Trojan Update

March 4th, 2018

A Vibrant Place to Learn!

An amazing two weeks at Petaluma High School! Sometimes, I'm floored at all the things that happen across the campus and in the community. In this issue, check out the successes of the JSA, the Mr GQ show, the AP Psychology class and their Skype interview, PHS Music rocking at Hotel Petaluma, wrestlers competing at State, the Lions speech contest winners, AP Honors Evening, HOSA/Health Pathway and the Engineering Pathway on the move, Math Day at SSU, dissection in Anatomy and Physiology, FFA in the community, and competing and winning at UC Davis, and much much more. I'm proud to be part of a great school with curious, energetic teachers and equally motivated students. Together, we are learning, growing, and changing the world. Can't wait to see what these next two weeks bring! (My apologies for the length of this update!) - David Stirrat

One other quick note: Ron Everett, retired district administrator, is sitting in with us for a few weeks while Mr. Napoli recovers from a medical procedure.

Have a great week!

Big picture

PHS Success at Junior States of America (JSA) Winter Conference

Petaluma High JSA had a successful Winter State convention at the capitol in Sacramento this weekend. Thirty PHS students (above on the Capitol steps) attended this student-run legislative session, making our chapter one of the largest in attendance. PHS students participated in many ways, including JSA leadership, clerking, debating bills, adding amendments, and even asking the keynote speaker excellent questions (Lea Fabian-Davis and Paul Leoni). We’re also so proud of our PHS leadership team for getting us to our conventions: Simone Tranfaglia, Greer Moss, Justine Gardner, Logan Goldstein, Paul Leoni, and Griffin Epstein. Thank you to all the parents who chaperoned and shuttled students to and from Sacramento.

Here are a few of the highlights:

- Logan Goldstein won a best speaker gavel

- Simone Tranfaglia and Sergio Hernandez’s bill “Abolish FOSTA and SESTA and Enact Better Initiatives to Stop Sex Trafficking“ was one of the bills that were passed both days in both the Senate and the House

-Sergio Hernandez declared his candidacy for GCR Senator

- Offering to be pied in the face if successful, Griffin Epstein inspired fundraising of $232 dollars towards student scholarships to future JSA conventions (and was thus pied in the face with whipped cream)

Congratulations to everyone and thank you to Ms. Lounibos for leading the way!

Big picture

GQ Rocks The House at PHS!

Another amazing Mr. GQ show entertained a packed house at the PHS Multi last Saturday evening. A group of 14 well-spoken, hard-working and somewhat talented (!) young men gave it their all, singing, dancing, telling jokes, and generally entertaining the crowd. Highlights included a courageous and beautiful song by Jordan Amador-Lopez and an impromptu dance interpretation by Joao Johnson. In the end, Ben VanDerMeer came away with the coveted Mr. GQ 2019 title. But it was clear that everyone won on the night. The audience was thoroughly engrossed in each performance and probably would have chosen all the boys as winners.

The Senior Class is still counting the receipts to add to the money raised so far for Prom. Huge thank you's to Simone Smith, our ASB president, and her team for keeping the boys on point and getting them ready for the show. Also thanks to the advisors, Mr. Aja and Mr. Jackson, for all their encouragement and behind-the-scenes management. And thanks to the judges - Ms. Archibald, Mr. Brazil, Ms. Lounibos, Mr. Cochrane, Ms. Kriss, and our alumni judges, Maddie Thomas ('15) and Ellis Scherer ('16).

Lady Trojans Season Ends on Penalty Kicks

In the end, it came down to penalty kicks, perhaps the toughest way to end a season. After the Trojans had battled to a 2-2 tie after regulation time and the extra period, it was left to the athletes of PHS and Campolindo to match up in penalty kicks. Unfortunately, the Campo girls got more in the net than the Trojans.

In the finals played Saturday night, #1 seeded Miramonte got by 2-1.

A terrific season for the Trojans where they did not lose a game in regulation. Well done, players, families, and Coach Babala.

