you especially now that Human Resources has recommended to the Board that a vital position should be eliminated - District Custodial Supervisor is on the agenda for tomorrow’s Board meeting
The Custodians will no longer have the support that is required during theses uncertain times.. I hear that the Person currently in that position has a lot of experience and she has made a positive impact with the Custodial staff.. Including Training, the Proper chemicals, Guideline regulations and a lot more.. PAUSD is making a wrong decision unfortunately by eliminating her position.. What can we do as parents? For this not to happen any ideas?

19 people like this
Posted by Parent and Student
a resident of Community Center
on May 26, 2020 at 7:59 am

Why do teachers need a day set aside for a "blended day" ? They have operated for years without a day dedicated to class prep and teacher collaboration.

Day care covered for teachers?.....We'd all love to have day care covered. Why can't teachers pay for child care like others do?

40 people like this
Posted by Blended Day
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 26, 2020 at 9:02 am

@Parent and Student:

The idea behind the blended day is that the district would like teachers to create two lessons per class--One for students that are physically present and one for the students who are working from home that day. Essentially, they're asking teachers to do twice the work...

"deliver content to students through a variety of methods during distance learning"

If they were only asking for a camera in the back of the room, live streaming lecture, then I could see your point. As we've seen this semester, just posting on Schoology what would have been done in class isn't very effective.That's what we'll get though if teachers don't have the time to design/plan. Distance learning lessons have to be created with distance learning in mind.

16 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto Parent
a resident of South of Midtown
on May 26, 2020 at 10:51 am

I wonder who represents parents in this debate. As if parents have NO problem whatsoever to
cope with this. Only teachers are accommodated. Specifically I don't understand that Wednesdays are not available for students to come to school. Why can't teachers prepare in the afternoons, after school? And I also don't understand the 3 days delay for school starts. Isn't it clear by now how to do distance learning. And can't teachers use a couple days of their 2 month vacation to prepare for the coming year. All they do it cut cut cut from the school year, at every possible opportunity, at the expense of student's learning.

32 people like this
Posted by Blended Day
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 26, 2020 at 11:18 am

@Palo Alto Parent: The 3 day delay is moving professional development days from later in the year to the start of the school year. No days of instructional are cut for that.

17 people like this
Posted by Planning makes a difference
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on May 26, 2020 at 11:48 am

if approached correctly it would not be twice the work
if the plan requires twice the work then the plan is faulty

19 people like this
Posted by Dear Teachers' Union
a resident of another community
on May 26, 2020 at 11:53 am

Dear teachers' union, if only you had not fought online teaching this term (since March), then teachers would have had real-life practice (Zoom, etc) before having to roll it out in the fall, where the stakes are higher.

Remote teaching in the end of the year is nowhere as hard as new course and new students. The union squandered opportunity to be ready.

7 people like this
Posted by Maggie
a resident of Barron Park
on May 26, 2020 at 12:19 pm

Kids need to get out of their homes and immersed in learning, with their peers. Would rather see efforts, budget and process focused on ways to have all at school on campus at the same time.

19 people like this
Posted by Paly Teacher
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 26, 2020 at 4:49 pm

For those who have a closed, fixed mindset, disregard what I'm about to say.

For those who are open-minded, let me explain one of the myriad ways teaching will be different. Consider the blended (i.e., hybrid) model of learning where students come twice a week. Monday and Tuesday will be periods 1-4 (kids come either Monday or Tuesday), Wednesday blended day which is focused on distance learning, and Thursday and Friday will be periods 5-7 and advisory.

Thus, for a given class, students will be at school once. Let's say one week I need to cover Sections 1 and 2. One option would be to cover Section 1 at school and Section 2 online. But then students in periods 5-7 will have to learn Section 2 before learning Section 1.

Another option would be to cover Section 1 at school on Monday/Tuesday for periods 1-4, cover Section 2 for periods 1-4 and Section 1 for periods 5-7 online, then cover Section 2 at school on Thursday/Friday for periods 5-7. But this might not be fair because one section might be harder and thus students who have it covered in class will benefit. Also, this basically doubles the amount of planning required as there will be two in-person and two online lessons.

