Paly Community Update

Friday, December 3, 2021

A note from our Wellness Team

We've made it to the home stretch, with only a few weeks left before winter break! Next week, Wellness will be partnering with ASB for our Stress-Less Week to encourage students to take a little break. Every day we will hold different activities during lunch that students can stop by and participate. Check out the list of events here!

We also want to share our top 10 tips to make finals week bearable, courtesy of the Crisis Text Line. There are lots of study tips all over the internet, but being proactive about self-care can help students make it through in one piece. We know that this can be a stressful time, and want to remind students that they can always reach out to Wellness to talk to someone for some support. They can always drop in during the week to speak to someone or use this form to set up an appointment.

Join us in welcoming our new WOW

We’re excited to welcome Carlos Roman as our new part-time Wellness Outreach Worker (WOW). He started on Monday and he’s been a great addition to our support team already. We’re grateful to have him here!

We are also thankful for the PiE funds that have enabled us to hire Carlos to help in the Wellness center.


Attention ALL Junior Families!

The PSAT/NMSQT scores will be available December 6th- 7th. Scores are released directly to students' College Board accounts. Click HERE for more information about how to create a College Board account.

During advisory on December 10th, Juniors will receive their original PSAT test booklet and a brief presentation regarding how to use the test booklet for SAT Test Prep.

The Paly Administration, students and staff thanks the PTSA and all volunteers for their continued support with the PSAT/NMSQT Test Administration.


Understanding Your PSAT/NMSQT Score Report

Paly Athletic Program

The Paly Athletics Program is going cashless. Please visit to purchase tickets for admission into all Basketball and Wrestling competitions. Thank you for your continued support.

Seeking AVID Tutor Volunteers

AVID's mission is to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success in a global society. Paly currently has four AVID sections - one for each grade level (9, 10, 11, 12). We are currently seeking AVID tutors who will assist the classroom teacher to facilitate and coach small groups of students with the academic curriculum and problem-solving. Key functions and skills include:

  • Desire to be a role model and mentor for students
  • Desire to work with groups of students, supporting them through academic conversations and problem-solving related to their academic curriuclum.
  • Expertise of subject matter is not required or expected.
  • Time: Period 2 (10:50-12:20), Period 4 (2:40-4:10) on Tuesday & Thursday. Consistent time commitment desired (whether it is one period/day a week or more)

All volunteers on campus need to show proof of vaccination and formally register through the following form.

If you are interested in helping out, please contact Crystal Laguna ( and/or Michelle Steingart (

Guidance Updates

Advisory Update

In these last few weeks before Winter Break, Advisories are focused on ending the semester strong. One of the most important ways to ensure that happens is to be prepared for finals.

9th and 10th Grades - This week the 9th graders will talk about Study Skills for Finals. The same lesson information has been posted in Schoology for the 10th graders will be discussed next week in Advisory. The lesson covers everything from how to avoid common mistakes when studying to the use of the DETER strategy for success. Students will hear from upper-class visitors who will share their tips for successful preparation and studying. Knowing what will be expected of you in a final is the first important step. To help students organize their needs, they will be introduced to a Finals Planner where they will list any missing assignments and indicate the type of final they will take in each class. Curious to hear more about DETER? Check out the lesson slides HERE.

11th Grade - Next week in Advisory the Juniors will get their PSAT test booklets back and hear how they can use them as a study guide for a future SAT. During class, they will also get a sneak peek at what is in store for them 2nd semester.

12th Grade - Still in the thick of post-Paly planning and college applications, the seniors will have one more Advisory this semester. For many of our seniors who chose to apply early to college, the decisions of those applications are starting to come in. Some are getting “good” news, some “bad”. Others have been deferred and have to wait longer to hear the outcome. This lesson has a lot of good information about how to handle each scenario. This news affects people differently - we remind students to be thoughtful and compassionate to themselves and others who might not have received the news they hoped for. Getting into a dream school doesn’t mean life will be a dream. Not getting in doesn’t mean it won’t!! Parents - to help your student navigate this important time, read through these lesson slides. You’ll want to look closely at slides 9-12 which talk specifically about scholarship opportunities.