Big picture

PHS Music Spectacular at Hotel Petaluma

Petaluma High musicians were out in force at the Hotel Petaluma last Friday night. Using their voices, trombones, trumpets, guitars and even kazoos, the students entertained the crowd at a dinner and silent auction, all in support of the PHS Music Program. Well done everyone!

Shattuck and Pedersen Compete at State!

From Coach Schloesser:

This weekend was a wonderful experience in Bakersfield to end a fabulous season for Petaluma Wrestling. For the first time, in a long time, Petaluma sent a boy and a girl to the California State meet.

Connor Pedersen started out the tournament correctly and beat the #15 ranked wrestler in the state. He ended up losing to the #1 ranked wrestler and another top 10 wrestler. He was very impressive throughout the tournament.

Brooklyn Shattuck returned to the state meet as a Sophomore and she performed very well. She went 1-2 on the weekend, but is determined to place top 8 next year for the Lady Trojan wrestlers.

More than 500 students and parents toured the PHS campus last Thursday evening, learning about AP and Honors course options. Thanks to all our teachers for your presentations!

Big picture

FFA Shines at UC Davis!

Petaluma FFA was well represented last week at UC Davis, competing among other chapters. Students received numerous individual honors in various categories. Our Ag Mechanics team earned a second place spot while our Dairy Judging Team brought home a first place finish.

Earlier in the week, FFA students volunteered at the Redwood Empire Food Bank, boxing up food for delivery to those in need. Way to go, Petaluma FFA!

Leoni joins Lechon as Winners of Petaluma Host Lions Club Speech Contest

Jessica Lechon Galdos and Paul Leoni will represent Petaluma High School as winners of the Petaluma Host Lions Speech Contest. Both students delivered excellent speeches to the panel. They will now proceed to the zone level in March. Congratulations, Jessica and Paul!
Big picture
Big picture

Teen Life Hacks at the Petaluma Public Library

We're excited to offer several events in our Teen Life Hacks series this semester that are designed to meet the practical needs of teens in 7th-12th grades, including teens feeling stressed about jobs, money, and life in general. Thank you for publicizing these Petaluma Library events with students and families, and encouraging students to attend!

"Stress Relief Toolkit for Teens" is Saturday, Feb. 23 at 12-1:30 pm. Psychologist Rachael Newman will help teens recognize and manage stress in healthy and creative ways. Sign up at This workshop has earned positive reviews from students who attended previous sessions. A bilingual color handout is attached.

"You're Hired! Getting and Keeping a Job for Teens" is Saturday, March 30, 12-1:30 pm. Details and sign up at

"What Teens Need to Know about Money" is Saturday, April 13, 12-1:30 pm. Details and sign up at

Thank you again for your support.


Diana Spaulding
Teen & Adult Services Librarian
Petaluma Regional Library (Sonoma County Library)
New email:
707-763-9801 x0713

A Motivated Student Can Do Anything!

This is a story of motivation and the courage! Yessenia Resendiz Torres, one of our amazing seniors, has always been an excellent student. She has taken many honors and AP courses and as a senior, is sitting for four AP exams. One of those is AP Psychology where Ms. Archibald has stirred a latent interest. Yessenia has loved the exploration of the human mind and psyche; her curiosity about psychology has grown. In January, this curiosity led her to email one of the giants of psychology, Philip Zimbardo. Zimbardo is most famous for the Stanford Prison Experiment in the early 70s. People were placed either as a prisoner or a a prison guard - the results of this experiment were controversial but certainly remarkable.

Yessenia invited Zimbardo to PHS but his schedule didn't allow for a site visit. After a persistent effort, a Skype visit was arranged. Yessenia carefully designed questions for Zimbardo and arranged with Ms. Archibald for other students from other sections of AP Psychology to be present for the interview. Last Thursday, through the wonders of Skype and the agency of Yessenia and Ms. Archibald, PHS students learned the experiences of Mr. Zimbardo and how they still matter today. Congratulations, Yessenia, for showing us how to tackle the world and helping bring a renowned scientist to PHS!

Big picture

CTE Health Pathway News!

