Community Happenings


**NEW** PAUSD and the City of Palo Alto Launch a 21-Day Equity Challenge 

For 21 days during Black History Month, Palo Alto students, parents, staff and the community at large are encouraged to do one action each day beginning on February 1. The #PAEquityChallenge will provide online daily activities (brief readings, videos, etc.) that can be done in 15 minutes or less.  Each daily topic will provide an opportunity to deepen our connections and further our understanding of power, privilege, oppression, and equity AND BELONGING. Please sign up and encourage others to do so as well!

WATCH: Dr. Austin in MidPen Media’s School Superintendents Video Exchange

Midpen Media gathered four local district superintendents to discuss distance learning and opening schools under COVID-19 guidelines. Watch the hour-long edited version on the Midpen Media YouTube Channel here to view the discussion. The district leaders discuss achievement gap, student welfare, and what it’s like to make decisions in these unprecedented times. The superintendents include PAUSD’s Dr. Don Austin, Gina Sudaria of the Ravenswood City School District, Erik Burmeister of the Menlo Park City School District, and Dr. Mary Streshly of the Sequoia Union High School District.


**NEW** California PTA – “Listening Sessions” on Race & Racism

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee of California State PTA is excited to host three Zoom “listening sessions” this month around race, racism and PTA. We aim to listen to your authentic voices to help guide us in making all our members feel included, valued, and respected.  Each session will be a safe, confidential space for members of that particular group to honestly share, without the burden of code-switching* while participating. If you or someone in your PTA is interested, please click here for further information.

  • January 25, 6:00-7:00 pm: For Black/African American/multi-racial Black persons, facilitated by a Black/African American person.
  • January 26, 6:00-7:00 pm: For those Indigenous to California lands or multi-racial Indigenous, facilitated by a person Indigenous to California.
  • January 28, 6:00-7:00 pm: For non-Indigenous, non-Black persons of color or non-Black non-Indigenous multi-racial persons, facilitated by a non-Indigenous, non-Black person of color.

**NEW** 2021 Annual CAC Sweetheart Awards – Call for Nominations

Is there a bus driver, friend, teacher, administrator, neighbor, aide, crossing guard, coach, fellow student, therapist, physician, volunteer or relative that has done something for your special needs child with an IEP or 504?  Honor that person by nominating him or her for a CAC Sweetheart Award. Submit Nomination Form before 2/19. The Awards Ceremony will be on Saturday, February 27, from 10am to noon on Zoom. The Zoom link will be emailed to nominators and nominees directly to retain privacy. For info or questions contact or go to

**UPDATED** Parenting in a Pandemic – Free Speaker Series Offered by PTA Sixth District

Free online webinars for parenting in a pandemic, organized by 6th District PTA. Please CLICK HERE to register for any of the talks below. See all the workshops from now until March for the 6th District Parenting in a Pandemic. Next Three Upcoming workshops are:

Optimizing Family and Emotional Health in the Time of COVID-19
Wednesday, January 27, 2021, 7pm
ESPAÑOL – Estrés y El Bienestar de nuestra Salud Mental
Miércoles, 3 de febrero de 2021, 7pm
Improving Family Life While Working at Home
Thursday, February 11, 2021, 7pm

**NEW** Palo Alto PTA Council Invites You to Policy Setting Sessions on Teen Vaping & Youth Health

Feb 4, 23, and 25

The Palo Alto PTA Council successfully championed a 2020 CAPTA Resolution on Vaping: Resolution A. The Santa Clara County Health Department is holding policy setting sessions specific to PTA advocacy. If you have elementary and middle school aged children, please consider attending one of these sessions. Register here: eventbrite/ PTA Advocacy Sessions. These sessions are for those in leadership positions interested in advocacy at their school (Health & Wellness Representatives, VP Advocacy, VP Community Outreach). Press Release: PTA Announces Support for Measures That Prohibit E-Cigarette  Questions? Please contact Jade Chao at

Health & Wellness

Free COVID-19 Testing in Palo Alto

Family Resources here: Health Wellness Updates /Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus (COVID-19):

State’s regional stay at home order extended

In a statement issued by the California Department of Public Health, the State has extended its Regional Stay at Home Order, which was originally set to expire on January 8, due to the region’s ICU bed capacity remaining below 15%. All current restrictions will remain in place until the Bay Area’s four-week ICU projection shows a capacity of greater than or equal to 15%. The state will assess the region’s ICU projections in the coming days and announce a formal decision on whether Bay Area meets criteria to exit the order.

