Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Message From the Principal

Submitted by Katya Villalobos

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Wow, there are only eight weeks left in the school year--amazing. These weeks will be filled with many activities both curricular and extra-curricular. I wanted to point out a few things that are coming soon:

A) Principal's Cup Nomination--we are fortunate to have an incredible group of teachers at Gunn High School and it is now your opportunity to recognize and honor one of our very own for the 2010-2011 Principal's Cup. You probably need to put on your thinking caps, because you have many to choose from. On Gunn's website homepage, under both the "Student" and "Parent & Community" links, you will find the nomination form. Please read and review the form and turn it in by Friday, May 20 to the Main Office to either Ms. Elderon or Ms. Glover.

B) Advanced Placement Exams (APs) begin Monday, May 2 and continue through Friday, May 13. Please remind your student(s) to attend AP Pre-Registration next week;
If you are taking any AP Exams, please attend an AP Pre-administration Prep Session next week. The Sessions will be held in the Library nextTuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday during Lunch. During this session, we will assist you in filling out your AP Answer Sheet. This will allow you to begin your exam immediately after arriving at the test center for your first exam. If you don't attend one of the sessions, others will need to wait for you to bubble in your answer sheet before the test starts. See you there!

C) STAR Exams will be administered on Wednesday, May 11 and Thursday, May 12. Students need to report to their testing room by 8:00AM and will be dismissed at 12:35PM on both days. If your student(s) needs to complete STAR make-up that will occur in the afternoon of both days. Monday, May 9, Tuesday, May 10, and Friday, May 13 are regular days with the same rotation. Please remind your student to be on time.

Thank you and Go Titans!

Katya Villalobos

Monday, April 25, 2011

2010-2011 Principal's Cup

Submitted by Katya Villalobos

Dear Parents, Guardians, and Students:

We are fortunate to have an incredible group of teachers at Gunn High School and it is now your opportunity to recognize and honor one of our very own for the 2010-2011 Principal's Cup. You probably need to put on your thinking caps, because you have many to choose from.

On Gunn's homepage of the website under both the "Student" and "Parent & Community" links you will find the nomination form. Please read and review the form and turn it in by Friday, May 20 to the Main Office to either Ms. Elderon or Ms. Glover.

Go Titan Teachers!!

Katya Villalobos

Gunn High School Hosts California Music Educators Association Band Festival

Submitted by Duncan MacMillan

Todd Summers and Sandra Lewis, Gunn Instrumental Music Directors, along with their students hosted 30 high school and middle school bands on April 1-2 in Spangenberg Theater.

The bands performed a 25-minute set of music for an audience and three adjudicators who gave written and recorded comments. After their performance each band retired to the band room where they received a “new” piece of music, which they had to play after only a 2-minute introduction from their instructor. The fourth adjudicator judged that “sight-reading” performance. Each band received a rating in this non-competitive festival.

Gunn’s three bands performed and received great feedback and praise from the adjudicators for their outstanding performances:

• Freshman Concert Band received an over-all Superior Rating
• Symphonic Band received an over-all Excellent Rating
• Wind Ensemble received the highest honor, earning a Unanimous
 Superior Rating

Thank you to all of the Gunn Band & Orchestra Boosters who helped run a very successful food booth at the festival.

Taming the Tempestuous Sea

Submitted by Ruth-Anne Siegel
“Everyone is doing better than I am! They’re all so much smarter and the work is so easy for them. I feel like I can’t compete or that I need to take all advanced classes or even 5 APs!”

Taming the Tempestuous Sea

Students and Experts share stories and advice about successfully navigating and surviving the high expectations of the Gunn community featuring Denise Pope, Ph.D.

May 4, 2011
Gunn High School, Spangenberg Theater
7 - 9 pm

• Listen to Gunn students share their stories of academic peer pressure and the challenges of living in a high- achieving place like Palo Alto
• Learn coping strategies and tools to help your child from our expert panelists Denise Pope; Katya Villalobos, principal of Gunn High School, and child psychologist Lea Goldstein
• Get your questions answered! There will be a question and answer period during the program.

Due to the high level of education and success of our community, many of our children perceive that they just aren’t smart enough and can’t compete with other students who they think are smarter, harder workers and more talented.

How do we encourage a more realistic perspective, maintain appropriate academic support and reinforce common values for our kids? What can we do for the students who feel they are failing because they are not the super achievers? Due to feeling that they are inadequate, these “middle of the road” students often want to get off the track and stop striving.

Our Experts

Denise Pope, Ph.D. is a Senior Lecturer at the Stanford University School of Education and Co-Founder of Challenge Success, a research-based intervention that aims to reduce unhealthy pressure on youth and champions a broader vision of youth success. For the past eleven years, she has specialized in student engagement, curriculum studies, qualitative research methods, and service learning. Challenge Success is an expanded version of the SOS: Stressed-Out Students project that Dr. Pope founded and directed from 2003-2008. She lectures nationally on parenting techniques and pedagogical strategies to increase student health, engagement with learning, and integrity. Her book Doing School: How We Are Creating a Generation of Stressed Out, Materialistic, and Miseducated Students was awarded Notable Book in Education by the American School Board Journal. Dr. Pope is a 3 time recipient of the Stanford University School of Education Outstanding Teacher and Mentor Award.