So if you're just lashing out at the evil teacher's union or diabolical school district, I'm guessing you had negative experiences with the school and I know that happens. Nonetheless, you probably have no idea what it's like to be a teacher and are too closed-minded to even fathom what that would be like. So vent all you want on this anonymous forum if that's therapeutic but when the rubber meets the road, please let the professionals do their jobs.

Further, I know there's a lot of misunderstandings out there. For example, one poster was outraged by the thought moving the school start day three days later because that would cut instructional days when in reality we would just be moving teacher work days spread throughout the year earlier. So, if you have a concern, please ask with an open mind instead of thinking the worst.

3 people like this
Posted by @paly teacher
a resident of another community
on May 26, 2020 at 6:13 pm

The sentence you wrote that’s we both agree with, “professionals do their jobs.”

Let’s model an open mind both directions since you teach students. Or is your argument above how you teach students to frame differing opinions.

7 people like this
Posted by Paly Teacher
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 26, 2020 at 7:05 pm

Oh, this is not how I address my students because they’re children. This is how I address full-grown adults.

12 people like this
Posted by John Hicks
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 27, 2020 at 12:55 am

Hello amazing Palo Alto parents! No one really cares about your opinions that’s why you don’t have a voice or a seat at the table. You are just a mommy or daddy that has this online forum to constantly complain. You didn’t have enough talent, intelligence, or ability to become an educator. You are just typical in your thinking that “teaching is easy and I can totally be a teacher if I wanted to.” Also, no one is taking a pay cut! You all take a pay cut from your crummy jobs first! That always seems to be the “go to” suggestion in all of your nastiness. Teachers deserve to get paid. They are human beings and they have families to support also. I’m sure it’s such a pleasure for PAUSD teachers to have to deal with you all harassing them and probably acting mental all day long! They deserve every last penny they get and their sweet pensions! The pandemic hasn’t exposed anything. First of all, teachers across the country had to flip on a dime to online teaching. Everyone is so sorry this instant and unprecedented transition wasn’t up to your standards during a Pandemic! Obviously, this isn’t their regular day to day classroom teaching that you are eavesdropping on while your precious child is on the computer, but of course you criticize. Yes! Only teachers are being accommodated. The school district and teachers union doesn’t care or have time for the “unique opinion and situation of you and your precious child and family.” You are not on the payroll. Yes! The teachers should get free day care while you are stuck at home with your wonderful children. Deal with that also. Please start that Charter School and that Parents Union! That will show everyone! What great ideas! I am sure you and all of these keyboard warriors will get right on that and make it happen! NOT. All talk! It would be great if you actually did start a Charter School and brought all of your complaints over there as no one would miss you. You can fill out all the online forms you want and send all of the emails you want. Send 1000! Who cares? Your opinion doesn’t really count! It’s a free public education. Enjoy the rest of the school year and summer stuck at home with your precious children! On a brighter note, now is your chance to shine. Since you all obviously know everything about how to run a school and school district better than all of the professional educators, you can show everyone what a great teacher you are at home and how you are better than the actual teachers. Show them what you are made of! Oh wait...how’s that working out for you so far? I see dark clouds coming for you all while stuck at home with your kids!

9 people like this
Posted by Yuri
a resident of another community
14 hours ago

When you begin to look at all the things that need to be done just to keep people “safe”, one must wonder what kind of teaching is going to take place. This is not like going to Costco to pick up a brisket. We are talking about close contact in poorly ventilated rooms, with teachers in hazmat suits for extended periods two to three times a week. Has anyone seen the toll on nursing homes? Our physical building conditions, and our short staffing make the comparison valid, and the young are not immune. If you want to view teaching as “allowing parents to go to work”, then run the elementary and middle schools like a summer camp: keep the kids outdoors playing, with socially distanced naps, a snack, and maybe a distanced outdoor core lesson of some type before they leave to do online learning in the early afternoon. That allows for deep cleaning in preparation for the next day. At least for the first semester, high schools can stick with the current online model since older students can take care of themselves, with an eye on opening in full come January.

