Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Surprise Day Treat for Your Teens 

by Rom Brafman PhD., Site Director at La Entrada Middle School 
If you're the romantic type you've probably planned a surprise date night or day-long event for your loved one. Maybe you took them to a concert or even whisked them on a romantic getaway. We take pride in putting thought into planning a fun event for our partners--which is great--but why not apply the same type of creative energy into putting together a surprise day-long event with your teen? I know, I know, most teens don't exactly jump up and down at the thought of spending a day with a parent. But if you plan it the right away and present it the right way it'll me a memorable experience for both of you and show your teen just how much you adore them. 
What would be a fun experience that both of you can share? Maybe it's a lunch at a favorite restaurant and a trip to a museum where you can reflect on art? Or maybe it's going shopping together and then going to the beach. To be honest, these suggestions are a little generic because they are not tailor-made to your teen. But you know your child well enough to make it magical. Put some thought to it. Make sure that it's a surprise. Tell them that you're planning a surprise day just for them. Build it up. Give them some clues if you'd like, but they should be difficult ones. If they ask you why you're doing it, 
tell them that it's because they're so great and you love them. If they try to opt out, tell them that it's really important for you to spend quality time with them. They may not show you how thankful or appreciative they are, but they'll take it in, and when they grow older they'll remember it. 
Once you go on a couple of these adventures, turn the tables and ask them to plan something to surprise you. They may not want to, which is fine, but give them the option. You'll be teaching them to be creative, to be thoughtful, and to celebrate life. It's those moments that mean the most. 

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 www.acs-teens.org or call Pam Garfield, 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!

QUARTETS FOR HIRE
Looking for something to make an upcoming event special?  PACO's most experienced members are available to perform at weddings, parties, award shows, and wherever else you might need beautiful music.  Please click here to contact our ensemble department.
UPCOMING CONCERTS
PACO
December 14, 3:00PM
Cubberley Theatre

Preparatory
January 30, 7:30PM
Cubberley Theatre
SuperStrings
February 6, 7:30PM
Cubberley Theatre

For a complete list of performances, please visit our website.
CONTACT US
Join Our Mailing List


Holiday Extravaganza
Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra
Benjamin Simon, conductor
Yuri Liberzon, Guitar

Sunday, December 14th - 3:00PM
Cubberley Theatre - Free


PACO's second annual holiday extravaganza features seasonal favorites which include excerpts from Tchaikovsky's beloved Nutcracker Ballet (with the fabulous young dancers of Mountain View's Pacific Ballet Academy), and Handel's Messiah(with sensational local soprano Shawnette Sulker), plus Beatles tunes with guitaristYuri Liberzon and a cameo appearance by PACO's youngest ensemble, theSuperStrings, directed by Kris Yenney.



The concert will also feature PACO members performing the first movement of Maurice Ravel's String Quartet in F, one of the masterworks of the 20th century.
Thanks for your continued support of PACO, and we hope to see you at one of the performances.
Sincerely,

Hans Hoffer, Manager
Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra

Thursday, December 4, 2014

SELPA1 CAC Parent Ed Night:All About Middle School

How to prepare for and successfully complete middle school.  We will talk about skills that are fostered and developed in middle school:  independence, self advocacy, academic knowledge, interpersonal skills, and executive functioning.  Our speaker will be Nicole Gonzales, LASD program  specialist, formerly the middle school social cog program teacher.

