Tuesday, March 25, 2014

SELPA 1 CAC parent education event

Environmental Toxins and Disabilities: What if the greatest chemical disaster of our time involves lower levels of exposure, inflicted over generations and affecting every person on the planet? The result: rising rates of everything from cancer to autism to infertility. The Human Experiment, produced and directed by Sean Penn, is a film that follows a band of unlikely activists who are fighting back. They'll go head-to-head with the powerful and well-funded chemical industry to uncover a system that's been hidden from consumers. Los Altos resident Dana Nachman, who made this film, will show the film and then answer questions.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
meeting is 7 to 9 pm. 
Hospitality begins at 6:45pm
Covington Elementary School Multi, 205 Covington, Los Altos 94024.
This parent education event is sponsored by the SELPA 1 CAC (www.selpa1cac.org) All of our events are free and open to anyone who feels they might benefit. No registration is necessary.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Site Council

for Your 2014-2016 Gunn HS Site Council Parent Representatives
We are pleased to present the following slate of parent-candidates for the 2014-2016 Site Council. Each year, two of the four parent representatives serving on Site Council come up for re-election. According to Site Council bylaws, incumbent representatives can only serve two consecutive terms (four years). This year, Geoff Butner and Becky Thomas will retire their seats. Geoff and Becky served two years of distinguished service to Gunn’s Site Council. Thanks to Geoff Butner and Becky Thomas who have graciously offered their services to our community.
Please vote for TWO (2) candidates and either fax, mail or email it to the Site Council office here at Gunn by the Thursday, March 20 deadline. Please email your e-ballot to rhart@pausd.orgPlease include your Gunn student's name and grade on your e-ballot. 
If you have any questions about the election process or the Site Council, please call the office (650) 849-7932) or email rhart@pausd.org. Election results will be announced in next month’s Gunn Connection. VOTE NOW!!! 
STACEY ASHLUND, Parent of Brendan Creemer (9th grade)
I served on site council at Juana Briones for 2 years. We tracked and assessed progress on programs for ELL, Language Arts, and Special Education. I’ve served on the(CACC Community Advisory Committee) for Special Education since 2009 and currently serve as vice-chair with inclusion and organize parent ed events. I’ve been PIE chair at Terman (2 years) and co-chair at Gunn (1 year). I’m on the PIE Advisory Board and the City of Palo Alto Parks and Recreation Commission. I consult in User ExperienceResearch and Design. I have a 6th grader at Terman and a 9th grader at Gunn. I’m excited to help serve on site council at Gunn. Go Titans!
TERRY CONNELLY, Parent of Lianna McFarlane-Connelly (11th grade) and Kaelyn McFarlane-Connelly (8th grade - JLS)
My wife Jennifer McFarlane and I live at 561 Jackson Drive in Palo Alto with out two daughters, Lianna McFarlane-Connelly, who is currently a junior at Gunn, and her sister Kaelyn MCFarlane-Connelly, an 8th grader in the Connections program at JLS who has applied to join her sibling at Gunn next year as a freshman. 
My background includes a career as a corporate lawyer at the Cravath firm in New York and London; managing director and chief of staff of investment banking at Salomon Brothers; head of investment banking at Cowen & Company; and director of strategic advisory services at Ernst & Young in Australia (where I also taught a graduate business school class on strategic management). I served for seven years as dean (now emeritus) of the Ageno School of Business at Golden Gate University, and for six years on the Board of Trustees of Sofia University here in Palo Alto, as well as prior service on the Board of the Trevor Day School in New York City. I am now semi-retired and would highly value the opportunity to work with you on the Site Council.
JANE DICK, Parent of Shepherd (“Shep”) Dick (8th grade) 