California State PTA COVID-19 Resources

Mandatory Quarantine after Long-Distance Travel into Santa Clara County

All persons traveling into Santa Clara County, whether by air, car, train, or any other means, directly or indirectly from a point of origin greater than 150 miles from the County’s borders must quarantine for 10 days upon arrival. 

More Family Resources here: Health Wellness Updates /Resources 

Help Local Families Financially Impacted by COVID-19

The Palo Alto Community Fund (PACF) is supporting the urgent need in our nearby community, including PAUSD families. The most recent shelter-in-place order will bring additional financial needs to many families. PACF is working with school district staff to identify and support families of students attending PAUSD schools who are struggling to meet basic life needs. As PACF’s fund grows, so will the support to the community. Please donate if you are able to support this local effort.

Literacy Update

The Los Angeles County Office Of Education – a webinar with renowned experts in the field of literacy education: 

Opportunities to Learn:  

“Literacy and the Science of Reading” Webinar Recording

Thank you for joining us on October 28th for the webinar during Dyslexia Awareness Month.  If you were unable to attend here is the Youtube link of the recording featuring Dr. Jason D. Yeatman and Dr. Rebecca Silverman of Stanford University.  Event sponsored by: Palo Alto Council of PTAs (PTAC) and Palo Alto CAC for Special Education.

Get your FLU SHOTS NOW  before they run out of Flu vaccine.

With two serious respiratory viruses circulating this year it’s especially important to protect ourselves and our families as much as we can.  Flu shots are now available, but may be in short supply this year because of the current pandemic and higher demand for flu vaccines this year, so speak to your family physician or pharmacist about getting your seasonal flu shot now. CDC message on the Flu Vaccine

SAFE USE OF TECHNOLOGY – Children and Distance Learning

Navigate the challenges of increased and unavoidable digital usage during distance learning: Click Here to learn a few, easy-to-use tips to safeguard children’s health by maintaining safe use of technology at home. Fact sheet, references and research from best practices from children’s digital study environments: American Academy of Pediatrics, Mayo Clinic, Harvard health study, Environmental Health Trust, Parents for Safe Technology, Children’s Screen time Action Network, Commonsense Media, Apple and Microsoft Support.  Questions/ Info email: 

Anti-Racism Resources for all grade levels 

Please CLICK HERE for resources for articles, websites, book lists and books that may be helpful in your discussions with your children in response to the killing of George Floyd and subsequent riots in our country.

This list was compiled by our amazing Librarians at Hoover Elementary School (including Ms. Kristen Howell)

Please Take Action: Ask Congress to support Schools during the Pandemic

Unless Congress acts, schools are about to experience major budget cuts triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. Your action will help prevent layoffs, larger class sizes and the reduction or elimination of important programs and services for our students. Please join with education leaders around the country in asking for $200 billion to support education funding, including special education, distance learning, Title 1 for low-income students and other programs, including:

  • Learning Policy Institute: “A 15 percent reduction in state education funding could lead to the loss of more than 300,000 teaching positions.”
  • Ed100: “During Teacher Appreciation Week, let’s say a loud ‘thank you’ in a way that really matters: by supporting education funding in this time of crisis.”
  • National Education Leaders, including PTA: “As Congress negotiates a fourth emergency supplemental in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative any package include significant, robust and flexible funding for our nation’s public schools.”
  • Council of Great City Schools:“…Support an additional federal allocation of $175 billion in Educational Stabilization Funds distributed to the local level through the Title I formula. We also urge Congress to provide an additional $13 billion for IDEA, $12 billion in additional Title I program funding, $2.0 billion for E-Rate, and emergency infrastructure funds that include public schools.”

