Titan Talk

Henry M Gunn High School

August 23, 2020: Vol 4 Issue 1

Updated Gunn Bell Schedule

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The Wellness Center:

Welcome Back from Wellness!

We are so excited to be able to continue serving our students this year as we all embark on this semester's distance learning journey! As many as our amazing staff and administrators have, the wellness team has also attempted to adapt our services to meet our students' needs virtually. This week we launched the virtual wellness center! Students can virtually explore the resources and tools in our new Bitmoji classroom experience. We have links to the google form they can request support services on, psychoeducational websites about their health and wellbeing, and a link to our virtual calming room that we hope will help students explore different coping skills whenever they are feeling any distress or just need a minute to take a deep breath and relax. The link is active on the Gunn High School Wellness page as well as student's Schoology pages.

Coming Soon

Be on the lookout for some wellness events we hope to host for students such as the virtual resource fairs and wellness workshops, as well as weekly messaging and drop-in hours with wellness staff aimed at supporting students throughout the year.

Mindful Minute

Click here for a thoughtful article by one of Gunn's very own teachers about what your students' teachers want you to know about distance learning.

SELF (Social Emotional Learning and Functionality)

Now implemented at all four grade levels, the SELF program is focused this year on building new connections and sustaining old ones as we all explore new territory as virtual learners and teachers. We've also created a new Student Advisory Board through which lessons and ideas are generated and vetted, with the goal of making our shared time as responsive as possible to the needs of Gunn students in this extraordinary year.

The focus of our first week back for all four grade levels was to reconnect after so many months, check-in, and get to know each other a little better (especially the 9th-grade students and mentors). Specific activities varied, but most students across the grade levels were asked to identify 1-3 emotions that they were feeling, and briefly explain why. We believe that this fundamental piece of social-emotional learning--self-awareness--is a very useful skill for our students to keep building, in part based on data from last year's Panorama climate survey (given to all students in February 2020) in which only 43% of our students self-reported that they could "quite clearly" or "extremely clearly" describe their emotions in the past 30 days. In the spirit of Gunn Together, we also believe that right now, it's very helpful to be reminded that many of us are experiencing the same kinds of feelings and that we share so much. Along these lines, all students also watched a video from Gunn SEC about recent Zoom Bombings, emphasizing our commitment as a school and as a program to ensuring that all students and staff feel safe, valued and respected, regardless of race, gender, or faith.

Next week, we'll continue to work on building relationships and giving students and mentors time and space to connect. 10th-12th classes will continue with a short check-in about distance learning, followed by team-building activities and games meant to facilitate connection and fun. 9th-grade SELF students will be checking in about the year so far, learning a little more about the SELF program, and also hearing videoed speeches from the candidates for freshman class officers.

Please reach out if you have suggestions, questions, or feedback about the SELF program. It's our firm belief that community input is always welcome and beneficial, as it always provides us with more information about how we can improve this program for students--please email us at ccarlomagno@pausd.org and tfirenzi@pausd.org with anything related to the SELF program. Please also feel free to visit our website for more information about our mission, our goals for this year, and our past programming and data. Thank you, and all of us involved with the SELF program extend our warmest welcome to this new and very unusual school year!

Gunn Counseling


The Counseling Department is excited to announce that we will be hosting your Senior Assembly next week! The presentation will be made available at 9:00 am on Wednesday, August 26th via a link on Gunn’s website.

Some of the tasks we will discuss include:

  • Important steps for students applying to four-year colleges
  • Making formal requests for recommendation letters
  • Linking Common App accounts to Naviance
  • Submitting community service hours
  • Preparing for and scheduling your Senior Conference
  • Virtual college rep visits

See you Wednesday!

- Gunn’s Counseling Department

Sources of Strength

Sources of Strength is a strength-based comprehensive wellness program that focuses on suicide prevention but impacts other issues such as substance abuse and violence. The program is based on a relational connections model that uses teams of peer leaders mentored by adult advisors to change peer social norms about help seeking and encourages students to individually assess and develop strengths in their life.

