GunnTogether Times (March 21, 2022)

Principal Stratton's Newsletter

Dear Titan Families,

Gunn High School is ablaze with activities this spring! Our courts and fields are animated every afternoon and early evening with athletic events, while our visual and performing arts programs light up our stages. Our students are excited to bring TEDxGunnHighSchool back to Spangenberg Theatre, next Monday. This weekend the student-produced Prom video will reveal the theme and location of the big event.

This family newsletter reflects many of the activities that have happened, as well as upcoming opportunities and events for parents and students. Enjoy perusing the photos, and graphics below!

Importantly, I have included information about the California state testing that will occur during classes next week for 10th through 12th graders. Gunn High administration appreciates all efforts to support our students' participation in this low-stakes test. As can be seen below, we are incentivizing participation for 11th graders with some exciting prizes. Also, we are appreciative of the PTSA's contribution of snacks for all testers.

So much is happening in the coming days and weeks at Gunn High. It's great to be offering our students the full richness of the high school experience, once again. We are so excited to be back on stage for the 2022 Gunn Choir/Staff Musical "Totally Gone With the Wind". This is a show that will definitely lift your spirits! Come see your Gunn choir friends and some of your favorite Gunn teachers and staff and sing along to your favorite disco tunes as Barry Manilow and Margaret Mitchell give birth to a musical unlike any you've ever seen before! Tuesday and Wednesday, March 29th & 30th at 8:00 PM in the Spangenberg Theatre. Tickets on sale now at Don't miss it!

In the Spirit of GunnTogether,

Principal Stratton

CAASPP Testing -- It's Critically Important!

This spring, Juniors across the state will be participating in the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP). PAUSD Juniors will be assessed the week of March 21-25, 2022. The English and Mathematics tests reflect California’s rigorous Common Core standards, and allow students to demonstrate analytical writing and critical thinking skills.

It is extremely important for us to obtain results that are reflective of our entire student body. This data allows us to evaluate our curricular strengths and weaknesses and identify our challenges, including how we are progressing in our efforts to close the achievement gap, so that we may continuously grow.

CAASPP is a no-stress test occurring after the SAT and well before the APs in May. The results benefit students. Students who meet the score requirements may earn the following:

  • The State Seal of Biliteracy (SSB) – Recognizes high school graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing one or more languages in addition to English. The SSB will be awarded by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction in accordance with specified criteria set forth in the legislation. To earn this seal, the student must earn a score of at least the “Standard Met” achievement level on the ELA/Literacy portion of the assessment and meet additional requirements for their second language.
  • Golden State Seal Merit Diploma (GSSMD) – Recognizes graduates who have demonstrated mastery of high school curriculum in at least six subject areas. The GSSMD is awarded jointly by the State Board of Education and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
  • College Readiness Indicator via the California State University’s Early Assessment Program (EAP) – Juniors who reach the designated levels of proficiency will be able to bypass introductory English and Math courses at the California state schools. Students have the option of releasing their results upon completion of each assessment.

The California Schools Dashboard reports performance data for all public schools in the state and is updated annually in December. The “Dashboard” displays how each district, school, and subgroup meets or progresses toward standards in several categories including academics. Click to view PAUSD Dashboard information

Although participation has greatly improved over the last two years at Paly and Gunn, it is nowhere near the required participation stipulated in the “Every Student Succeeds” Act (ESSA).

As a result of non-participation over the last two years, many students did not qualify for state recognition/awards simply as a result of not taking the SBAC assessments. We are proud of our students and want their incredible talents to be honored.

The requirement for all districts nationally is to test at least 95% of all students and student subgroups (see addendum below). Therefore, all PAUSD Juniors are expected to take the CAASPP tests in March 2022.

Testing Incentives for Juniors!

