Monday, April 9, 2012

Free Public Screening of the film Miss Representation

Submitted by Karen Johnston

The movie focuses on Hollywood’s role in the exploitation of women and the media’s role in setting specific standards for girls.

Palo Alto, California:
The Palo Alto community is invited to a free public screening of Miss Representation, a searing documentary directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, actress, activist, and filmmaker. The screening will be at Gunn High School in Palo Alto on April 19, 2012. Recently featured at the San Francisco International Film Festival, the film is an examination of Hollywood's exploitation of women, and the media's role in setting a physical/sexual standard for girls, as opposed to an intellectual standard. The film encourages an examination of the media's portrayal of women, which may lead to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and leadership and critically examines recent episodes of public prejudice against women of influence (Hilary Clinton, Sarah Palin). The film includes candid interviews with such people as Jane Fonda, Geena Davis, Condoleezza Rice, Margaret Cho and Nancy Pelosi.

The film is a powerful advocacy for a more balanced portrayal of women in the media, and men and women are both encouraged to attend. The content may not be suitable for children under 14 years.

The following local organizations will be on hand to share information about opportunities in the community to help empower young people to overcome the effects of negative gender portrayals in the media:

About--‐Face, based in San Francisco, California (USA), equips women and girls with tools to understand and resist harmful media messages that affect their self--‐esteem and body image. Through workshops, the organization imbues girls and women with the power to free themselves from the burden of body--‐image problems so they will be capable of fulfilling their varied and wondrous potentials.

Girls For A Change (GFC) is a national organization that empowers girls to create social change. They invite young women to design, lead, fund and implement social change projects that tackle issues girls face in their own neighborhoods. The program inspires girls to have the voice, ability and problem solving capacity to speak up, be decision makers, create visionary change and realize their full potential.

YWCA of Silicon Valley is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. Every year, more than 18,000 individuals turn to the YWCA of Silicon Valley to benefit from its compelling vision of what life should be like for the women and families of ourcommunity!

� Thursday, April 19, in Spangenberg Auditorium at Gunn High School, 780 Arastradero Road Palo Alto CA 94306

� Doors open at 6:15pm, screening begins at 6:45pm, followed by a discussion with community leaders.

� Admission is Free

� Ample free parking

� For more information contact Trinity Klein, Assistant Principal, Gunn High School 415-505-3666

Pedal4Prizes Hands Out Treats

Submitted by Kathryn Latour, Kathryn Latour

On Friday, March 23, the Pedal4Prizes chairs and assistants, Kathryn Latour, Steve Hubbell, Jeff Dean, Penny Ellson, Linda Baker, Renu Virdi, and Calvin Latour, were armed with Rice Krispy treats in anticipation of a flurry of bike riding since the skies were blue, clear, and glorious. Thank you, assistants! Alas, our biking numbers for the day were a bit on the low side since we tallied only 453 bikes. One student explained that there was a huge band field trip scheduled which meant that many students elected to drive rather than balance their heavy instruments on their bikes. That would account for some, but not the total dip in our statistics for this time of year. (It also makes the P4P team aware that perhaps our students could benefit from some instruction on how to make use of bike baskets that can accommodate these instruments.)

If you are a Gunn student and chose not to ride your bike on Friday, March 23, we would like to know what prevented you from using this environmentally-friendly mode of transportation on that day, especially if you normally bike to school. Please email P4P Co-Chair Steve Hubbell at and help us to understand what factors motivated your choice. The more information the P4P team has about reasons why students choose not to bike, the better we can address them.

Our next P4P event will be on Monday, April 16 when we team up with the Green Team to celebrate Earth Week. A raffle will be held for prizes such as gift cards from Sprinkles, iTunes, and Vans. If you bike, walk, or bus, you may collect your raffle ticket on the morning of April 16. Winners will be chosen at our Earth Day
events during lunch period in the Quad.

P4P Team

SELPA 1 CAC April Parent Education Event

Submitted by Karen Mueller

Sleep - Getting to sleep, staying asleep – our children often have sleep issues. Debra Babcock, MD is a pediatrician who will speak about how to improve the sleep of our children. She will cover the many techniques that are called sleep hygiene. She will also discuss medical issues such as treatment for bed wetting, a level of hyperactivity that requires sleep medications, and sleep apnea.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012 – meeting is 7 to 9 pm. Hospitality begins at 6:45pm. Covington Elementary School Library, 205 Covington, Los Altos 94024.
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.

