Paly Community Update
Friday, March 12, 2021
Hello Viking Families!
School is officially open! We are one day shy of having the Paly campus closed for an entire year. Although the number of students on campus is far from what everybody is used to seeing, those students that have made their way back on campus have brought back the Paly spirit in a very positive way. Every student that I have spoken to shared with me that they are glad that they came back to campus, even though several of their friends are still waiting it out.
This week, we averaged a little over 20% of students choosing to participate in the in-person learning opportunity. Although I anticipated a little higher percentage, I have to remind myself that our reopening should not be seen as a race. I believe that over time, the number of students that choose to join us on campus will continue to grow. We know that returning to campus is a personal and family decision. We will welcome you to campus whenever you are ready to return.
This morning, at our Paly staff meeting, I shared an essay written by Teresa Thayer Snyder, superintendent of Voorheesville district in upstate New York. A take-away from this essay was a reminder to teachers about their essential connection that they have developed with students and how necessary it is now, with the pandemic experiences, that we allow our students to share about the world they have been living in for the past year and to help all students make sense of what, for all of us has been unimaginable.
I am writing this message today after witnessing a positive change in the climate and culture of the Paly campus throughout this week. I am sure that you would understand the many levels of anxiety with both our students and staff on returning back to campus. Over the course of this week, I have seen the entire Paly community make tremendous steps on bringing “normal” back to our campus.
As a reminder, I would like to share with all of you that students can choose to attend either both or one of their designated days. The most important thing that must be done is to have parents submit their response to the health screener questions in Parent Square, prior to students arriving on campus. Below, I am sharing additional information and reminders:
Students with last names that begin with A-L can join us on campus on Tuesday and Wednesday. Students whose last names begin with M-Z return on Thursday and Friday.
Charge your Chromebook/Laptop the night before school
Parents are required to complete the self-screener via the Parent Square App on their Rapid ID Portal. Parent Directions for accessing the screener can be found here. If parents need help go to: pausd.org/edtech.
Bring your old student ID
Wear a mask and mind your distance (6ft at all times)
Students must visit a Health Screening Check-in Station PRIOR to going to class each day.
Stations are found at
The Haymarket Theater
The Student Center
The Science building/Peery Center
If your class location says Overflow Room, or if there are too many students in your classroom, please align your class subject with the following location:
GYM (Large gym): VAPA, Math, History/Social Science, Science, Kuszmaul, and Knight’s classes (100, 800, 900, and 1700 buildings); Prep, Advisory
Library: English, World Language, AVID & Living Skills (200, 300, and 400 buildings)
Student Center: SpEd, Independent Study and Journalism/Photo classes (700, Tower Building, and MAC)
Follow the directional arrows when walking through campus
We currently have a CLOSED CAMPUS while in the red tier, so make sure to bring your lunch unless you’d like a school-provided brown bag lunch.
Lunch drop-off by families or food delivery services is not permitted.
If you leave campus for any reason, including appointments, you may not return for that school day.
Here is the link to our Return to School Orientation
Return to School Checklist
Mask + replacement
Old School ID
Bike Lock (if riding a bike to school)
Lunch, if you choose not to have one of our school-provided brown bag lunches
If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope that all of you and our students have a great 3-day weekend!
Paly Guidance Updates
9th Grade -One of the goals of Freshman Advisory is to share tools for success with students and help them be advocates for themselves when needed. With the end of 3rd quarter coming on March 19th and progress notes posting in late February, it was time for some reflection. Freshman were given an assignment to complete an Academic Progress Reflection. While they worked on their reflections, TAs dropped in to chat individually with students. They finished class by revisiting the Self Advocacy Strategies introduced at an earlier Advisory. To see the lesson, click here.
This week’s lesson was all about Reflecting and Looking Forward. Students watched a short video of other teens talking about learning from home and the pandemic - they ended by sharing life lessons learned from this unique circumstance.
11th Grade - As was mentioned before, March is all about Post-Paly Planning for the Juniors. Last week, the lesson was packed with information to follow up their Orientation to the College and Career Center - everything from how to schedule an appointment with the College Advisor, to action items Jrs can be working on now. Take a look at what was covered: C&CC Orientation Follow Up Lesson.
This week the lesson talked about Letters of Recommendation - both TA and Teacher. Here’s the lesson.
One important highlight from that lesson is not to ask teachers now to write their letter of rec - PLEASE WAIT UNTIL APRIL! They are so busy still supporting the seniors and adapting to in-person school.
Advisories are full of important information for the Juniors right now - for parents, too! Please remember to join us on March 24th at 6:30pm for a Virtual Junior Parent/TA/College Advisor Night. You’ll hear everything your students are learning in Advisory about navigating the college application process, college test requirements, post-high school options to creating a college list and so much more. Parents will then join a zoom with their student’s TA for more information. Watch for an email on March 17th with all the zoom link details.
