March 13, 2017

To: Members of the PAUSD School Board, Superintendent McGee and Dr. Castellon:

The Palo Alto Community Advisory Committee for Special Education (CAC) wholeheartedly supports inclusion of students with disabilities in PAUSD’s Equity Plan. We remind you that at this time, the CAC has not yet input into the current 2016/17 version. However, we agree that the approaches should include:

1. Empowering parents and students with information

2. Providing an equitable education, free of bias and discrimination

3. Monitoring progress with standardized benchmarks by sub-group

4. Building positive and trusting relationships

5. Teaching practices inclusive of people of color and disability


To that end, we urge continued work on Response to Intervention (evidence-based practices), universal screeners (BAS & NWEA), Social Emotional Learning, and effective communication with HUR. You will see from the attached letter from CAC to the Board on 1/9/17, our desire to input to the district’s 2017/18 Equity Plan Addendum, and our concurrent emphasis on:

● communicating effectively with HUR families via preferred language and modality,

● training staff and accounting for any unconscious bias,

● empowering parents and students through education and engagement, and

● tracking and screening student progress with valid data measures

Meanwhile, on Saturday, March 25th, we are organizing a workshop on “Law & Advocacy” and have specifically planned our outreach for families in East Palo Alto and parents of students with IEPs or 504s where Spanish is their preferred language. We are working closely with PAUSD staff members and community partners, but admittedly the process for identifying and communicating with these families is not seamless and in fact rather cumbersome. We suggest that a targeted effort to improve communication will greatly enhance parents engagement and improve students education.


Kimberly Eng Lee, Christina Schmidt, and Michelle Higgins

On behalf of the Palo Alto Community Advisory Committee for Special Education

cc: Holly Wade, Assistant Superintendent, Student Services Judy Argumedo, Director, Academic Supports Chiara Perry, Director, Special Education Stephanie Sheridan and Alma Ellis, Interim Directors, Special Education Jorge Quintana, Communications Coordinator Rebecca Shen-Lorenson, Parent Liaison Coordinator

Attachments: Law & Advocacy Workshop Flyer,  CAC Letter to the Board dated 1/9/17

District files: