Superintendent's Video Message

Superintendent's Message

  • July 21. 2020

    Posted by Lana Samaroo on 7/21/2020

    July 21. 2020

    Dear Palmdale School District Community,

    In the Palmdale School District, we respect everyone's differences and cultures.  Racism or any such behaviors will not be tolerated in our Palmdale School District.  In light of all of the changes that have taken place around the world and our local community, we want to assure you that we stand together as a united front for our children's care and safety.

    For the past five years, we have been able to implement our strategic plan called the Palmdale PROMISE, which reflects our values.  I want to share the following school values and beliefs:

    • HIGH INTELLECTUAL PERFORMANCE that prepares every student to graduate ready for college, career, and the global 21st-century world.
    • EQUITY for all our students, schools, and communities as reflected in outcomes and opportunities.
    • Facilitating and supporting every student’s achievement by BUILDING ON THEIR STRENGTHS, CULTURES, LANGUAGES, and experiences to create new successes.
    • MULTILINGUALISM and MULTICULTURALISM as individual, community, national, and global assets in the 21st century.
    • INTEGRITY AND COMMUNITY based on trust and the common purpose that empower individuals and communities.

    COVID-19 Update:

    On Tuesday, July 14, 2020, the Palmdale School District Board of Trustees held a Special Board meeting to discuss long-distance learning. The Palmdale School District Board of Trustees voted to start the new school year 2020-21 entirely on distance learning.  The primary reason for the decision is out of safety concerns and the well-being of the entire school community.

    Traditionally, the opening of schools provides everyone with an opportunity to celebrate the beginning of a new school year.  However, with the rise of COVID-19 cases, reopening schools will not be possible at this moment.   Governor Gavin Newsom ordered all school campuses to remain physically closed in counties on the state’s monitoring list due to spiking COVID-19 cases. This includes Los Angeles County. Schools cannot re-open until their county has come off the state’s monitoring list for 14 consecutive days.

    In summary, I want to thank all of our parents, students, staff, and community members for being understanding, patient, and cooperative as we continue to plan for distance learning as we open the new school year 2020-21.  Palmdale School District has a strong commitment to our families, students, and community.  I want to thank our teachers, staff, and administrators for all the work during the pandemic.  Have a great school year!

    Attentively,
    Raul Maldonado
    Superintendent of Schools

    Comments (-1)
  • July 15. 2020

    Posted by Lana Samaroo on 7/15/2020

    July 15, 2020

    Dear Palmdale School District Staff, Parents and Community Members,

    On Tuesday, July 14, 2020, the Palmdale School District Board of Trustees held a Special Board meeting to discuss distance learning.  The Board of Trustees voted to start the 2020-2021 school year using the distance learning platform and Innovations Academy, our online school.  The primary reason for this decision was to address the safety concerns and well-being of the entire community.

    The decision comes as the number of COVID-19 cases throughout Los Angeles County, and across the state of California, continues to rise.  A full distance learning model is the safest option for Palmdale School District students, parents, and staff.  We want to proceed with extreme caution to keep everyone safe, and more importantly, to stop the spread of COVID-19.  Our teams are working on developing rigorous distance learning plans, and we are planning professional learning for teachers and staff to start the new school year.

    Many parents have asked for training that will assist them in supporting their children at home, so we are in the process of creating a schedule that will allow them to login and receive the training via Zoom.  We will continue to help provide all students with electronic devices and hotspots to connect to the internet.

    As conditions change with COVID-19, be assured that the Board of Trustees will discuss re-opening schools when it is safe to do so.  Please continue to monitor our website for the most updated information, and continue to be safe. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

    Sincerely,

    Raul Maldonado
    Superintendent of Schools

    Comments (-1)
  • July 13. 2020

    Posted by Lana Samaroo on 7/13/2020

    Dear Palmdale School District Staff, Parents and Community Members,

    As we get closer to the start of the new school year, we are carefully examining the increase of COVID-19 cases throughout Los Angeles County. The Palmdale School district is monitoring the data and is in regular communication with the Los Angeles County Office of Education and the Los Angeles County Health Department. We are in consultation with local county health officers in developing comprehensive plans for resuming and accelerating learning in Fall 2020.

