Thursday, April 30, 2015

Can I take Hebrew as my foreign language?

If you are interested in taking Hebrew as your foreign language or continuing middle school studies, please come and join us at the Beged Kefet Hebrew Language Community School Open House
Thursday, May 21, 7:30 pm  (room E104)
The school is fully recognized and the grades appear on the official Gunn transcript. Meet the teachers; learn about our curriculum and get to know the school community. We would love to see you there!

For more information  or questions please contact Merav Steinberger-Arnold, Head of Beged Kefet Hebrew Language Community School at or (650) 223-8635.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Site Council Information

Congratulations to the 2015-2017 Site Council Parent Representatives!
Each year, two of the four parent representatives serving on Site Council come up for election. According to the revised Site Council bylaws, incumbent representatives can serve two consecutive terms (four years). Incumbents, Gwen Liang and Maggi Smeal opted not to seek re-election.  Newcomers Jane Dick, Liz Milner and Kathy Veit put their names on the ballot in March.  After a careful tally, Jane Dick and Liz Milner were elected to assume the two open seats for the next two years.  Kathy Veit will serve as alternate at the meetings when a parent cannot attend.  They will join Stacey Ashlund and Jyoti Sahdev representing Gunn parents for 2014-2016.
NEWLY ELECTED for 2015-2017:  
Jane Dick, Parent of Shep Dick, 9th grade - “I served on the Ohlone Elementary School Site Council for two years, including a year as chair.  In addition, I have chaired the boards of the Ohlone PTA, JLS Middle School Connections program, and Friends of Preschool Family, and I am currently serving as parliamentarian for the JLS PTA.  This year, as the parent of a Gunn freshman, I have been thrilled to be included in the WASC self-study as a member of the leadership team, attending all-day working retreats with staff, students, and other parents to work together to define the key Critical Learner Needs for Gunn’s next 6 years.  I am energized and challenged by opportunities to collaborate in our schools, to ask important questions, and to focus on solutions and improvements.  I would utilize my background of active, collaborative leadership in our schools, my willingness to learn and to listen, and my familiarity with our current WASC self-study to contribute to the Gunn community as a Site Council parent representative.”
Liz Milner, Parent of Abi, 12th grade and Emily, 9th grade “I have a graduating senior, a freshman and another future freshman coming in 18 months, so I'll be invested in Gunn for a while. Having sat on the WASC leadership team for the last six months I have a vision of what Gunn will focus on for the next six years and how we are hoping to go about that. I am a minister in a Palo Alto church and have volunteered as a chaplain in the jail so I'm used to difficult meetings and intense situations in many sectors of society! I used to be a high school math teacher in London so I feel I can bridge the parent-teacher gap with some understanding of both groups. Finally I love the community at Gunn and have suffered along with my kids and their friends over recent tragic situations. I'm hopeful for solutions that don't simply put a "band aid" on but are lasting, compassionate and realistic for teachers, students and parents.”

For more information on Gunn's Site Council, contact Rene' Hart, Gunn's Site Council Coordinator at (650) 849-7932 or email to:

SELPA 1 CAC parent education event

Let's Talk  -  A chance to ask questions and share ideas, resources, and support with other parents of students with IEPs, 504s, learning differences, mental health challenges, etc. All are welcome, participants must respect confidentiality.  
Monday May 11, 2015
10 am to 12 noon
Los Altos Library Community Room
13 South San Antonio Road, Los Altos
Mark your calendars - future meetings will be:  
  • Monday June 8, 7pm to 9 pm  
  • Monday July 13, 10 am to 12 noon  
  • Monday August 10, 7pm to 9 pm

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, April 16, 2015

Teen Dating Violence

By Maria Horwich, LMFT Site Director, Redwood High School
Adolescence is an exciting and turbulent time for many of our teens. It is at this age that many of our children start dating. Many parents I meet are surprised that teen relationships are sometimes abusive.  In a nationwide survey, 9.4 percent of high school students reported being hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend in the 12 months prior to the survey. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey). About 1 in 5 women and nearly 1 in 7 men who ever experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner, first experienced some form of partner violence between 11 and 17 years of age (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey). We know that teen dating violence affects all races, religions, sexual orientation and socio-economic status. 
As teens develop emotionally, they are strongly influenced by their relationship experiences. Healthy relationship behaviors can have a positive effect on a teen’s emotional development. Unhealthy, abusive or violent relationships can cause both short and long term negative effects to the developing teen. Victims of teen dating violence are more likely to do poorly in school, and report binge drinking, suicide attempts, and physical fighting. Victims may also carry unhealthy behaviors and violence into future relationships.
We know that domestic violence is a learned behavior. Adolescents are getting messages about what is and is not acceptable in a relationship from their friends, family, and the media on a daily basis. Unfortunately, many of these messages communicate that violence in a relationship is okay, and/or that violence is an acceptable way to express anger. Violence is never acceptable. 
Is my child at risk? 
Risks of having unhealthy relationships increase for teens who:
  • Believe it's okay to use threats or violence to get their way or to express frustration or anger.
  • Use alcohol or drugs.
  • Can't manage anger or frustration.
  • Hang out with violent peers.
  • Have multiple sexual partners.
  • Have a friend involved in dating violence.
  • Are depressed or anxious.
  • Have learning difficulties and other problems at school.
  • Don't have parental supervision and support.
  • Witness violence at home or in the community.
  • Have a history of aggressive behavior or bullying

As parents, we are constantly modeling behaviors for our children. The best way to prevent your child from ending up in an abusive relationship is to model healthy behavior for them. Rather than hide all conflict from your children, let them see you and your partner work through a conflict while managing uncomfortable emotions like anger and jealousy, and treating others with respect. Show your kids that a conflict does not automatically mean screaming and throwing things.
Make sure that you speak to your child about what healthy and unhealthy relationships look like. Talk to them about boundaries- what they are, how to set them and what to do when someone violates a boundary. Teach them about the difference between being assertive and being aggressive and when such behaviors are acceptable.
Strive to maintain open communication with your teen. Make sure they know that if they are in a relationship they are unsure of, they can come to you. Avoid shaming your child- this is negative reinforcement and will likely cause your teen to keep things from you. You want to make sure that your child knows what is healthy and that they can come to you for help.
What To Look For:
There are several signs that your child may be in an abusive relationship. This includes a partner who acts jealous and controlling (this could look like monitoring your child’s phone, telling them what clothes they can and cannot wear); your child is spending all their time with the partner and dropping friends and activities; your teen appears to be depressed or angry; your child has unexplained injuries.
Unfortunately, only 40% of victims seek help. Of those that do, 3% tell an authority figure, 6% tell a family member, 75% tell a friend. This tells us that a teen in this situation is far more likely to tell a friend than an adult. Teens tell me they don’t want their parents to know because they feel ashamed (how could I have picked such a person?)  or they fear judgment and/or punishment from their parents. What you can do is let your child know that their safety is your number one concern and that if they come to you for help you will provide it- without shame or punishment.

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!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Show Your Titan Pride!

For all you Gunn sports your favorite Titan team with a personalized blanket or tote.  The bleacher blanket is water-resistant material on one side, and soft fleece on the other side.  The tote is made of durable, wipeable material with 2 interior pockets and 5 exterior pockets and the bleacher blanket fits inside with room to spare for other spectator essentials!  See the attached order form for details and ordering options.  For questions, please email Susan at