The Barron Park Association

Apr 202013

from Greta Gize Olbrich

Smita Kolhatkar is the Educational Technology Teacher On Special Assignment (TOSA) at Barron Park Elementary School in Palo Alto. She uses Scratch and Tynker in her school’s lunchtime programming club, which sparked similar programs at other schools in the Bay Area.

Read more about Smita and how Barron Park School successfully runs this club:
Tynkering at Lunchtime

” Tynker is a platform that can be flexibly integrated into a classroom or school. While some schools use it in their formal computer programming curriculums, other schools use it to enhance learning in classes like math, science, art and so forth. Still others have used it in extracurricular coding clubs, like this Lunchtime Club. Kids from across grades get together in a room, and experiment – there is no formal structure or curriculum, just a gentle direction, and the rest is up to the kids’ imagination.”

See also the previous post about Barron Park School: Barron Park School has IT


Mar 102013

from Greta Gize Olbrich

IT …as in Information Technology.

Barron Park School is the only school in PAUSD, and one in just a handful in the Bay Area that teaches coding in the classroom in a program supported by , a non-profit foundation dedicated to growing computer programming education.

Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, among the supporters of this initiative, both believe that “every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn how to code.”  Barron Park School has taken the initiative and is providing this opportunity to its students. See Barron Park on the list of schools who are participating in this program :

Barron Park’s Educational Technology Teacher Specialist, Smita Kolhatkar, holds a very unique staffing position at the school. She is a full-time teacher, but splits her instructional time at all grade levels and all classrooms.  And what’s more, Barron is the only elementary school in PAUSD to host a full-time Educational Technology Specialist. Smita helps augment the ways in which technology is used to enhance teaching and learning. There is a lot of excitement on the campus with this additional resource to invest in supporting our teachers to use the digital tools that are constantly evolving. She’s introduced Tynker, LEGOMindstorm, SCRATCH, and SCRATCH 2.0 to the students during class time. There’s also a very popular SCRATCH/Tynker club at noontime.

Feb 022013

The 17th Annual Juana Run will take place Saturday, March 2, 2013. Race through our beautiful Barron Park neighborhood in a competitive 8K race or enter the 1-mile family fun run.

There are other races for children, from pre-K to the 5th grade, and a Challenge Race for children with special needs.

The 8K starts at 8:30AM. The kids races starting times are varied, beginning at 10 AM. The 1-mile family run starts at 11 AM.

Proceeds benefit Terman and Gunn Sports Boosters and the Barron Park School PTA.

Bring the whole family, participate in the races and enjoy a Pancake breakfast, and other free food and drink.

Register at

If you don’t wanna run, but still wanna have fun, come volunteer at the race:

Dec 012012

by Greta Gize Olbrich, Barron Park School PTA President

Not everybody’s aware that Barron Park School is a special place. But apparently someone at MIT Technology Review got wind of this and is now singing Barron Park’s praises! Barron Park School was highlighted in an MIT Technology Review article for its use of technology at the school. Every fifth-grader at Barron Park has been issued an iPad to use for classroom work such as math problems, making videos, and other core curricula.  Barron Park is the first elementary school in PAUSD to pilot this program allowing each student to bring an iPad home to complete homework assignments. PAUSD hopes to roll this program out to all elementary 5th grades, but as of now, it’s unique to Barron Park School.

“It’s simply amazing to see the level of engagement and excitement with the children,” says Barron Park’s Educational technology teacher Smita Kolhatkar.Tablet computers are growing in use in K-12 schools with the spread of digital text books and plethora of free educational software. Kolhatkar is Barron Park’s Ed Tech TOSA (Teacher on Special Assignment), and she’s not just for the 5th grade classes. She spends time in each grade level room on a weekly basis, using technology as part of the instructional materials. She also leads a SCRATCH club, where students create their own interactive games, videos, music, art, etc. This extremely popular club is open for 3rd-5th graders and meets Mondays/Wednesday at lunch.

To read full MIT Technology Review article, click on the link: Tablet Makers Pursue Public Schools.
Oct 202012

The City of Palo Alto is working with Palo Alto Unified School District and the community to improve school access and commutes. The City of Palo Alto’s Safe Routes to School staff and consultant team reviewed Barron Park’s commute conditions, existing infrastructure, and suggested routes for walking and biking to school on September 18th .

City staff and the consultant team have developed a number of recommendations. You are invited to review recommendations for improvements as well as to review and provide feedback on the Walk and Roll Suggested Routes to School Map.

WHERE: Barron Park Elementary School, Multipurpose Room, 800 Barron Avenue

WHEN:  Tuesday, October 23, 2012, 7:00pm – 8:30pm

Palo Alto Safe Routes to School is a comprehensive program to make school commutes safer by combining the traditional tools of engineering and enforcement with education about road safety and activities to encourage more families to choose alternatives to driving to school solo.

For more information, contact:>

Sep 182012
This forum is co-sponsored by the PTAs of Gunn, Terman, Barron Park and Juana Briones.
Thursday Sept 27th 7-9p
Terman Middle School Cafe, 655 Arastradero Road  Palo Alto, CA 94306
Doors open at 6:30p. Forum begins promptly at 7p.
To pre-submit a question to all 4 candidates, email question to by 5p on Wed Sept 26th. Include your name and school(s) your child(ren) attend. NO anonymous questions will be asked.
Spanish translation will be provided.
Childcare is available free of charge, thanks to the generous support of the Barron Park Association.
A Live Web-stream of forum may be available at TITAN BROADCAST NETWORK