Monday, September 27, 2010

OCTOBER 13: College and Career Day

Kimberley Cowell,

A little testing. A little college and career info.
A little chat about the big picture.
On Wednesday, October 13th, we’re devoting an entire morning to college admittance test preparation and career exploration. For seniors, there will also be some work on stress reduction and pondering some bigger questions, such as, “What does it mean to be truly happy?”
Please note: There will be no afternoon classes.

About Attendance: Roll will be taken for all grade levels. Students who are absent must have a parent call in for them if it is a legitimate absence. Students who are not participating in the PSAT, will report to the Library. Some students will report to their Study Skills room if this has been pre-arranged.

What are we doing?
9th graders – EXPLORE
10TH graders – PLAN
11th graders – PSAT
12th graders – Guest speakers; College and career activities

Schedule: 9th, 10th and 11th
8:00 a.m. to approximately Noon (varies due to test instruction time)
Test preparation exams: EXPLORE, PLAN and PSAT
Room assignments will be posted on the SAC and Guidance office walls.

These are the first 2 assessments of ACT’s Educational Planning and Assessment System (EPAS). Each exam consists of 4 academic achievement tests: English, Math, Reading, and Science. Additionally, these assessments contain an interest inventory and a needs assessment based on the student’s perceived needs. The content of both tests closely mirrors the ACT and scores correlate with established college/post- secondary readiness benchmarks.

So why not just rely on STAR results?
EXPLORE and PLAN results are far more informative. You, your student, and your child’s guidance counselor will gain a wealth of information. The results are more specific and allow for more focused interventions as needed, better course planning information and a breakdown of how our 9th and 10th graders are doing overall. Very importantly, the results link to college readiness benchmarks. We also need to increase opportunities for our freshmen and sophomores to focus on their interests and explore possible careers. These tests link students with relevant college and scholarship information. We are excited to be able to bring these test preparation exams to Gunn High School.
We have sample score sheets in the Guidance Office. Also, for more information, please see the ACT website: and click on the EPAS link.
Both EXPLORE and PLAN are free to the student.

What is the PSAT?
The PSAT is a test preparation exam for the SAT, the college admissions test sponsored by College Board. The test is designed for 11th graders. The test measures critical reading, math problem-solving, and writing skill development. Results are mailed home, but there is an enhance score report that allows students to review questions, their answers, and correct answers with explanations. The PSAT also provides a start list of colleges and there is a career match component. For more information and sample questions with answers, see their website:
Those students who do well on the test are eligible to enter scholarship competitions sponsored by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (

Cost to student: $30. Sign-up in the Student Activities Center. Scholarships are available. See Mrs. Francesconi or your guidance counselor for a Financial Aid form. When completed, please turn it in to Kim Cowell, Guidance Assistant Principal.
10th graders will not be allowed to take the PSAT on October 13th, HOWEVER, there will be many opportunities to take a mock SAT at Gunn High School! The first is September 25 with a feedback session on October 6. (Only $15!) Preparation classes will also run all year. We contract with various companies to provide these opportunities. Please see Mr. Lira in the Academic Center for more information, or go to the Academic Center website for specific days and times. There is a link under “Student” on the Gunn website.
Academic Center:

Senior Activities
8:30 – 12:15 p.m.
Speaker: Dr. Fred Luskin
Spangenberg Theater
Dr. Luskin is the Director of the Forgiveness Project at Stanford and he also teaches classes there. He is the author of several books including, Forgive for Good and Stress-free for Good. He was also a Gunn parent. Dr. Luskin will discuss the need to manage stress to be happy and productive, and its effect on one’s mental and physical well-being. He will present some simple strategies for managing stress. He will also talk about goal setting and the nature of true happiness.

Guest Speaker #2: TBA

Session 1 – College and career topics
Session 2 – College and career topics
Each session is 45 minutes long

College and career topics include:
• Help with the college packet
• UC and CSU application information/start in the computer lab
• College essay writing with Felicia Fahey
• Naviance ins and outs with Leighton Lang
• Career panels with professionals from a variety of careers.

