Paly Community Update

Friday, May 13, 2022

Hello Viking Families!

The end of the school year is quickly approaching and we are excited to honor the Class of 2022 in several upcoming school-wide events. Below is an overview of the upcoming senior events. Additional information will be sent out to the Paly community as we get closer to these events.

Overview of Senior Events

On Thursday, May 26 seniors will be recognized for being recipients of an honor, award, or scholarship at the Senior Awards Night, beginning at 7:00 pm in the PAC. Invitations have been sent out to senior students, who are being recognized at this event.

On Friday, May 27 we will begin our day of senior celebrations with Signing Day, at 8:00 am in the Peery Center Main Gym. Signing Day is an event to honor senior student athletes who have received a scholarship to a (4)-year institution and playing in a college sport at the D1, D2 or D3 level.

We will continue with the theme of recognizing our seniors at our Senior Celebration Assembly in the Paly Quad, beginning at 2:30 pm, Friday May 27. The entire Paly student body will be in attendance and parents/guardians are invited to attend as well. There will be designated parent seating available.

This event will feature the musical and speaking talents of some of our senior students. The seniors have also selected a Paly staff member to be the featured speaker of this event. Immediately following the assembly Paly PTSA will be hosting a reception for senior students and their families outside of the Haymarket Theater.

Also on Friday, May 27 the AVID Seniors will be honored at their AVID Graduation Celebration, beginning at 6:30 pm in the MAC. Invitations will be sent to our AVID students and their families in the next week.

On Tuesday, May 31, seniors will need to attend the mandatory Graduation Rehearsal, beginning at 8:00 am in the Paly Quad. Immediately following the rehearsal, those students attending the Senior Picnic at Santa Cruz will board the buses for a 10:00 am departure. Students will return to Paly by 5:30 pm. This event is sponsored by the Paly PTSA.

The Commencement Ceremony, for the Paly Class of 2022, will begin at 5:30 pm in the Paly Quad. All graduating seniors are allowed to invite 8 guests to this year’s Commencement. These tickets will be distributed to our seniors during Senior Check-Out.

Paly Prom This Saturday

The Paly Prom is tomorrow and we understand the concern about COVID. Please read the following to assist us in taking precautionary measures for the upcoming Prom:


  • If your student is showing symptoms of Covid:

    • Please keep your student at home.

    • If missing the Prom due to Covid or Covid symptoms you will be refunded your money.

  • We strongly encourage all students, regardless of vaccination status, to take advantage of one of the following testing opportunities.

    • Testing is available every weekday at Cubberly

    • Take home tests are available in the front office all day today (Friday, May 13), if students want to ensure that they have negative test results

  • The wearing of masks especially while indoors.


  • Proof of being fully vaccinated or negative test result

    • Prior to entering the bus and the Exploratorium all students will be required to show proof of being fully vaccinated or a negative test result along with a form of ID.

    • Valid forms of proof of vaccination include:

      • An original, a copy, or a picture of your CDC vaccination card

      • Documentation from a healthcare provider

      • Personal digital COVID-19 vaccine record issued by the State of California or by an approved private company

      • Access your State of California vaccine record HERE.

    • Acceptable Covid Test Forms

      • A Verified Negative Test is a negative COVID-19 test taken within one day/24 hours (for antigen tests) or two days/48 hours (for PCR tests) before entry into the facility.

      • Self-administered antigen tests are not acceptable for preadmission testing unless there is third-party verification (with a letter from a laboratory).

Parent Education Event: New Strategies for A New Era in College Admissions

We are fortunate to have Paul Kanarek coming to Palo Alto to present on changes in college admissions. He will be here on Saturday, May 21 at 10am in-person and he will also have a webinar on May 25 for those who can't make the May 21 date or feel more comfortable in a virtual setting. Please see below for more information.

New Strategies for A New Era in College Admissions is a presentation designed exclusively for families from the Palo Alto Unified classes of 2023 and 2024.

Date: Saturday, May 21 from 10am -11:15am

Location: Paly HS Performing Arts Center (PAC)

Intended Audience: Parents/guardians of PAUSD sophomore (2024) or junior (2023) students

Speaker: Paul Kanarek (co-founder of Princeton Review, former CEO of Collegewise and previous, well-received PAUSD speaker)

Why are we having this session?