Wednesday, Jan 21, 2015
Hospitality 6:45pm
Meeting – 7 to 9 pm
Covington School Multi
205 Covington Road, Los Altos  94024

This parent education event is sponsored by the SELPA 1 CAC (www.selpa1cac.org) an all-volunteer group of parents of children with special needs. Our service area includes all public school districts in Los Altos, Mountain View, and Palo Alto. All of our events are free and open to anyone who feels they might benefit. No registration is necessary.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Talking with Teens

by Martha Chan, LMFT, Site Director at Terman Middle School
We hear from many parents that, at some point, children stop talking at home; in some families, it happens at age 10, in others not till age 14 or 15. In a typical scenario, a middle school or high school student is asked “How was school today?”, the response is “fine” or an unintelligible noise, and the student disappears into his/her bedroom, leaving the parent frustrated. In many families, children have lots of stories to tell while they're in preschool and elementary school, often in more detail than parents can remember. It helps that, in elementary school, parents often know their child's one teacher, five best friends, and the parents of those friends, so we feel we have a good sense of what goes on in our child's day. Then THE CHANGE occurs, often beginning when our child moves into middle school. Suddenly, we're trying to remember the names of all their teachers and which subjects they teach; we don't know all their new friends; and we probably don't know the parents of these friends. On top of that, our children don't tell us those stories anymore, and we miss them.
One of my favorite books in my own early parenting days was How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk; looking back, I think the second half of the title may be the most important part. Strange as these ideas, that's a first and very large step. 
One technique it sounds, if we want our teens to listen to us, we may have to model being a good listener for them, just as we model good driving habits and table manners. What I have heard from hundreds of teens in my years of counseling work is that they feel the need to be listened to, and to have their opinions respected, even when a parent may disagree with them. Often they want to be able to talk about a problem without having a parent immediately offer advice; they may feel they can solve the problem eventually on their own, but they want to talk it through with you. This is a good thing!
One of my former supervisors described the teen years as a time when kids are “trying on different hats”, sometimes on a daily basis. This can be confusing for the adults around them, as we tend to be more settled in our attitudes and behavior; for teens, it's part of testing the waters to see who they really want to be and what they really believe. A parent's role can be to act as a sounding board, just listening and reflecting as your child talks about a political, ethical, fashion or friendship issue, rather than jumping to the conclusion that he or she is about to do something dreadful. Again, if your child is talking with you about what he or she is thinking and feeling, you are doing something right.
A tactic that I had to learn early in my counseling career, which came in handy when I became a parent, was to figure out how to ask a question that is hard to answer with a Yes, No or one-word response. In the scenario above, for example, saying “I'd like to hear about your day - - what was the best thing that happened?” can still result in a “Nothing happened” response, but it invites conversation. You might try asking a question that has a natural follow-up: parent, “Am I remembering right, that you had a math test today?”; student, “Yeah”; parent, “How do you think you did?” (Notice that you aren't asking what grade he/she is likely to receive.) Student may still respond minimally: “OK” or “Terrible”, but as a parent, you've shown that you paid attention to the details of your child's life, beyond the how-was-school level.
Many families have a tradition of sitting down to dinner together when children are younger, so that all family members have a chance to talk about how their day has been. This often gets lost as children's schedules get busy, parents' work changes, and many other demands arise. However, it's always good to either establish or continue the family meal, at least a few nights a week, and model the behavior you would like to see in your children. I was once told by an elementary teacher at 
back-to-school night that the three most important things parents can do to improve their child's academic success are to see that they have enough sleep, have family meals together, and turn off all electronics during the meal - no television, no internet, no cell phones, for the adults as well as the children.
As parents, we sometimes become anxious about our children's futures when they reach adolescence, and feel that we have to impart all our wisdom to them before they graduate from high school. This results in teens feeling they are being “talked at” rather than being “talked with”; usually the more we really listen, the more our teens may be encouraged to talk. Give it a try - - hopefully, you'll be pleasantly surprised!