Upon completion of four testing sessions of the state tests (CAASPP Math, and ELA assessments) next Tuesday and Wednesday, students will be automatically entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of the following prizes:

  • Parking Permit (valued at $125) = 3 available
  • Prom Ticket (valued at $120) = 3 available
  • Lightning Pass (valued at $50) = 4 available
  • SWAG in SAC (valued at $45) = 6 available
  • ASB Card (valued at $25) = 8 available
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March 21-25 (Testing) Schedules by Grade


Gunn Students Serving Others

March 10 was our annual "Gunn Service Day" where students participated in community improvement projects. This year about 200 students went to 15 sites, doing everything from assisting elementary schools, to planting trees, to working with therapy animals. Our YCS (Youth Community Service) and Interact Clubs organized this full-day of service, which included:
  • cleaning livestock pens
  • filling plastic Easter eggs
  • prepping STEAM project kits
  • shelving books
  • removing invasive plant species

Thank you to all the students for their hard work, and the parent and staff who chaperoned!

"Comedy of Errors" by Gunn Theatre

In this zany tale of mistaken identity, Antipholus, his family, and Dromio, his servant, reside in the town of Ephesus. Little do they know that their long-lost twins (yes, both Antipholus and Dromio have long-lost twins with the same names) have come to Ephesus looking for their long-lost siblings! What ensues is a hilarious “comedy of errors.” Shakespeare steals this plot from Roman Comedy and creates a beautiful story of family and reunion.

Performances will take place in the Gunn High School Senior Quad (just past the main office):

Fri March 18 at 5 PM (Gala and Opening Night)

Sat March 19 at 2 PM

Thurs March 24 at 5 PM

Fri March 25 at 5 PM

Sat March 26 at 2 PM and 5 PM

Tickets for the Gala and opening night performance are $25. Tickets for Thurs 3/24 (discount night) are $10 for chair seating and $5 for pallet seating. Tickets for all other performances are $15 for chair seating and $10 for pallet seating. Tickets are available at

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Spirit Week

Indoor Masking Now Optional

Indoor masks are optional for staff and students. Students and staff members may decide for themselves whether or not to wear a mask. No one should feel compelled by anyone else with regard to their decision.

We love our Sweethearts!

Congratulations to these Gunn Titans who were thanked for their service to Special Education students with the annual CAC Sweethearts Award:
  • Courtney Carlomagno
  • Janet Owen
  • Briana Gonzalez
  • Abbie Reynolds
  • Sandra Conklin and her aides (Lupe Camacho, Alondra De Loa, Evendira Velazquez, Jon Martinez, Geoffrey Ngo, and Ginger Monson)
  • Raquel Cuevas Ceja and her aides (Theresa Liu, Katrina Luz Ang, Bernadette Acevedo Munares, Oscar Arevalo, Bjorn Mulingtapang, Joe Almanza, and Abeni Cheeks Alexander)
  • Jason Miller and his football team
  • Kris Lockley

Seniors: Class of 2022 Sr. Picnic and Grad Night Information NOW AVAILABLE

Early Bird Price until March 25

Last Day to Buy Tix April 15

Thanks to our PTSA Grad Night Committee, plans are well underway for the 2022 Senior Picnic and Grad Night! For information about these events and to order tickets, please visit the following links: MAIN INFO PAGE and the FAQ PAGE. Also, the Gunn SEC has more info about the Graduation rehearsal and the ceremony. Please go to the Gunn SEC website.

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To those wondering where Prom is this year, we have great news! Here's Prom Reveal Video:

Check out to learn more!

PLEASE NOTE: The Gunn Junior/ Senior Prom has a limited number of tickets available, determined by the size of the venue. Once all of these tickets are sold, we are sold out - so plan accordingly and purchase your tickets early.


Due to a requirement to finalize our headcount for the venue and transportation, ticket purchases in the SAO will close on Wednesday, 4/20 at 4:00 PM or UNTIL SOLD OUT, whichever comes first.

Parent Workshops

Project Cornerstone will host two parent workshops in April titled "Creating Caring Relationships" and "Managing Stress and Fostering Resilience."

In these interactive workshops, using the Developmental Relationships framework to help teens thrive while strengthening families, participants will learn:

  • Tips on how to support themselves and their teens
  • Ways to improve family relationships while building community
To register, see the flyer below.
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Student Drop-off Items guidelines

Items left for students (including lunches) can be put in the black metal bookcase just outside the Main Office door. Items are left at your own risk. Valuable items can be brought inside for storage with the secretaries.