Many of us have probably surmised that college admissions would be impacted by the combination of the pandemic and the shift to an SAT/ACT optional universe. What Mr. Kanarek has put together for us is a clear and articulate overview of:

  1. How those changes impacted the class of 2022

  2. What future PAUSD graduates should view in a different or more focused fashion than have recent graduates

  3. The role of testing (SAT/ACT/AP) over the next 1-3 years

  4. The impact of ongoing societal dynamics on public university admissions decisions

  5. How the more highly selective colleges are adapting to their new realities

Mr. Kanarek has collected data that we think you will find to be both insightful and informative, but more importantly, he understands that the college admissions journey needs to be one of discovery that is centered in the student. He does a terrific job of both teaching the facts while reinforcing that our students have a wonderful array of college choices awaiting them.

  • If you'd like to reserve a spot in the live session on May 21, please click here.

  • We will also be offering this same event - the following Wednesday evening (May 25) - as a live webinar from 6:30pm to 7:30pm. If you'd prefer to come to that, please register here.

The major difference between the two is that it is probably easier to ask-and-answer questions in the face-to-face environment on May 21 than it is in the virtual one on May 25.

We hope you'll be able to join us at one of the two sessions.

Technology Updates

We have new Chromebooks available for all 9th and 10th grade students that haven’t picked one up yet this school year. Students can go to P2 to pick up their new Chromebook!

Senior Check-out Items

Graduation is almost here for our Seniors! As part of the process, we ask that our Seniors turn in their school-issued items back to Paly, including all library books, class textbooks, chromebooks and athletic gear. Senior Check-Out will occur the week of May 23, 2022.More information coming soon on the senior check-out process.


Graduation is quickly approaching! We want to take this opportunity to make you aware of this year’s diploma distribution process. Students will DRIVE-UP and PICK-UP their diplomas by their assigned time slots by the last name block the day after graduation (see table below). Please note: Diplomas will be released to the graduate ONLY.

  • What: Paly Diploma DRIVE-UP and PICK-UP

  • When: Thursday, June 2nd from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

  • Where: Student drop-off, in front of the Haymarket

Student Alphabet Assignments Assigned Time Slot

Last Name A-F. 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Last Name G-L. 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Last Name M-R. 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Last Name S-Z. 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

  • Any diploma not picked up will be available by appointment beginning Tuesday, August 2nd with the Registrar, Ms. Tonga or with the Guidance Secretary, Ms. Garcia. DIPLOMAS WILL NOT BE MAILED HOME.

Guidance Updates

Prior-Approval for Summer 2022 Off-Campus Courses

If you are considering taking an elective course outside of PAUSD over the summer, you must apply for prior-approval if you wish to have it placed on your Paly transcript. Please click on this link for information and FAQs on Prior-Approvals.

Once you have reviewed the FAQ sheet, you may click here to submit a request for prior-approval. Please allow 5 school days for the request to be processed.

All summer prior approvals must be requested before June 25th in order to be processed for summer courses. The prior approval form will not be available from June 25 to July 25th.

Advisory Update

As I mentioned in our last S’More, at this time of year we like to invite guest speakers to share information and experiences with the students a grade below. Students love hearing what their peers have to say. It is interesting to note that when we polled each grade level to see specifically what they'd like to know about, within the hundreds of answers were some very common themes.

Freshman wanted to know:

  • Are teachers less understanding/lenient in 10th grade?

  • Do you still have time for a social life?

  • What are the biggest differences between 9th and 10th grades?

  • What is something you wish you knew going into 10th grade?

  • What is different about Honors classes?

  • Do you have any time management advice?

  • How many people have part-time jobs? How do you manage that with school work?

Sophomores had a few more things to ask of the Juniors:

  • What is the workload/stress really like in Jr year - was it really the hardest year?

  • What tips/advice do you have for managing your work/stress while also making time for the people and things that make you happy?

  • What are the SAT, ACT and APs like? How did you prepare?

  • How to build good relationships with teachers who could be writing your letters of recommendation?

  • What are some healthy habits you’d recommend?

And finally, the Juniors wanted to know:

  • How did you manage your college apps/essays while balancing school, social life and extracurriculars?

  • How has senior year compared to Jr year with workload, courses and teachers?

  • How did you manage the stress of senior year and the possibility of rejection by colleges?

  • How did you decide where to apply to college?

  • What do you wish you would have known (or done differently) in senior year?

Polling our students prior to each Advisory to get their thoughts and questions was really beneficial. We couldn’t have asked for better questions; we certainly could not have answered as thoughtfully and thoroughly as our own students did!

Looking ahead was also discussed in all Advisories - how to get a work permit, what to do if you plan on attending summer school, and how to track volunteer hours. If you’d like to see the slides for each Advisory lesson, and have access to the links provided within, look here:


May is Mental Health Month and the wellness center is hosting different activities throughout the month to promote student well-being and work towards normalizing talking about mental health, and encouraging students to seek support when needed. Check out our calendar of events here! We’ll continue to post info throughout the month on Schoology and on our Instagram page, so please encourage your students to keep a lookout for details.

