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In alignment with teachers, district does not recommend livestreaming for middle, high schools

Original post made on Oct 28, 2020

Palo Alto Unified is not recommending the middle and high schools reopen with livestreaming in January, which would allow students learning from home to remotely watch classes as they are happening in person.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, October 28, 2020, 9:41 AM

Comments (52)

Posted by Facts and Figures
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 28, 2020 at 10:51 am

Facts and Figures is a registered user.

Why not let teachers who do not want to attend "in person" stream into classrooms?

Streaming is the "new normal"

Come on PAUSD.

Posted by rsmithjr
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 28, 2020 at 10:53 am

rsmithjr is a registered user.

I am puzzled by the question: what do the teachers want?

The teachers firmly rejected a return to classes a few months ago. Now they are saying that they do not want online either. So what do they want: to do nothing while they are paid a full salary? And how does that help our students?

This is about our students. Offering a choice between hybrid and online is probably the best thing for them.

By all accounts, the teachers did not do well in Palo Alto last spring. In many places, the teachers did well. My grandchildren had a good experience educationally.

Posted by Facts and Figures
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 28, 2020 at 11:02 am

Facts and Figures is a registered user.


Unless secondary teachers record lectures for students at home, hybrid means 2 days per week with NO INSTRUCTION. This is called a flipped classroom in PAUSD jargon.

Right now high school teachers are already cutting / have cut material on the shorter distance learning schedule. And, now hybrid will offer even less instruction.

Please advocate for streaming.

Posted by Jay
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 28, 2020 at 11:43 am

Jay is a registered user.

I am a parent who originally wish live streaming, but have second thoughts while I was listening the board meeting last night. If live streaming is the traditional way of teaching and Kids at home just watch the class including hygienic transition and so on. Well...It will look like watching outside over the window just like Dr. Austin mentioned. and It will create incredible mental and physical burden to teachers who need to take care of in person students and at home students at the same time. It will be like chef who cooks, serves the table at the same time. Both hybrid and DL quality will go down. Lose and lose situation. I was so glad to see teachers advocated themselves to make the best teaching environment which will benefit our kids eventually. I guess since DL was overall satisfied in given pandemic situation, leave DL as it is and focus on Hybrid model on reopening will be most appropriate! Thanks for everyone working hard for our community.

Posted by Palo Verde Parent
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 28, 2020 at 11:57 am

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I think there needs to be more understanding of "live stream". Teachers currently have the camera that is on their computer unless they have purchased their own separate camera. If teachers need to be in front of that camera while delivering material to their students then the advantages of being in person are almost nil. Teachers will not be able to use all of their board space, will not be able to do demonstrations that take up more space than that little camera can capture and will not be able to walk around the classroom at all - they likely will need to sit in front of their computer. This means the in person students don't gain anything academically and it could be a disadvantage for the kids at home trying to understand the Zoom with the teacher in a mask. If the classrooms were equipped with multiple cameras or a high quality mounted camera etc then I can see how this would be a viable option (and I think this is what is happening at some of the private schools that live stream). I am not saying I am opposed to it, I just think we need more information on how it will work/look.

Posted by Paly and JLS Parent
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 28, 2020 at 12:14 pm

Paly and JLS Parent is a registered user.

Live streaming is being implemented in thousands of colleges and schools successfully. Other schools have understood we need a long term solution that supports students from home in the long run. They are investing to get into this model early and iterate and make it better over time.
Even in the Bay Area, all independent schools, San Jose Unified and Milpitas Unified have already declared or implemented plans for live streaming. Not to mention Stanford in our backyard.
At its simplest form, all our PAUSD secondary teachers are live streaming from their home today. The first step could be simply moving teachers to their classrooms, connecting webcams and lanyard mics and then phasing in a few students on rotation. The experience can be optimized with best practices, training, configuration and technology. There is a growing community of live streaming classrooms, and just like every other major disruption, it will get better over time. I believe this is the model of the future. I wish our district would help investigate options, incent our teachers to try new methods, and invest in making this model move forward.
Here's a good example of a 7th grade hybrid live streaming class in action: Web Link

Posted by rsmithjr
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 28, 2020 at 12:56 pm

rsmithjr is a registered user.

Let me put a little context into this.

Nationally and globally, a huge amount of education and training is done online. It includes both pre-recorded videos, software, and live streaming.

R&D has been done for sixty years now, much of it in this area. This was my career actually.

During that period, the PAUSD has always wanted to avoid online instruction in all of its forms. This is unfortunate.

There are any number of schools that were pretty much ready. Others jumped in and succeeded. PAUSD did not and is still conflicted about what it should be going.

This pandemic is not finished. All of the signs are that we are in a major increase in cases (and eventually deaths) all of over the country and in much of the world.

Sorry, but it may be quite a while before something "normal" is back. Even then, online is here to stay for a lot of reasons.

Posted by Parent who talks w/other parents
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 28, 2020 at 2:00 pm

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Not only was the survey confusing, but it was open for a VERY short time. Thousands of parents and students did not have time to weigh in before noon on a Friday. Further, it asked us to weigh in on models that were NOT laid out or described in the survey. Spell out what hybrid means to PAUSD secondary because a LOT of options have been described and I hear hybrid meaning different things to different people.

Major decisions should NOT be made from that survey. It came across as yet another way for decision-makers to pretend to ask for feedback so Dr. Austin can complain about Palo Alto to his colleagues via Twitter.

You may have been immersed in this for months, but the vast majority of parents are focused on their jobs and families and only a minority are watching every minute of each board meeting. We don't work in education and need you to clearly spell out the options AND the rationale for them well before we need to make a decision. If that decision surprises you next month - once the details are finally provided - look at the handling of this survey and poor communications for the reason.

Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 28, 2020 at 3:12 pm

Paly Parent is a registered user.

Thank you @Paly and JLS parent for the link to an example livestreaming hybrid class. I found it very helpful and hope others that are concerned will as well.

The current plan for in-person hybrid is inadequate and disappointing. Our student interests are not being represented and a district that is funded at 25k per student per year can surely serve students better. The current no-streaming hybrid plan will:

-- Reduce synchornized instruction time per course:

-- The "normal" (pre-pandemic) was 225 minutes per week.
-- Current (remote) instruction is 180 minutes a week
-- Proposed hybrid will be only 105 minutes a week (30 minute remote and 75 in person).

Reduction in instruction comes with reduction in content. This impacts more our least resourced students that rely on the school for their education. These are also the students that have greater need for in-person school. This "choice" makes no sense. The 20% reduction that came with remote learning was senseless. And a hybrid that is 47% of "normal" is even less sensible.

-- Current hybrid incentivizes students that are not well or had been exposed to show up to school. This is not something I think we want in a pandemic.

-- The change will needlessly completely shuffle students schedules, breaking essentially every single class between students that choose hybrid to those that chose remote. Most high school core courses are full year courses. Don dismissed that schedule change as a "math problem." The consequences are so much more than that.

-- Don spoke about the importance of "interaction" and said he pushed for in-person school. But the current plan bundles in-person with a significant reduction in instruction. The primary task of school is to provide education --so this does not make sense. I suspect most students, even those that want in-person, would chose remote learning. Perhaps this was the union plan to begin with?

-- Yes, having to teach in-person and livestream at the same time is not completely ideal. But this is the future perhaps. And many schools are successfully doing it. The point is that the proposed alternative is just so much worse.

Posted by Facts and Figures
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 28, 2020 at 4:59 pm

Facts and Figures is a registered user.

If we could return to a 5 day per week schedule that does not include the odd Mondays, we could simply allow 20% of students daily and stream to the rest. Why do this? Give every student a chance at human contact and keep the rooms practically empty.

If this works and is safe, we could try 30% daily and then 40%. We simply need to even out the days curriculum and learn to rotate.

Choosing the hybrid model is a sacrifice to learning and college preparation, as well as mental health. Plus, it is so far out of touch with the times that it is shocking. We are in Palo Alto, California. Our Covid-19 rates are incredibly low. Our weather is fantastic. And, supposedly, our community has leaders in innovation. What the heck is going on?

Posted by Hybrid is a Poor Option
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 28, 2020 at 6:56 pm

Hybrid is a Poor Option is a registered user.

The hybrid model the district is proposing is poor. It halves the instructional minutes while making things complicated for students and teachers alike and giving insufficient attention to the experience for a potentially exposed child.

Our children and families are in a bind because teachers do not want to teach in person and teachers do not want to livestream. It seems that teachers want to teach as though everyone has COVID until no one has COVID, and the public school children and families will just need to deal with that.

As families in the district, we have little leverage other than not donating to PIE. We can pull our kids out, but that is very difficult to do mid-year.

Any suggestions?

Posted by TS Member
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 28, 2020 at 7:14 pm

TS Member is a registered user.

I have been keeping an eye on these threads discussing schools during the pandemic. What can I say? Simply this: I am so glad I no longer have school or college age children! This seems like such a difficult situation to solve for everybody all around. Students and their parents, teachers, and school administration. I sincerely wish you all good luck with this, and I hope mutual understanding and compassion will prevail in finding satisfactory solutions for all involved. What a headache!

Posted by Facts and Figures
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 28, 2020 at 10:40 pm

Facts and Figures is a registered user.

@Hybrid is a poor option

Parents could serve a petition to recall the entire school board or particular school board members who are not doing their duty.

Parents and / or students could protest 25 Churchill. We protested BLM here. We can certainly protest this important issue.

Students could protest by live streaming from their hybrid classrooms.

Students can un-enroll, but this takes no money from the district. And, where would a high school student go?

Parents can sue the district for failing to provide daily live interaction according to SB98. Hybrid does not exempt the district from the distance rules. Distance learning rules apply when instruction is not live.

Posted by Mom
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 29, 2020 at 9:43 am

Mom is a registered user.

To everyone expressing thoughts here: please send them to ASAP. They need to hear these ideas and this feedback. It’s vital they hear directly from the community.

Posted by Facts and Figures
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 29, 2020 at 2:43 pm

Facts and Figures is a registered user.


Parents have been writing. NO ONE seems to care.

The Board knows the options.

Students and families are losing out.

How many letters does it take? Does it take a protest that gets on TV?

How much teen depression is this Board and Administration willing to OWN? All that talk about caring about student wellness and mental health appears to be complete lip service.

Streaming is a viable and cost effective option. San Jose installed 360 degree cameras in its classrooms this summer. We can get this done if we start now.

Posted by PAUSD Parent
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 29, 2020 at 5:54 pm

PAUSD Parent is a registered user.

