About Safe

The Student and Family Engagement Team, or SaFE Team, seeks to ensure that socioeconomically disadvantaged and historically underrepresented students and families have the resources, support, and knowledge necessary to successfully navigate the PAUSD education system.


A dual-approach model was instituted in 2019 to better align with the key strategies of Equity and Excellence in the PAUSD Promise, creating two roles within the SaFE team: the Family Engagement Specialist, working with families in providing support and services, increasing communications, and finding resources to promote positive outcomes, primarily at the elementary level but also supporting families at the secondary; and the Student Success Coach, a secondary schools specialist who would work more closely with students in a one-on-one coaching model to support student success.


The SaFE Team continues to see positive results from the work done in a variety of areas such as parent involvement and attendance.


Currently the SaFE Team supports close to 1600 students across all elementary, middle, and high schools in Palo Alto. With a team of 9 specialists and 1 coordinator, the SaFE Team works closely with both students and families to help connect them with local resources for food, shelter, health, gift cards if available, tech support and more. For students the Student Success Coaches work with referred students to create Individualized Student Success Plans with goals, attendance tracking, and bi-weekly to weekly one-on-one check-ins. In addition, the team continues to partner with local organizations within PAUSD, such as the PTAC, CAC, Latino Parent Network, and PiE, and those outside the district such as YCS, DreamCatchers, FCE, EPATT, CT, BGCP, YMCA, and many many more.


Meet the SaFE Team of PAUSD

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The Palo Alto Promise and the Student and Family Engagement Team

The Palo Alto Promise section on Equity and Excellence aligns with the work of the Student and Family Engagement Team, specifically, areas on Student Centered Supports and School, Family, and Community Partnerships


Equity & Excellence

All students shall experience an environment characterized by high expectations, acceptance, respect, and support to become invested in the pursuit of learning and excellence without fear of threat, humiliation, danger or disregard. Excellence shall become the norm for all regardless of background or demographics. Our schools shall embrace uniqueness, strengths, and challenges with support, understanding, expectations, and encouragement to succeed.

How will we measure progress? (Key Performance Indicators)

  • Increase in percentage of historically underrepresented students who meet academic expectations in the following areas: Passing classes as evidenced by D/F lists, attendance, state and local assessment, A-G completion, IEP goals, AP/advanced class enrollment, college and career ready status

  • Increase in percentage of historically underrepresented students who report a positive school environment characterized by equitable treatment and perceptions of being valued, respected and cared for by school staff (Measure: CHKS Survey, Climate Surveys, disaggregated discipline data, extra-curricular participation)

  • Increase in parent knowledge/skill to support their children and perceptions of trust and transparency of the school and district office (Measure: Parent Survey)


Student Centered Supports

Ensure that every student has access to programs, services, activities, and enrichment experiences that support student learning and enable each individual to achieve their fullest intellectual, creative, and social potential.

Key Strategies

  • Adopt universal screening protocols for entering Kindergarten to identify students at risk of academic, behavioral, and/or socio-emotional challenges and to assist with evenly distributed classes

  • Provide second-chance opportunities for mastery and award full credit for second attempts when appropriate (e.g. test remediation and retakes) Communicate and reinforce school and classroom expectations for academic achievement, standards mastery, behavior, and attendance in advance for both students and families

  • Develop and communicate a student assistance program protocol at each site designed to support students who are not meeting academic, behavioral, or socio-emotional expectations

  • Provide equitable access with transportation to after-school services and opportunities

  • Create dual-enrollment pathways for HUR students leading to graduation from PAUSD with sophomore status in college

  • Utilize evidence-based instructional strategies (differentiation, universal design, student assistance programming, positive behavioral supports) to meets students where they are

  • Redesign the Family Engagement Specialist Program with emphasis on direct student level support and case management of historically underrepresented students


School, Family, & Community Partnerships

The District Office, schools, and classrooms are places where all staff, students and families feel connected, supported and have input into decisions.

Key Strategies

  • Host language accessible informational nights, workshops and other forums targeted to families of historically underrepresented groups

  • Hold quarterly regional community outreach and learning opportunities for families to amplify their voices and build upon a foundation of strength

  • Ensure translation and interpretation services in all supported languages are accessible to parents upon request and explore opportunities for on the spot translation and interpretation services using over the phone and video remote interpretation services

  • Create partnerships with community organizations to advance the equity initiative, provide resources to families, and better support students

  • Establish partnerships with school districts experiencing extraordinary results with HUR students