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Verde Magazine

Verde Magazine

Verde Magazine

Monthly Monday late starts begin

Kensie Pao
DISCUSSING AND DEBRIEFING —In groups, Palo Alto High School teachers discuss curriculum at the first Monday meeting held in the Media Arts Center. Deanna Chute, teacher on special assignment and member of California’s Multi-Tiered System of Support stresses the value of collaboration small groups like this. “Monday was sort of the culmination where we all as a staff came together and were basically debriefing, processing, and sharing out with others,” Chute said

Monday morning meetings for all Palo Alto Unified School District staff members are being introduced, providing staff more time for lesson planning, and students with a later start time.

According to an email sent out by JLS Middle School principal Chris Grierson, “the purpose of incorporating modified schedules is to allocate valuable time for staff development, training, planning, and collaboration. By doing so, we aim to enhance the overall learning experience for our students and ensure that they receive the best education possible”.

The new schedule aims to improve collaboration between teachers, and find out what students may need extra support.

 “During new meetings, staff members [from] different departments can get together to work on various things,” assistant principal Jerry Berskson said.

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Deanna Chute, a teacher on special assignment and member of California’s Multi-Tiered System of Support, adds on about the importance of these meetings.

“It’s about building a process that teachers can use all together with a consistent cadence that feeds into a larger system,” Chute said.

The goal is about helping kids and supporting kids. How can we make sure they aren’t falling through the cracks?

— Deanna Chute, teacher on special assignment and member of California’s Multi-Tiered System of Support

The first Monday meeting was held on Sep 18. Classes began at 10:15 a.m., and school ended at the usual 3:50 p.m. Topics discussed included teacher and student modifications that could improve the classroom environment, and ideas about integrating these interventions within the classroom. 

During the meeting, teachers wrote down names of students who were “not doing well” or behind in their classes. If the same student came up more than twice, they would be assigned to an intervention team.

“Historically it’s been ‘I’m worried about this kid’ so I go and talk to a counselor,” Chute said. “Well can we do something more systematic so we really feel good about all the kids. The goal… long-term is to figure out how these teachers groups and meetings can fit into a larger schoolwide structure in a sustainable way where people are supporting and helping kids.”

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