Don Austin is hell bent on opening the schools -- at any cost. He as much said so the other night. He only cares about being first, not the safest. PAUSD is woefully unprepared to proceed. They want parents to complete a binding agreement starting on Nov. 11, but won't have the information until the Board meeting on 11/20? They've had MONTHS to work on this.

Hybrid halves the instructional time for students. Keep DL in place, and work on supporting the students who need it most. Modify and improve PAUSD+. Just because teachers identify that 24% students need in person instruction, doesn't mean the families will choose this option. ALSO, look at Europe, look at the rest of the US -- cases are going to go up after Halloween, Thanksgiving, winter holidays, Christmas, etc. January we will be lucky if we aren't under lockdown again.

DL is working for the majority of students. Figure out a way to have some social events, clubs, sports, activities for in person connections. We are already on reduced instructional time this year - don't reduce it more.

Posted by Hybrid is a Poor Option
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 29, 2020 at 6:14 pm

Hybrid is a Poor Option is a registered user.

PAUSD Parent you say that "DL is working for the majority of students". I'm curious what data you are looking at and how "working" is evaluated.

I agree with you that Hybrid's leaving our teens to their own devices for half the time is a problem. The cure may be worse than the disease.

As you suggest, the only option may be Full Distance Learning with some on-campus activities.

I was wondering earlier today why it seems so little thinking has been done on this and I concluded that the district administration must be overwhelmed. That wouldn't be surprising given all that's going on. I wonder if parents will be constructive and if the administration will listen to constructive parents. I hope so.

Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 29, 2020 at 11:41 pm

Paly Parent is a registered user.

PAUSD is currently being funded at 25k per student per year, not considering real estate or PIE!! This is double the CA average. But PAUSD is not delivering nearly at that level. The problem is that the incentives to deliver are not there: The funds to PAUSD is guaranteed from our property taxes, regardless of enrollment levels. If families are under-served and move to private school then PAUSD still has the same income and less work. This seems broken.

Another problem we have is that our elected education board members, that are supposed to protect students interests, are very aligned with teacher unions. They are endorsed by unions and sometimes get funds from the union. This is a real issue in our pandemic reality because students interests (education, wellness) conflict with teachers (retain salary and benefits, block third party options for education, not teach in-person and not be inconvenienced first with remote and now live-streaming).

So despite the very high level of per-student funds and very high teacher to student ratio, we are not seeing benefits to our students. PAUSD is in a position to offer a full time school option for lower elementary. We have staff and space for pandemic-cohort size groups. But we only have a hybrid in-person option that is as limited as that of San Jose (or NYC) that have much larger class sizes (or large classes and enclosed buildings).

Privates at similar levels of funding and many public schools offered synchronized instruction in spring and are offering live-streaming. But PAUSD does not. Why? Instruction and content got cut significantly simply from the move to "remote" mode -- without good justification. And now, the in-person option will be bundled with 1/3 of normal instruction time!! (75 minutes versus 225 minutes a week per course).

So people asked what can we do? We appealed to our board with no avail. But we can vote:

To signal to PAUSD to improve, vote no on measure O. Our students deserve great schools if we pay for great schools. Enrollment drop unrelated to pandemic since 2018 (7%, 12% with pandemic) already exceeds the 6% gain from parcel tax.

Vote for Grace Mah for county education department. Grace Mah is more aligned with student interests and giving students better options. Also as a way to nudge public schools to perform. The other candidate is funded from teacher unions.

Vote for board candidates that are not supported/aligned with teacher unions. Someone needs to represent our students.

Posted by Anon anon...
a resident of Meadow Park
on Oct 30, 2020 at 8:19 am

Anon anon... is a registered user.

Hey Live Stream classes lovers: Would you mind doing an experiment for me? Start a zoom from your laptop. Don't use a headset. Place it in a room with say 3-15 people. Point it at your face as you talk. Move naturally like a human being does. How does it look? Can the Zoom participants see and hear? What happens when someone in the room coughs? Moves? Talks? Gets up and leaves? Drops something? This is the experience that you are hoping for. It simply does not work with the meagre resources at hand. For those of you demanding that teachers pre-record "lectures". Wasn't this the thing so many of you complained about in Spring? Also, since it takes around 3 hours to produce a 1 hour "lecture", how and when does all that happen while a teacher is also teaching hybrid? It's time to get real about what education is going to happen. This is crisis teaching. Not the best, but the best of a menu of sub-optimal choices. Don and the Admins are scared to tell you the truth. I'm sorry that it's not the same as back in "before times". No matter what, it will not be the same, as good, as fun, as connected as the before times. This is crisis teaching. Be realistic.

Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 30, 2020 at 9:13 am

Paly Parent is a registered user.

@Anon anon

There are $300 cameras that can trace and automatically focus on teacher. It is not using the laptop camera. @JLS and Paly parent posted a link on how this works:
Web Link

In our county: San Jose Unified will live-stream:
Web Link

Many other school districts are doing this. Yes, it takes adjustment. Distance learning took adjustment also. But the alternative is so much worse. Live-streaming is the only way for a viable in-person option for HS students. With no further loss of instruction time. With no incentives for students that had "partial contacts" to show up to school. Allowing continuity of schedules and year-long courses.

Posted by Clarification
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 30, 2020 at 10:27 am

Clarification is a registered user.