Please click HERE to send a message to your U.S. senators and representatives, and help ensure that robust education funding is included in the next COVID-19 relief package. Our children deserve it!

Mental Health & Wellness Resources while Sheltering In Place:

Suggested links for mental and physical wellbeing during times of Sheltering In Place:

Health & Wellness Webinar Series Recordings

Listen to March webinar series on the PTA Council Website:

1) The Coronavirus & Understanding the Science of Physical Distancing and How This Impacts Our Families
2) Stress Management in the Age of COVID-19
3) Family Closening in a Time of Social Distancing

FOR Families in our District: There is a new Family Outreach Number to Call for Assistance

English Family Outreach Toll Free Number

1833-3HELPPA or 1833-343-5772: The Palo Alto PTA and a group of community leaders have released a toll free Family Outreach phone line so families attending Palo Alto Schools can get information about where to get food assistance, school lunch, financial help, and school information.  Parents can also leave a message with their contact information and specify their needs so volunteers can help connect them to local resources. 1833-3HELPPA or 1833-343-7772

Spanish Línea Directa y Gratis para Familias 

1833-3HELPPA or 1833-343-5772: El PTA de Palo Alto  y un grupo de líderes comunitarios han lanzado una línea telefónica gratuita para que las familias que asisten a las escuelas de Palo Alto puedan obtener información sobre dónde obtener asistencia alimentaria, almuerzo escolar, ayuda financiera e información escolar. Los padres también pueden dejar un mensaje con su información y especificar sus necesidades para que voluntarios puedan ayudarlos a conectarse con recursos locales.1833-3HELPPA or 1833-343-5772

Social Emotional Learning

 PTAC Invites You To Check Out Social Emotional Learning Lessons from PALY Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) Parents: To maintain a healthy garden, the soil must be healthy first. Our kids are that garden, and we are the soil. Paly’s Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) for Social-Emotional Learning has started a newsletter that contains tips and resources for how we can best take care of ourselves and model that practice for our kids.

Special Education: Families of  students with IEPs and 504 plans 

As we are facing this health crisis as a society, many of you are facing new challenges at home. Many of our kids thrive on routine and structure. If you have a student with special education needs, a 504 plan, or other education challenges, please know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE! There are an increasing number of resources out there for families struggling during the shelter in place order.

If you are searching for community during this time, please reach out to If you wish to talk to a parent from your school, you can reach out to your school’s PTA Special Education / Inclusion representative. Representatives for each school  are listed here: 

For specific questions about your child’s educational needs, please stay in touch with your student’s case manager or teacher. For more general special education resources check out the Palo Alto Council of PTAs web page. Updates on webinars and other education resources are posted regularly.


**NEW** Paly Robotics Summer Camp 2021 

Jul 26 – Jul 30 and Aug 2 – Aug 6, 10am-3pm on Zoom

Paly Robotics Summer Camp is returning for 2021! Registration opens on January 30th at 12 p.m. Our camp is for middle school students (incoming 6th – 9th graders). We are committed to providing an engaging experience and hope to start future high school students on a path in STEAM. Campers will be able to sign up for one of four sessions each week: Robot Design & Hardware, Programming, Entrepreneurship & Website Design, Animation & Graphic Design. For more information, and to register, please visit If you have any further questions, contact us at

ACS Workshops for Parents and Teens – via Zoom

Thu Feb 4, 6:30-7:30 PM What is “Normal” for Teens? Brain & Social Development Register Here

Thu Feb 18, 6:30-7:30 PM How Do I Set Limits with My Teen? Register Here

ACS is offering a series of free, Zoom-based, educational workshops with the Substance Use Treatment team for parents, caregivers and anyone else in the community that would like to learn more about supporting our youth. Founded in 1975, ACS currently implements four core programs in Santa Clara and San Mateo County communities: the On-Campus Counseling Program, Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment Program, Community Counseling Program, and Outlet, serving Bay Area Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning (LGBTQ+) teens.