Professionals with a variety of educational levels covering the following themes:
o Entrepreneurship
o The Arts
o Education
o Building and Design
o Technology

If you have specific questions regarding the various college preparatory tests, please e-mail the administrator in charge.
PLAN – Tom Jacoubowsky (
EXPLORE – James Lubbe (
PSAT – Wes Cedros (

Please direct questions about the overall day, or about the senior activities, to Kim Cowell (

Kimberley Cowell
Assistant Principal
Guidance Department
Gunn High School

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

College Admissions Essay Workshops

Leighton W. Lang,
College & Career Information Specialist

The College Admissions Essay: Getting Started with Felicia Fahey, Ph.D.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010 in the Henry M. Gunn Library at 7:00 pm

Are you stressed out about writing the college admissions essay? Come put your mind at ease. This presentation reviews the essential qualities of the admissions essay and helps you avoid common pitfalls. Learn how to simplify the writing process and start your essay now.

The Admissions Essay: Polishing Your Draft with Felicia Fahey, Ph.D.
Wednesday, October 20th in LB 4 at 3:30 to 5:00 pm

Having trouble developing your draft? Looking for ways to make your essay more compelling? Have a writing coach take a look at your essay and give you pointers for improvement. This workshop is limited to 20 students. Students must bring a draft of their essay to participate. You may bring your draft on a flash drive. You have to sign up for this workshop in the College and Career Center on or before Friday, October 15 (First 20 students).


Gunn@YourService is the hub for all community services at Gunn. Its goal is to support the expansion of community service for families and students.

To learn more about Gunn@YourService, please go to our new web site at:

To Join the mailing list contact

October 13: College & Career Day

Kimberley Cowell,
Assistant Principal, Guidance Services
Academic Center Events

The PSAT is being held on Wednesday, Oct 13 at 8:00 for JUNIORS ONLY. The registration for the PSAT is online through the web store on the Student Activities site. The cost is $30. Deadline is Monday, Oct. 4. All students are expected to attend school whether they are taking the PSAT or not.

Also on October 13th:
9th graders will be taking EXPLORE - 8:00 a.m. - Free to students
10th graders will be taking PLAN - Free to students - Also beginning at 8:00 a.m.
12th graders will be doing College and Career Activities. - 8:30 a.m. Free to students.

Roll will be taken. More information will follow.

If you are planning to take the PSAT, you must register for it in the S.A.C.--not the Academic Center.

Volunteers Needed for the College Fair at Gunn

Cyndi Kaye,
Help make this year's fair a great success!
This year's College Fair will be held in the Gunn gym on Monday, October 18, from 6:30pm-9pm. We are expecting representatives from more than 100 colleges and universities and we need many volunteers to help out.
Listed below are the shifts and the number of people needed for each shift (in parentheses). If you'd like to help out, please contact Cyndi Kaye at with the shift(s) you'd like to work.

Hospitality shopping prior to fair for food, drinks and decorations (2)

1:00pm - 3:00pm Set-up (3)
4:30pm - 6:30pm Work front desk (5)
6:30pm - 9:00pm Work front desk (6)
5:00pm - 7:00pm Supervise student greeters and valet service (2)
5:00pm - 7:00pm Student greeters/runners (11) students only, community service hours earned
6:30pm - 8:30pm Sell concessions (3)
4:30pm - 7:00pm Hospitality for college reps (6)
7:00pm - 9:00pm Hospitality for college reps (6)
8:30pm - 9:30pm Hospitality clean-up (3)
9:00pm - 10:00pm Fair clean-up (as many as possible!)

Thank you!

2010-2011 CPR & 1st Aid Schedule for Gunn and Paly

Ken Plough,

Cost is now $35.00 per student with scholarships available.

Sign up Limit of 30 per class.
Robin F in the Gunn Guidance
Leticia Burton Room 28 of the Tower Bldg. at Paly.

Gunn Snack Shack in the Gunn Gym
Room 28 in the Paly Tower Bldg..

