School board discusses goals for academic year
by Takaaki Sagawa and Amy Leung
Published August 26, 2014
The Palo Alto Unified School District Board of Education announced plans earlier tonight to improve education, school environment and academic assistance for the 2014-15 school year during a school board meeting at the PAUSD district office.
At the meeting, the board presented five goals to the community, all with an emphasis on improving the education and the environment of Palo Alto schools through governance and communication.
The new PAUSD superintendent Max McGee said the board intends to focus on the overall improvement of curricula.
“There’s one [goal] about consistency, high quality and fairness in curriculum, instruction and assessment,” McGee said. “I’ve heard this [complaint] from students, and I’ve only been here three weeks.”
The board also aims to prioritize an action plan to provide individualized academic assistance through equitable opportunities for all students who are preparing for post-high school life.
“We want to make sure that all of our students have nothing but the best education we can provide,” McGee said. “This goes for resources and assistance. … We want all our students to think college-bound and beyond college.”
Additionally, the board wants to ensure a safe environment for all enrolled in PAUSD, according to Associate Superintendent Charles Young.
“I believe that the initiative that we will be focusing our efforts on this year [is] fostering personal development in health of students through social, emotional, behavioral and physical supports and services,” Young said.
McGee also stressed the importance of the district’s unity while still promoting individual school growth.
“The big general themes are balancing a district mission and vision but still giving schools the opportunity to innovate, to incubate ideas,” McGee said. “So it’s a balance. It’s like helping a collective community versus a collection of communities.”
In order to more clearly communicate with residents, the district plans to ask the community directly of its concerns.
“We’re holding a lot of outreach events to understand and listen,” McGee said. “We want to hear what’s on your mind, so we’re holding ourselves accountable for that.”
The district also intends to promote transparency to keep everyone informed on all of its progress.
“The second measurable is to create a baseline of positive, neutral and negative media reports related to the district,” McGee said. “My experience is that generally, organizations that are seen as open, responsible, proactive and forthright have fewer negative reports. We want to create this baseline so we can look month after month, year after year to see how we’re doing.”
The goals presented earlier tonight will be reviewed periodically throughout the school year by the school board, according to McGee.
“Each of those [goals] have some measures and deliverables,” McGee said. “We’ll be bringing these goals back to the board quarterly to review to make sure we get the job done.”