ROCK (Reach Out Care Know)

ROCK (Reach Out, Care, Know) is happy to introduce its executive team for 2020-2021!

Kate Williams, President

Siham Arsalane, Vice President

Mia Knezevic, Treasurer

Jeannie Chung, Secretary

Haley Pflaster, Publicity Commissioner

Simona Nemychenkov, General Board

Summer Steadman, General Board

Connor Missett, General Board

They are excited to promote connectedness and wellness throughout the Gunn community. Feel free to reach out to us and follow on social media.

e-mail: rockatgunn@gmail.com

web: rockatgunn.com

Instagram: @rockatgunn

Especially in times that feel isolating, let’s promote healthy connectedness.

College and Career

Leighton Lang will be posting all college info on Naviance as before…go to Naviance, College tab, then Visits and events that are in seat or virtual will be there. The contacts have been made by colleges already and Naviance will make it clear if it is virtual. Links to sign up for virtual college fairs will also be possible as many colleges are running fairs already and they use WEBEX or YouTUBE and if you miss the event because you are in class they will have available for viewing later. Gunn will NOT be doing an in-person fair in October….we may run it in March if public health says it is safe.

FAFSA: will be updated this year to reflect what is going on in the financial climate more recently…this is long overdue for a refresh, so if you have any questions, contact Mr. Lang.

Seniors: I have begun setting appointments for those of you who want a check-in re: your lists, or what is happening in the CV19 environment. I have been listening and reading all summer to provide you with up to date info for your questions. Just send me your NAME, and a good time for a meeting then I will set a date and connect with you by Zoom or phone…your choice. With the pandemic in play, we do not want you missing classes…colleges will look closely at sem one grades, so I am ultra-flexible on the times for these meetings. You have priority during the first five weeks of school. I will put out updates on college via Naviance and parent network etc...

Juniors: Please make contact at any time that works for you. This is a good way to catch the lay of the land in thinking college so making appointments early in the year is just fine. I like to be sure all kids, and I do mean military, CC should take the time for this discussion, I have gathered all sort of info over this summer to share on those not doing 4 yr college so just connect and let me know when you are free. DO not miss class for a meetup…I am doing late in the day to help with this. We will be watching what happens this year closely so advisement can adjust as we hear how acceptance went, What colleges are coping post-Covid and which are not.

Frosh/Soph: You may have a parent network event that introduces me but it won’t be semester one.

Happy New School Year!

Student Activities

9th Graders - Represent the class of 2024! Election Applications close this Monday, August 24 by 4:00 PM. Check out the information and fill out the online application here: https://www.gunnsec.org/freshman-class-elections.html Elections will be held in SELF and online August 27- 28. Run For Office!

Gunn Affiliated Associations

Your membership, participation, and donations to the following organizations help make Gunn High School a wonderful thriving institution. Thank you for your continued support. Together we are Gunn Together!


The Gunn PTSA supports Gunn high school in many ways such as teacher grants, student activities, fundraising, and organizing volunteers. Please visit the Gunn PTSA website for more information.

Palo Alto Partners in Education

Partners in Education (PiE): PiE raises money from parents and the community to provide all Palo Alto Unified School District students an educational experience beyond what is possible with public funding. The 2020-2021 fundraising campaign has begun. See here what PiE funds for Gunn.

Gunn Foundation

Support Gunn Students via the Gunn Foundation

Since 1968, the Gunn Foundation has been granting need-based scholarships to college-bound seniors in the Gunn community. Scholarships fund essential expenses— deposits, textbooks, fees, and college costs that are often unmet by aid packages. Especially now with the impact of COVID, Gunn Foundation scholarships can make a huge difference in the future of a Gunn student.

Look for the Gunn Foundation on Step 4 of the online back-to-school packet or visit our website (gunnfound.org) and consider making a donation to support a Gunn student. Your support, at any level, will truly make a difference.