Hours 4-8pm.
Students must attend the CPR class one night and 1st Aid class on the second night

High School
Red Cross CPR & 1st Aid Classes

Semester 1 Monday CPR Tuesday 1ST AID Wednesday CPR Thursday 1ST AID
November 1 Gunn 2 Gunn 3 Gunn 4 Gunn
8 Gunn 9 Gunn
15 Gunn 16 Gunn 17 Gunn 18 Gunn
22 Gunn 23 Gunn
29 Paly 30 Paly
December 1 Paly 2 Paly
6 Paly 7 Paly 8 Paly 9 Paly
13 Paly 14 Paly 15 Paly 16 Paly

Semester 1 Monday CPR Tuesday 1ST AID Wednesday CPR Thursday 1ST AID
January 24 Gunn 25 Gunn 26 Gunn 27 Gunn
31 Gunn
February 1 Gunn
27 Gunn 28 Gunn
March 1 Gunn 2 Gunn
7 Gunn 8 Gunn 9 Gunn 10 Gunn
14 Paly 15 Paly 16 Paly 17 Paly
21 Paly 22 Paly 23 Paly 24 Paly
28 Paly 29 Paly 30 Paly 31 Paly
April 4 Paly 5 Paly

All Classes are 4-8 pm
Gunn Classes are held in the Snack Shack in the Gunn Gym
Paly Classes are held in the Paly Tower Bldg room 28

Monday, September 20, 2010

Gunn Girls Tennis - Fresno Tournament Update

Jim Gorman,

The Gunn High School Girls Tennis Team recently headed to Fresno for a two day tournament, leaving Thursday after school and arriving back in Palo Alto late Saturday night. With Gunn placing first in the second flight of Division Two, the California High School Girls Tennis Classic tournament was a success.

This is the third consecutive year that Gunn has attended the tournament and the best thus far that the girls’ team has placed. Last year, Gunn finished 4th in Division Two at the end of the tournament, so this year's results were a definite improvement. And 20th overall of 111 teams.

Despite the tournament being of Varsity-level, each year, Gunn takes both Varsity and Junior Varsity to Fresno. Playing tough matches in Division Four, JV played with outstanding effort and placed in the middle of Div 4. Since the Fresno Girls Tennis Classic was a pre-season tournament, the trip overall was a great, fun bonding experience for all team members.

Despite the sweltering heat, all of the girls fought hard and were able to come through some very tight matches. "I think my favorite moment was when I won my last match, knowing that the team really needed the victory to pull into 4th place," said number one doubles player Cara Lai. "I'm so proud of my partner and how we didn't crack under pressure."

While tennis is commonly misconceived to be a more individual-like sport, Gunn’s tennis is quite the team. When playing against another school, each team has six possible matches to win. In order to advance to the next round, the school has to win the majority of the matches. "During Fresno, my team and I were pushed to the limits as most of the times, every set, every match, and every game counted," said number four singles player Peying Lee.

Giving a pep talk to her team, number one singles player, Allana Booth said, “It’s not about me, it’s not about you, it’s about the team.” The tournament was a great team effort, not only improving their tennis, but strengthening the team’s bond. Although Gunn lost a very close first match against the strong team of Corona del Mar’s , the team held their ground to win against San Jacquin Memorial, Rio Americano, Oak Ridge, and Buchannan, coming out with an overall 4-1 record.

CHSTC Fresno
Gunn Girls Tennis Team Varsity One
What a close battle!
Won 3 of 3 Team matches in the tiebreaker system when team score was tied 3 all
Finished 1st Flight 2 Division 2

Finished 4th in Division 2

Finished 20 in the state out of 111 teams

Won 4 out of 5 team matches
Won 17 out of 30 individual matches
Won 39 of 68 sets
Won out 4 of 7 (10 point 3rd set tie breakers)
Won 6 of 8 (7 point tiebreakers played at 6 all)
And we can add!
Way to go Gunn Girls

Jim Gorman


Ruth Escher,

Need a corsage or boutonnière for Homecoming October 2? Karen at Nature's Alley flower shop in Midtown (across the parking lot from the CVS store on Middlefield near Colorado) will donate a portion of the cost of any flowers you buy to the Gunn Class of 2011 Grad Night Scholarship Fund. Just tell her you are from Gunn and would like a portion of your flower cost to go towards this excellent cause! Karen will provide this service to Gunn High School all year, for the holidays, Prom, graduation leis, anything you need all year. Another great place to buy flowers is the Barron Park Nursery & Florist at 3876 El Camino Real, owned by a Gunn family for many years.