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 www.acs-teens.org or 
call Pam Garfield, LCSW Site Director at Gunn (650) 849-7919. ACS relies on the generosity of community 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!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra


QUARTETS FOR HIRE
Looking for something to make an upcoming event special?  PACO's most experienced members are available to perform at weddings, parties, award shows, and wherever else you might need beautiful music.  Please click here to contact our ensemble department.
UPCOMING CONCERTS
PACO
November 8, 7:30PM
Cubberley Theatre


Sinfonia
November 9, 3:00PM
Cubberley Theatre

Debut
November 15, 7:30PM
Covenant Presbyterian

PACO
December 14, 3:00PM
Cubberley Theatre

Preparatory
January 30, 7:30PM
Cubberley Theatre
SuperStrings
February 6, 7:30PM
Cubberley Theatre

For a complete list of performances, please visit our website.
CONTACT US
Join Our Mailing List


International Fare
Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra
Benjamin Simon, conductor
Mayumi Hama, marimba

Saturday, November 8th, 7:30PM
Cubberley Theatre - Free


We welcome to our first PACO concert a world famous marimba virtuosa, Japan'sMayumi Hama, to perform Rosauro's sizzling Brazilian concerto for marimba and strings.  From 18th century Austria, a brilliant divertimento from young Mozart and from the Soviet Union of the mid-20th century, Shostakovich's powerful and deeply personal String Symphony (String Quartet No. 8).


The concert will also feature PACO members performing movements from the chamber music repertoire, including Mozart's Viola Quintet, K. 514 and thePiano Quintet of Johannes Brahms, one of the towering works for that ensemble.


Join PACO and its five orchestras for another season of enthusiastic young people and spectacular music-making.  We'll present 14 concerts in Palo Alto over the year.  We sincerely hope you'll join us at one of them!  
Thanks for your continued support of PACO, and we hope to see you at one of the performances.
Sincerely,

Hans Hoffer, Manager
Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra

Thursday, October 16, 2014

WHAT IS "HOMECOMING"? 

What Gunn Events are Planned and Why Should You Care?
Homecoming is a long-standing tradition at many American high schools and colleges. It is a celebration of the school community and is a chance for current students to join with returning alumni and the rest of the school community to develop "school spirit" and camaraderie.
Here are two of many links to a full description of the American Homecoming tradition:
Each year, Gunn High School plans an entire week of events to bring students together to get to know each other, have fun, and develop a sense of belonging to the Gunn community. Homecoming week is organized primarily by the Gunn Student Activities Center (Lisa Hall, director) with help from the student leaders of each class (Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior Student Councils). Staff and teachers try to reduce the workload during that time, and many take part in the games and events themselves.
This year, Homecoming week is the week of October 27 and ends with the dance on Saturday November 1. The theme this year is "Gunn's Golden Anniversary Party"; a full list of events follows, but highlights include:
  • Competitions between the freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior classes held daily at brunch and lunch;
  • Students and staff will dress up in different costumes every day;
  • Night Rally: Thursday, October 30th, is the climax of the week, with float stuffing (2-7:00pm), and the fantastic Night Rally at 8 pm in the Titan Gym, with doors opening at 7:45pm. Tickets for Gunn students are on sale in the SAC starting October 20th until October 27th. Starting October 28th, tickets for the general public will go on sale until 4 pm on October 30th, or until sold out. Remaining tickets will be sold at the door. Cost is $3 for Gunn students and $5 for non-Gunn students and adults.
  • Dance: Saturday November 1, semi-formal. Date not needed! (Dress code enforced! page 25 of the student handbook: http://www.gunn.pausd.org/sites/default/files/GunnHandbook1415_Aug21.pdf)
    • Boys attire: Khakis, button-down shirt, with or without tie
    • Girls attire: dress but floor-length isn't necessary

For a full description of all the games and events planned, go to the Gunn Website ("For Students" tab, "Student Activities", "Campus Events"): https://sites.google.com/site/gunnstudentactivities/homecoming-week
Homecoming events are communicated broadly and frequently to all the students, in the hopes that each and every student will find an activity that appeals to them. Even if a student does something easy and uncomplicated - like watch the competitive games, dress-up with their class theme, or attend the rally (a favorite, this is when the Air Band contest happens!), come to the football game, or just affix one or two tissue-paper balls to the class float - they are almost assuredly going to experience "school spirit" and feel a part of the community - which is the goal!
According to Ms. Hall, the "top 5" events she suggests students take part in:
  • "Stuff a Bench" game
  • Help build/stuff their class float
  • Attend and watch the night rally
  • Go to Friday's football game and see the class floats at half time
  • Attend the semi-formal dance on Saturday

Encourage your student to attend any all activities, even if "ironically". They will be glad they did!
If you have any questions, please contact Lisa Hall: lhall@pausd.org.

