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Where the Palo Alto school board candidates stand on COVID learning loss

Original post made on Sep 24, 2022

In their own words, the four candidates seeking two open seats on the Board of Education share what impacts they believe students are still experiencing and what further steps should be taken to address them.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Saturday, September 24, 2022, 9:24 AM

Comments (13)

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 24, 2022 at 9:38 am

Bystander is a registered user.

I definitely think this is one of the biggest issues of our times for our children. At each age group, the percentage of their lives living in lockdown means that they have lost social development skills which will affect them for the rest of their lives. It can be said that the problems at the Paly/Gunn game could be blamed on the fact that they have had so little opportunity to participate as an audience over the past 2 1/2 years that those skills are not there. The social skills may be a lot harder to overcome than the academic skills and I think our schools have to be ready for that. The PAUSD board have to be prepared to be leaders in helping the different schools help children catch up on that too.

The other aspect, and I don't hear it mentioned anywhere, is that what has it taught PAUSD about disaster preparedness. They can have all the drills they like, but the realisation that say a major incident that happens at a weekend could prevent one or more of our school campuses to be out of action for weeks should be a learning and preparedness lesson for our board. If say Paly had to close due to an incident, what would be the next step? If it was an elementary school that suddenly had to close for weeks, would that look the same? We have had a major disaster in that all our schools had to operate in lockdown. What lessons have been learned? What would be different next time? If this happened again, would PAUSD be any better prepared? It could happen, there should be disaster preparedness protocols in place.

Posted by Greene and Paly Parent
a resident of Professorville
on Sep 24, 2022 at 10:20 am

Greene and Paly Parent is a registered user.

In my opinion as a parent, Shana's response is the most in-touch, and convincing. That is not surprising given her expertise. Shana recognizes the issue that while nearly all students were impacted socially and emotionally, and of course we should address and understant that, the academic impact had very high variance based on socioeconomics: Many PAUSD students, with access to resources and parent time, learned well above their grade level and in deeper way that what is available to them in the PAUSD classrooms. I heared from many parents that they were just amazed to see how quickly the kids progressed. On the other hand, the less resourced students fell much further behind. This in particular makes the one-size-fits-all approaches even less appropriate.

Nicole's response seem not to reflect experience or knowledge (even not that of a parent, her own children were not school age during pandemic). She parrots the narrative on student stress versus academics. Particularly surprising is her comment on "CAASPP results data show." Facts: CAASPP results were provided to parents (for their students) but aggregate results are being held at state level. Therefore, our district aggregate results are not yet available to the public. How did she access them???
Web Link

Dharap response speaks for his political resume, with his usual anti-academic stance. What is surprising that without actual expertise in that either (he has none in education and none as a school-age parent) he is stepping into the wellness domain (or posing as such).

a resident of University South
on Sep 24, 2022 at 12:15 pm

KEN HOROWITZ is a registered user.

As a professor at Foothill College, I believe that both Nicole and Shounak are the best candidates for the School Board to insure that all students in PAUSD succeed in the classroom and in life. They have the vision and the energy to address the achievement gap that we see at Foothill College. It is so important that we address this gap at the earliest age rather than our Foothill College students having to take remedial classes before they qualify for higher level classes.
Please vote for both Nicole and Shounak!

Posted by Resident10
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Sep 25, 2022 at 7:32 am

Resident10 is a registered user.

@Grenne and Paly Parent - Interesting information you posted
If aggregated district CAASPP data is not available to the public, how did a school board candidate get it?
Who could have provided this non-public data?
Did all the candidates get the same access to this non-public data that could be used to answer questions posed to them?

Integrity still matters to many voters in the community. I hope the candidate would like to provide answers to these questions so we get this cleared up.

Posted by Sandra Cox
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 25, 2022 at 7:56 am

Sandra Cox is a registered user.

"It is so important that we address this gap at the earliest age rather than our Foothill College students having to take remedial classes before they qualify for higher level classes."

There is no shame in having to take a remedial course as a prerequisite to enrollment in a standard college class.

I had to take remedial English composition prior to enrolling in English IA and middle school level Algebra before I could register for Calculus.

Education is not a race as to who gets there first as some students take years to complete a degree.

High school should be no different.

Posted by Allison
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 25, 2022 at 9:04 am

Allison is a registered user.

I would like to understand why anyone would think that Nicole Chiu-Wang is more qualified to be on the board vs. Shana Segal? That makes zero sense to me. Nicole strikes me as a well-put together articulate professional who is trying to dip her hands into too many jars in her life. She has been "groomed" by a bunch of well heeled parents in our community and lauded as "well qualified" to be on the board, yet she has no experience as a professional in education, her kids are not even in the school system yet and she has lived here for 6 months.

Shana has all the professional EDUCATIONAL experience we could ask for her and had the smarts to put her educational consulting business ON HOLD while she runs for the board. That same level of commitment will continue if Shana is elected. Thank you Shana, for prioritizing running for the board by dedicating your full self to running.
Did Nicole? Or Shounak for that matter?