Students in Petaluma High's CTE Health Pathway actively explore health career opportunities and engage in community building. Here are some recent activities:

Last week BCH classes visited the Mary Isaak Center to learn about community health services offered there. In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. we coupled our visit with a community service project whereby we raised funds for and delivered 25 shower caddies full of toiletries and snacks for folks moving to more stable housing with the help of COTS. Students got to see and hear about health services offered at the center and learn more about the issues and challenges of providing health services to vulnerable members of our community, and the importance of housing to health.

Also HOSA members delivered Valentines to residents at the Oaks skilled nursing facility as part of ongoing volunteer efforts there building community. Through volunteer activities such as this, students interact with a variety of health professionals on staff at the facility; they also interact with residents, gaining valuable time and experience with healthcare recipients.

More recently, CCH classes visited the Buck Institute to hear from a resident scientist about the chemical engineering and chemical technology involved in treating diseases of aging.

CTE classes provide context and explore application of skills and content in real world settings, inspiring and engaging students in the process. In our CTE Health Pathway we are building tomorrow's leaders in healthcare today.

See the photos below!

Mathematics Day at SSU! Get Your Fibonacci on!

PHS was well represented at this weekend's Sonia Kovalevsky High School Mathematics Day at Sonoma State University. The day was in honored the
life of Sonia Kovalevsky, the first woman to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics, and to celebrate the participation of all women in mathematics.

The day included a keynote lecture, hands-on math activities, networking opportunities with local high school students, tips on applying to college, career panel and a special workshop for teachers. Activities will encourage girls and young women to pursue degrees in STEM! Here a a few of the workshops:

Coding with Dr. Teneja

Kodu introduces the logic and problem solving of programming without complex syntax. With the medium of story tell-ing and narration creation, Kodu builds real world, 21st century skills by challenging users to analyze a problem deeply and structure their solution. No prior programming experience is required. Participants will be building a game in a one-hour session and will be able to take this game at home and keep building on it.

Patterns in Nature: Fibonacci Series and the Golden Ratio with Kandis Gilmore

Have you ever noticed the way pinecones, pineapples, flowers, and ferns have spiral shapes in them? Learn about recur-ring mathematical patterns in nature and draw some of your own spirals and shapes in this hands-on workshop.

Realizing Reality on the Drawing Board with Dr. Hobson

When drawing a railroad track, why do the two parallel rails meet at a point? In this workshop, we explore the geometry of the drawing board, and by doing so we will explain this phenomenon. We will make our own perspective drawings and use mathematics to achieve realism. With this new understanding of the geometry we see, the mysterious ways in which buildings and railroad tracks seem to appear will be uncovered!

A fabulous day at SSU! Go PHS Math!

Engineering and Manufacturing Tech Update!

Updates from the Engineering Program:

  • Our Intro to Engineering and Manufacturing Students are operating our 3 new Bridgeport Milling Machines.

  • The Metal Shop and Engineering Program is the beneficiary of a Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM). The CMM is used throughout industry to precisely measure precision machined parts… just like all those you use every day (at school, your cars, personal technology and household goods etc.) The CMM was donated by Parmatech Corporation who is located here in Petaluma.

Students earning early college credit…

  • 12 students are working on SRJC Machine Tool MACH51A College Credit.

    • 7 did this last year… 1 went on to take Mach51B at SRJC…

  • 4 are working on the 2nd semester course Machine Tool MACH51B.

Students earning national industry certification…

  • National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) Certifications…

    • 12 Students are working on their NIMS Measurement, Materials and Safety Credential

      • 5 did this last year…

    • 2 Students are working on their NIMS Milling Credential

    • 2 Students are working on their NIMS Turning Credential

Student Fellowship…

  • Our 1st Manufacturing Technology Student is beginning the Harbor Freight Fellow Program. A 120 hour on-the-job work experience for the student, the mentor employer, the advisor/teacher sponsored and coordinated by Harbor Freight (Charlie Plant).