Honestly, I don’t think one more semester of online learning will do lasting harm to anyone, but re-opening at a time when most health experts are predicting a second wave seems risky at minimum. Dozens more cases, and a possible fatality or two linked to school puts us back at square one, with permanent damage done. A summer camp model of some type, with distance teaching will never approximate the real thing, but for now I think it is the way to go, assuming Covid-19 is on the way out by January.

9 people like this
Posted by Fact Checker
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
14 hours ago


Great ideas. Many students and parents found the online model, which the Superintendent himself called "crisis learning," poor at best. If we can fix that model, you might have most high school parents on board. Students with special needs in high school may need in person learning, and that should be addressed separately.

Why not let high school teachers stream from empty classrooms and offer interactive discussions online. The arts might really suffer in this model, but let's address those separately.

9 people like this
Posted by Yuri
a resident of another community
13 hours ago

You bet Fact Checker. I figured cameras in the classroom would become a reality some day, and clearly special needs student will need more contact. Don't sell what was done this spring short, however. Many students participated in meaningful experiences, albeit not optimal. I just don't want to see any students or staff end up in a Covid ward or worse due to a rush to re-open. Complex A/B schedules on a grid with a lot of PR from the District can seem enticing at first glance, but they do not address the reality on the ground. Many of our classrooms were inadequate before the pandemic, and make no mistake, parents will be sending their students into a chaotic, understaffed, under-planned, un-tested, risky environment if schools open in August.

19 people like this
Posted by Shocked but shouldn't be
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
13 hours ago

I am shocked, but really shouldn't be by all the teacher-bashing on this forum. It is funny how many of you are leaving out some of the things in the teachers' (yes, the union consists of all the teachers, not some outside entity) MOU. Like making sure there is PPE for students, asking for more custodians so students and staff are safe, asking for nurses at the elementary level... No, you just focus on three days of staff development at the beginning of the year. I guess your teachers never taught you to read something completely and for comprehension. If you did you would see that they are not asking for getting rid of three days of instruction, but to move the three days in the year (that also creates short weeks for students) to the beginning. No loss of instruction. Wow, those awful union teachers really hate students? Yes, that is sarcasm. You think you can do a better job, then what aren't you homeschooling your children? I know I couldn't do better. Not because I don't have enough education but because I don't have the education in Education as teachers do. Or probably the patience they have to put up with entitled, disrespectful parents like a lot of you on this site. I normally don't bother to read all of your comments because they make my blood boil, but I had to respond because we are all in this pandemic together. Teachers are human beings. They have loved ones they care about and might need to care for and are doing it all while being told within days to figure out how to teach remotely. I'd love to see how you would react if there were a microscope with your job and people wrote nasty comments about you in the local online paper. Oh, what if they called you out by name like some of you have. I think you would threaten to sue the person who maligned your name in public without knowing you. Oh, but teachers are public employees, they signed up for this I can just hear you saying. Yes, they are public employees who are trying to educate your precious children. Do you think you can do a better job? Great, go start your own school and show those awful teachers and the terrible school district you can do it better. Good luck with that. Right now everyone is realizing how hard it is to teach, by trying to help their own children with their school work. All over the world, people are thanking teachers. All that is except for in Palo Alto.

Well, I want to say: THANK YOU teachers for all you are trying to do for all of the children in Palo Alto. There are a lot of us who do appreciate you.

7 people like this
Posted by Fact Checker
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
12 hours ago

Our District administration needs to present a more robust set of options that its current A/B plan, one that keeps our entire community, teachers, staff, students, and parents (who live with the students) safe and our students learning a full year's worth of curriculum.

Other districts in CA are offering options and flexibility. We need this type of thinking here.

Web Link

Web Link

1 person likes this
Posted by Chris
a resident of University South
9 hours ago

When are the teachers going to offer concessions? They seem to be all about making demands. Share in the sacrifice and then you have status to make requests.

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