I have extensive experience collaborating on parent-staff teams and would love to volunteer my time and efforts for the Gunn Site Council. I served for two years on the Ohlone Elementary Site Council, including one year as chair. I have also held several board-level positions in the Ohlone PTA, the JLS PTA, and the Palo Alto PTA Council (Ohlone: Secretary, VP Communications, co-President, President; JLS: Parliamentarian; PTAC: co-Secretary). I have also enjoyed serving as the co-Chair of the Connections Board at JLS for two years, and I am finishing up 6 years on the Friends of Preschool Family board, the last 3 as president. I volunteer my time in these ways because I value the amazing communities of parents and staff members at our schools, and I see these collaborative groups as important contributors to the vibrancy of our schools and Palo Alto community.
RAMJI DIGUMARTHI, Parent of Pieter Digumarthi-Dykstra (10th grade) 
I volunteer at the library and am the co-coordinator for the 2016 Parent Network. I also work with the Fairmeadow Elementary School PTA and served on their school site council. 
POLLY DIFFENBAUGH, Parent of Aaron Rohit Diffenbaugh (9th grade), Elanor Diffenbaugh (7th grade), and Lucia Diffenbaugh (4th grade)
I am interested in serving on the Gunn Site Council for 2014-16. I have a freshman student at Gunn now and I will have another student starting after next year. I currently work at the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP) as a pre-service teacher mentor and lecturer. I am a former middle and high school science teacher and I have experience with schools and school systems in California. I served on the site council at Barron Park Elementary from 2010-2012, and so have experience with creating and evaluating site plans and working as a team with administrators, teachers, students and other parents. I am interested in working to support the student body, teachers and parents of Gunn High School and in bringing my educational expertise to the group as a parent representative of the site council. 
MANUEL GUERRERO, Parent of Michael Werer (10th grade)
More than 10 years experience in finance activities, six of them in non-profits and three in a peninsula school. Served as Alternate Parent on Gunn Site Council this past year. Participating in our school activities sends two important messages: First, it means appreciation and support for the school staff. Second, it shows our kids, how important their education is. 
LUCY HSU, Parent of Jarrod Hsu (10th grade), Atticus Kelem (10th grade), and Jasmine Kelem (8th grade)
I have 30+ years of experience as a volunteer and board member for multiple education non-profits, including financial responsibilities. I have several years of experience working on and with the board of a corporate foundation, including the selection of grant recipients.  
OLGA KNAUER, Parent of Nicole Knauer (9th grade) 
I am a strong believer in high-quality education, and this was the major factor for our relocation to Palo Alto, which doesn't make me unique, right? As a mother and an immigrant, I know and appreciate the diversity in our schools and welcoming atmosphere for all cultural and social economical backgrounds. PAUSD, with its excellent staff, challenging curriculum, fun extra opportunities, and safe environment help our kids to thrive. 
Watching my daughter going through Nixon, Terman, and now heading to Gunn, I can not be happier as a parent. I feel that now it is my time to "pay back", volunteering as Site Council. I asked myself: "what can I contribute, if selected?" Having 15+ years experience as a software engineer for companies like Sony, Transamerica, etc., working with financial applications, I prove to be an analytical, conservative decision maker. Teaching the last two years different computer science disciplines to adults, I better understand a student's perspective and differences. If given an opportunity, I will bring a passion for safe, challenging, welcoming schools for EVERY student in PAUSD.
LIZ MILNER, Parent of Abi (11th grade), Emily (8th grade), and Thomas (6th grade)