Silicon Valley Boychoir online

Jan by appointment, Palo Alto

Vocal placement for the spring semester will be held on Zoom. Open to 2nd-5th grade boys. High school and middle school boys with choral experience may audition for upper levels rehearsing once a week. SVB provides a personalized approach to teaching singing, music theory, and sight-reading. Boys will receive vocal coaching in specialized small classes and each boy will receive a series of private lessons during the semester. Space is limited. Email or visit

Service Hub

Service Hub is a self-paced program for youth to engage in meaningful service to others. Members have access to service kits totaling 5, 10, or 15 hours as well as support from YCS staff through their three-month membership. Each member is able to complete up to 15 hours of service per month, totaling 45 hours for the three-month membership. Members are not required to complete a minimum number of hours, though every member is required to complete at least one module project during their three-month membership. Every week there will be optional trainings and check ins with a YCS staff. Contact: Registration Form: Please note that there is a $90 fee which can be waived for students with a demonstrated financial hardship.

Apply for the President’s Volunteer Service Award!

Did you know anyone as young as 5 years old can apply for the national award recognizing service in the community? Youth Community Service (YCS) can certify this prestigious award that honors individuals and groups. Students, adults and groups are eligible for the award if they complete unpaid acts of service within a 12-month period. There is no deadline to apply! Contact: for more information about the award and process. You can also reach us through our website:

2021 Palo Alto Speech and Debate Camp Online

June 7-11 and June 14-18, Speech from 10:00 AM-12 Noon, Debate from 1:00 – 3:00 PM  

Registration for the seventeenth annual 2021 Palo Alto Speech and Debate Camp (PASDC) will be open on Dec 1st, 2021. Taught by Palo Alto’s nationally ranked high school Speech and Debate team, our 4:1 student-to-counselor ratio provides students with individualized attention and support. PASDC’s basic and advanced programs offer customized curriculum for campers of all experience levels and prepare students for high school level competition. To ensure the safety of our campers, we will be planning for a full virtual camp like the previous year, with counselors who are experienced with the online platform. Please visit our website or contact to learn more about the program.

Help Our Students Reach Their Full Potential

This has been a challenging school year for all of us. Imagine all of those challenges alongside the stress of financial insecurity while trying to maintain focus on your student’s education. DreamCatchers provides Fletcher, Greene and JLS middle school students living in East Palo Alto and Palo Alto with a community of support that keeps students engaged in school to reach their full potential.  At the same time, it provides Gunn and Paly students with meaningful leadership and mentorship opportunities.  Learn more about how you can help by donating or volunteering.

 Become a Girl Scout!

Are you interested in joining or learning more about Girl Scouts? Palo Alto Girl Scouts is setting up meetings and signing up girls now. Please fill out this Interest Form so we can contact you about the upcoming information meetings and/or link you to troops: If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Melanie at Visit for more information.

Join Palo Alto’s First Scouts BSA Girls Troop

Great opportunity for girls aged 11-17 to join Palo Alto’s Troop 4057, which started in February 2018 as one of the first girl-only troops within Scouts BSA (formerly Boy Scouts).  Our scouting program consists of outdoor activities and meetings under the following four aims: Leadership Development, Citizenship Training, Character Development and Personal Fitness. We typically meet every Wednesday during the school year.  We are now open for new registrations for both Fall 2020 and Spring 2021.  If interested, please email David Kim at  For more information, please visit, and

YCS offers meaningful service, learning, and connection. 

Open House Recording

Youth Community Service (YCS) welcomes you to learn about our offerings to engage PAUSD youth and parents,  in meaningful service, learning, and connection. Watch the recording from our recent Open House, and discover our robust online offerings for our service-based projects, guided and supported by YCS staff. As always, all YCS offerings will be tailored to the specific need of each PAUSD middle school and high school. You can find the recording here: Email Ashley at

**NEW** Green Tip! Power Down

Learning at home means more personal energy consumption. Always ensure that laptops or computers are turned off when you’ve finished for the day, and that cords (or power strips) are unplugged. Pre-set your screen to power down instead of using a screen saver. Make your smartphones energy smart: Tips for Saving Energy With Your Mobile Phone | Earth 911

Green Tip: Flat as a (card)board

Have a build-up of cardboard boxes? Check first to see if your neighbors want them. If not, please remove all packing material, flatten the cardboard, and place it in your BLUE recycle cart. Excess cardboard can be placed in a tied bundle next to your blue cart, but GreenWaste wants to limit the need for drivers to hand-collect material at this time.

