Paly Community Update

Friday, November 12, 2021

Principal Update

Dear Viking Families,

We are now completing the fourteenth week of the 2021-2022 school year and in one more week we will all have the opportunity to take a break and hopefully find time to be with family and friends during the Thanksgiving Holiday. In most cases this school year has been an incredible experience for all of us as we reconnected with our school, peers, teachers and parents. I do know that for some of us, these past several weeks have been difficult as we continue to navigate through the continued effects of the pandemic. In addition to providing our students with a positive academic experience in all of their classes, we also recognize the on-going need to maintain a strong focus on the social and emotional needs of our students as they continue to adjust to their time back on campus.

Most recently, we have concluded a school wide wellness survey in our advisories to assess our students' social and emotional well-being. We have now begun to reach out to those students that may need a quick check in or additional support. This outreach effort is in collaboration with our Teacher Advisors, Counseling Team, Psychologist and Wellness staff who will be connecting with several students over the next few weeks. A positive highlight from our survey is that students have communicated that they have developed stronger relationships with several new peers in addition to strengthening old bonds with their friends from the past. Additionally, some students have shared their appreciation with the increased flexibility seen in their classrooms and a higher level of accommodations that their teachers are providing students with their assignments and projects. .

Finally, I would like to thank our entire parent community for supporting your students and our entire school community this school year. I would like to highlight the contributions that families have already made to PiE, which are definitely a necessary component to Paly’s opportunities of providing incredible courses and supportive opportunities for our students.

Another supportive group to our Paly school community is our PTSA. The Paly PTSA has been committed to helping students, teachers, and staff succeed in an unprecedented year of returning to school. Please join PTSA and be a voice for our students through your membership and consider a tax deductible contribution before year-end.

Paly PTSA Back to school form:

Next week we will see the return of the Paly Turkey Feast next Friday, November 19, which is a great opportunity for our community to give back to our greater Palo Alto community. Additional information regarding PiE and the Paly Turkey Feast are provided below.

Your Continued Support is Appreciated!

Dear Paly Families,

Funding from PiE makes a great impact on the entire Paly community. Not only does it enable us to increase staffing in electives, counseling programs, and college and career counseling, it allows us to focus other funds on our core academics. A donation, in any amount that is meaningful for your family, makes a difference to our community and our school.

If you have already donated to PiE this year, we appreciate your support. If you have not, we ask you to please consider making a donation now. If you donate or pledge by November 15th, your donation may be matched by a Challenge Grant.

You can find out all the ways to make a contribution on PiE's website at:

Thank you for being an important part of the Paly community.

Paly Turkey Feast - Nov 19

The highly anticipated TURKEY FEAST benefitting the Ecumenical Hunger Program will be held Friday, November 19th, 2021, and we need your support to feed over 1,500 students, faculty, and staff!! For more information, please go to the following link:

Turkey feast:

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 (

COVID Testing Information

As a reminder to earlier communication from PAUSD, beginning November 1, PAUSD expanded its COVID-19 testing program to serve students and staff Districtwide, as well as the entire Palo Alto community. The new testing company--Covid Clinic--has a required registration process that will need to be completed before your first test. Additionally, you will need to visit their website, prior to each additional testing day, to request a work order.

For your convenience, the testing schedule (Paly testing day is Wedesdays) and instructions for participating in the PAUSD Covid Testing Program can be found on the district website.

Guidance Updates

Advisory Update

Last year, we created a Student Advisory Committee which was composed of students from each grade level. We found their insights, feedback, and ideas to be invaluable! We are delighted that most of these students (with the addition of some new members) want to continue working with the committee. We were off to a strong start with our first meeting last week. We started by discussing what we need to cover in Advisory and moved on to what they want to cover. We are so grateful to have student voice included in these decisions.

Recent Advisories covered:

9th Grade - Introduction to Naviance lesson. Naviance is a web-based service designed for students and parents. You can use it to keep informed about courses, colleges, and careers. It provides up-to-date information that’s specific to Paly. It also lets us share information with you about up-coming meetings, news, and events, as well as other Web resources for college and career information. Students will use it multiple times in Advisory and can access it at any time for their own purposes or to explore further. All frosh parents will be sent an email with Naviance information about how to log in and link your family members together. For those parents with older students, you might remember logging in to Naviance often throughout your student’s high school career. Well now it’s a part of our single sign in process making it much easier and quicker to access via your ID portal. Students logged in and did some research on careers of interest. Here’s the LESSON if you are interested in learning more.

10th Grade - Sophomores experienced the same lesson the Juniors did a few weeks back, they learned how to review a copy of their transcript on Infinite Campus. They were then able to use their transcript as reference to understand graduation requirements vs. CSU/UC eligibility requirements. To learn more, check out these

lesson SLIDES.

11th Grade - To help guide the work of the Student Advisory Committee, we want to hear from as many students as possible. In the Jr. Advisory on the 5th, we gave them input opportunities by way of a survey. We heard some great ideas from the 300+ responses!

12th Grade - Did you know the state of California offers free tuition for at least 1 year plus money for books and supplies to all students regardless of income? And did you know there are 116 campuses across the state that all offer transfer agreements with 4-year schools like the CSU and UC? That’s just a few interesting facts the seniors learned about our Community College system in California during Advisory this week. This lesson is FULL of information about both Community Colleges and Gap Years. Read all about it HERE.

College & Career Center updates

CSU and UC Deadlines Approaching - Nov. 30

We recommend students submit before Thanksgiving as the application systems slow down closer to the deadlines, which can be frustrating. Consult the tips sheets for completing these application; students will find them in the relevant folder in the Paly C&CC Class of 2022 Schoology course.

Speaking of Thanksgiving (and college applications)…

Thanksgiving can be a challenging time for our seniors when asked many questions about college applications by friends and family. While questions (and opinions/advice received after answering them) might be well-meaning or an attempt to connect with your seniors, students might find them uncomfortable or stressful. Parents are encouraged to help develop a plan for how students can answer these questions in a general way (and, maybe help change the subject of conversation). These are several articles worth reviewing: here and here

Seniors: Did you drop a class or change your course schedule after you submitted college applications?

If so, you'll need to contact each campus (email or U.S. Mail recommended) to notify them that your current and/or planned course schedule has changed. If relevant, be sure to reference your application ID # (or the campus ID received after submitting your college app) in your message. For a template, click here.

Please also notify your Teacher Advisor as there is a question about changed coursework they must answer in the mid-year report when completing it in January for regular-decision applications, after first semester grades are posted to transcripts.

Upcoming College Application Events for Seniors during PRIME - Registration Required

  • Application Help - Wed., Nov. 17

  • College Interviews Presentation - Wed., Dec. 1

These Paly events are a time for seniors to get questions answered and/or work on their applications with College Advisors in the room to offer assistance and advice. Seniors must register in Infinite Campus to meet with Ms. Cernobori during PRIME on the date of the workshop, to attend.

A complete list of workshop events appears on the calendar in the C&CC Class of 2022 Schoology course. These workshops are for students, only.

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

Big picture