Putting Students First

Ken is a member of the Palo Alto Unified School District board, elected in 2014.

The Latest from Ken's Blog

Superintendent McGee's decision to eliminate academic classes in zero period at Gunn next year makes good sense. Well over a hundred local doctors, the pediatricians at PAMF, the HEARD alliance for adolescent mental health, and the American Academy of Pediatrics have all weighed in to underline the importance of school start times that build in time for students to sleep. (For more on the evidence, see my earlier blog post). If you can, come to the May 12 school board meeting to offer your support -- zero period will be discussed during an item on Gunn's proposed new block schedule. Email me for details.

But eliminating zero period is only half the job, since for many students zero period is a coping strategy for dealing with constraints coming from two main sources: homework load, and sports scheduling. On the school board, I will advocate for tackling these issues next. 

ballot_sm.jpgMy Measure A ballot came in the mail this afternoon. Tomorrow morning it's going back, marked "YES". I hope that you will do the same. Some elections present hard choices. This isn't one of them. Our schools need the revenue provided by the parcel tax, both for core expenses -- the parcel tax pays for 85 full-time school staff, including 67 teachers -- and to make possible many of the positive things that you and I have worked for, including stronger supports for social and emotional wellness and learning, addressing the achievement gap, meeting the needs of growing enrollment by opening schools, and introducing foreign language education in our elementary schools. 

At last Tuesday's school board meeting I proposed that the board put on its agenda a policy that academic classes be taught only during the regular school day, rather than in so-called "zero period" before the start of school. I made this proposal after learning that several hundred students at Gunn are taking classes, including advanced math, economics, and English, beginning at 7:20 in the morning. This practice contradicts a recent policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics about healthy school start times and undermines our district's own decision several years ago to push high school start times back (at Gunn, to 8:25). The Weekly had an editorial on this subject last Friday. My colleagues Heidi Emberling and Terry Godfrey indicated a desire to hear more on this issue, so it will appear as an information item on the April 21st school board agenda. In this blog post, I'll lay out the reasons why I am making this proposal, which I believe is a prudent, sensible step to improve student health and wellbeing, and increase the safety of our students.

Ken's priorities.

  Supporting each student's intellectual, social and emotional development.
  Reducing school overcrowding and creating positive learning environments by reopening closed schools. Read more...
  Preparing students with 21st century skills including foreign language instruction for all elementary school students. Read more...
  Making decisions based on data and best practices, in an inclusive, collaborative and responsive process. Read more...

Contact Ken

Ken would love to hear from you! You can email him at kdauber@pausd.org or give him a call at 650-906-4340.

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Contact: kenneth.dauber@gmail.com or 650-906-4340

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