Positive covid case at Escondido.

Posted by 3x PAUSD Parent
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 30, 2020 at 10:28 am

3x PAUSD Parent is a registered user.

This doesn't seem hard

1. Divide students into cohorts (within their existing teams for the middle school) according to whether they are hybrid or DL.

2. Schedule each class section to be EITHER Hybrid OR DL

3. Teachers teach each section EITHER with an in-person class, OR a DL class, both types in a single day but distinguished by time period. When hybrid students are at home, they would work on asynchronous activities (as do the elementary hybrid students now), with maybe a check-in at the end of the day with teacher office hours, if needed.

Benefits of this approach:

A. "Team" assignments are preserved in the middle school. (I’m not sure how high school works in this regard.)

B. Teachers teach in one mode at a time, both from their classrooms but not at the same time

C. If it becomes necessary to revert back to "full DL," student schedules can remain the same while everyone just works from home.

D. This does NOT involve live streaming to both in-person and DL students. Teachers do both modes, but separately. Thus thus this should not run afoul of the union. (Wishful thinking anyway...)

Am I missing something, or would this be workable approach?

Posted by Anon anon...
a resident of Meadow Park
on Oct 30, 2020 at 11:43 am

Anon anon... is a registered user.

@ Paly Parent - I don't know how deep we want to get into the weeds of your idea - but just to be clear, that looks like a $300 device with an Ipad on top. So, it's not actually a $300 solution - more like $800. Per classroom. But otherwise, seems great. Just need to come up with all that money, and tech support. These things are not just take out of the box and turn on, they require personnel to implement the infrastructure, wifi access etc. Tech support is stretched beyond limits in PAUSD.

Posted by Anon anon...
a resident of Meadow Park
on Oct 30, 2020 at 11:46 am

Anon anon... is a registered user.

@3x PAUSD Parent I think you are falling into the fallacy that many non-practitioners fall into. Online, and in person are two completely different things. They have different limitations and considerations. The fallacy is that inperson is the same as online - you just turn a camera on. And that is manifestly not the case. I wish it were as simple as you portray.

Posted by S. Underwood
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 30, 2020 at 8:05 pm

S. Underwood is a registered user.

We have money coming out of our ears. That's not the problem.

For contrast, I know THREE different families of elementary and middle school kids who withdrew from PAUSD to enroll their kids in online private schools. The price of those private schools (fully privately funded) ranges around $8-12k. That's 1/3rd to 1/2 what PAUSD is spending. Yet these families left for alternatives that are doing better for their kids far on less. If only familes could bring their $24k from PAUSD with them so ALL families had an option, independent of funds, for a better school year.

PAUSD is underperforming. Yes, lots and lots of public schools are also spinning their wheels too. That's not the point. The point is that we need to do better and follow those who are.

High school kids, sadly, are totally stuck because of the credit/college situation. What a shame. They are stuck in a situation where (to paraphrase Mark Twain) they have to let their schooling get in the way of their education.

Posted by Teacher
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 30, 2020 at 10:02 pm

Teacher is a registered user.

I agree wholeheartedly with PAUSD Parent. I know we all want our kids in school, but I truly, truly believe that the best educational option for secondary students is to remain in distance learning for the rest of the academic year.

The hybrid with live streaming model is very challenging for teachers and very unsatisfying for the online students. Stanford Online recommends against it. The models proposed on the latest PAUSD survey both involve re-mixing classes which would be a huge disservice to students, in my opinion. Students getting new teachers and new classmates, and/or teachers being reassigned to teach a course they've never taught before or haven't had time to plan for, in addition to asking teachers to learn yet another model of teaching will only further reduce the quality of learning. And what about when student or teacher is exposed and a group of students and teachers have to quarantine and revert back to DL for two weeks? The logistics of returning in person create an educational disaster far worse than staying in DL all year.

Parents who are worried about social isolation and its impact on their student's mental health could create their own social pods for their kids without impacting the safety 650 other students and their teachers. Getting COVID themselves, bringing it home to their at risk parents, or having a teacher get seriously ill or die from COVID (seems likely?) would be far more emotionally damaging for them than staying in DL all year.

The parents who choose the hybrid model might expect that the in person experience will be what they're used to. It won't. Here's what it might look like:
- Classrooms will be cold as doors will be propped wide open regardless of winter weather
- Teachers will be in full PPE -- not only off-putting or stressful for some students but also makes it hard to be heard, especially for online students if livestreaming
- No student collaboration -- no group projects, partner work, or small group discussions.
- Some teachers might decide to have a silent classroom as talking spreads the virus.
- Some teachers might choose to sit outside the classroom in the open air where they feel safer.
- Some teachers may be visibly stressed or scared
- Teachers' attention will diverted: scanning the room for noses hanging out of masks, policing social distancing, worrying about their own safety, and potentially also attempting to pay attention to the students who opted for livestreaming.
- Students having to read the same book twice or missing out on a chapter of a textbook because their first semester teacher and their second semester teacher covered different things at different times
- I can't speak for all the teachers, obviously, but many secondary teachers do NOT believe this current plan is safe for teachers or students. PAEA does not feel this is safe. The conditions under which we would go back in person go against many of the CDC or county guidelines for the general public. While these compromises are perceived as "worth the risk" to outweigh the very real downsides of kids not being in school in person, I do not think we should be forced to go back into the classroom. I have very real concerns -- not because I'm lazy or selfish, as some have implied about us in their desperate reaction to their concerns about the impact of DL on their kids. The current plan exposes us to too many students for too many minutes with inadequate ventilation, and this community, this Board and this Superintendent don't agree or don't care.