    As educators, we are all frustrated with our new reality, and normally we would have the answers to provide direction to staff, parents, and community. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 situation is very fluid, and at this time we do not have all the answers to your questions. We ask for your patience as we wait for directions, guidance, and resources from state, county, and local officials. We have been expecting and should be receiving, anytime now, critical school reopening guidelines from the Los Angeles County Health Department.

    As schools are the best place for children our primary goal is to reopen. Students need to reconnect with their friends, their caring teachers, and the school staff. Additionally, schools are a vital component to allow our parents to return to work. We are currently planning how to best provide services to all of our students. The School Board of Trustees has approved three learning models: hybrid, distance learning, and our Innovations Academy option. They will continue to monitor the number of increased cases of COVID-19 to determine the best course of action.  

    The reopening discussion changes daily, and we do apologize for the lack of communication. However, state and county direction on how best to reopen our schools has been inconsistent. Please continue to monitor our website for the most updated information, and continue to be safe. Thank you for your patience and understanding!

    Respectfully,
    Raul Maldonado
    Superintendent of Schools

    Comments (-1)
  • June 5. 2020

    Posted by Lana Samaroo on 6/5/2020

    June 5, 2020

    Dear Palmdale School District Community,

    I think we all agree that we will never forget the 2019-2020 school year. It’s been a very challenging school year. However, challenges provide all of us with opportunity.

    Personally, I have had an opportunity to spend quality time with my own children. Traditionally, the end of the school year is time for celebrations, promotions, classroom parties, and good luck for the summer. Together, we made it to the end of the 2019-2020 school year. I would like to celebrate all the 8th-grade students who are moving on to high school. We will miss you! Good luck in high school and make some good choices in life. Please stay safe and continue representing the Palmdale PROMISE with pride.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has brought pain and loss to many across our Antelope Valley, Los Angeles County, State, and Country. Hopefully, a cure will be found soon and we can get back to our normal routines. Furthermore, across the country, we are mourning the senseless killing of George Floyd. The underlying racism reminds us of the urgency of making changes to our institutions and addressing the conditions that allowed this killing and ones prior to this incident. We stand with our Black colleagues and against antiBlackness and racism. There is hope as we have seen the multitude of peaceful protests calling for justice and equity for all our students. Violence is never the answer but rather peace, leadership, inspiration, motivation and pride in our community. For the past five years, we have been able to implement our strategic plan called the Palmdale PROMISE, which reflects our values. I want to share the following school values and beliefs:

    • HIGH INTELLECTUAL PERFORMANCE that prepares every student to graduate ready for college, career, and the global 21st-century world.

    • EQUITY for all our students, schools, and communities as reflected in outcomes and opportunities.

    • Facilitating and supporting every student’s achievement by BUILDING ON THEIR STRENGTHS, CULTURES, LANGUAGES, and experiences to create new successes.

    • MULTILINGUALISM and MULTICULTURALISM as individual, community, national, and global assets in the 21st century.

    • INTEGRITY AND COMMUNITY based on trust and the common purpose that empower individuals and communities.

    Tyrone C. Howard wrote, “First and foremost, educators, even in this stay-at-home moment, you must address racism in America in your schools and classrooms. You must let students talk about what they feel, encourage them to write about their emotions, and create space for students to emote—even as all of that will have to be done virtually.” I am very proud of the Palmdale PROMISE Team which continues to seek ways to celebrate all of our children that we serve.

    In summary, I want to thank all the employees of the Palmdale School District who have come together during these extraordinary times. Palmdale School District has a strong commitment to our families, students, and community. I want to thank our teachers, staff, and administrators for all the work during the pandemic. Have a great summer!

    Sincerely,
    Raul Maldonado
    Superintendent of Schools

    Comments (-1)
  • April 29. 2020

    Posted by Lana Samaroo on 4/29/2020

    Dear Palmdale School District Families,

    The purpose of this letter is to provide you with a joint communication from all the school district superintendents across the Antelope Valley. As we navigate the COVID-19 health crisis, the safety of students and staff continues to be a top priority. By now you are aware that Governor Newsom, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, and Los Angeles County Office of Education Superintendent Debra Duardo have all recommended the physical closure of schools through the end of the academic year. As such, all of our Antelope Valley school districts have taken action to align with that recommendation.

    This does not mean that the school year is over. Our schools have thoughtfully transitioned from providing in-person classroom instruction to age-appropriate distance learning. At this time, all families should have received specific instructions from your school on what distance learning looks like for your student. 