GO GUNN TITANS!!

SELPA 1 CAC Parent Education Event: Transition to Adulthood

Life is full of transitions, and one of the more remarkable ones occurs when we get ready to leave high school and go out in the world as young adults. When the student has a disability, it’s especially helpful to plan ahead for that transition. In fact, IDEA requires it! If you are the parent or provider of a transition age youth, 14-21 years of age, come learn about plans for life after high school, transition goals, transition planning, and transition services. Bring your questions about transition and take home useful information related to transition. Loni Allen, an education specialist at Parents Helping Parents and a parent of two special young adults, will present an overview of the Individual Transition Plan (ITP) as you prepare your youth for adulthood.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Hospitality: 6:45pm
Meeting: 7 to 9 pm
Covington School Multi
205 Covington Road, Los Altos 94024

Transición a la Adultez: La vida está llena de transiciones, y uno de los más notables se produce cuando nos preparamos para salir de la escuela secundaria y salir al mundo comoadultos jóvenes. Cuando el estudiante tiene una discapacidad, es especialmente útil para planificar el futuro para esa transición. Si usted es el padre o el proveedor de un joven en edad de transición, de 14-21 años de edad, venir a aprender acerca de los planes para la vida después de la secundaria, las metas de transición, planificación de la transición, y los servicios de transición. Será presentado en Inglés.
Miércoles, 19 Noviembre 2014, 7 - 9 pm en la Escuela Primaria Covington Multi, 205 Covington, Los Altos, 94024. Para más información, consulte www.selpa1cac.org

This parent education event is sponsored by the SELPA 1 CAC (www.selpa1cac.org) an all-volunteer group of parents of children with special needs. Our service area includes all public school districts in Los Altos, Mountain View, and Palo Alto. All of our events are free and open to anyone who feels they might benefit. No registration is necessary.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

GUNN ATHLETIC PARTICIPATION DONATION

Please support the Gunn student-athletes by making your donation of $175 to the Gunn Athletic Department.
Parents of Gunn Student Athletes,
The Gunn Athletic Department needs your support.  Budget cuts and state regulations in recent years have eliminated all additional funding for high school sports and the District only pays for Coaches’ stipends. Your donation of $175 per athlete (per sport played) is the sole source of income for the Athletic Department to cover the expenses for our teams to compete.   These expenses include league/tournament fees, referees, bus transportation, medical supplies and some equipment necessary to compete.  The goal this year for the Athletic Department is 100% team participation for the athletic donation for all Gunn sports teams (fall, winter and spring).  We are currently at 60% participation for fall teams combined.
I have attended several team parent meetings for fall sports and here are some of the questions most asked by Gunn parents regarding this donation.
FAQ’S:
I already sent in a team donation that the coach requested, why do I need to donation $175?  
Team donations are separate from the athletic donation.  Your team donation is used for your team only for items your coach wants/needs for your team to compete.  The athletic donation is the income for the athletic department for all the teams at Gunn.  Those funds are used for tournament/competition fees, bus transportation to games, referees and medical supplies.  The only funds that the athletic department receives from the district are the stipend for the coaches so your donation is essential for the department.
Why are checks made out to Gunn Sports Boosters but the funds don’t go into the team accounts?  
In the past, checks for the athletic donation were made out to Gunn High School while team donations were made out to Gunn Sports Boosters.  These accounts have always been separated but this year they have been combined so that families would only have to write one check to pay for all their donations.  Gunn Sports Boosters then issues a check to the Gunn Athletic Department for the $175 donations and team donations go into the individual team accounts.
What accounts are there for the teams?  Is fundraising the same as the athletic donation?  
There are two accounts, Gunn Sports Boosters and Gunn Athletic Department.  Fundraising funds for your team goes into your team account …the athletic department does not have access or use any of those funds.  The athletic donation goes to the athletic department and is used to cover expenses for our teams to compete.
What percentage of the $175 athletic donation does my team receive?   
This donation is the sole income for the athletic department/all the athletic teams. The only funds the department receives from the District are for the coach’s stipend.  Each team does not receive a percentage of this donation but the expenses for all the teams to compete (tournament/competition fees, bus transportation to games, referees and medical supplies) are covered by this donation.
To make a donation, you can either donate by check (payable to Gunn Sports Boosters) and have your student/athlete give it to the Coach or donate online at  www.gunnsportsboosters.com. Please include your athlete's name and sport played when donating.  If the participation donation is a financial burden for your family, please consider giving what you can.  With a goal of 100% participation, every contribution is greatly appreciated.
Any additional questions, feel free to me at spainsdj@comcast.net.    Thank you for your support!
Thank you,
Jill M. Spain