Get Involved with TEDxYouthPaloAlto!

Tremaine Kirkman,

TEDxYouthPaloAlto is coming! Inspired by the TED conferences, (, this unique TEDx event is organized BY youth ABOUT youth and FEATURING youth. TedxYouthDay, (, is a series of TEDx events happening all around the world on November 20th, designated as Universal Children’s Day by the United Nation, (

This year’s event will focus on the theme of youth empowerment through education, featuring Teen Team presenters, as well as expert post-teens, a/k/a adults. Attendees will be challenged to find their muse, define their agenda and turn their ideas into action, in their own lives and in the community.

Get involved and earn community service: volunteer for the host committee, or as a photographer or videographer – or submit a proposal on a topic you’re passionate about and be a Teen Team speaker yourself, and end up on YouTube on the TEDx channel! For more information contact

Attendance is limited to 100 to ensure an intimate and interactive experience! Reserve your spot -- free registration, including continental breakfast and networking lunch, at (

Event host is SEAN, the Student Equity Action Network, a 501(c)(3) California non-profit corporation, whose mission is college readiness for all, in our community and beyond. SEAN works to close the achievement gap through outreach, advocacy and impact projects. For more information, see (


Kim Nguyen,

October 23rd Concert features Palo Alto’s own Cello Virtuosa Michelle Djokic.
Benjamin Simon, Conductor

Under the direction of PACO music director, Benjamin Simon, the 2010-11 season opening concert will take place on Saturday October 23rd, 8:00 p.m. at the Eagle Theater, Los Altos High School, 201 Almond Ave, Los Altos. PACO’s first subscription concert opens with a joyous string symphony that Felix Mendelssohn composed when he was only 11 years old. Our wonderful cello soloist, Palo Alto's own Michelle Djokic, first joins the orchestra in Baroque rock star Jean-Baptiste Lully’s delightful "Piece de Concert". This will be followed by "Suites for Cello and Strings" by northern California’s own classical bard, Lou Harrison. Our program concludes with Franz Schubert’s great Death and the Maiden Quartet in a powerful version for the string orchestra. Tickets are $15 adults, $10 seniors, $5 students.
For more information call 650-856-3848 or visit

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

SELPA 1 CAC parent education event

Karen Mueller,

Assessment, Diagnosis and Schools - Dr. Steve Newton is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in the testing of school-aged children. In the past 23 years, he has conducted over 3,500 assessments and is recognized as a leading expert in child/adolescent assessment and diagnosis. He will address the following issues and then open the floor to questions. How do I know if my child needs to be assessed? How does a private assessment differ from a school assessment? How important is a diagnostic label? How can a family get an accurate diagnosis if they cannot afford a private assessment? Why is a comprehensive test battery important? (Gain an appreciation of the complexity of human behavior; for the fact that strengths and weaknesses often cluster and do not exist in isolation; and why a comprehensive test battery is the best vehicle to provide a detailed road map for educational placement and planning.) What will a comprehensive test battery tell parents/professionals? Eg. What does it mean if your child is functionally one year behind vs. three years behind? (Learn which test batteries are best suited for looking at specific areas of development and diagnosis including development, school readiness, academic ability, learning strengths and weaknesses, mood, and behavior.)

Wednesday, Oct 20, 2010 - meeting is 7 to 9 pm. Hospitality begins at 6:45pm. Covington Elementary School Multi, 205 Covington Rd, Los Altos.
This parent education event is sponsored by the SELPA 1 CAC ( All of our events are free and open to anyone who feels they might benefit. No registration is necessary.