Many teachers do not feel heard or respected and yet we are still being asked to put ourselves and our families at risk in order to serve this community who does not support us. We have spent countless hours and many long days and nights learning how to deliver instruction online. Some of us have spent hundreds of dollars of our own money on external monitors and other supplies to teach effectively from home. We have been working far beyond our contracted hours to do the absolute best job for our students that we can given these challenging times. When 90% of teachers surveyed say they do not feel safe returning to school at this time, and the Board votes (unanimously?) to force us to return anyway, it does not inspire a heroic willingness to risk our health in order to serve you.

To clarify:
Teachers HAVE proposed all sorts of things. The Superintendent and Board have ignored or refused many of them. Some things that would help:

- Outdoor classes

- Smaller caseloads for each teacher to lower the number of students each of us is exposed to. The current plan still exposes each full time teacher to 70 students each week, with no stable cohorts.

- N95 masks

- Plexiglass barriers in classrooms

- Hiring more custodial staff, until or unless the CDC discovers that surface transmission is not a concern

- Replacing faulty and outdated HVAC systems

- Installing windows that open to increase ventilation (ventilation in many of our classrooms is terrible and has been a concern for years, long before COVID)

- Putting lids on toilets to contain airborne germs

- Shorter class periods (shorter exposure time is safer -- currently I think the plan is for 75 minute periods?)

- COVID testing for students (testing all of our secondary students isn't feasible)

- Don Austin could stop referring to our "anxiety" and "comfort" and instead consider his own motives for wanting to be the first large public high school in the area to open for in person instruction, or at least take steps to protect not just students but also teachers.

- For the District to stop referring to the 100% COVID negativity rate at the elementary schools as a reason to think that opening secondary schools is safe. Elementary teachers are exposed to a fraction of the number of students secondary teachers are exposed to, have stable cohorts, and younger children transmit the virus at a much lower rate than secondary students.

- At least a two week delay after Winter Break before opening schools. Families will incur a lot of exposure during holiday gatherings and travel over the break. Starting on January 7 is a very bad idea.

- Families agreeing once school resumes to keep their secondary students home after school, away from parties, socially distancing per CDC guidelines, and refraining from traveling.

The district's plans seem geared toward their own emotionally charged and political agenda. Their "surveys" are biased and flawed. I hope we get a new Board after the election, and I hope that Board chooses to work with teachers instead of against them. Most of all, I hope all of us stay safe this winter. My other great hope is that I get to keep teaching the same group of students I have gotten to know and care about this semester, and to continue to do the best job possible in a fully online model.

Posted by PAUSD Parent
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 30, 2020 at 11:08 pm

PAUSD Parent is a registered user.

@ Clarification

Can you please share the information about a case at Escondido? This has NOT been communicated to the community.

Posted by 3x PAUSD Parent
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 31, 2020 at 3:12 am

3x PAUSD Parent is a registered user.

@Anon anon...

Thanks for your response. Actually I currently teach part-time at the college level, and my wife is an elementary teacher (not in PAUSD). We are both teaching 100% DL. I have also been a technology consultant in the higher ed space for 25+ years. I only share that to let you know I do take into account issues related to the realistic limitations of both instructional modes from a position of professional experience.

I didn't mean to suggest that making an in-person lesson DL-appropriate is as simple as turning on a camera in a classroom . That said, I would argue that if you have a DL lesson prepared, going in the other direction -- i.e. teaching it to an in-person class -- shouldn't require a completely new lesson plan. During the in-person case, you don't have to worry about camera angles, field of view, managing breakout rooms, watching for digital handraising, monitoring a chat channel, or dealing with audio quality issues because the students you are teaching are in the room with you. When you are teaching DL students, you would be sitting at your computer just as teachers are now. Teaching DL is the more constrained of the two scenarios, so if a teacher has worked out how to deliver in that scenario it stands to reason that they should be able to use 80-90% of the same approach with the in-person group.

(Fwiw, if teachers are able to originate DL classes from their classrooms they would have the option to use the Smartboards and document cameras that are in PAUSD classrooms. That said, they could just as easily sit at their desk for DL sessions.)

I offer all this not to argue one way or the other for Hybrid or DL. It just seems the PAUSD train is barreling down the tracks towards re-opening without much chance of diverting it, so the question becomes how to do that with minimal impact on students' well-being. In our family we've already navigated the transition at the elementary level, and it was a massive step backward when our youngest had to switch teachers because of the way the district handled the process. It'd be nice if we could avoid that at the MS and HS levels. My $0.02.

Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 31, 2020 at 10:19 am

Paly Parent is a registered user.