Gunn High School Sports Boosters

Adolescent Counseling Services:  Allowing the family to grow and adapt as the needs and abilities of the family evolve.

by Jerod Gilbert, LMFT, Site Director at Jordan Middle School
When we were expecting our first child, a graduate school friend of mine said, “It’s not just the birth of a child, it’s the birth of a parent.” I laughed and thought this was a bit corny. The cliché has stuck with me, however, as we have grown as a family. Now that we have a second child, and we have both a daughter and a son, I continue to see the validity of the idea of the birth of the parent, and I see the work the children do that makes us better adults. None of us receive instructions. We continue to grow as parents as our children grow. In fact, a primary sign of a healthy family is that it continues to adapt as the needs, wants and abilities of its members change.
During adolescence, the family arrives at a new opportunity to adapt to the needs of the family. It is the first time our children seek to find their own identity outside of the family. It is the first time they consider: Who am I? How am I like my family? How am I not like my family? Before, it was not even an idea, a feeling or a sensation. Suddenly it becomes primary. Because we are social creatures who need connection with others to thrive, our middle-schoolers seek groups outside of the nuclear family in order to test out who they are. They push away from their family because they feel the pull towards other groups, all in service to discovering their own self.
You wonder about the fervent pull to the mall on the weekend. You don’t get it --why is your daughter Instragramming her drink? You are not supposed to get it. It is not for you to get. It is for her peer group – the people who are supporting her growing self-identity. Adolescents must struggle to discover their own identities. The struggle entails negotiating and trying to fit in. They do seek leadership, however, and over time they do develop a set of ideals and a sense of right and wrong. In the successful adolescent, these ideals are socially congruent and desirable. But it takes times, and many awkward trips to the mall, to get there.
By middle school, our children have been attending schools and camps, riding bikes, and playing sports for some time; their worlds have already expanded quite a bit and we, as parents, have already begun to reconcile that we as parents are no longer the complete authorities we once were, though we are still at the top of the list. Our task with adolescents is to continue surrendering to our children’s growth, but to do so with an understanding that the developmental task of adolescence is to form a personal identity. If the family successfully navigates this time, the children will ultimately form an identity that feels true and stable to them. If the family fails, the children may experience role confusion and a weak sense of self. The reward of the family’s successful navigation of adolescence results in a child who is self-assured versus self-conscious. We would all like to give our children this experience in the world. The process during this time is critical and generating a respect for their task may help you understand and support them through the challenge. 
But how exactly do we support them? As stated earlier, our children do not arrive with instructions. So we must struggle ourselves to find the right balance of guiding and following. We must guide them towards making healthy decisions and, in order to maintain a connection, we must sometimes follow them towards their interests, which may not be our own. Additionally, sometimes we must see the bigger picture and understand that we cannot even follow. As parents we can expect our children to experiment with different – usually constructive – roles, knowing that the alternative for them is to adopt a “negative identity” (such as delinquency). No matter what, sometimes they will act like jerks, but our ability to continue to tolerate and guide them has lasting benefits for the rest of their lives. Allowing our middle-schoolers to experiment and explore, while providing a safe and supportive home-base, provides the stability our children need to actually anticipate achievement, rather than to feel paralyzed by feelings of inferiority and uncertainty. 
Ultimately, we want our children to trust themselves. Trips to the mall provide an opportunity for them to try on different aspects of themselves, so do trips to the state park, the beach, church and other non-consumer activities. The good news is there are lots of adults who can be good role models. In our community there are lots of programs in which they can explore their roles and identities. Adolescent Counseling Services provides students with another venue to begin to understand the patterns and themes that are emerging within them and around them. It is another way for students to investigate their self-identity, but to do so with a supportive, trained professional who is there for them – not a parent, a teacher, a priest or a rabbi, but a counselor who is there to support their own unfolding self without a potentially competing agenda. This can be a very powerful experience for an adolescent.
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 www.acs-teens.org or call Pamela Garfield, LCSW Site Director at Gunn (650) 849-7919 . ACS relies on the generosity of community 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!

