Paly Community Update

Friday, February 12, 2021

Hello Viking Families!

During this week’s school board meeting, the school board supported the proposal to reopen secondary schools with a potential 9-12th grade student start date of March 9, 2021. The specific wording of the proposal states: “secondary teachers will return to their classrooms on March 1 or the day after we return to Red Tier if the shift occurs after March 1. Five days after we return to Red Tier (or the first Monday), in-person instruction returns for secondary students.”

Although we have been anticipating the reopening of Paly for quite some time, with this new proposal, we are quickly working through several of the details of the anticipated return so that we are absolutely prepared to provide both students and staff with a safe learning environment. In an effort to provide you with additional information to help increase the understanding of the return to school proposal, here are some points to consider:

  • No changes of schedule and no "commitment" process.

  • Students are divided into two groups by alphabet.

  • Monday's schedule remains the same (distance learning).

  • Students who wish to attend in-person would go through their ENTIRE SCHEDULE two days per week in a "Zoom from the room" model.

  • If students aren't feeling well, don't care for in-person, or need to quarantine, they can simply follow the Zoom lesson from home.

  • Teachers are in their rooms with some number of students while using Zoom. When they reach the "practice" portion of the lesson, they can work with kids in the room.

  • It was agreed not to mandate or prohibit live-streaming.

  • Teachers will have two asynchronous days to prep prior to student return

  • Both Paly and Gunn will shift to a closed campus in order to allow the ability to conduct contact tracing, if necessary.

  • PAUSD will provide all students with free lunches or student can bring their own lunch.

I understand that there are several things to consider, regarding the choice of returning back to campus once we are allowed to do so. This decision needs to be made individually and should be done with the understanding that there are guidelines and expectations that must absolutely be followed by both students and staff. Specifically, the top three expectations that must be adhered to include:

  • Staff and students must wear face coverings at all times while on campus

  • Social distancing must be maintained at all times

  • Initially, for this opening, Paly will shift to a closed campus. Students are not allowed to leave and come back to campus at any time during the school day.

Early next week, we will send you additional information about the return to in-person instruction, so that our students and families can decide for themselves whether or not this model is of interest to them. Additionally, we will be sending out a short survey to our students in order for us to accurately divide our students into two evenly sized groups. This survey is non-binding and will be used for planning purposes only.

I hope that all of you have an enjoyable three-day weekend and are able to find time to relax and enjoy time with your family.


Brent Kline, Principal

Paly Guidance Updates


It’s Course Selection time in Advisory. Please remind your students that their choices now dictate what classes are offered next year when our AP of Guidance builds the Master Schedule.

Your students have been working with their TAs during class time discussing available courses. The Paly Course Catalog can be found HERE. It has all the class offerings and great descriptions about each one. There are also helpful flowcharts that let you see the course progression within departments. Current Science, Math, and World Language teachers have had discussions with the students about which next class is appropriate for them.

We have scheduled turn-in dates for Course Selection materials during the following Advisories:

  • 11th Grade - Feb 17 & 19

  • 10th Grade - Feb 24 & 26

  • 9th Grade - Feb 17, 19, 24 & 26

Your student’s TA will schedule an individual appointment time to review course selections.

A few things to remember: student and parent/guardian need to sign the course selection form before student uploads it to the assignment on Schoology. If your child has a case manager, their signature is needed.

If your student is signing up for an AP class, they must fill out and submit the AP Contract found HERE.

To make it easy to sign these documents, we are offering an electronic signature program called KAMI. For more detailed information, watch this presentation.

One final note, the Course Selection window officially closes on Feb 28th. After that time, your student will no longer be able to view/access/print their selections. We recommend printing a personal copy for your records.

College & Career Center

Borrowing Books from the C&CC Resource Library

The C&CC will resume book loaning from our resource library, in a limited capacity, during school closure. Students should review our inventory list and complete a request form to borrow a particular title for one week.

In partnership with the Paly library, students pick up and return books from the Performing Arts Center (PAC) ticket window (see map). Books will be available for pick up on Thursdays from 3-4:30 pm and need to be returned on Tuesdays or Thursdays from 3-4:30pm. Please read detailed information, here.

Update Regarding Palo Alto College Fair

Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, the 2020 Palo Alto College Fair which was initially postponed, has since been cancelled. Next fall, Henry M. Gunn will be hosting the Palo Alto College Fair on Monday, October 11th 2021; it will be held on campus with tiered entry for Paly and Gunn students.