    Each school district will continue to provide an essential meal service for students. Together, we are serving over 53,000 meals a day! We are very proud and grateful for our food service teams. You can find a list of times and locations at www.palmdalesd.org. Our teachers and staff have worked hard to ensure that learning continues for every student. Collectively we have distributed over 25,000 digital devices to connect our students in this time of distance learning.

    While continuity of learning is important to all of us, we also know that families may be experiencing increased levels of stress. Each school has communicated ways in which students can access social/emotional support virtually. In addition, families in need of increased support can find a wealth of available resources by visiting www.findhelp.org or by calling 2-1-1. If we can be of assistance in connecting you to available resources, please do not hesitate to contact a counselor
    or administrator at your school.

    It is crucial during this health crisis that families follow the guidance of public health officials to practice physical distancing and to only go out when necessary. Students should not congregate during this Safer-at-Home order, as it puts them, their families, and the community at risk.

    Please continue to stay connected to your school’s communication platforms to receive up-to-date information. We sincerely appreciate the grace and support you have given as we all adapt to this
    new way of teaching and learning. Palmdale Leads!

    Sincerely,
    Raul Maldonado,
    Superintendent of Schools
    Palmdale School District

    Comments (-1)
  • April 8. 2020

    Posted by Lana Samaroo on 4/8/2020

    Dear PSD Community,

    Following the Governor’s press conference from Wednesday, April 1, 2020, and following the recommendation from the Los Angeles County Superintendent, it is now clear that California’s schools will be engaged in distance learning for the remainder of the school year.

    During the regular school board meeting on Tuesday, April 7, 2020, the Board of Trustees voted to extend school closures. The following is the action item, "That the Palmdale School District physically close all school-sites and continue instruction by long-distance learning methods and other methods through the end of the school year 2019-2020."

    Our students’ learning will continue, and our teachers’ instruction is not ending. All Palmdale School District schools are now in the process of creating a long-term plan for distance learning, which will cover the remainder of the school year. Our campuses remain physically closed. Instruction matters, no matter whether it takes place in a classroom or in living rooms, there is no question this puts an even bigger burden and stress on families at a time when anxiety is already high. However, this action attempts to protect all of us in trying to stop the spread of COVID-19. We are asking all parents and caregivers to continue checking the PSD website for updates and assistance. Many of our wonderful staff members are already contacting their students. We miss not seeing our professionals teaching our children, not seeing our wonderful classified staff welcoming our parents, and not seeing our students roaming our school hallways.

    Palmdale remains committed to placing the health and learning needs of our students’ front and center. Schools still play a vital role in our communities. Schools will continue working with our students using technology, webinars, Chromebooks, and regular phone calls. We are committed to helping all students get connected with their school and teachers.

    We are asking for your understanding and patience. Currently, many parents are requesting devices for use at home, at this time devices are limited. We understand that many parents do not have internet and currently, we are working with local vendors to provide free Wi-Fi. Also, we are using work packets for instruction for many of our students. Many principals, teachers, and support staff have created video messages and contacted students. We will continue to provide distance learning, meals, and online instructional options.

    We will continue to provide updates as often as warranted in these fast-changing days. Please refer to our website for the most updated information at https://www.palmdalesd.org.

    Sincerely,
    Raul Maldonado
    Superintendent of Schools

    Comments (-1)
  • March 27. 2020

    Posted by Lana Samaroo on 3/27/2020

    Dear PSD Families,

    We hope you are safe and healthy. These are unprecedented times – please continue to practice empathy, patience, and kindness as we implement distance learning and keep Palmdale School District up and running. I want to thank our wonderful classified staff, support staff, teachers and administrators for helping our students, parents, and community during this crisis. Here are updates from each district department.

    Chief Academic Officer Update:
    Principals and Teachers will continue to communicate, check-in and connect with their families - students and parents via videos, emails and school messenger. 

    Parents – please check for School Messenger calls, check the PSD website often and check class Dojo. Please know students and parents are all part of the PSD family. We care about you, your safety and your health. Stay strong – we will get through this. PSD is
    distributing meals at six sites.  The pick-up time is 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Two additional sites will be added – Chaparral and Joshua Hills starting Monday, March 23, 2020.