ACS Program - Spring Fever or Loss of Motivation

Submitted by Roni Gillenson

How to Help Your Underachieving Teen
By Jennifer Jones, LCSW, Site Director, Palo Alto High School

It’s that time of year; the long winter is over, trees are blossoming, the temperature is warming, and we all want to go to the beach instead of to work. That’s why Spring Break was invented. But what if a week of vacation doesn’t revive and re-inspire? What if that loss of interest in work isn’t temporary? As the Supervisor in a counseling center on a high school campus, I have been hearing a lot lately from parents and teens about a general loss of motivation and interest in doing well in school. If it didn’t just start prior to spring break and isn’t “Senioritis;” if it’s been ongoing, what can parents do to increase a teen’s motivation to succeed?

As human beings we develop the motivation to please our parents as we receive nurturance, love, food and other basic needs from them. As we grow from babies to toddlers and throughout childhood, we receive both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards for behaving appropriately and doing what we are told. By the time we become independent adults, we have learned what happens when we “don’t behave,” when we procrastinate, don’t complete our tasks, act irresponsibly, or make poor choices. How we spend our time is our choice now and we deal with the consequences. Teenagers need to test; they need to find out “what will happen if…?” on their journey to adulthood. Making poor choices or mistakes is part of the process.

As parents, we have the most influence over our children’s lives, until they hit adolescence. At this time, their focus turns to the outside world. They begin to learn more from their friends, other adults, and the surrounding culture. They start behaving differently and want to spend less time with family, all normal developmental processes. Their interests may broaden and motivators may change. But when a parent notices a significant and alarming shift in their teen’s school performance it can be a cause for action. Two factors that tend to lead to a loss of motivation in teens, and which parents can still greatly influence, are:

1) Loss of self-confidence/self-esteem, and
2) Lack of control/choices in their life.

Sometimes a very authoritarian-style of parenting, which includes lecturing, criticizing, having unrealistic expectations, and engaging in frequent power struggles with children can erode a child’s self-esteem. If there are too many conditions for love and acceptance, the child may just give up entirely or chose to rebel by doing poorly.

Sometimes we parents don’t realize we continue to parent our teens as if they are still younger children. We haven’t shifted our parenting role to match their changing developmental needs. We may continue to tell our teens what to do, when and how to do it, and how they should feel about it. This can create dependence, low self-esteem and/or resentment.

Parents can help re-motivate their teens by empowering them to act responsibly. Teens need to be given choices. Consequences of each choice can be explained while allowing the teen to make their own decision, and ultimately learn from their own mistakes. Parents can create a more respectful, cooperative environment by allowing teens to participate in creating the house rules. Parents can be firm but kind, “I love you and I don’t like this behavior.” Natural consequences are generally more effective than punishments. Parents can involve teens in problem solving. Parents can ask their teen what they think they should do in a given situation, leading the teen to finding a solution rather than telling them what the solution should be. Parents can also help re-inspire their teens by doing the following:

1) Provide unconditional support and acceptance
2) Encourage teens to explore their passions, validate those passions and provide the tools necessary for exploration
3) Help teens discover their unique strengths and abilities
4) Set small, realistic goals, especially for the procrastinator
5) Provide positive feedback and constructive criticism
6) Provide incentives (money, electronics, more freedom, etc.)
7) Encourage teens to do volunteer work in their community

When something more serious is suspected, there is help out there for parents and teens. Parents can go to their student’s Guidance Counselor, School Psychologist, Student Support Services or ACS Counselor to meet, discuss and figure out what is going on and where to access the best support, help and resources that is needed.

Teens respond to the same motivators as adults. As parents we should remind ourselves about what motivates us, what it’s like to feel inspired, and how it feels to be successful - then consistently model that for our children.

Adolescent Counseling Services is a community non-profit, which provides vital counseling services on nine secondary campuses at no charge to students and their families. To learn more about our services please visit the ACS website at or call Robyn Alagona, LMFT, Site Director at Gunn (650) 849-7919. ACS relies on the generosity of com-munity members to continue offering individual, family, and group counseling to over 1,500 individuals annually. ACS provides critical interventions and mental health services, building a better future for tomorrow. If you are interested in helping to support our efforts, do not hesitate to call to make a donation. It goes a long way in helping teenagers find their way!

Breakfast with ACS!
Join us for breakfast and learn more about ACS programs, trends in child and teen mental and emotional health, and hear from our licensed clinical staff about how you can better communicate and interact with any teen in your life. These events are free, but space is limited. Please RSVP to or 650-424-0852 ext. 103 with your name, address, phone number and the date you would like to attend.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012 | 8:00-9:30am | ACS Corporate Office, 1717 Embarcadero Road, Suite 4000, Palo Alto, CA 94303