College fair attendance will be limited in accordance with state and county COVID 19 guidelines for the number of college reps and participants allowed, following protocols outlined by colored-coded COVID 19 transmission caution tiers provided by the state. Participants and college reps will have to wear masks or face coverings and follow any state and county guidelines for social-distancing when interacting with others.

The Palo Alto College Fair will be for Paly and Gunn students only. Priority for registration and entrance will be given to seniors and juniors. The fair will not be able to accommodate sophomores, freshman or parents in 2021. More information about the fair will be available in the early fall. For questions, please contact Leighton Lang:

Families are encouraged to participate in virtual college fairs this Spring; visit fair sponsor’s websites for dates, information, and registration details:


Mark your calendars for Wellness Family & Parent Night! Join us on Tuesday, March 23rd at 7pm to learn about what Wellness resources are available for your family and child and ways to support your child’s mental health. We will also be sharing a form for families to submit their questions ahead of time. We look forward to seeing you then!

This week’s Wellness Tip is about finding new ways to practice mindfulness. As much as science says that mindfulness and meditation is good for us--and there are studies that say it can make us happier, healthier, more focused, and better at managing stress--for many of us, including our students, trying to sit quietly and calm our minds is a lot harder than it sounds. The good news is, there are alternatives that can still provide mindful benefits. First, it's important to know, if you’ve ever tried meditation to "clear your mind" and feel like you're failing because you can't stop thinking--don't worry, you're not doing it wrong; you're just human. The purpose isn't to stop thinking, just to slow down, put some distance on your thoughts, and learn to focus on them one at a time. So if you're a person who has a hard time sitting still, try following a quiet yoga or stretching routine. Or, if you hate the quiet, try listening to music--and try to concentrate purely on the music. Another alternative is mindful eating, where you slow down and focus on your five senses while eating and savoring your food or drink. At the end of the day, the best mindfulness practice is the one you will actually do, so give it a try!

Community Service

Community Service Spring Reporting, President's Volunteer Service Award (PVSA) submission

PVSA submission deadline: February 12 - March 1, 2021

Follow these instructions to report community service hours and request a PVSA:

Step 1: Record your hours on HelperHelper

Step 2: Fill out the following Google form per your class:

Class of 2021

Class of 2022

Class of 2023

Class of 2024

For more information visit The Paly Community Service page.

Summer School Update

All updates will be on the following PAUSD website and will be updated the week of February 22nd:

Living Skills

The district is planning to offer a variety of in-person courses for all students at all levels ​this summer if that is feasible in Santa Clara County. ​We have an obligation to use the summer primarily ​for our credit recovery students, of which we have many after an extended period of ​distance learning online. We care for every student we serve, ​and we want to make sure every student is on track for graduation.

We are limited by staff who want to teach this summer due to the pandemic ​which is further compounded by the need for, staff who are properly trained to teach Living Skills. The Living Skills course has a huge component that is dedicated to developing trust, relationships and having a space to decompress. The summer is not designed to foster this kind of dynamic ​and students benefit more from the course when it is taken during the regular school year.

We appreciate your flexibility during this challenging time and hope you understand that we are doing our best to make choices about the summer that benefit all of our students.

  1. Perhaps make Living Skills distance learning only for the summer so that the number of seats is not limited by county and state COVID-related requirements. PAUSD does plan to have Living Skills Distance learning to increase seats.
  2. Consider increasing class size to the maximum allowable We are doing this as well. Last year and this year we will go to 35-40 students per teacher.
  3. Consider increasing class size beyond the maximum allowable and adding a co-teacher (without the required Living Skills certification) to help with the workload. Adding a co-teacher does not help PAUSD increase beyond maximum allowable.
  4. Anything else that can be done to make Living Skills available to as many students as possible!

There are limited teachers who can teach Living Skills and we want to make sure PAUSD accommodates all seniors. As other teachers sign up for summer school PAUSD wants to cover credit recovery classes as a first priority to ensure students can meet graduation requirements. Last year PAUSD was able to open up many Living Skills courses as credit recovery courses were given by a third-party vendor and PAUSD had a lot of “extra” teachers. As the district plans to run credit recovery by PAUSD teachers, the district will not have as many “extra” teachers