Parent Ed Night: October 23, 2014

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Gunn Boy's Lacrosse Fundraiser!

DONATE TO GOODWILL AT GUNN!!!
OCTOBER 18th & 19th
Donate your items to Goodwill & money raised will benefit the Gunn Boys Lacrosse team!
Doing some fall cleaning?….a Goodwill truck will be on the Gunn campus the weekend of October 18th & 19th from 9am. to 4pm.
The truck will be located near Gunn’s main office to provide easy access for you to drop off your items.
For your convenience, if you have items to donate prior to October 18th & 19th, Goodwill barrels will be located in front of the main office.

Thank you for contributing to Goodwill, your community and the Boys Lacrosse Team!!                   If you have any items weighing over 50 lbs., contact Cassandra Gencarella (mginx@sbcglobal.net) and we can arrange a Goodwill truck to come to your home. (Goodwill cannot take individual items weighing 50 lbs. or over at Gunn).



PRESS RELEASE

PALO ALTO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
25 Churchill Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Telephone:  (650) 329-3737
FAX:  (650) 321-3810
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  September 23, 2014
Contact:  Glenn “Max” McGee, Superintendent, (650) 329-3737
Judy Argumedo, Coordinator of Education Services, (650) 329-3736
Education Trust-West Report Identifies Palo Alto as a Top-Performing District Serving California’s English Learners, Uncovers Promising Practices for Student Success
PALO ALTO, CA – The Education Trust-West released a major report today, “The Language of Reform:  English Learners in California’s Shifting Education Landscape” that identified Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) as one of eleven districts with exemplary practices.  California serves 1.4 million English learners—more than any other state in the country and accounting for almost one-third of English learners in the entire U.S. Too often, these students face insufficient academic supports, ill-prepared teachers, and less rigorous coursework, causing them to struggle academically.  However, The Education Trust-West analysis identified a handful of districts that are breaking this pattern.  Of the three categories of districts, PAUSD was classified as “Other/Multilingual Districts” (where more than 50% of English learners speak languages other than Spanish and/or at least three languages are spoken by 10% of English learners).  In this category, PAUSD was one of the top four in the state.  
Superintendent Glenn “Max” McGee commented, “Our hard-working, dedicated staff members are to be commended for developing programs and practices to serve our array of English language learners.  We are proud of this recognition and hope we can share our best practices with other schools and districts as well as continue to learn and to improve upon our own efforts.  The work of The Education Trust-West is important not only for identifying successful examples of excellence, but also for focusing attention on the educational needs of this growing population.”
Valerie Cuevas, Interim Executive Director of The Education Trust–West, a statewide education policy, research, and advocacy organization that works to close the gaps in opportunity and achievement for students of color and students in poverty said, “The good news is there are districts across California that are serving English learners well. Given that 1 out of 4 students in California is an English learner, it is critical that we uncover and share the practices and strategies these districts are using to get results.” 
Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) agrees. “We must do everything we can to ensure our English learners succeed academically and acquire English proficiency. This means addressing and removing all potential barriers and applying best practices statewide.” 
The report includes an analysis of data from 276 unified school districts based on their performance on four indicators, including the California Standards Test (CST), English Language Arts (ELA) proficiency rates, California English Language Development Test (CELDT) advancement rates, long-term English learner rates, and reclassification rates. The Education Trust–West identified districts rising to the top on each metric, as well as eleven districts that performed well on 3 of the 4 indicators. 
“While each district has a different set of policies and practices, top-performing districts have a few things in common. They believe their students’ native languages are cultural and linguistic assets. They provide teachers with the professional development they need to support English learners. They give English learners access to Common-Core aligned curriculum and college preparatory courses. They also engage parents and create strong home-school connections.” 
By taking a comprehensive approach to the issue, the report also includes: 
  • detailed background information on who California’s English learners are and how state and national policies have shaped programs, services, and funding for English learner students 
  • case studies highlighting promising practices and strategies that have contributed to positive results for English learners in several of the top-performing districts 
  • a summary spreadsheet showing how all 276 unified school districts performed 
  • a review of Local Control and Accountability Plans to learn what programs and services top districts plan to provide to English learners. 

