Thursday, October 16, 2014


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:
    • 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"):
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:


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

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.

Thursday, October 9, 2014


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.
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 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    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 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