One final reminder: All Grade levels have Advisory on Friday, March 19th. It is the kick-off to Career Month. Students will hear a keynote speech from the GM of the Four Seasons Hotel Franchise. TAs will list the link to join the webinar in their Advisory class information. For detailed information about all the exciting things planned for Career Month, see below
College & Career Center
College Admission Decisions
While some seniors are hanging in there still waiting to learn of admission decisions, others are faced with some choices about their college options. Congratulations to students who were admitted! As they prepare to make a final college choice, we recommend students wait until they receive all offers of admission (no later than April 1) and then consider which college best meets their academic, social, and financial needs. If your student applied for need-based aid, remember to compare financial aid award offers--especially the amount of loans in the award packages. Sometimes financial aid awards aren't mailed but rather are posted on students’ online web portal accounts at the college. If students don't receive their financial aid award from the colleges to which they were admitted by April 1, contact each of those college's financial aid offices to inquire as to when your student will get this important information.
Students have until May 1 to notify the college whose offer they’ll accept and submit their Intent to Enroll (often requires a deposit). In some cases, multiple actions must be taken to accept an offer. Read information--including the conditions of the offer of admission (which includes satisfactory completion of senior year)--very carefully. More information about waitlists will be discussed in the next senior Advisory.
While it may seem that the news from colleges--whether it be good, bad, or somewhere in between--is the most important event in the world, it truly isn't. Through high school students learn time management, study skills, and perspective. Through college admissions essays, students hope to convey what they have learned and how they have grown. They grew enormously no matter what post high school path they will pursue. They have reflected and thought about themselves seriously over the last few months. That in itself is invaluable. Realize the value in this process, and celebrate it with your students.
Leveraging the lessons of the last few months, we are excited to offer a brand new cross-campus experience for our students to engage with industry and community partners through our first Career Virtual Event Series. Starting March 19th, professionals in various industries will engage with our students digitally, including live Q & A sessions.
Lunch Career Speaker Series (Keynote Speaker on Day 1 during Advisory)
Women in STEM panel
Career Pathways Fair
We are excited to kick-off this event. It has been a tremendous team effort between Gunn & Paly students, PTA, CTE Advisory and the community as well as our dedicated staff members. Special thanks to our Work Experience Teacher, Rachael Kaci, for her instrumental role in spearheading this project.
Follow our event page on Instagram @palyxgunncm and show your support by tagging your post with #palyxgunncareermonth between March 19-March 31.
Lockheed Martin Internship has been opened for the 2021 season. It has reduced opportunities and will only run as a virtual internship, but follow this link for more information. PAUSD Jobs board continues to be updated weekly with new opportunities.
WACAC SPANISH LANGUAGE WEBINAR: CAFECITO CON COLEGIOS
Saturday, March 13 – 10:30 am
WACAC proudly presents the first of a three-part webinar series for Spanish-speaking families called “Cafecito con Colegios”! The goal of this webinar series is to provide important updates from WACAC members about the state of higher education and the changes that have taken place because of the COVID-19 pandemic in order to help Spanish-speaking families as they continue to support their students throughout the college admission process.
- Belinda Sandoval Zazueta – University of Redlands
- Cuca Acosta – University of California Santa Barbara
- Lorenzo Gamboa – Santa Clara University
- Maureen Ruiz-Sundstrom – Harvey Mudd College
- Sergio Estrada – California State University, San Bernardino
Registration for Spanish Speaking Families: Register Here.
Wellness & YWCA Present: Consent 101 WEDNESDAY, MARCH 17th 7PM-8PM
Join us as the YWCA discusses with parents the important topic of consent and how to talk about it with your teen! After this presentation, you will:
Understand the myths & facts about consent
Understand how to talk to your child about sex & consent
Understand the role of social media in teens’ sex lives
Registration and Zoom link here: tinyurl.com/ywcapalyconsent
Learn more about the resources and services provided by the local YWCA Golden Gate Silicon Valley at yourywca.org.
Wellness Family Night! TUESDAY, MARCH 23rd, 7PM-8PM
Mark your calendar for Wellness Family Night to learn more about supporting your student’s mental health and how the Wellness Team can help! Zoom Link will be shared on our website and in PalyLink.
Snack Donations for Students in Wellness
As students return to campus, an important part of our outreach is providing snacks for students! Snacks help to de-stigmatize the Wellness Center and allow students to familiarize themselves with the space and the staff so that they can more easily access support when needed. We love to accept snacks that are individually packaged and have no nuts. Here is an Amazon Wishlist if you’d like more inspiration or to donate directly: https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/19Q7GI0NJTJLK?ref_=wl_share. Thank you for your support!