Update: The current proposal (yesterday) by the district is to further reduce synchronized instruction time to all students and much more so to those that choose "in-person." Again, live-streaming will address this and other issues. Here are the synchronized instructional minutes per course per week for HS:
- "normal" 225 minutes (in-person)
- current fall distance learning (DL): 180 minutes (synchronized remote)
- proposed spring DL option: 150 minutes (all remote) (2/3 of normal)
- proposed hybrid (H) option: 75 minutes (all in-person) (1/3 of normal)

It is interesting to see what our secondary teachers (not teacher union!) are saying:

Web Link

Q: Effectiveness of distance learning (DL):
70% of students are thriving (academically)
25% need in-person instruction to experience success

My commentary: Is it wise to bundle the hybrid option with having 1/3 of "normal" instruction (with remaining learning as homework, asynchronously). Is this adequate for the 25%? Wouldn't it be better if they still get remote synchronized instruction as well as the very limited in-person time (that can get further reduced in case of health absences?).

Q: Importance of keeping all current (first semester) students:
Yes: 84%
No: 16%

My commentary: The only option to keep all students with teachers is to live-stream. Otherwise we are at a scheduling nightmare and also classmates (important for students!) will change.

Q: Content coverage with respect to a typical year:
Less: 57%
About the same: 40%
More: 3%

My commentary: My own check on courses my kids are at is that it is markedly less content, much lower expectation, much less learning. This all across laned and unlaned courses. Of course, some kids, those that can, are supplementing. But our public systemt is failing the rest. Why was synchronized instruction reduced to start with and is it wise to further drastically reduce it to 2/3 and to 1/3 of normal?

Q: Are you (teacher) willing to teach both H and DL options (to different sections):

Yes: 45%
No: 54%

Q: Are you (teacher) willing to live-stream (teach simultaneously in-person and at-home students)

Yes: 24%
No: 76%

Commentary: This is interesting! Most teachers do not want to do both H and DL. But the majority of teachers that agree to teach in-person are also willing to live-stream courses!! This makes sense. The entity that is strongly against live-streaming is the union, also as a way to discourage in-person by making it unpalatable (by bundling it with only 1/3 of normal instruction).

Come on our education board members! You were elected to represent our students! Please step up for the job! Many secondary students need some in-person time for both academic and social reasons. For HS students the H option is (purposely?) unpalatable. The unions are endorsing/channeling re-election funds to at least two out of our three board members that are up for re-election. Isn't taking this money and allowing this to happen a breach of trust? Please be more pro-student.

Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 31, 2020 at 10:38 am

Paly Parent is a registered user.


How do you feel about allowing teachers to teach from home, but allowing (some) students to sit in class. This can work for HS -- with one student possibly acting as a teaching assistant (TA). It seems to me that some of what the students are missing the most are the peer interactions: Seeing each other, asking questions, working together. Students still have their laptops and tune in to the class as in DL. But they will be in the same room. The lesson can also be broadcasted to the white board.

Posted by Hybrid is a Poor Option
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 31, 2020 at 7:52 pm

Hybrid is a Poor Option is a registered user.

@Teacher: I agree with you that the District should drop Hybrid if this is the best it can offer. It is a drastic reduction in instructional minutes and it provides no good option for children who may have been exposed. It is dangerous, complicated, and misleading.

That said, PAUSD should take a hard look at itself if the best it can do, with families having sacrificed so much here to keep COVID rates low, is to offer 100% online learning, as you recommend.

Posted by Amy
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 31, 2020 at 11:47 pm

Amy is a registered user.

Do you know what happens if a student does Hybrid and if they have to quarantine due to possible exposure or contracting Covid...? Do they work asynchronously 100% of the time until they can come back to in person? I haven’t been able to find an answer to that anywhere.

Posted by Teacher
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 1, 2020 at 7:44 pm

Teacher is a registered user.

@ Amy -- that's a good question. I don't know.

Posted by Teacher
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 1, 2020 at 7:54 pm

Teacher is a registered user.

@Paly Parent: Some students might benefit from that model, if the educational benefit to them is worth the health risk of coming to school. For some kids I agree that would be helpful.

It would be wonderful if the district would allow teachers to teach from home or by school by choice. Unfortunately, the district's current stance is to force us to return to campus unless we have a note from a physician. For the many of us who do not believe the current plan is safe, this is going to be a huge problem. If the district gave me the option you describe, I would certainly do it.

Posted by Resident1
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 1, 2020 at 8:13 pm

Resident1 is a registered user.

Teacher: I don't think the reason that people are so interested in coming to campus is for their educational benefit. I expect it is in fact for their health. I am concerned that the administration, county, and state have not communicated clearly enough to people such as yourself the nature and severity of the health problems that school lockdowns are having on children and their families. Please consider the bigger picture and that may lead to some ideas that work for both families and yourself.

Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Professorville
on Nov 2, 2020 at 8:52 am

Paly Parent is a registered user.

It is helpful to see what parents/students want. The district conducted two parents/students surveys. The first is interesting because it can be separated for parent/guardian and student responses and also breaks down by grade level. But it was conducted without giving informations on what the options mean. The second lays out the options more clearly, and also asks people to list factors influencing the decision, but does not allow drilling into the results.

Web Link

Web Link


Q: Preference for distance-learning (DL) versus in-persion ("Hybrid")

64% in-person
36% full distance learning

Students (MS+HS):
55% in-person
45% full DL

For high school students (versus middle school) more students want full DL

52% in-person
48% ful DL

My commentary: Families want both in-person and distance-learning with the majority wanting in-person. The disparity between parents and students is interesting. My speculation is that students are getting comfortable with aspects of DL (sleep later, multitask some classes, etc.). Parents might be concerned about teens isolating, being on screens, etc.