Sigrid Pinsky,


What can happen when juveniles make bad decisions? Come hear from our distinguished and expert "Law and Order" panelists:
• Judge Jacqueline Duong, Santa Clara County Juvenile Justice Court
• Public Defender Mary Greenwood, Santa Clara County
• Deputy District Attorney Julia Alloggiamento
• Chief Scott Vermeer, Mountain View Police Department
Bonus: The first 100 attendees will receive copies of the California State Bar publications: "When You Become 18: A Survival Guide for Teenagers" and "Kids and the Law: an A to Z Guide for Parents." (Copies available in English and Spanish.)
Wed Sep 29, Eagle Theatre, Los Altos High School, 7 to 9 p.m.
Location: 201 Almond Ave, Los Altos.
Sponsor: League of Women Voters of Los Altos / Mountain View.
Info: Ellen Wheeler, 650-967-8743, or Lynette Lee Eng, 650-619-0884.

Monday, September 13, 2010

TEDxYouthCastilleja: Amazing Opportunity for your students

Jill Lee,

We are thrilled to invite your school to participate in an amazing opportunity for your students. A free, one-day conference for high school students will be held in Palo Alto at Castilleja School on November 20, 2010.

Modeled after the (TED conferences) TEDxYouth was inspired by a group of TED 2010 attendees in an effort to bring the “TED universe” to youth. Dreams have become reality and as part of a global launch, TEDxYouthCastilleja takes place on Saturday, November 20, 2010.

TEDxYOUTHcastilleja--Be the Change! will share and inspire both possibilities and solutions. Three
70-minute speaker sessions will be organized around the concepts of “hope”, “solutions” and “action”.
The day will include a mixture of fascinating thinkers and doers, youth and adult speakers, seasoned
experts and a selection of recorded TED Talks addressing technology,entertainment, design, science
and the humanities.

We anticipate 400 youth ages 13 to 18 in attendance. Participants will
represent a cross-section of our community population: dreamers,
megaphones, spark plugs, taskmasters and sherpas from over 25 schools and organizations.
Opportunities will be provided to meet, network, share and discuss new

Gever Tulley, Tinkering Schools
Emily Olson, Entrepreneur, (
Alexi Kenney, Violinist
Phil Zimbardo, Hero Project
Rhett Butler, Founder (
Estria, Graffiti Artist
Samuel Garange, one of the Lost Boys of the Sudan
Geoff Fox, Fox Racing /Clothing
Through Geoff, asking Ryan Sheckler, 3time X-Game winner, 19 years old and local
Binh Dahn, Artist
Chris Flink, IDEO partner
Ooshma Gary, Entrepreneur, (
Brian Wong, Entrepreneur, (

Who are the participants?
Each participating school is allocated ten spots. Each school may decide how to fill the slots. Our dream is to have a variety of students participate. Schools need to provide their list of attending students to us no later than October 4th. We will hold 50 additional spots open for individually motivated students. Opportunities will be provided throughout the day for the participants to meet, network, share and discuss new ideas with each

What we ask of you:
  • Distribute this email widely to your team of teachers, counselors, and student advisors so they know about the event;
  • Identify students (dreamers, thinkers, and doers) who will both contribute to and benefit from this amazing experience;
  • Send us the names and contact information of your 10 students by October 4th;
  • Inform all students that in addition to the 10 spots filled by your school, 50 places will be held for individual students from the area who are passionate about attending the conference.

What we ask of your students:
  • Click on our (TEDxYOUTHcastilleja)website to learn how they can apply to speak, apply to attend, or participate in our video challenge. The top three videos will be shown at our conference.
  • Click on Mailing List button on our website header and add their name to our mailing list;
  • Submit application to be a speaker by midnight on September 20, 2010;
  • For only those students applying independently, submit an application to attend beginning on September 20, 2010.

Words cannot express our excitement to partner with you with the shared goal of bringing 400 passionate students together to inspire each to Be The Change!

Thank you so much for identifying your amazing students to participate in
TEDxYOUTHcastilleja on November 20, 2010.

Christina McClure,TEDxYOUTHcastilleja Coordinator
and Jill Lee, School Liaison

Questions—big or small, please email:
Jill Lee

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Gunn Family Service Day, October 16, 2010

Diane Downend,

com·mu·ni·ty // [kuh-myoo-ni-tee]
–noun, plural -ties.
a group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists. Example: the Gunn community

October 16th is a day for the Gunn community to reinforce its ties and to help the broader community in just a handful of hours. YCS is sponsoring Gunn Family Service Day. Students and their families are invited to select one of three venues to volunteer their morning. Let’s join together to make a difference to non-profit organizations that make a meaningful and beneficial impact close to home. Just click on the listed Jooners link to volunteer for the venue of your choice. Gunn students, parents and siblings are encouraged to attend!