With reforms including the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP), and the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) dramatically shifting California’s education landscape, the report concludes with several policy recommendations to ensure action is taken to capitalize on these reforms to better serve English learners. 

On October 22, 2014, The Education Trust-West will host a webinar featuring leaders from top-performing districts who will share their effective practices and recommendations for ensuring English learners have access to the quality educational opportunities they deserve. 

Meeting the Challenges of the Twice-Exceptional Child 

Do you have a gifted learner who also struggles with learning or social challenges? Ms. Weistart will discuss how to meet the academic and social needs of a gifted learner with special needs, how to parent your unique child, and how to find support for both of you. Susan Weistart has been a certified teacher in both learning disabilities and gifted education for 20+ years with a master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction. Her master's research project was on the twice-exceptional learner. Ms. Weistart is the former academic coordinator for Arizona State University's Center for Academic Precocity and spent many years as a teacher of highly gifted students, many of whom were twice-exceptional.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 
Hospitality begins at 6:45pm
Meeting is 7 pm to 9 pm
Covington Elementary School Multi, 205 Covington, Los Altos 94024

This parent education event is sponsored by the SELPA 1 CAC (www.selpa1cac.org) an all-volunteer group of parents of children with special needs. Our service area includes all public school districts in Los Altos, Mountain View, and Palo Alto. All of our events are free and open to anyone who feels they might benefit. No registration is necessary.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Adolescent Counseling Services:  Know the Friends 

by Pamela Garfield, LCSW, Site Director of Gunn High School

Last year I had a great opportunity to lead a discussion of parents in the Sophomore Parent Network. Many parents in the group were worried about substance abuse and were wondering how to ask their children about drugs. ‘How do we communicate when they are growing so independent?’ ‘How do we remain in the know?’
Ahhh, the joys of raising a teenager...Therapists call this adolescent stage “Separation Individuation”. This is the phenomenon of your kid growing more independent and needing to learn life lessons on her own, yet still needs you as a base when she gets in over her head. One minute she is responsible, the next minute she is impulsive, immature, and clingy. What is a parent to do? How can one keep up?
The reality is even if you are the best parent in the world, it’s unlikely that your teenage son or daughter will tell you everything. This is especially true if there is a topic that is shameful or embarrassing. It’s part of normal development.
So what do you do if your independent teenager gets into trouble, how can you know? If a teen withdraws, a parent can feel stuck.
In the PTA meeting, a wise parent said “Get to know your child’s friends”. If your child is going through something they feel ashamed to talk to you about, the friends are more likely to tell you about it if they feel comfortable with you. 
The Palo Alto community has shifted in the last five years. Students are being trained in QPR - Question, Persuade, Refer - in their Living Skills classes (http://www.qprinstitute.com/) As a result, youth have learned to speak up about someone in trouble. Many have already had positive experiences talking to an adult about getting help for a friend. The community has learned to come together and help others. However, it can still be difficult for a struggling teen to talk to their parents about their 
As the new school year starts and your child is making new friends, take notice and interest in them. Notice who your child’s friends are because they may have shifted from last year. Be approachable and available to your child’s friends because they will probably be your most valuable resource. 