Q: Important factors in decision (in order)

Physical health
Quality of instruction
Interaction with peers

(less so but important):

Interaction with teachers/staff
meet/exceed/recover learning goals
social/emotional concerns

Commentary: In-person interaction with peers is rated above in-person interaction with teachers/staff. This suggests that we should look at ways to separate the two. Families may be opting for in-person due to social/emotional concerns, as some students maintain interaction in extracurriculars or other activities, but others might be getting very isolated.

Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Professorville
on Nov 2, 2020 at 9:00 am

Paly Parent is a registered user.

@teacher thank you!

The following proposal might provide flexibility to everyone and address the broadest range of concerns and needs. This might be acceptable to the teacher union and it seems better than the current proposed hybrid model in almost all respects:

-- Maintain current course schedule as is, same teachers-student assignments, same periods.
-- Students (that choose) have designated days in which they can come to school in-person (parent decision each day).

-- Allow teachers to teach from home (or from an empty room at school).

-- When teacher is remote, the students in class use their laptops to connect and the lesson can also be displayed on the smart board. One students can be a designated "teacher assistant" at each such session. Students can interact with each other for collaboartive work and questions. At-home students can do it in zoom rooms.

-- Equip classes with livestream cameras and equipment and train teachers in this mode of delivery. Teachers that choose to can do the DL model also when in classroom (students have laptops) and gradually introduce elements of live-streamed in-person.

-- Retain or increase instructional minutes. Perhaps by retaining synchronized instruction on Mondays and replacing it with alternating full periods. Making Monday an alternating "regular day" will slightly increase minutes to 187minutes per course per-week.

I suspect that a quarter of teachers will choose to still teach from the classroom, based on the teachers survey results. Teachers will feel respected and appreciated, as should be. Students will get interaction with peers and more instructional minutes (priority for families). Schedules and teacher assignments will be maintained, a priority for both teachers (80%+) and students.

Posted by Anon Anony
a resident of another community
on Nov 2, 2020 at 1:09 pm

Anon Anony is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 2, 2020 at 3:20 pm

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

@ anon anony
[Portion removed.]
Don’t tell Teacher to be brave. How completely obnoxious. Teacher doesn’t have to risk their life to go in and teach in person. [Portion removed.]

As far as middle and HS, be satisfied with distance learning and you adjust, NOT teacher. [Portion removed.]

@ Teacher
You wrote a beautiful post but you don’t need to explain yourself to these people. You are absolutely correct. Already a poster here stated there was a Covid case at one of the schools. That was an elementary school where it’s supposed to be “safer” because “the little kids don’t get COVID and don’t spread it as much.”
So much for that. Then other posters are wondering why this wasn’t communicated to the community and are wondering what the plan is for quarantine. Shouldn’t all of this have been set up before reopening? Shouldn’t there be a plan in place for this? Also, don’t worry Teacher, “you aren’t responsible for thinking of the bigger picture” like another poster suggested. Their children are their responsibility and not yours.

[Portion removed.]

Posted by Hybrid is a Poor Option
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Nov 2, 2020 at 4:30 pm

Hybrid is a Poor Option is a registered user.

"Their children are their responsibility and not yours."

Teachers know better than that. Moreover, by working together and understanding each other's issues, we are better able to come up with a solution that works for everyone.

The current Hybrid proposal is not safe for students or teachers and it provides an inadequate education despite asking teachers to prepare lessons both online and offline (in case of quarantine). No one likes it.

Parents and teachers, let's listen to each other and work together, and not let people [portion removed] pit us against one another. That's the only way to make real progress.

Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 2, 2020 at 5:08 pm

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

Posted by Anon Anony
a resident of another community
on Nov 2, 2020 at 6:01 pm

Anon Anony is a registered user.


Age Group Percentage Count
0 - 4 Years <0.1 38
5 - 17 Years <0.1 70
18 - 29 Years 0.5 906
30 - 39 Years 1.3 2,246
40 - 49 Years 3.1 5,341
50 - 64 Years 15.3 26,268
65 - 74 Years 21 36,111
75 - 84 Years 26.6 45,766
85+ Years 32.2 55,347

Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 2, 2020 at 6:26 pm

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

More numbers.
How old are the teachers?
No one wants to be a statistic.


Web Link

Over 47 million cases and over 1 million deaths and counting.

Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 2, 2020 at 7:27 pm

Me 2 is a registered user.

TVPA should read the webpages she/he links to. What's more interesting is:

11,987,564 (99%)
in Mild Condition

86,558 (1%)
Serious or Critical

All this for 1% serious cases.

(Lies, damn lies and statistics)

Posted by Facts and Figures
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 2, 2020 at 8:24 pm

Facts and Figures is a registered user.

@Voice of Palo Alto

Streaming is the best solution for at-risk teachers and teachers who return to the classroom. We just need to get with the times. Other districts, privates and colleges are allowing teachers at risk to STREAM IN. And for teachers in the classroom, streaming allows a staged approach, starting with as low as 10% of kids in a classroom. How safe is that?

Streaming is the best solution for secondary families. With streaming, kids who need to stay home can stay home and keep their teachers. With streaming, kids who have an illness have no need to attend school and make others ill. With streaming, there is a way to educate quarantined classes.

Streaming is the best solution for NOW, 2021 January and the 2021-22 school year.

Palo Alto made the national news for teen suicides. Now what, no one cares about mental health enough to allow streaming. Really?