  • Resource Area for Teachers (9am to Noon) (
    Sign Up:
    RAFT has developed extensive community relationships and an innovative process for converting commonly discarded business materials into learning activity kits with the help of thousands of volunteers. This supports teachers and preserves the environment. RAFT serves as a professional organization for classroom teachers, and community-based organizations engaged in learning activities. Gunn Parents Community Service Boosters Volunteer Contact:
    Diane Downend

    This is the venue for green motivated, creative-minded Gunn students and families!

  • Save the Bay (9:30am to 1:00pm) (
    Sign Up:
    Save The Bay is the largest regional organization working to protect, restore and celebrate the great natural treasure of our San Francisco Bay by advocating for strong policies that protect the Bay from pollution and inappropriate shoreline development and restoring habitat to re-establish 100,000 acres of wetlands. Gunn Parents Community Service Boosters Volunteer Contact:
    Estee Greif

    This is the venue for environmentalists at heart!

  • Ecumenical Hunger Program (9:30am to 1:00pm) (
    Sign Up:
    EHP provides food, clothing, household essentials, support and referral services to those in need.
    EHP is a sustainable resource within the community working to break the cycle of poverty. EHP distributes clothing, furniture, appliances, and household essentials, such as blankets, sheets, and dishes. Gunn Parents Community Service Boosters Volunteer Contact:
    Wendy Kandasamy

    This is the venue for those of you with a passion to fight hunger & homelessness.

Come together to meet all participants and celebrate the morning’s accomplishments…
All volunteers are invited to a barbecue at Robles Park, 4116 Park Avenue from 1-3:00pm

Thursday, September 2, 2010

41 Development Assets and Upcoming Student Survey

Diane Downend,

The Developmental Assets framework developed by the Search Institute has been adopted by the Palo Alto Unified School District, the City of Palo Alto and community agencies to provide a common vision and language for youth well-being. Developmental Assets are the experiences, values, relationships, opportunities and competencies that all youth need to thrive. Examples of the first forty of these assets as defined by the Search Institute can be found at Santa Clara County has added a 41st asset related to how comfortable our youth feel about their identities (ethnicity, faith/religion, family status, gender, language, sexual orientation). Research undertaken by the Search Institute has found that the Developmental Assets are powerful influences on adolescent behavior. Those whose lives are rich in developmental assets perform better in all aspects of life, feeling comfortable in their own skins, while those youth whose lives are deficient of development assets are far more prone to risky behaviors.

Palo Alto Unified School District will kick off the program in October by conducting a survey of Gunn and Paly students (survey will also be conducted with younger PAUSD students in grades 4, 5 and 7) to gain a sense of how our youth stack up in Developmental Assets. So that our students do not feel “over-surveyed” this year, PAUSD will not conduct the PARC that has been undertaken in recent years.

Where do parents fit in?

  1. With respect to the survey itself all parents must provide positive consent for their students to participate in the survey. Look for the school to provide to you in the near future a consent form. Please sign and return the consent at your earliest convenience. The more students able to take the survey, the richer our data set will be.
  2. Half of the Developmental Assets are externally founded and rely directly upon adults to be active asset builders in our youth. To grow your awareness of what this means and how you can help, a number of workshops are scheduled in coming weeks:
  • September 22, 2010 from 7-9pm at 25 Churchill there will be a panel presentation by various community agencies to introduce the Developmental Assets to the community, to answer any questions about the student survey, and to help you become an asset builder for your students.
  • An education program called Assets 101 that will go into more depth about the Development Assets and how we can help our children and teens acquire them will be offered on September 16th from 11am-2pm or October 9th from 9am to noon, both at the Lucie Stern Ballroom.
  • A six week Developmental Asset training program will kick off at the YMCA Ross Road facility on October 20 from 7-9pm.