We also have a Wellness design competition currently going on with the theme of “What does Wellness mean to you”. We’ve extended the deadline to May 23rd, so please encourage your students to submit a design if they are interested! Click here for more details.

President’s Volunteer Service Awards (PVSA)

Awards ordered in March have arrived. You can pick up your award in the College and Career Center from Ms. Larson

Questions: contact

College & Career Center updates

For Seniors & Their Parents
Now that college acceptances are in and students have decided where to matriculate in the Fall, seniors can sit back a bit and reflect on the college search process and the fact that they not only survived but also were successful. Enjoying the end of the year senior tributes and setting aside some time to relax with family this summer should be next on the agenda. This is an exciting period, but, at times, may also feel like an emotional roller coaster. The following advice might prove helpful in the weeks ahead:

For Students:

  • Don't forget to formally thank the people who've helped support you in the college application process, including your teacher advisor and the teachers and others who wrote letters of recommendation on your behalf. A thank-you note expressing your gratitude goes a long way in showing appreciation for these people who give so much of their time.

  • When you receive the name and contact information of your roommate/s, take the time to text or call. A couple of conversations during the summer will help ease the transition in the fall.

  • Don't be surprised if the first few weeks of college are both exciting and overwhelming.

Remember that students are in a completely new environment. Even though you spent lots of time researching and visiting colleges, actually living the life is quite different. New people, a different schedule, and a heavier workload are all parts of the transition to college. Time management is critical and a challenging part of this adjustment process. Be patient and don't expect everything to be ideal. Remember that everyone is adjusting to college. If students feel stressed, they should seek out their advisor, talk with their college and high school friends and call their parents. Be proactive and take charge!

Here are some other popular books for students about transitioning to college:

  • "How to Survive Your Freshman Year" - Bernstein

  • "The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College" - Cohen

For Parents:

The following are a few tips, which were excerpted from a NACAC (National Association for College Admission Counseling) article as well as some advice from parents who've been through the process:

  • Expect the unexpected: your child will vacillate between emotions. Go with the flow!

  • Encourage independence but offer support. Allow your child to handle college arrangements but act as a safety net.

  • Keep the lines of communication open - the balance between offering support and taking over can be a fine line of distinction. Resist the temptation to stay in daily cell phone contact.

  • Make plans for communication while your child is at college. Expect the frequency to vary whether you use text or call.

  • Plan the big send-off if your student will live on campus. If you plan to accompany your student, be flexible. Talk with your child ahead of time about both your plans and their expectations.

  • Take time to adjust to a house without (or with) your college-bound student. If you have other children, they may also experience a period of transition. Remember that the first visit home will also be a time of adjustment for both parents and students. Once again, communication and a good sense of humor usually save the day!

Following are some resources that might be useful for you as you prepare for your senior to transition to his/her post high school life


Video of Class of 2013 "Already Thinking About College" panel presentation on the transition to college is available online:

Event Description: Already thinking about next year and college? Wondering what to expect? Curious about campus life? Student health and support? Whether your student is heading to a “4-Year” or Community college – the transition from high school senior to college freshman is an exciting – and significant – next step. A dynamic panel of local experts in college health, campus life and adolescent development will be on hand to answer your specific questions & share their insights and advice on navigating the social transition to college. Panelists are: Donnovan Somera Yisrael, M.A. Manager of Emotional & Sexual Health Programs, I Thrive @ Stanford, Vaden Health Center, Stanford Univ.; Nancy Brown, Ph.D. Palo Alto Medical Foundation; Lisa Medoff, Ph.D., Lecturer, Human Biology, Stanford University; Sandra Cernobori, M.Ed., College Advisor, Palo Alto High School.

Loyola University's (MD) "Embracing Change" video for parents about preparing for the transition of letting go of their students headed to college is also quite good:


Work Permits

It’s that time of year when your child may be seeking a job! Below are links to some resources that may guide their search, and a reminder that ALL students under the age of 18 must request a work permit if they are earning a wage at a verified company. Work Permits are processed year round including summer but excluding holidays, such as the 4th of July.

Summer Resources:

Job Fair slidedeck – these vendors are actively hiring and a Job Fair will be held in May. Student Toolkit for suggestions on how to get a job

Padlet of Resources from the County of Santa Clara

Summer School - enroll your child in the Work Experience Course so they can earn 5 units of CTE credits in June. More info found here or contact: Rachael Kaci

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