Community Projects…

  • A team of 2nd, 3rd and 4th year Manufacturing Technology students just completed the 6 & 7th Buddy Benches. One for Valley Vista and one for Wilson School. The project is sponsored by a local non-profit, “The Race for Kids” who funds the materials.

Teachers Attend CGEP at Sonoma State

Michelle Walters, Jamil Dawsari, and David Stirrat were on hand this weekend at the California Global Education Project symposium. The CGEP provides on-going quality professional development designed by university faculty, teacher leaders, and teacher practitioners to improve instructional practices and lead to increased achievement for all students. The California Global Education Project inspires and supports educators to develop global competence and active citizenship in PK-12 students for the 21st century. During the workshop, participants role played through various possible student activities, working through authentic inquiry learning methods to help students develop the necessary knowledge and skills to make ethical decisions. Interacting with the world and understanding the perspectives of people from various regions will inform students about sustainable practice for the future. Thanks to Nancy Case-Rico for leading this regional effort.


One of the highlights for many juniors and seniors is a chance to take Anatomy and Physiology with Ms. Yannes. Rachel is a relatively new teacher but she has already established herself as an excellent instructor. She has a natural ease in class and students know that Ms. Yannes will be an amazing guide through the world of the body.

This week, the students engaged in a tricky dissection lab. They were challenged to carefully examine cow eyeballs, carefully working through the fatty tissue around the eye and learning about the optic nerve and corneal tissue. See the pictures below!

Ms. Yannes is part of a very strong science department at PHS. The upper F-Wing is indeed the place to be!

Big picture

The Cheer Team Shines during Disneyland Competition!

Big picture

ACES and Our Kids

At last week's staff meeting, Assistant Superintendent for Student Services, Dave Rose, and Nikki Jackson, a PCS Counselor, presented to our staff about ACEs and our ongoing effort to recognize and assist students who are challenged by ACEs. Adverse Childhood Experiences can be a monumental barrier to student learning, Rose said. Students who experience an ACE, like sexual abuse, dire poverty, homelessness, and/or unstable home lives can struggle in school because they are so focused on the influences outside of school. Drug and alcohol abuse may follow, complicating an already difficult situation. Rose described these ACEs and began the work with staff on recognizing these symptoms. He and his team will be back next month to continue this critical work.

ATOD Training for Students and Staff

Last week, a group of PHS students and staff were trained at the district office to empower students to make healthy and responsible choices concerning use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. The Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs (ATOD) training was made possible by a recent grant received by PCS. Assistant Principal Kriss along with Ms. Luna, Ms. Redfield and Ms. Cree participated with our students.

PHS Students = Good Samaritans!

ABC 7 News was there to cover the story, and that story was the concerned, helpful response of two Petaluma High students. Justin Plumbtree and Casen Straub were in the right place at the right time to help a Petaluma City Schools bus out of a flooded jam.

And in that bus was a student who needed help. Jacob Rochlin is a student in our schools. He was very grateful for the actions of Justin and Casen that day. He and his parents, Tammy and Jason, along with Jacob's teacher Vicki McMorrow, came by Petaluma High School this week to meet and thank Justin and Casen. It was wonderful to see the students exchange hugs and get to know one another. See pics below!.

Big picture

Important Upcoming Dates

Don't forget the following dates:

Monday, March 4th - Principals Tour @ 1:30pm

Monday, March 4th - PTSA

Tuesday, March 5th - Biology Field Trip

Tuesday, March 5th - Coffee w the Principal @ Aqus Cafe 9AM

Wednesday, March 6th - Department Meeting

Thursday, March 7th - Biology Field Trip

Tuesday, March 12th - Biology Field Trip

Friday, March 15th - Biology Field Trip

Friday, March 15th - PHS Drama Club Field Trip

March 13th-15th - Ashland Shakespeare Trip

March 18-22nd - SPRING BREAK - NO SCHOOL

Monday, March 25th - Legal Studies Field trip to Alcatraz

Monday, March 25th - Athletic Boosters Meeting

Wednesday, March 27th - APES Field Trip

March 28-31st - HOSA State Leadership Conference