Green Tip! Resolve to Cut Down Waste

Make a green New Year’s resolution: choose one new thing you can do every day to save resources. One idea is to join a “Buy Nothing” group or participate in a “No Buy year”.

Green Tip! Waste-free Holidays

Consider gifting experiences and consumables like food, soap, and candles. Wrap them up with last year’s wrapping paper and ribbon, garlands and boxes. Use materials with recycled content, newspaper, magazines, or ribbon pulled from old videos. Decorate the tree with biodegradable alternatives like popcorn garlands, cotton twine, raffia, pinecones and found or edible objects. Plan waste-free holiday meals with reusable dishes, cloth napkins, plant-based local and organic foods, and serving containers with their own lids. More tips from Zero Waste Palo Alto:  Finally, have a safe and joyous Winter Break!

Green Tip! Holiday Cards

Find cards at thrift stores,, Craigslist, Nextdoor, or from your neighbors. Look for 100% post-consumer recycled content or tree-free paper. Reuse old cards – tear off the back or glue to a piece of cardstock, or use for gift boxes, tags or postcards. Other ideas: Kids’ artwork and digital cards! Kids go crazy for animated ones.

Green Tip! Keep it Warm Inside Pt. 2

Install thick double curtains to retain heat at night, and let in sun during the day. Put a foam sleeve on your water heater’s hot water pipe for insulation – and set your water heater knob to 120F, or the low setting (keeps kids from getting scalded too).

Green Tip! Keep it Warm Inside

Wear a sweater! Jokes aside, setting your thermostat to 68 (or less) can help minimize the amount of heating. Put out rugs, then check if your doors or windows have any leaks – simple weatherstripping or a door snake can keep out drafts.

Green Tip! Hate to Burst Your Bubble

Bubble-lined mailing envelopes are NOT RECYCLABLE. They are made from two recyclable materials, but once fused together they become garbage. Put them in your black landfill cart. However, Amazon’s new padded envelopes ARE RECYCLABLE and go in your blue recycle cart. The white foamy bits are actually glue. When heated, it forms a “puffy material that is lightweight.”

For more information about What Goes Where, visit, email or call (650) 496-5910.

Green Tip! Stop and Think

Before you throw something out, ask: Can I reuse this? Repair it? Gift/Donate it? Compost it? Recycle it? The four R’s: reduce, reuse, repair, THEN recycle. Also, before you buy it, ask: Could I make it myself? Do I really need it? If so, is there a product w/o plastic packaging? Here are two home waste audits from Greenwaste. Elementary Audit  and Secondary Audit

Green Tip! Know your Foodware

Single-use disposable foodware items such as clamshells, cups, utensils, and straws are a serious problem for the environment. Even if they are made from a recyclable, compostable, or “eco-friendly” material, they were created to be used once and then thrown away. Follow this link for tips to tackle Foodware waste…it includes a fun Kahoot! game. 

Fire Relief Resources  

PAEA and CSEA Educators affected by the Fires

Our hearts go out to everyone affected by these fires.  Please help the Palo Alto Educators Association (PAEA) help our beloved colleagues: teachers, counselors, support staff, custodians, and administrators.  We appreciate any help you can provide.  Thank you.

 Magical Bridge Resources for Fire Relief 

We have compiled a list of local and national nonprofits and organizations helping those displaced from the fires. This list includes animal shelters caring for thousands of pets, and first responders who are risking their lives to combat these flames. 

