Our curriculum is designed to help students develop intellectually, physically, emotionally, ethically, aesthetically, and socially.

We encourage students to become active, engaged learners and responsible citizens. At each grade level our teachers challenge students and help them achieve academic and intellectual competencies.

Palo Alto Unified School District has adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in mathematics and the English Language Arts.

English-Language Arts

The District has adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in the English Language Arts ELA).  

We use the Teachers' College Reading and Writing Project Units of Study as our curriculum for ELA, and have been a project school since 2012. 

Home School Connection

Children learn best when families and schools work together as a team.

Skills taught in the classroom need to be reinforced at home with daily practice. Home practice might involve:

  • Parent reading to the student
  • Student reading to the parent
  • Student reading independently
  • Engaging in conversation about the reading to strengthen comprehension and develop vocabulary
  • Spelling practice
  • Encouraging writing
  • Opportunities (lists, notes, letters, e-mail)
  • Monitoring homework for neatness, completion and accuracy
  • Providing a specific time and place for homework
  • Visiting the library
Literacy Intervention

Palo Verde has various resources for literacy intervention:

  • Reading Recovery
  • Cross-age Tutors
  • Primary Language Tutors
  • Classroom Aides

Please talk with your child's teacher if you are concerned with your child's literacy.



A high-quality mathematics program is essential for all students and provides every student with the opportunity to choose among the full range of future career paths.

The District has adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in mathematics.

In 2017 PAUSD adopted the math program, Bridges. The resources provided below are for family members of students in classrooms currently using Bridges 2nd Edition. They are offered to provide guidance and suggestions for participating in your child's learning—your best source for answering questions and getting assistance is your student's teacher. Here is the link for families: https://www.mathlearningcenter.org/families/bridges2


Targeting Math at Palo Verde

Our goal is to develop competent, flexible, and confident mathematical thinkers through a comprehensive program incorporating both problem solving and computation.

We provide a comprehensive program including investigations, problems, and exercises.

Ours is a California standards based curriculum reflective of all mathematical strands throughout your child's elementary years.

  • Number sense
  • Algebra and functions
  • Measurement and geometry
  • Statistics, data analysis, and probability
  • Mathematical reasoning

Children learn best when families and schools work together. Full math literacy requires computational fluency, problem solving strategies, and critical thinking. Skills will be taught in class, though additional parent support and practice may be necessary to achieve mastery.

Our primary classroom focus is on mathematical problem solving; computation and fact competency support this.

Homework will be assigned on a regular basis. Students should complete assignments independently, with additional parent support as needed. Parents should review completed work and assist in correcting errors.

Our goal is to meet individual math needs of every child through differentiation of the curriculum including:

  • One full hour of instruction daily
  • Math integrated across the curriculum
  • Daily facts practice and review
  • Warm ups
Physical Education

Physical education is a valued and integral part of our elementary curriculum. A traveling team of credentialed, physical education specialists provides instruction to all elementary school classrooms.

Grades 1 - 3 have a 30 minute lesson once a week and often work individually or with partners on activities that help improve locomotor skills, balance, manipulative skills, spatial awareness, directionality, coordination, and physical fitness.

Activities presented include movement exploration, cooperative games, stations, tag games, relays, multicultural rhythms, square dance, and fitness routines.

The equipment students use at this level includes bean bags, foam balls, parachute, hoops, jump ropes, scoops, rhythm sticks, balloons, scarves, and a variety of other equipment adapted to this age student.

Grades 4 - 5 meet twice a week with more emphasis on specialized skills and sport activities. Students work in small and large groups while improving skills and learning sport related lead-up games. Consideration for and cooperation with peers is important as more time is devoted to team play and manipulative activity.

Fitness testing is incorporated at this level and includes the five components of physical fitness: cardiovascular endurance, body composition, strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility.

See the staff page for contact details of Palo Verde's physical education teacher(s).

Proper Attire for Movement:

Students need to wear tennis shoes (no clogs, sandals, jellies, thongs, dress shoes, or boots), and comfortable clothing for movement on physical education days. Wearing approptiate clothing not only enhances participation, but is an important factor in preventing accidents.

Physical Education at Home:

What the student does outside the physical education class is equally important to developing an active, healthy lifestyle. Young children should be encouraged to participate in vigorous and unstructured play. Older students can choose structured activites that are meaningful to them.