    School offices are closed. You may call the office for assistance during the designated time at the school site. To slow the spread of COVID-19, PSD is encouraging all staff to work from home. Based on need, some employees working on site. Principals and Assistant
    Principals may work on-site or from home. Anyone in a “high risk” category will work from home. Teachers may work from home or on-site in their classroom practicing social distancing. Each teacher will establish contact with their students.

    Business Services Update:
    We are excited to announce that Palmdale School District will be opening two more serving sites for our students and families to alleviate the traffic at some of our school sites. Starting Monday, March 30th, lunch will be served at Chaparral and Joshua Hills School sites in addition to the seven locations that are currently in operation. The parents will go through a drive-through line to pick up their lunch and breakfast for the next day. Meal distribution is Monday through Friday from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm. We encourage our
    parents to say thank you to our wonderful cafeteria staff who have been out there every day serving our students. They are our heroes. Please be cordial and abide by the procedures. Remember to be safe and continue to practice self-care and social distancing.

    Educational Services Update:
    Your child’s safety and learning are our primary concern. Due to the current Covid-19 situation, while our school buildings are closed to students the Palmdale School District will begin online Distance Learning beginning Monday, April 6, for all students. Instruction will be provided by the teachers via Google Classroom and other learning platforms. If your child does not have access to a device, please
    communicate with your child’s school or teacher. We will be able to check out student devices to parents at each site. If access to Wi-Fi is a problem, we will provide you information on the free resource Spectrum is currently providing. Teachers will be contacting you by phone or through Google. Students will receive work as designated by their teachers, using the online platforms to assign, collect, and support students. Each teacher will establish “office hours” support where students and families can connect with teachers. More information will be coming next week. Please continue to check our website for more information. Updates will be posted again soon. Some teachers are already contacting their students and parents.

    Student Services Department Update:

    Student Services
    1. Welcome Center is closed to the public for enrollment
    2. Online enrollment options are being developed
    3. School Resource Officers will be visible at all school sites

    Health Services
    1. Immunization Clinic is closed to the public at this time
    2. School RNs and LVNs will maintain contact with parents of students who receive Health Services at school to check-in and see how they are doing.

    Special Education
    1. A Special Education Plan was developed with guidelines from the Los Angeles County Office of Education, and the California Department of Education, and shared with Palmdale School District staff. We will continue to provide Special Education services to our students in a practical and feasible manner, to the best of our ability. We miss all of you and hope you stay safe and healthy! Continue to practice self-care and social distancing protocols.

    Respectfully,
    Raul Maldonado
    Superintendent of Schools

    Comments (-1)
  • March 18. 2020

    Posted by Lana Samaroo on 3/18/2020

    Hello Everyone,

    First, I would like to acknowledge the challenges that exist within our community at this time. 

    Thank you for your patience and support during this extraordinary time of uncertainty as we navigate our response to the COVID-19 situation.  We have been receiving daily updates from Governor Gavin Newsom, the Los Angeles Department of Public Health, the Los Angeles County Office of Education, and the California Department of Education. 

    The following information is being provided to you as guidance for how we will be proceeding over the next few weeks. 

    Wednesday, March 18 – Friday, March 20
    All schools/offices are closed.  Only identified essential staff should report to work.  These individuals have/will be notified by their supervising administrators.  If you have been identified as essential staff, and fall into one of the following categories referenced by Governor Newsom’s recommendations, we encourage you to isolate and notify your supervisor:

    • Individuals over 65 years of age
    • Individuals who have serious chronic medical conditions such as: heart disease, diabetes, lung disease
    • Individuals who have compromised immune systems

    Monday, March 23 – Friday, March 27 (Spring Break)
    All schools/offices are closed to the public.  Regularly scheduled staff should report to their assigned work locations.  Those employees who fall into one of the categories referenced by Governor Newsom’s recommendations (listed above), are encouraged to isolate and notify your supervisor.

    Monday, March 30 – Friday, April 3
    All schools/offices are closed to the public.  No students on campus.  Regularly scheduled staff should report to their assigned work locations.  Expectations for this week will be forthcoming, as updates are received from LACOE, CDE, and the Department of Public Health.  Please continue to monitor your email, and check the PSD Website on a regular basis to receive updates.

