I don’t usually post on the Almanac Town Square Forum. In fact, this is the first time. Yet I’m so excited about the attention the school district I serve received this morning as I was flooded by texts, calls, and emails from folks in our community around 9:00 a.m. letting me know about Palo Alto Daily Post’s front page “article.” If you haven’t seen it, allow me to set it up for you.
The Daily Post took a picture of a Measure X (school parcel tax) campaign flier that included an MPCSD teacher on a computer with three actual MPCSD students. Barely readable in the background is some student writing on the classroom whiteboard with an equation and the label, “Divident?” The word is circled by The Post with the title ‘Teacher, What’s a Divident?’ along with the following “article?”:
“This brochure promoting the Menlo Park City School District’s parcel tax measure has arrived in mailboxes. On the white board behind the students is a math equation showing the word ‘divident.’
To my surprise, readers were reading this as a sarcastic insult to the teacher or the district for having what the paper deems a spelling error.
Now, I am not so cynical to believe that a respected daily newspaper in a neighboring town would so overtly attempt to shame the 9-year old student who was the one who actually wrote what was on the board.
Rather, I am going to assume that the Daily Post really wants to know what a divident is and moreover, wants the community to know how incredible the education in Menlo Park City School District is and thus, offer their support of the Measure by highlighting the great education that is happening at MPCSD.
In the spirit of education and since you asked, allow me to define “divident” for the Daily Post. “Divident” is a not-often-used, but also not incorrect version of “dividend.” A simple Google search would reveal that a 9 year-old misspelling the word dividend with a “t” is actually not an error. Thus, “dividend” and “divident” are both mathematical terms, which are used to describe a number to be divided by another number. If anyone is in need of a tutorial, the 9-year old students in MPCSD would be happy to provide you with some assistance and an illustration of the outstanding instruction led by our teachers...again, since you asked.
Additionally, I would like to thank the Daily Post for highlighting the engaging, hands-on instruction emblematic of the learning occurring in every classroom in MPCSD. Yes, you’ll find student writing throughout our classrooms, rather than a focus on teacher writing. You’ll find students engaged in high-level academic vocabulary and discourse. Our outstanding achievement and culture of support (rather than shaming) is evident throughout all our schools. In fact, as an official partner of Stanford’s d.school, we live the mindset of embracing our mistakes.
I can only assume that the Daily Post’s placement of our work on the front page of their newspaper is yet another endorsement of the quality education in MPCSD that should be supported by all in our community, including at the ballot box.
In closing and on another note, I’d like to thank The Almanac for being a great hometown newspaper.
Incoming MPCSD Superintendent