Here are some things you can do to encourage fitness for the whole family:

  • Ride bikes or walk places within a mile or two, like friends' homes, stores, the library, or park.
  • Don't feel obligated to be good at a sport to play it with your child. Learn new activities together.
  • Pick a day of the week for doing physical activity together. Each week allow a different person to choose the activity.
  • Incorporate physical activities into children's birthday parties.
  • Work physical activity into your own entertainment. Invite guests to come play volleyball, badminton, or softball.
Additional Information:

Kindergarten through fourth grade students study music once each week. Students learn basic music skill, such as matching pitch, feeling the beat, using their voices, reading music and learning about music from different cultures. Activities include singing songs, using simple instruments, playing movement games and creating compositions incorporating the building blocks of music. Lessons are sequential and based on the Visual and Performing Arts Content Standards for California public schools.

Fifth graders play instrumental music and have two 40 minute lessons per week taught by music specialists. Fifth graders have the opportunity to study the violin, viola, cello, trumpet, trombone, clarinet, or flute. Supplementary opportunities in music and the arts are brought to Palo Verde by the district and community resources. 

All students develop self-expression, self-confidence and experience a sense of accomplishment by progressing individually on their instrument and working together in ensembles. Students learn the rudiments of performance technique, music fundamentals, note reading, and basic theory. They perform a spectrum of culturally and historically diverse selections in class as well as in performances at the end of the year.

This conceptually and sequentially based program prepares students for more advanced music in secondary school and beyond.

PAUSD Maintains an All City Orchestra, All City Band and an All City Chorus for proficient student musicians. Call the Music Department for details (650) 329-3944 

The arts are a critical part of education and learning. They help students develop a wide range of skills that can be used in learning other subjects as well as in their careers and throughout their lives.

Additional Information:

Spectra Art is the PAUSD funded elementary art program. It provides students with sequential, standards-based art instruction over the entire school year. Students work with a wide range of media and processes.

Artist-teachers rotate among the classrooms of new teachers (first, second, and third years in PAUSD) providing weekly or bi-weekly lessons.

See the staff page for contact details of Palo Verde's Spectra Art teachers.

Specialized Services

The English Language Development (ELD) specialist works with students who speak little or no English, in small groups and in their classrooms. We also have primary language tutors that work with students on language acquisition skills too.

More from PAUSD on ELD

Natalie Bivas is the ELD specialist at Palo Verde. See the staff page for contact details.

Instructional Aides

Instructional aides work under the direction of the classroom teacher to provide small group support within the classroom. All of our 18 classrooms receive aide support.

To see a list of instructional aides, visit our staff page.


A psychologist is assigned to our site on a part-time basis. The psychologist works with the school staff to provide the best possible learning environment for all students. The psychologist is primarily concerned with each child's learning patterns and behavior in the school setting. However, parents with particular concerns about their children may call the school office to schedule an appointment.

Laura Post is the psychologist at Palo Verde. See the staff page for contact details.

Resource Specialist

A Resource Specialist is assigned to Palo Verde four days per week. This program is designed for students that qualify for Special Education services to assist with developing strategies to overcome learning challenges

Joanne Soraghan is the resource specialist at Palo Verde. See the staff page for contact details.

Reading Specialist

The Reading Specialist provides individual and small group instruction to first grade students at risk for meeting grade level standards. In addition the Reading Specialist provides staff development to support learning needs within the primary level classrooms and for parents to support their child at home.

Natalie Bivas is the reading specialist at Palo Verde. See the staff page for contact details.

Speech/Language Specialist

A Speech/Language specialist works with students who have identified needs in speech or language development. The specialist also consults with parents and staff to support the language and speech needs at home and in the classroom.

Sabrina Cheng is the speech/language specialist at Palo Verde. See the staff page for contact details.

Student Study Team

The Student Study Team, consisting of the principal, resource specialist, speech/language clinician, school psychologist, and involved teachers and parents, discuss and make plans for assessment, program development, and evaluation of students within the regular education program. Meetings are scheduled twice a month as needed. The classroom teacher will initiate and contact the student's parents to plan a conference date. 

Library Media Program

The Library Media program aims to prepare students to become literate, life-long learners and trains them to be effective users of information. School librarians teach library skills and provide access to materials that support classroom programs and curriculum.

Library resources are available to students and staff on a checkout basis. PAUSD has an interlibrary loan service allows school libraries to share resources.

Palo Verde's librarian is on site five days per week. Each class has a scheduled time with the librarian once per week. Our librarian also assists our classroom teachers in organizing materials relevant to units of study.

Amy Hansen is the librarian at Palo Verde. See the staff page for contact details.

Palo Verde Library Website