Clash of the Titans

Gunn students beat staff 30-24 at March 16's annual "Clash of the Titans" student-staff basketball game.
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TEDxGunnHighSchool: Call to Adventure

On Monday, March 21st, TEDxGunnHighSchool will host its twelfth annual conference (for students) at Spangenberg Theatre while streaming it all directly online as well.

Each year, TEDxGunnHighSchool aims to center its annual conference's content around a central theme. Our theme this year is focused on a renewed hope as we begin our own hero's journey and are launched forth into a new world post-pandemic. We wanted to provide everyone with a series of exciting opportunities and experiences to guide their mindset as they can enter the unknown with new tools and a keen sense of exploration in a newly reformed world.

With our distinguished set of speakers and performers, we hope to provide a conference experience where the audience will explore innovative ways on how they can reapproach the standard to a better future.

Here is the link to this year's event:

Career Speakers Series

Thanks to the ambitious career month committee comprised of both students and parents, we offer these amazing speaking events during lunch March 21-25:

Keynote – Gunn grad Raphael Bob-Waksberg of the hit Netflix series BoJack Horseman will Zoom in live during SELF to share his journey

Career Speaker Series – during lunch all next week are live speakers showcasing their career pathway journey. Please encourage your students to attend & get free pizza!

More info can be found on the Career Month website.

PTSA will provide free food at all live events. Greeters, runners, and pizza servers are needed. Sign up here.

Neighbors Abroad

The City of Palo Alto’s Sister City organization, Neighbors Abroad, is once again running its Student Ambassador program this summer to Oaxaca, Mexico. For more information, come to our virtual Information Night March 28 at 7:30 pm. as well as the information and application available on our website, Contact us at for more information or to submit an application.

Free Bike Repair

Sat, March 26, 11:00 - 3:00 PM in Gunn Parking Lot (by appointment)

Got squeaky brakes? Gears that won’t shift? A flat tire? Sign up for free bike repair. Repairs will be in the Gunn parking lot. Register Your Bike Bike theft continues to be a problem. Always lock your bike. This complimentary bike repair is made possible by the Gunn PTSA with help from the Gunn Bikex club. Let the good times roll!

Counseling & CCC

Community College Night

Interested in learning more about Community College? Representatives from Foothill College will be presenting to Gunn families on March 23rd at 7:00pm via Zoom:

NACAC Virtual College Fair

NACAC will be hosting a virtual college fair on 4/3 from 1-6 pm EST.
Click HERE for information from the event organizer and registration instructions.

WACAC College Fair

The Western Association for College Admission Counseling is hosting a college fair Tuesday, April 19th at the Santa Clara Convention Center from 6 pm - 8 pm. To register click the link to the flyer here.

Community Service

Attention class of 2023! If you want your Community Service hours to go on your Gunn transcript, you must complete the Gunn High School Community Service form by Friday, Sept 2, 2022 at the latest. You must have at least 100 hours of service on the form before you turn it in. Note that the Community Service process is now online. For information on the process and to access the form, go to the Community Service webpage on the Gunn website.

Gunn counselors continue to host Juniors for their 1-on-1 Junior Conferences. Juniors can find resources including the required Junior Conference Checklist in the counseling Schoology course. Counselors have posted updates on Schoology with instructions for scheduling these conferences which will run through April.

Counselors will now start meeting with Sophomores as well! They are excited to get to know the Class of 2024 more as they have recently visited them in their SELF class and met with them to complete a 4-year academic plan during Prime. During the meeting, counselors will review the recently created 4-year plan, discuss junior year courses, hear about the student's experiences at Gunn and any topic or question that they may have.

We are noticing a lot of misinformation going out through social media regarding what classes can be substituted or delayed. Please consult with your student's counselor before relying on what is possible to skip lanes or coursework when selecting classes.

Students can drop in to ask questions by utilizing the daily drop-in sessions: before school, brunch, and after school. Counselors are available for appointments through email.