I have been involved in various ways with my kids in the school district including pioneering "Hoover Helping Hands" - a community support and resource group at Hoover that galvanized the community whenever a teacher, employee, student or family had a need, and I'm a parent network coordinator at Terman. I've been a room parent more often than I can remember. I have a daughter who is currently a Junior and an upcoming Freshman and a 6th grader so I'll be at Gunn for a while.
I am a minister in a local church and have extensive experience in dealing with people, kids, parents, and also helping an organization make decisions and implement vision. I have done much conflict resolution and counseling of many different types of people. I oversee much of the event and organizational planning at my office, and manage others and several budgets. I have also had experience in working as a volunteer chaplain at a local jail, with inmates of all backgrounds, faiths and needs, and am currently exploring connections with a hospice. Before I moved to America I was a high school math teacher in London and my first degree is in mathematics and I'm now a Masters student locally. I'd love to help Gunn move forward in a positive, excellent and caring way. 
SAMMY OH, Parent of Matthew Oh (9th grade), two younger sons (5th grade and 7th grade)
I have previously been on the Site Council at Hoover Elementary and am currently on the Site Council at Terman Middle School. Professionally, I have been in the Investment Management industry for over 20 years and am currently a Managing Director at Palisade Capital Management, where I manage over $2 billion in assets. I currently volunteer my time with my sons' Boy Scout Troop and have previously coached a number of my sons' sports teams. Education has always been a keen interest of mine and I have a vested interest in Gunn's success, given that I will eventually have three sons that will attend the school. 
JYOTI SAHDEV, Parent of Arjun Sahdev (10th grade)
I have three children, one of whom attended Gunn high school and graduated in 2007. Currently, I have a sophomore, Arjun Sahdev. Last year I had the pleasure of serving on the Gunn Advisory Committee. It was hard, yet worthwhile, work where we worked on student needs first and foremost. The GAC, similar to the Site Council, was a collaborative effort with members from students, teachers, administrators and parents. After participating on the GAC, I learned how the school operates. All the stakeholders have to work together. Lastly, I work as a family dental surgeon and own my office. All business decisions related to the running of my office are made by me. I would like to be considered for Site Council. 
JOANNA SCHLOSS, Parent of Andrew Schloss (10th grade) and younger daughters (Middle and Elementary School)
I have been an excited and passionate member of the JLS site council for the last few years. I also served for many years on the Palo Verde Site council. I love being on the Site Council as I feel that a holistic view of the school can be achieved through this portion of the school's governing body. Interestingly enough, I was a student representative on the Gunn Site council between the years of 1987 and 1988. For me, this could be the complete cycle of serving our district.
NIBEDITA SHARMA, Parent of Saurav (Neil) (10th grade) 
I have been a Gunn parent since 2005 and have participated in PTA and various events. I have a strong bond with Gunn and would love to contribute and participate in any way I can. Being a Program Manager at Cisco, I have extensive experience in managing projects as well as funds, and feel that I can provide valuable support in decision making situations. I will help in making the right choice taking into consideration all aspects of the situation. 
Vote for 2 candidates either on paper or electronically by MARCH 20. 
 Voters must have a student now at Gunn. One ballot per household, please. 
Stacey Ashlund
Terry Connelly 
Jane Dick 
Ramjiu Digumarthi 
Polly Diffenbaugh
Manuel Guerrero
Lucy Hsu 
Olga Knauer 
Liz Milner 
Sammy Oh 
Jyoti Sahdev 
Joanna Schloss 
Nita Sharma 
Your Gunn Student’s Name: ______________________________________ Grade: ____________
Mail:  Gunn HS Site Council: 780 Arastradero Road, Palo Alto, CA 94306 
Fax:  Gunn HS Site Council: (650) 493 - 7801 