We should want board members who have been in the weeds in our school district and community, not just articulate speakers.

Posted by Observer
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 25, 2022 at 9:06 am

Observer is a registered user.

My understanding is that Ms. Chiu-Wang is being introduced via house parties by the current school board vice president. This started after she moved her this the spring and the school board vp continues to host many of her fundraisers. She's half way to her fundraising goal of $50k.

While Ms. Chiu-Wang probably cannot access non-public info, she most certainly can appear far more informed by receiving guidance, pointers, and board-level background on request from her board mentors.

Ms. Chiu-Wang stated in debates this week that the district has indeed hired a communications officer. Dr. Austin’s letter this week stated that an offer has been made. Who knows which is true, but she seems to have a very high level of access to the latest info.

Optics matter and a relationship with the board which might provide an advantage to her campaign can, in my book, undermine her credibility should she become a board member.

As a voter, I personally see the board involvement in this campaign as a misuse of power. I’m also not interested in a candidate who isn't doing their own research and forming their own opinions.

Posted by Resident10
a resident of Professorville
on Sep 25, 2022 at 12:16 pm

Resident10 is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

Posted by GreatPumpkin
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 26, 2022 at 11:48 pm

GreatPumpkin is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

Posted by Jennifer DiBrienza
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 27, 2022 at 10:52 am

Jennifer DiBrienza is a registered user.

A community member pointed me to comments in this article where I am accused of giving "insider" information improperly and hosting a meet and greet for a local candidate.
Anyone who knows me knows that I host meet and greets for local, regional, state, and federal candidates every election season. I think voting in our elections is the single most important thing we do as citizens and it is important that voters know about the candidates for whom they may vote.
Hosting for local candidates means also hosting one for a school board candidate I support. It's perhaps not surprising that I have an opinion on the race, given I will serve for 2 years with whoever is elected. I came on the board with priorities and goals and I have supported candidates in every election I've served so that I am more likely to move the district towards those priorities and goals.
As to the implication that I passed "secret" info onto a candidate, that is quite an accusation to put out there. Unless the board discusses something in closed session (which we are forbidden to discuss outside of closed session), anything else is public information. Our Superintendent made it clear to all candidates early on that if they had any questions or wanted to discuss anything to reach out to him directly. Perhaps Ms. Chiu-Wang did just that?

The tone of this race has disappointed so many of us. Numerous negative comments on each article (and there have been a lot, Palo Alto online!) about Ms. Chiu-Wang, I suppose in the name of lifting up another candidate? Campaigns are hard. I've been through two of them. People don't always stay focused on the positives of their candidate. But the personal attacks got so bad that the moderator of this paper stepped in and noted it. I hope this community can do better.

Posted by Greene and Paly Parent
a resident of Professorville
on Sep 27, 2022 at 7:49 pm

Greene and Paly Parent is a registered user.


There are questions of substance on candidate Chiu-Wang that are relevant to voters:

(1) Qualifications: Ms. Chiu-Wang has no experience as a school-age parent, no experience in education, no experience in data-driven decision making, never lived in Palo Alto (!) She moved here from SF few months ago, just before becoming a board candidate (!). She has an unpracticed law degree, a non-technical job at a tech company, was in The Apprentice. [Portion removed.]

(2) Her motivation: School board is a very local entity. Candidates run to serve their community, neighbors and friends. Often driven by a desire to make improvements on particular issues, and this comes from their local experience. Candidates typically have prior experience with PAUSD as parents, teachers, volunteers, and participated in board meetings. Why did someone that just moved here (not connected to the community, no experience in our schools) decide to run?

[Portion removed]

Also, Jennifer, can you please explain why are you endorsing this candidate? This is truly puzzling to me. Can you specifically address the points above? Won't you be more comfortable if Ms. Chiu-Wang first gets some experience in Palo Alto and PAUSD schools, say at least a year or two, before running for the board?

Posted by Jennifer DiBrienza
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 27, 2022 at 8:00 pm

Jennifer DiBrienza is a registered user.

Feel free to reach out to me directly to discuss. I'm not having a back and forth with anonymous posters who continue to make accusations that aren't grounded in anything. I continue to be disappointed in anonymous posters who seem to support another candidate but rather than talking about that candidate, spend their time personally attacking another one and making assumptions based on... I don't know what.
Anyone who wants to talk, my email and cell are public and I'm happy to discuss. It's easy to throw shots, make accusations, and push conspiracy theories anonymously on Palo Alto online. According to you, I haven't been shy about the reasons I support Nicole. Reach out to me, I'm happy to share.

Posted by Greene and Paly Parent
a resident of Professorville
on Sep 27, 2022 at 8:22 pm

Greene and Paly Parent is a registered user.

[Post removed; repetitive of prior posts]

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