Junior Parents Night with Gunn Counseling was last Wednesday from 6-7 pm. In case you missed it here is the link to the video.

Course Selection Changes:

Any changes to schedule requests after submitting course selection should be directed to your student's counselor. Changes can be made up through March. Please check with your counselor if you are considering a change. There are courses that may not run unless there are a minimum number of students signed up.

For any classes that won't be running next year, students will be placed in their alternates for like departments. In some cases, your counselor may reach out to you to ask for preference and or a new course selection choice.

Counseling hours and contacts

To better serve students and families, we have extended the hours that we are open.

Monday – Thursday: 8 AM – 4:30 PM

Friday: 9 AM – 3:45

During an alternative schedule, the office will be open from 8 AM – 3:45.

Students are encouraged to take advantage of our walk-in hours:

Before & Afterschool

During brunch

During lunch.

Wellness Center update

Here is a message from the Santa Clara County Office of Education....

Join the Mental Health in Schools Student Wellness Advisory Group!

The student wellness advisory group is made up of students from across Santa Clara County (ages 14-21) who are passionate about mental health in schools. Join us to advise county leaders on school-based mental health activities and lead conversations around student mental health support! Earn community service hours for school, a letter of recommendation, and a stipend of up to $500 per quarter (based upon completion of objectives). Learn more at

Message from TBH to parents:

PAUSD has recently partnered with tbh, a mental health initiative designed to help students proactively take care of their mental health. Gunn students have access to FREE weekly, virtual coaching sessions with a mental health professional and a group of peers. The service is fully paid for by the district and is offered to students free of charge. We know that this time of the school year can be stressful for students. They can benefit from building up their mental fitness with a licensed mental health professional and a group of like-minded peers. We encourage you to sign your student up here: Have questions? Feel free to reach out to the tbh team via email at or via text at (415) 895-3932. The tbh team is also happy to reach out to your student directly, to help share more information about the program."

Coming Soon:

March 21 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

In the weeds – Your body on cannabis

Allcove Palo Alto 2741 Middlefield Road, Suite 102, Palo Alto

Are you interested in learning more about the effects of cannabis on your physical and mental health?

March 25 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Physical activity and health – Are they linked?

allcove Palo Alto 2741 Middlefield Road, Suite 102, Palo Alto

Join us as we discuss the link between physical activity and your physical and mental health.

Mindful Minute:

Many of our seniors are starting to hear back from schools about acceptances and rejections. The latter is not the easiest thing to deal with so we thought we might lighten up the mood and offer students some practical ways to deal with rejection through these meme posters that will be posted around campus the week of the 14th! Enjoy!

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TRC (Testing Resource Center)

TRC is expanding its hours:

Monday & Tuesday: 8:30-5

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: 8:30-5:30

(or email for more info)

Students are encouraged to sign up:

Tutoring Help Available

The Academic Center reminds you to take advantage of the after-school drop-in tutoring clinics! Math Clinic runs Monday-Thursday. Chem H Clinic is open Monday and Tuesday. Biology A and H Clinic is available Monday-Wednesday.

Email for more information if your child wants to tutor a peer or get tutoring help.

Art Contest

Art Contest: Imagining a stigma-free world

"To Be Honest" announced its Spring 2022 Art Contest. What do you think the world would look like if a stigma around mental health did not exist? Many art mediums accepted.

Open to individuals ages 14-25 in Santa Clara County, due April 29.

SELF (Social Emotional Learning & Functionality)

9th-grade students will engage with the second of two Project Wayfinder lessons focused on identifying strengths, and how those strengths can improve their communities.10th-grade students this week will hear from a panel of their peers and teachers, discussing their experiences in the LGBTQ+ community at Gunn, and answering questions from their fellow students. 11th-grade students will participate in a screening of Just Mercy, as a link back to their study of equity and social justice. 12th-grade students will explore how to navigate living with roommates, including communicating boundaries and expectations and thinking about their own wants and needs in a roommate.

For more information about the SELF program at Gunn, please check out our website.