Finally, there ia a new law. It says distance learning can't just be whatever the district wants. It has to include the following 3 important elements (and more):
1. live daily interaction with teachers and peers for progress and instruction;
2. the same quality and challenge as in-person instruction (pre-Covid-19), and
3. Instructional minutes per the code, which allow for videos and paper work, but the paper work must receive comments and feedback. Self work that is not evaluated does not count.

Nothing in the current hybrid plan meets this criteria. Oh, and distance learning alone doesn't cut it. The law also says in-person whenever possible.

Our teachers and students can be safe. We just have to get out of the dark ages and follow the law.

Posted by Anon Anony
a resident of another community
on Nov 3, 2020 at 8:02 am

Anon Anony is a registered user.

Average age of teachers 44.5 Median age of teachers 43.1

Less than 30 years 30–49 years 50–54 years 55 years or more

California 9.1 54.5 12.6 23.7

Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 3, 2020 at 10:00 am

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

I like how you conveniently ignore the over 1 million deaths and point to the 1% instead. [Portion removed.] Glossing over 1 million deaths and counting and pointing to the 1% is completely ridiculous. Making light of or downplaying the pandemic isn’t a good look at this point.

Teachers, anon anony says the death rate for your age group is low. You should totally listen to anon anony and go ahead and take those risks when you can deliver instruction online safely. It’s perfectly safe with those seemingly low numbers from anon anony even though cases are rising across the country with an increase in deaths soon to follow, and stark warnings from Birx last night.

Web Link

@facts and figures
Most of your posts are based on a false premise that SB98 is actually a law in the traditional sense. It’s not a “law” it’s a budget bill signed into a law by Newsom. It doesn’t mean anyone is going to be arrested or prosecuted if minute requirements aren’t met. I totally disagree with your statement about “teachers and students can be safe.” They can be “safer” but there is no 100% safety during the pandemic. So I have no idea what you mean by the “dark ages.”

So safe:
Web Link

Posted by Facts and Figures
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 3, 2020 at 10:41 am

Facts and Figures is a registered user.

@Voice of Palo Alto,

SB98 is codified in the Education Code § 43502 and following sections.

It is a LAW.

You are correct, the consequences are not clear, but many a lawyer might say that the protections afforded teachers pay are inextricably linked to compliance.

Others might say that a Basic Aid district can shirk its duties.

Others might say a district does not get the benefit of the instructional minute decrease if it does not comply.

PAUSD should comply with the law: The law is in-person instruction WHENEVER possible. It's possible. Streaming IN and OUT makes it work for teachers and students.

Posted by Facts and Figures
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 3, 2020 at 10:59 am

Facts and Figures is a registered user.

@The Voice of Palo Alto,

On reflection none of PAUSD's remote learning minutes would count at all toward the instructional minutes required if SB98 had not passed.

Why? Because in-person instructional minutes require being under the control of a certificated teacher, and well that's just not how distance learning works.

If you are saying the District can pick and choose from SB98, sorry. Cherrypicking doesn't work.

The District has to comply with SB98 to get its benefits. It might cheat. And, that won't be a shock to those of us who have been watching it lately. But the Board members should take note b/c that makes them non-compliant.

Posted by Citizen
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 3, 2020 at 12:32 pm

Citizen is a registered user.

It's the teachers' duty and job to educate our students, through every means of instruction possible during this pandemic. Pausd and its teachers should live stream during its hybrid in person instructional model.

Posted by Teacher
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 3, 2020 at 4:38 pm

Teacher is a registered user.

@ Facts and Figures and Anon Anony: Yes, it is my duty to educate. It is not my duty to put my health and the health of my family members at risk when I can educate from home safely.

I know the numbers right now are low in the several counties teachers and students would be coming from. But they probably won't stay that way through January, and with high schools as large as ours with the facilities that we have, there just isn't a safe way to open in my opinion.

If enough parents elect to keep their kids in full distance learning so that my exposure would be reduced to 20 students instead of 85+ and if the ventilation issues were satisfactorily resolved, I would happily return in person.

Even that fantasy, however, doesn't take into account what happens if something goes wrong - if I do get COVID at work, which then almost certainly would spread to everyone in my household, and one of us is unfortunate enough to be a "long hauler," the district isn't going to cover long term health care costs, disability, wage losses, etc. for me, much less also my spouse. You are asking me not to risk just my health, but also the health and financial security of my entire family, when I can serve most of my "clients" quite well from the safety of my own home.

Also think about the logistics of quarantines for every student and every student's entire family every time just ONE of their classmates gets sick or even just exposed. Elementary schools, which are much safer in terms of COVID than secondary schools, were open for less than three weeks before a student tested positive. What happens now? Are all of that student's classmates, siblings, and their parents quarantined?

At the high school level, every time ONE student gets COVID would mean that potentially 40 other students and their siblings and all of their parents, plus 7-14 teachers all have to not only revert to distance learning, but also can't leave their houses for 5-14 days? How does that serve anyone's needs better than staying in distance learning?

Posted by Tim12
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jan 19, 2021 at 1:46 am

Tim12 is a registered user.

The business of property is running owing to the buyers and without buyers property dealers can't survive themselves in property dealing business. I needed [url]Web Link and got it through your source. Without any defer I have read this article meticulously and knew exactly what is happening in property dealing business.

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