Adolescent Counseling Services

Erasing the Stigma of Mental Illness 
by Katie Luce, LMFT Site Director of Jordan Middle School and Redwood Continuation High School
Stigma regarding mental illness is an issue that needs to be addressed, even in our educated and progressive community. We must be careful about the words we use, especially in front of our children, and work to educate others in our community about mental illness. Stigma exists due to fear and misinformation and creates isolation and discrimination. Silence perpetuates the stigma, so starting a dialogue is an important part of educating those who have not experienced mental illness.
One of the best ways one can help someone with mental illness is by understanding what it is and what it isn’t. After all, myths about mental illness contribute to stigma, which in turn prevents those who are living with mental illness from seeking help.
Scientists believe that mental illness is a disorder of the brain and has many causes from genetics to other biological, environmental and social/cultural factors. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (www.nami.org) 1 in 4 adults - approximately 61.5 million Americans - experiences mental illness in a given year. It is estimated that one in 17 − about 13.6 million − live with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder. Approximately 20% of youth ages 13 to 18 experience severe mental disorders. For ages 8 to 15, the estimate is 13%.
Fortunately, mental illness is treatable through medication and psychotherapy, and there is abundant evidence that those who engage in treatment can lead full and productive lives. Unfortunately, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (www.samhsa.org), more than 50% of adults and 70% of children and adolescents are not receiving any treatment for their mental illness.
If one thinks there are signs of mental illness, the first person one should see is the family doctor. A physician can determine whether the symptoms of concern are due to mental illness, some other medical condition, or both. If a mental disorder is diagnosed, the next step is to see a mental health professional. It’s important to choose a mental health professional with whom one feels comfortable, because working as a team and creating a plan together to treat the mental disorder is imperative. 
Creative outlets such as music, art, and journaling are positive coping strategies that are often suggested as part of treatment. Exercise and stress management techniques such as meditation, can also be helpful.
Family support is a very important part in the treatment and recovery of a person with a mental illness. The National Alliance on Mental Illness provides a monthly newsletter which is an excellent resource for finding local support groups that can educate and give comfort and knowledge to family members.
Popular figures speaking in the media about their experiences with mental illness have been an enormous help in erasing stigma. One example of a well-known figure who chose to discuss mental illness publicly is actress Glenn Close. She co-founded Bringchange2mind.org, a national anti-stigma campaign aimed at removing misconceptions and discrimination about mental illness. The idea was born out of a partnership between Glenn Close and Fountain House, where Glenn volunteered to learn more about mental illness because her sister, Jessie Close, has bipolar disorder and her nephew, Calen Pick, has schizophrenia. Bringchange2mind.org offers many stories of hope written by individuals affected with mental illness, and provides many ideas about how to become involved in the cause. 
Another popular figure who courageously has spoken about her own mental health issues is Demi Lovato, former teen star and X- Factor judge. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2010 and has embraced the chance to speak out about her self-harming behavior, eating disorder and depression. She is contributing her efforts to an anti-bullying campaign for girls called “Mean Stinks” (www.meanstinks.com). Demi was recently quoted in the Winter 2014 BP Magazine, a publication serving those with bipolar disorder (www.bphope.com) saying, “I want to be the person for other girls that I needed to admire when I was looking for help and strength.”
The same issue of BP Magazine featured Shelby Tewten, a former American Idol contestant. Her story helps illustrate how effective coping strategies can help in the treatment of mental illness. “Singing is my greatest coping mechanism,” says Shelby, who opened up about having bipolar as a contestant on American Idol’s 11th season. “Writing music calms me.” Shelby, now 19, was still in elementary school when she discovered music’s ability to soothe her emotions and quiet her mind. After attending a Christian convention in ninth grade, she found that singing was also a way to reach out to others. Shelby remembers an arena filled with 3,000 teenagers, all joined in song, all moved by the music and the moment. That’s when her musical aspirations crystallized. Shelby says she never thought twice about going public with her diagnosis on national television. Her mother, Karrey Tweten, admits to having some concerns. “I didn’t want her announcement to overshadow her talent,” Karrey says. “But Shelby told me that [having] bipolar is who she is. She’s not ashamed of her condition, and she thought being candid might help others.” “Idol not only showed me how strong I was, it also allowed me to reach 
thousands of people of all different ages with my story,” Shelby says. “I’ve received many letters from people who say they appreciate everything I’m doing to erase the stigma associated with bipolar.”
Tips for Talking about Mental Illness from Bringchange2mind.org
Words are very powerful, so choose your words wisely: Learn about the impact your words can have on those with mental illness. 
  • When we say someone is "crazy" or "that's totally mental" we're perpetuating stereotypes.
  • Eliminate the phrase "suffers from mental illness". Instead, choose, "lives with mental illness" or "is affected by mental illness".
  • When we say a person is "schizophrenic," we make their mental illness fully define their complete identity. Instead, be clear that this is a disease that individuals manage and live with, e.g. "he is living with schizophrenia".
  • There are many phrases and terms; "crazy," "nuts", "psycho", "schiz", "retard" and "lunatic" that may seem insignificant, but really aren't.
  • While there may be times when it is too challenging or simply not possible to politely correct someone else's insensitive use of language, you can always watch your own. 