Student Video Contest

We're promoting the use of our Chrome extensions by kicking off a video contest. Please share with your students, and feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns to

Calling all students! Do you use Snap & Read? Co-Writer? Then why not make a video showing off your skills. Create a social media or tik-tok style video, showing off how you use Snap & Read and Co-Writer, as well as their best features. The winner’s video will be showcased. The top three will win fabulous prizes! Please submit all video entries to, no later than Friday, April 1st. Winners will be announced after Spring Break.


March 24-26

  • "Comedy of Errors" on Senior Quad (see website calendar)

March 21

  • TEDxGunnHighSchool's 12th annual conference for students

March 21-25

  • Career Speaker Series

March 22-25

  • CAASPP testing alternate schedule (see above)

March 24

  • Senior Parent Network Coffee, 9:15-10:15 am in the Batcave.

March 26

  • Free Bike Repair for students, 11-3 in Gunn parking lot

March 27

  • Freshmen Parent Social/Holi Fest, 2 pm, 1002 Vernier Place, Stanford

March 28-29

  • Choir-Staff musical, "Totally Gone With the Wind," 8 pm in Spangenberg



Badminton (March 24)

Baseball (March 22, 24, 26)

Golf (March 24)

Lacrosse (March 22, 23)

Softball (March 24, 26)

Swimming & Diving (March 25)

Tennis (March 22, 24)

Upcoming (April) Events to Know About

PTSA Elections Meeting: April 14 @ 6pm on Zoom

Please see eNews & Konstella for more information.

Help Needed--Museum of Tomorrow

Friday, April 15

The Museum of Tomorrow (MoT), in partnership with Safe Routes to School, is holding a pop-up museum event focused on Sustainable Transportation at Gunn High School. The one-day event uses experiential learning, artistic installations, and the power of social media to support efforts to stop climate change while reinforcing safe pedestrian, bicycling, and carpooling safety education. The co-founder will be on site all day, and Gunn students will help run the displays during lunch and after school. Parent assistance is needed for set-up, take-down, and supervisory support during brunch, lunch, and after school. Sign-up here.


Yearbook Scholarships

If you are interested in sponsoring a yearbook for a graduating senior on scholarship, there’s now a donation button for The Olympian on the Titan Webstore. It can be found under the Club Fundraiser tab. Choose the “Donate to the Olympian Yearbook Program” button, and then from there you can enter your donation amount. Including your name is optional, so you can donate anonymously. Your donation will help defray the cost of the yearbooks, which have already been ordered for these seniors.

Equity Standing Committee

PTAC announces the establishment of the Equity (DEI) Standing Committee under the leadership of the Education and Outreach council team. We welcome the participation of our community members. Please reach out if you are interested in participating in our stakeholder groups, Equity DEI interest form, or information

Volunteer Drivers

Parents who drive for sports matches and other field tripsmust complete the special district required driver form and have it approved and signed by the principal BEFORE the trip. This form must be accompanied by:

  • a copy of the driver's license AND,
  • a copy of the declaration page of the driver's insurance policy showing AMOUNTS of coverage.

The district requires minimum coverage of $300,000 bodily injury per occurrence and $100,000 property damage per occurrence. (You must have a declaration page attached showing adequate coverage. The cost of raising your property insurance coverage is minimal.) EACH driver must complete a new form each school year, which will cover all field trips for the present school year. New this year: For sports matches away from Gunn (or any other approved field trip) parents are allowed to drive but they must go through the vaccination verification process. All drivers who transport students other than their own must complete this process. Please upload your vaccination record HERE. Questions:

Career Speaker Series volunteers

Students can sign up for the Career Speaker Series every day during lunch to hear from professionals about their career and lessons along their journey. Visit Schoology to access the Career Month website. Keynote speaker, Ralph Bob-Waksberg, will kick-off this event during SELF on March 18. He will talk about his pathway as a Gunn student with ADHD to meeting a theatre producer who encouraged him to pursue drawing, leading him to become creator/showrunner of the Netflix animated comedy series BoJack Horseman. PTSA will provide free food at all live events. Greeters, runners and pizza servers are needed. Sign up here.

