Thursday, September 25, 2014

Gunn Boy's Lacrosse Fundraiser!

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 ( and we can arrange a Goodwill truck to come to your home. (Goodwill cannot take individual items weighing 50 lbs. or over at Gunn).


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 ( 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 ( 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 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!