National Alliance on Mental Illness (www.nami.org)
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (www.samhsa.org)
BP Magazine (www.bphope.com)
When Nothing Matters Anymore: A Survival Guide for Depressed Teens, Bev Cobain, R.N. (2007)
Behind Happy Faces: Taking Charge of Your Mental Health, A Guide for Young Adults, by Ross Szabo and Melanie Hall (2010)

Adolescent Counseling Services is a community non-profit, which provides vital counseling services on eight 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, 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!
YouthStartup - SAT+ACT Prep and/or TeenStartup 
Spring Break:  March 31 - April 4 or Summer: June 9 - 13
Gunn Room C4
Youth Startup is dedicated to fostering learning through entrepreneurial problem solving and internship. Youth Startup is offering classes (M-F, 9-3) for grades 9-12th.  Register for either week’s AM, PM or both (best value).  To see the flyer click here.
  1. SAT+ACT Prep (AM): Reach your best scoring potential for both tests. Effective and efficient lessons/practices
  2. TeenStartup & leadership (PM): Start a project to learn life lessons. Explore career interests. Improve your chances of getting into your reach school. Build leadership & critical thinking skills.  

Enter YoungVisionaryContest to win >$1000 awarded at participating incubators.
Kathy Smith, info@youthstartup.com408-256-0050

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra

The Genius of Youth - Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra
Antoine van Dongen, conductor
Annie Ku, piano
Saturday, March 8th, 7:30PM
Cubberley Theatre - Free
Felix Mendelssohn was 12 years old when he composed his tenth string symphony, a precocious blend of his two favorite composers, Bach and Mozart.  Benjamin Britten was 21 when he wrote his dynamic (and difficult!)  Simple Symphony, and Shostakovich was all of 27 for his brilliant, bitter first piano concerto, which features PACO concerto competition winner Annie Ku.  We also welcome Antoine van Dongen to the podium; he was a violinist in Amsterdam's famed Concertgebouw Orchestra for many years and here makes his PACO conducting debut.
The concert will also feature PACO members performing movements from the chamber music repertoire, including Arensky's lone string quartet, the finale of a late Schubert quartet, and Grazyna Bacewicz's masterful Quartet for 4 violins.
New Member Auditions:
PACO is currently seeking motivated young musicians to join our orchestras next season.  Our blend of small orchestras and chamber ensembles is a unique opportunity in the San Francisco Bay Area, and the skills developed at PACO are applicable in many fields outside of music.  Do you know someone who might be a good fit for the Bay's premier training ground for young string players?  Audition info can be found here.
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.
PACO:  March 8th, 7:30PM - Cubberley Theatre
Preparatory:  May 16th, 7:30PM - Cubberley Theatre
PACO:  May 17th, 7:30PM - Cubberley Theatre
SuperStrings:  May 30th, 7:30PM - Cubberley Theatre
Debut Ensemble:  May 31st, 7:30PM - Cubberley Theatre
Sinfonia:  June 1st, 3:00PM - Cubberley Theatre
For a complete list of performances, please visit our website.

CONTACT US:  www.pacomusic.org - info@pacomusic.org - (650) 856-3848

Parent Education

Managing Parental Stress:
A Toolkit for Parents of Children with Special Needs
Date: March 20, 2014 
Place: Barron Park Elementary School MP Room, 800 Barron Ave., PA 94306 
Time: 7-9pm……Hospitality begins at 6:45pm 
The Goal: To assist parents in identifying sources of stress, understand their impact, and look at areas of support so that they can create a plan that will give them a better sense of balance.
Please Note: This event is  intended for an adult audience. 
About our Speaker: Dr. Marci Schwartz, LCSW, PhD has been working with families of children with special needs for over 20 years specializing in autism spectrum disorder.  Dr. Schwartz will address various disabling conditions and their impact on families.  Our speaker runs parent support groups and has a private practice in Los Gatos. She also runs Camp Altitude for kids with social-cognitive challenges at Menlo College in Atherton. 

Sponsored by the Community Advisory Committee for Special Education, Palo Alto School District. We are a volunteer group of parents in Palo Alto that provides advice to the district’s special education administrators and the board of education on matters pertaining to special education. We support parents through: parent education programs, special events, a website (http://cacpaloalto.org) and a yahoo discussion group. Our events are free.