ELL Language Tutors needed

The PAUSD English Learner Program is currently looking for adult tutors to support elementary students in languages other than English. Potential candidates must care about and enjoy children. The Palo Alto Unified School District English Learner program seeks fluent speakers and writers of Spanish, Farsi, Chinese, and Japanese.

Tutors will support beginning English Learners by helping them understand classroom teacher instruction and the core content. Tutors will be utilized to explain information and translate for the child, and the teacher in the classroom and at parent meetings. Tutors are often used to translate written English into the child’s primary language to support parents that prefer to read in languages other than English.

Tutors are important resources in the English Learner Program because they provide a means of communication between beginning English speaking students, teachers and parents.

Interested applicants should complete the EdJoin Classified application. Please refer to the EdJoin website for further information.

Superintendent's Update - March 18, 2022


The Board of Education agenda calendar can be found HERE. Our meeting will dedicate most of our time to the topic of mental health.


Final bell schedules and start times are not ready for publication at this time. It is more complicated than most would expect. The start times and schedules require coordination of transportation, classified support staff, food service, and traffic patterns. We also share some teachers between our middle and high schools. This means the schedules need to allow for travel time in order to maintain services at all sites. Our Board of Education does not take action on start times or bell schedules.

Our high schools will start at 9:00 a.m. for the 2022-23 school year. We would like to use the next year to have meaningful and thoughtful discussions about our bell schedules and start times. For 2022-23, schedules will remain relatively status quo. We are coordinating the rest of the schools and may have minor adjustments. We are also attempting to align instructional minutes between all PAUSD elementary schools. This has been a request of many for a long time.

We will be communicating with stakeholders interested in reviewing bell schedules in the future. This will include students, teachers, classified staff, and parents.


We embedded an interactive item in our upcoming Board of Education document. I have never seen an interactive item presented in this way. In this case, we used Tableau to present data obtained from students regarding homework at the secondary level. We don’t know if the interactive data will be helpful or confusing. That makes this a bit of an experiment.

The Tableau data for our homework survey can be found HERE. This is an item that would require too many words to explain. You can click on the tabs, highlight areas that are interesting to you, and sort by clicking on the boxes in the margin. You can’t hurt anything, so please have fun looking through the data if you would like.


This is PAUSD’s inaugural year of awarding the California Seal of Civic Engagement. Out of 1,008 seniors, 83% of Seniors are currently confirmed to earn the Seal of Civic Engagement for demonstrating excellence in civics education and living skills participation and demonstrating an understanding of the U.S. Constitution, the California Constitution, and the democratic system of government. Congratulatory letters to families will be sent in early April. An additional 13% of Seniors are eligible to earn the Seal once 2021-22 grades are finalized.

All district students are afforded the opportunity to earn the State Seal of Civic Engagement, regardless of their background, communities, or experiences. No student is denied such opportunity based on academic ability, alternative school setting, or unique or unconventional expression of civic engagement.


At Palo Alto Unified School District, we are always striving to make things better. Please know that we remain committed to providing a meaningful education for all of our students.

Now more than ever, “showing up” – attending, participating, and staying engaged – will be critical for our student's success. We are aware that the pandemic continues to affect many families. However, it is important that every student who is feeling well shows up. That is why we are increasing communication to our parents and students around the importance of attendance. Attending school every day helps our students build a solid foundation for their future in school and in life.

Our new strategy includes an attendance management system that carefully tracks days missed and ensures that parents are notified in a timely manner. Our goal is to connect with parents quickly so that we can remove any barriers that families face in getting students to school.

As we move forward, we will continue to ensure the health, safety, and wellness of our students, families, and staff. Thank you for your trust and partnership in preparing, educating, and inspiring each PAUSD student. Together we will succeed.

Join the PTSA!

PTSA Invites You to Join the Team!

How Will My $8 Membership Be Spent?

PTA membership pays for officer training, advocacy, insurance and operational costs of the Gunn HS PTSA. By becoming a member, you can join discussions and vote at PTA meetings. It’s easy to join. Go here for more details.

Parent Resources