    Continuity of Learning
    The Palmdale School District’s website has a current link to resources for students and families to use at home.  We are working diligently creating a plan for distance learning, taking guidance from both the CDE and LACOE.  This plan is inclusive of necessary professional learning for all staff delivering instruction online, device rollouts, as well as the necessary creation of standards-based packets for students without access to wifi or devices.  More information will be forthcoming.

    Meal Service Update
    All children 18 years and under can receive a take-home breakfast from 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 – 12:30 p.m. at the following school sites:  Yucca, Tamarisk, Manzanita, Mesquite, Summerwind, Quail Valley, and McAdams Park.

    Beginning Monday, March 23, breakfast and lunch service will be combined and served once per day from 11:30 – 1:00 pm, at the same locations listed above.

    In closing, please do not forget to follow these procedures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:

    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

    If you have any questions about the strategies that are being implemented, please contact your supervisor.  I appreciate your patience and commitment during this trying time.  Please take care of yourself and your loved ones.

    Respectfully,
    Raul Maldonado
    Superintendent of Schools

    Comments (-1)
  • March 13. 2020

    Posted by Lana Samaroo on 3/13/2020

    To Palmdale School District Families:

    The purpose of this message is to provide Palmdale School District families with an update regarding district actions to address COVID-19. As of yesterday, March 12, 2020, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed new cases of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County. As a result of this declaration, and on the recommendation from the Los Angeles County Office of Education, in the best interest of the health of our community, the Palmdale School District will close all of our schools beginning Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 20. Schools will also be closed for Spring Break from Monday, March 23 through Friday, March 27. During the closure, it is strongly recommended that students stay home as much as possible, do not gather in public places, and practice social distancing measures. All school events and meetings are canceled. A decision to reopen schools will be made in close consultation with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, and the Los Angeles County Office of Education during the closure. We hope to reopen on Monday, March 30, but that decision will depend on the circumstances at the time. Please continue to check for updates and resources on our website http://palmdalesd.org.

    We are aware that this closure will result in a loss of instructional time in the classroom. We have carefully considered options for providing education remotely during the closure, but have determined that it is not feasible at this point. One of the primary responsibilities of public schools is to provide equitable learning opportunities for all students, and not everyone has home internet access and the necessary devices for online learning.

    In an effort to maintain some sense of normalcy, the Palmdale School District will continue to provide breakfast and lunch for all students, with pre-packaged meals distributed from designated sites. More information on the plans for distribution will be available on the district’s website.

    We understand that school closures have significant impacts on our students and families, and we hope to resume normal operations as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience, trust, and understanding as we work together during this challenging time.

    Respectfully,
    Raul Maldonado
    Superintendent of Schools

    Comments (-1)
  • March 9. 2020

    Posted by Lana Samaroo on 3/9/2020

    Dear Palmdale School District Staff, Students and Families,

    The highest priority in the Palmdale School District is the health and wellbeing of our students, staff, and families. As you may already have heard, the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), continues to spread throughout the United States. The health risk to the general public in California of coming in contact or contracting the coronavirus remains low. The Palmdale School District wants to share information with you regarding the steps that we are taking to minimize chances of transmission at our school sites.

    Individuals can take common-sense precautions to prevent the spread of all infectious diseases. The best way to prevent illness from ANY virus is to reduce exposure to the virus. These actions can help prevent the spread of viruses:

    • Staying at home when you are sick

    • Wash hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds

    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick

    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects

    • Cover your coughs and sneezes with tissue, throw tissue in trash

    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands

    • Encourage flu vaccine for those who have not had it this season

    Additional information can be found at:

    The California Department of Public Health Website https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Immunization/nCOV2019.aspx

    Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

    We are taking extra precautions to sanitize all classrooms, offices, and multi-purpose spaces until health agencies downgrade recommendations. We continue to provide hand sanitizer, tissues and anti-microbial soap to all students and staff. Students are reminded daily to practice the actions stated above for prevention. These procedures have been shown to be an effective strategy for preventing the spread of all infectious diseases, including COVID-19.

    Although there are no plans to cancel school days at this time, we will continue to stay in constant contact with the L.A. County/State Offices of Education and The Department of Public Health, and will provide updates on our website www.palmdalesd.org/health as we receive them. If you have any questions, you can call the Palmdale School District Health Services at (661) 789-6718, or the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (888) 700-9995.

    Sincerely,
    Raul Maldonado
    Superintendent
    Palmdale School District

    Comments (-1)