Katya Villalobos is currently the principal at Gunn High School. She first came to Palo Alto Unified in 1995 and began her teaching in US Government, Contemporary World History, and US History. She has served as an assistant principal at Palo Alto High School and as principal at Capuchino High School in San Bruno. Her background is in curriculum, instruction, and students services. Her greatest passion is to foster an environment where students can learn.

Lea Goldstein, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist with over twenty-five years experience working with adults, adolescents, and families. Dr. Goldstein specializes in working with teens and families with a focus on healthy adolescent development, transitions to adulthood, and substance abuse issues. She is the co-author of the book, titled “Drugs and Your Kid: How To Tell If Your Child Has a Drug/Alcohol Problem and What To Do About It”, with Peter Rogers, Ph.D., published by New Harbinger Publications. Dr. Goldstein currently maintains a private psychotherapy practice in Menlo Park, CA.

Contact R Ruth-Anne Siegel , or Sigrid Pinsky , for more information.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

GUNN Robotics news

Submitted by Lakshmi Sunder

GUNN Robotics news
Gunn robotics participated in the silicon valley FIRST regional. GRT 192 reached the semifinal and also won the Silicon Valley 2011 Autodesk Award for excellence in 3D Animation. This animation called "Bridging the Gap" was voted the best by peers. More than 160 teams submitted animations for the “Change Their World” challenge featuring the Autodesk “iiko” character.

About "Bridging the Gap ": Technology is pervasive in every aspect of modern society, completely transforming the way we live. However, it is sometimes criticized for being potentially harmful or divisive. We saw the opportunity to highlight technology’s powerful ability to build connections and form communities, even with a mechanism as "simple" as a bridge.

GRT 192's animation can be viewed at :

(Click on the Silicon Valley Regional)

2011 Health Fair

Submitted by Grace Yu

2011 Health Fair – Visited by More than 1300 students
The PTSA held a successful Health Fair on April 1st, Friday. From 9:00 am to 2:30 pm, students visited 31 booths hosted by agencies, healthcare professionals, and organizations involved in the health and wellbeing of youth. The PTSA would like to acknowledge the generosity and support of all who participated in this event.
The agencies and healthcare professionals (see below list) enabled the PTSA to host an edu-info day that covered extensive areas of health topics and fun activities for students. Local merchants and businesses also supported our event with a supply of snack bars, fresh fruits, and beverages, which the PTSA served to the students throughout the day. Parent volunteers, fair participants, and local businesses also donated raffle prizes to help attract student visits over lunch period. One of the participants, a Culinary Nutritionist, made 300 tasty and healthy wraps to be given out to students who visited at lunchtime.
Lastly, a special thank you should be expressed to the Health Fair’s chairpersons Julia Sharma and Leslie Fiedler and members of the core team for organizing a successful event.

Health Fair Participants

ACS Substance Abuse Program

Adolescent Counseling Services

Alto Sleep

American Cancer Society

American Red Cross

City of Palo Alto Office of Emergency Service

City of Palo Alto Police Department

Dairy Council California

Drug Enforcement Agency

El Camino Hospital

George Hernandez, Personal Trainer/Massage

Gunn @ Your Service

Ideal Health Chiropractic

Invisalign Teen

Joann Blessing-Moore, M.D.

Kaiser Permanente Community Health Liaison Educational Theatre Programs

Karla Oliveira, M.S., R.D/Culinary Nutritionist

Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital

Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Palo Alto Advanced Dentists

Palo Alto drug and Alcohol committee Collaborative

Palo Alto Family YMCA*

Zumba Dance Demontration

Palo Alto School District Nurse

Pat Simko, R.D. M.S./Dietitian

Palo Alto Medical Foundation

Planned Parenthood

Rashmi Saini, M.D

Sally A. Longyear, MPH, CIE/Ergonomist

Stanford Eating Disorders Research Program

Traditional Zheng Zi Tai Chi

Tai Chi Demonstration: Adam Sewell

Victor Froelicher, M.D., Cardiologist

Yoga Demonstration by Lorraine Davis

Local Support

Baja Fresh

De Martinis

Jumba Juice

Milk Pail Market *

Peet's Coffee & Tea (Charleston)


SunUp Design System*

Trader Joe’s

Whole Foods Market (Los Altos)

Yakult U.S.A. Inc.

Core Team

Julia Sharma (Chair)*

Leslie Fiedler (co-Chair)*

Homa Adnani

Norma Hesterman

Evon Ho

Shalini Kumar

Karla Oliveira

Pat Simko

JinPing Song

May To (Team Advisor)

Radhika Yarlagadda

Grace Yu


Vanessa Bernegge

Grace Downer

Anita Dubey

Chris Graham

Susan Graham

Gail Kingston

Debbie Mason

Lottie Price

Dawm Reboli

Matt Reboli

Rashmi Saini

* - Raffle donors