Gunn Together Times

October 15, 2020


Professor Margaret Wheatley's deep work with communities throughout the world revealed to her that "lasting change doesn't start from the top of a system, but from deep inside it, when people step forward to solve a problem, then move on to the next issue that needs addressing."

Wheatley found that healthy and resilient communities:

  • develop greater capacities and become smarter over time as they learn what works and how to work together.
  • become confident that they can deal with whatever problem confronts them next.
  • respond, adapt, and invent in the face of hunger, poverty, environmental degradation, and injustice (among other issues).

When educators and parents participate and engage as partners, to address challenges, celebrate successes, and continuously improve, we demonstrate our collective commitment to the cause of Gunn High.

I am struck by the resilience of our teachers, staff, students, and parents. This year we emphasized self-care, community building, and racial equity. Those goals continue to resonate as we make every effort to sustain our sense of connectedness, and deepen our partnerships with all stakeholders. This newsletter provides our parents and students with important information and updates. Please actively participate in whatever ways you can: Attend events, provide feedback to our leadership bodies, volunteer at Gunn, donate to our programs, and stay in tune with your student's educational experience! When we act in the interests of our community and partner in the spirit of improvement, we become smarter and stronger as a system.

For more on Margaret Wheatley go here:

Gunn Speech and Debate Team takes First!

Gunn's Speech and Debate has already competed in a number of online tournaments since August. This past weekend one of our Parliamentarian teams took First place at the Cal Parli Invitational (which would have been held at UC Berkeley)!

Congratulations to our winning team: Anshika Agarwal and Thomas Li!

They won out over 167 teams from 4 different states. Both Anshika and Thomas are officers in our Speech and Debate club, and both have become leaders among the students they work with.

We are so proud of our stellar students and ever appreciative of the speech and debate advisor, Diane Gleason!

Parliamentary debate(Parli) is the newest form of debate to American high school circuits. A unique feature of this style is its varying topic every round. Prior to the start of the debate, a resolution is announced and both teams have twenty minutes to prepare their side of the case. Parli encourages the use of logic and analysis in argument building, as students learn to tie together researched evidence to explain the implications of passing a plan. As a result, participants accrue a wide breadth of knowledge regarding a multitude of domestic and international issues as well as a deep understanding of economics, foreign policy, and critical education.

Here is the link to our Speech and Debate Team Webpage:

The SELF Program at Gunn: What's new?

What is SELF?

The SELF (Social and Emotional Literacy and Functionality) program develops students’ empathy, resilience, and other core social-emotional skills; helps students build trusting relationships with their peers and mentors; and establishes spaces where they feel safe and supported.

We believe that students benefit from challenging their assumptions, about the world and each other, by asking questions, having meaningful discussions, and remaining open-minded while maintaining their core values. In so doing, each cohort develops its own identity, without the pressure of formal grading or assessment, and with every effort to play, explore, and appreciate diversity.

Our goal is to help students realize that each of them is immeasurably valuable, not because of what they have achieved, but because of who they are and who they will become.

Why Do We Have SELF at Gunn? Go to

When is SELF? SELF classes meet every Friday from 11:05-11:40 a.m.

New Buddy Program Added to SELF!

For the 2020 - 2021 year, SELF has launched Buddy Classes.

Every 9th-grade class has been paired with an 11th-grade class, and every 10th-grade class has been paired with a 12th-grade class. Once a quarter, the classes join together for a weekly SELF period, and students socialize across grade levels while participating in team-building activities.

The SELF coordinators wanted to incorporate this into the program for this school year, to ensure students access opportunities to socialize across grade levels.

What's new in SELF this year?

In partnership with PAUSD's Office for Equity and Student Affairs, this year the SELF program is presenting a series of lessons for students of every grade level, using curriculum from "Confronting Bias, Working Toward Equity: A High School Curriculum," published by the Anti-Defamation League.

In this week's lesson, the first in a series of four, students will explore what microaggressions are, how they have experienced them, and what can be done to counteract them. A central piece of social-emotional learning is empathy. These lessons are designed to ensure that Gunn is an inclusive place for absolutely every student and that our verbal and non-verbal communications are conscientious, conscious, kind, and empathetic.