Help Students Who Need You Most Virtually

You can make a difference in the life of a student. Over 80% of East Palo Alto and eastern Menlo Park students in the Ravenswood City School District are performing below grade level in reading and math. As a virtual classroom volunteer, you will work with the same teacher and students for one hour, every week during the full school year. It’s an opportunity to build a relationship with students and impact their lives. All Students Matter provides training and coordinates logistics with you and your schedule in mind. Learn more about us or sign up to volunteer at

Health & Wellness Links on Coronavirus (COVID-19) & Reopening Plans

Please continue to follow CDC website for latest guidance: CLICK HERE

Santa Clara County’s Free COVID-19 Testing Sites: CLICK HERE

Sign up for Santa Clara County Department of Public Health Newsletters  CLICK HERE

Santa Clara County Department of Public Health NEWS on COVID-19 CLICK HERE

Free Career Education Webinars for Teens Every Thursday at 5pm

Get Involved Foundation connects teens to their interests to gain a sense of purpose and to make an impact. The program started at Paly in 2008, now a local nonprofit organization. Teens and their families are invited to join a free webinar series for college and career success. Upcoming topics include: Careers in AI & Driverless Cars, How to Get Your Dream Job, Community Impact, and Financial Literacy. Presented by members of the community, corporate professionals, and grads from Paly and Gunn. Visit the website or  Facebook Live to sign up for webinars, receive recap emails. Email questions or suggestions for webinar topics/presenters to:

Free course: COVID-19 Contact Tracing from Johns Hopkins University

As the world responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, public health experts have identified contact tracing as a key strategy for limiting the spread of the virus. Contact tracers help provide guidance to COVID-19 patients and also warn contacts of exposure to help stop chains of transmission. In this free course, you’ll get an introduction to the basics of COVID-19 and learn how to implement case investigations as a contact tracer. 

CLICK HERE if interested

Family Yoga every Thu & Sat 10:30am Online

Thursday & Saturday 10:30-11:30am, Online via zoom

Blossom Family Yoga is perfect for moms, dads, grandparents and kids of all ages. Enjoy vitalizing yoga, playful stories and singing as a fun way to connect with your child and friends across the country. Make this a joyful weekly family routine or drop-in whenever you need some vitalizing movement. All family members welcome under one sign-up $10. More info blossom-family-yoga or email with any questions.

Slow Flow Yoga & Meditation every Monday 8:30pm Online

Monday 8:30-9:45pm, Online via zoom

Vitalizing and restorative yoga paired with soul-nourishing meditation and relaxation will help your body and mind let go of worries and anxiety. De-stress, recharge and reconnect with your joy in the companionship of others. Light a candle, grab a mat and a blanket and pillow for relaxation and join us from the comfort of your home via zoom. More info wildflower-slow-flow-yoga or email with any questions.

Palo Alto City Library Website Offers more Online Tools and Resources 

The Palo Alto City Library website has been redesigned to share new virtual resources and fun for teens, kids, adults and more. In addition to service updates and newly-designed resources to support at-home enrichment and learning, visitors to the new site can join in on the Spring into Reading program and other family fun. The library has also expanded virtual services, during this shelter in place time, which means new account holders can enjoy the full suite of online services without having to visit a specific library branch. Get your free library card today and join us online! 

Palo Alto Arts Center Virtual Tours

The Palo Arts Center has a short 10 minute video with Museum docent taking you on a tour of the latest exhibition, called ROOTS. Click link. This is a great way to have you and your kids take a virtual tour of the PA Art Museum. For more please contact Rachelle Doorley (PTAC Arts Coordinator) at

Free Online Activities and Events for Kids During Coronavirus Shutdowns

Although schools, gyms, art classes, music lessons—and, seemingly, life as we know it—are canceled, families can keep entertained and keep learning with live events and activities online. We’ve compiled a list of activities ranging from drawing lessons to museum tours happening online. The best part? They’re free. check out our list! 

Links for Local and State Gov’t

City of Palo Alto

The City activated a new Community Support Call Center to connect the community with information. The Community Support Call Center is accessible by phone Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Call at (650) 272-3181 with your questions about COVID-19. 

County of Santa Clara 


FAQs Regarding New Order Directing Individuals to Shelter at Home

State of California

We are parents and teachers who support Duveneck Elementary School in Palo Alto, CA. As a community, we help create the school we want our children to have by providing funding for school equipment and materials, hosting community events, and providing enrichment programs for parents, teachers and students.