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 www.acs-teens.org or call Pamela Garfield, LCSW Site Director at Gunn (650) 849-7919. ACS relies on the generosity of community 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!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Miranda Drop-off and Bike Path Are OPEN!


A new campus path provides access from the upper bike path that runs parallel to Miranda and from Bol Park to new bike parking behind Building N.  For pedestrians and bicyclists coming from Arastradero, there are new pathways into campus via Miranda and additional new bicycle parking is now available between the Science and World Languages buildings (Buildings J and H).
For drivers, a new driveway with access from Miranda is open for student drop-offs only. There is no student, parent, or visitor parking at this location.  Also, no parking or standing is permitted in the Miranda drop-off zone. If your student is not immediately ready to be picked up, please park in the main Arastradero lot to wait. For student safety and to reduce driver delays, please adhere to these rules: 
  • Drop off passengers only from the lane closest to the sidewalk.   
  • Passengers must exit from the right (sidewalk side) of vehicles.
  • When exiting this driveway, all drivers must turn right on Miranda. Left turns are not permitted from the driveway exit, and they will be subject to ticketing.  
  • U-turns are illegal on Miranda Avenue and are subject to ticketing. 
  • No student drop-offs on Miranda. 

Respect the marked crosswalks where pedestrians and bikes will access campus. Please watch for them. 

Look for more information about commuting safely and conveniently to Gunn here http://www.gunn.pausd.org/transportation

Bike Repair Station at Gunn!


Over 800 people bicycle to Gunn each school day. Often these bicyclists need minor repairs of flat tires or loose seats, chains, and cables. 
This summer Ian Cramer (Gunn class of 2015) installed a do-it-yourself bike repair and pump station at Gunn for his Eagle Scout project. Ian raised $1,500 for the project from sponsors, including Gunn PTSA Traffic Safety and the Gunn 2015 Social Entrepreneurs, AJTutoring, Mike’s Bikes and Paradigm Counsel, among others. 

You can find the Bike Fixtation in the covered hallway in the Music Building P. The station includes a hex key set, Torx T-25, steel core tire levers, adjustable wrench, cone wrench, Phillips & standard screwdrivers, and tire pump. If you don’t know what those tools are, no worries. The station also includes smart phone links to videos and pictures with instructions on how to make minor repairs.

Parents of Children with IEPs, 504s or Learning Differences


You are not alone - get connected
Did you know that about 13% of students in PAUSD receive special services?  
Gunn has a PTA Special Ed/Inclusion Representative. Your parent volunteer rep is:
Stacey Ashlund
Your rep is there to support you and your family! Look for announcements from your rep. Connect with her to help you navigate PAUSD and community resources, and to build community at your school.
Here for you - the CAC for Special Education
PAUSD has an active community of parents of kids with special needs, many of whom have  IEPs or 504s. We have an advocacy group called the CAC for Special Education. Check out our website, events, and join our CAC Yahoo group:  
CAC 2014 Events will include:
  • Wed, October 22nd, UNITY Day – National Bullying Prevention Awareness
  • November IEP Workshop Series –Presented in partnership with Parents Helping Parents (PHP)
  • CAC Parent Support Group Meetings: 
  • 10-11 a.m. Tuesday September 2 
  • 7-8 p.m.. Thursday October 2
  • 7-8 p.m., Tuesday November 4 
  • 10-11 a.m., Thursday December 4, 7-8 p.m.
  • Dec 1-5 Inclusive Schools Week
  • And more! See your school eNews and cacpaloalto.org for more info