Gunn Site Council

Gunn 2020-2021 Site Council

Although it is an understatement to call this a unique school year, the mission of our Gunn Site Council is to have a big picture view of our future school structure, with an emphasis on continuous improvement. This important leadership group is the only one comprised of students, parents, teachers, classified staff, and administrators. We have just begun focusing our time and energy on identifying and synthesizing the core issues of our major site goals: High-Quality Teaching & Learning, Equity & Access, and Wellness & Safety. For those more deeply interested, please explore the School Reports which guide our process—SPSA, WASC, and CAASPP reports.

There are many ways all stakeholders can be involved, and we welcome you to ponder these big issues and share your constructive solutions with your representatives found on our Gunn Site Council web page. You are also welcome to send your thoughts in through our Gunn Site Council Parent Feedback form.

Under the Site Council Meeting Materials tab, you will find meeting dates/times, zoom meeting links, agendas (both archived and upcoming), and approved minutes. Meeting agendas will be posted no later than 72 hours in advance and we do provide an opportunity for feedback on non-agenda items in our open forum. As always, please discuss important classroom issues directly with your student’s teacher, counselor, departmental instructional leaders, and administrators, and bring us feedback you feel is relevant to our over-arching site goals. There is no perfect school, but with a diversity of viewpoints, we can make it the best possible for everyone.

Upcoming Events

Please consult the Gunn High School calendar and website for updated event information.

October 21, 7:30 PM -Gunn Sports Boosters Meeting

October 21 -Unity Day at Gunn High

October 23 -Parent Ed Event from Challenge Success

October 27 -Gott's Dine-Out for Gunn Foundation

October 26-30 -Halloweek, Virtual Spirit Week

November 2 -Site Council, 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

November 6 -Last day to drop a class and not have it appear on a transcript.

Parent Ed Event from Challenge Success!

Hosted by Dr. Denise Pope & Madeline Levine with special guest Lor Gottlieb, NewYork Times Best-Selling Author

Friday, October 23, 2020, 11:00 a.m.

Register here:

Gunn Counseling Quarterly Newsletters

Counseling Quarterly Newsletters

Newsletters were sent out this past week. If you missed them, here are the links for each grade level.





ELAC: Parents/Guardians and Families of English Learners

We invite all parents/guardians who have English learners at Gunn in their families to watch this linked video.

The video includes valuable information about the EL Program, the initial testing, and the reclassification process.

Our second ELAC meeting will be a Zoom meeting on October 7 at 4PM.

Advanced Placement (AP) Exams

AP registration is ready! To complete registration students must be registered on Total Registration and the College Board. Please see the Gunn AP Webpage for more information. The plan is to have AP exams in-person, but this may be subject to change based on county public health regulations. If you have questions please reach out to Bridget Johnson

Support for Gunn Families

If you are experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19, please let your Gunn student's counselor know. If you are struggling to pay for college application fees or other college-related costs, please contact Linda Kirsch at and Leighton Lang at This is a very challenging time for some Gunn families, and the PTSA would like you to know that our community is here for you! We are all in this together and together we will make it through.

Parents Support Webinar Series: Families Connecting Across Generations Workshops

A parenting support webinar series on Families Connecting Across Generations Workshop sponsored by Palo Alto Unified School District’s Wellness and Support Services in partnership with Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI) will start this Tuesday, October 13th.

This is a 9-week workshop that will be led by AACI counselors in Mandarin. While parts of the workshops are tailored specifically to families of middle school and high school age students, it is open to families of K-12 students. The series will focus on educating families on preparing for their children's future with culturally focused parenting and offer guidance under these uncertain times. Contact Yifan Wang, AMFT for more information, 650.329.3999 ext. 6975 or by email at Please register at Eventbrite. Once registered,

Quick Links

Quick Links

Gunn High School Website

Gunn PTSA Website

Gunn Student Activities

Gunn Oracle Current Edition


Parent Networks

| 12th Grade Class |

Nisha Datta, Julie Dubrouillet & Laura Wingard

| 11th Grade Class |

Claire Kirner, Leena Gill, & Gunjan Gupta

| 10th Grade Class |

An nie Bedichek, Lili Nova-Roessig, & Mana Uchino

| 9th grade Class |

Elizabeth Lam, Naomi Wang, & Michelle Chen

| Special Ed/Inclusion Rep |

Momo Yanagihara & Yael Uziyel Navel

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.


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.

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 ( and consider making a donation to support a Gunn student. Your support, at any level, will truly make a difference.