Semester 2 Parent Night - 9th and 10th grade

Mark your calendars: We will be hosting a combined Virtual 9th and 10th grade Parent Night on Wednesday, January 19th, 6:30 – 8:00 pm via Zoom.

An email will be sent the week before the event with webinar login information

Topics that will be included:

  • The 4 Year Academic Plan

  • Course Selection

  • Typical 10th and 11th-grade schedules

  • Off-Campus Courses

  • Post High School Options

  • CSU/UC minimum eligibility requirements

College & Career Center updates


Checking College Application Status

After applying, many colleges will send students an email with information about how to login to their websites (i.e. portals) to track the application status. This is vitally important because any messages with requests for more information will be communicated through these websites. So, students should check email often and be sure messages don't get lost in the SPAM folder. But, please be aware that there is typically a delay in processing time for portals to be updated; during COVID, college campus staff are often working remotely which might impact updates as well. So, it’s important to check the portals but please don’t panic if it’s not up-to-date. Seniors should contact their College Advisor with any questions.

Early Application Results

Some of the seniors who applied early to college via Early Action and Early Decision admission programs are receiving application results starting this week and continuing the next few weeks, depending on the college. Teacher Advisors discussed this topic in Advisory, including tips for how to proceed if students were deferred or denied admission as well as reminders about early decision commitments. If students didn’t receive the news they were hoping for, encourage them not to dwell too long on disappointment but turn their attention to their college list to ensure a range of selectivity; then, put energy into completing remaining college applications while trying to keep an open mind about other colleges. If you’re interested in reading a few articles about this topic, you can find them here.

Also, please remind students to share early application news. Paly will formally collect application results from seniors in May, but TAs, teachers, and College Advisors are interested even now (and want to celebrate/help) since most colleges do not inform Paly of our students' application results.

Gap Year Events

Thinking about Taking a Gap Year? Check out these events from USA Gap Year Fairs:

  • Virtual Gap Year Fair - Tues., Jan. 18

  • In Personal Gap Year Fair - Sat., Feb. 12 in Danville; registration required

You might want to get an overview of Gap Year information by reading that section on . There are also many resources available from Gap Year Association.

Registrar - Transcript Ordering Reminders for Non-Common App Colleges

Students should not wait to hear back from their EA, REA, ED applications before ordering transcripts for their regular applications which require them (remember: the CSUs and UCs do not). Transcripts for non-Common App colleges need to be ordered on Parchment by the Paly deadline to ensure they arrive by the college due date. There is still human interaction in the process and many students who have similar deadlines--and Paly will be closed over Winter break (i.e. no transcript requests will be processed during that time).

Can students order a mid-year transcript rather than a current transcript for January deadlines since our semester ends before Winter break?

  • No; don’t “hold for grades” but “send now”. Second semester grades won't get posted to transcripts until the 3rd week of January at the earliest, so for colleges with a Jan. 1 or Jan. 15 deadline, order an initial transcript by the respective Paly deadline to ensure it arrives on time to meet the application deadline.
  • Another mid-year (a.k.a. 7th-semester) transcript will need to be ordered in January for most regular-decision applications; more information about that to come in a future advisory.

Community Service - President's Volunteer Service Award Distribution

The President's Volunteer Service Awards (PVSA) distribution will be on Wednesday, December 8th at the beginning of lunch. To confirm you are receiving a PVSA, check this PVSA students list by your ID. Click your graduating class tab and be sure to be logged into your PAUSD account to gain access.

Meet in the plaza between the Haymarket and PAC at the beginning of lunch, December 8th. Lunch will be provided after we take a quick photo for the yearbook. This will only take about 10-15 minutes and you'll be able to enjoy the rest of your lunch period as you please.

For more information regarding the President’s Volunteer Service Award, check out our Paly Community Service page

Work Permits

Our local vendors are gearing up for the holiday season, please check out the job fair slidedeck for new listings and remember that all minors hired in a paid position through a company require a work permit. Additional inquiries may be sent to the Work Experience teacher: Rachael Kaci

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