Paly administration takes action on goals for current school year

PAUSD employees aim to increase academic awareness, solve over enrollment issues and enhance minority achievement

The Palo Alto High School administration has three main goals for this academic year: inspire a culture of academic excellence, create a solution to address over enrollment and develop the minority achievement and talent development task force.

The administration hopes to unify itself and center their focus by concentrating on core objectives.

“We want everybody working on these same goals, having this shared vision,” Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) superintendent Max McGee said.

With a new plan and the completion of teacher evaluations by Nov. 1, the administration hopes to improve students’ understanding of their curriculum by creating consistency and unity between classes, grade levels and athletic teams.

Within the larger goal of creating and enhancing academic merit, a goal of Paly is to create consistency in curriculum and assessment, support innovation, align professional development with school and district goals and support proactive communication. The preparation of the Learning Self-Study report for Paly’s March visit with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges will further help faculty and course evaluation.

“We’re pulling data, analyzing it, writing and revising narratives that go along with the data and so forth,” Paly vice principal Vicky Kim said.

One way they are hoping to improve the curriculum entails implementing more innovative activities. Paly recently received a grant for Google Chromebooks and is currently designing plans for their integration into academic curriculum.

“We want to see how [devices such as the Google Chromebooks] impacts teaching and learning,” McGee said.

Proactive communication is another topic that the administration is focusing on.

“We will deal with problems upright, forthrightly, and will find problems before they occur,” McGee said.

Another goal is to solve the ongoing issue of over enrollment. Because the middle schools and elementary schools have reached their enrollment capacity, the district is considering building another middle school or elementary school in the district. The problem can be credited to the geographical arrangement of the schools.

“Most of our enrollment is coming from the south end of the district and most of our schools are available in the north end and west end,” McGee said.

The third topic on the agenda is to improve minority achievement in the district.

“We want to make sure our students of color have all the opportunities available to them,” McGee said.

Administration hopes to narrow the achievement gap and tap into the potential of students by diversifying Advanced Placement classes.

By evaluating classes to increase consistency between them, integrating technology into curriculum, creating a new school and diversifying high level classes, PAUSD and Paly hope to improve the overall academic performance of schools in the district.

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