GunnTogether Times December, 2022

Principal Stratton's Newsletter

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

Harvest Feast

The PTSA treated all students and staff to a delicious Thanksgiving lunch at our annual Harvest Feast Nov. 17. A great way to kick off Thanksgiving Break! (photo courtesy of The Oracle)

Dear Titan Families,

As we head into our last lap of the first semester of the 2022-2023 school year, please support your students in their efforts to sleep, stay nourished and manage their time. In the coming weeks, most classes will review materials and provide students with strategies to prepare for final exams and projects. If your student appears anxious or unclear with regard to how to navigate finals at Gunn, encourage them to meet with their teacher and/or seek support from their counselor. A short meeting with a teacher can do wonders when it comes to de-escalating student stress.

The holiday season brings several wonderful Gunn performances. Thanks to our Partners In Education's commitment to the arts, our visual and performing arts program is absolutely top-notch. If you enjoy symphonies, chamber orchestras, jazz, and choral music, save your gas dollars, and join us right here in Palo Alto for world-class performances by our very own student artists.

The last Principal's Coffee of the year takes place at 8:30 am, on Tuesday, December 13th. Please join me and my administration to be updated on all things Gunn. If you cannot make this event, I wish you a wonderful Winter Recess with your family!

In the Spirit of GunnTogether,

Wendy Stratton, Principal

Principal's Coffee

You're invited to Principal Stratton's "Principal's Coffee & Tea"

Tuesday Dec. 13 8:30 AM on the Quad

PTSA invites you for coffee and tea with Principal Stratton and her staff. Join us in the quad near building E to chat with other parents and/or hear the latest updates. Have questions for the staff? Please RSVP & submit questions here.

In This Issue . . .

  • Gunn's Literacy Magazine's Latest Issue: Pandora's Box
  • Facilities Update
  • Around Gunn
  • COVID Update
  • Alternate Schedules
  • Attendance Intervention
  • Counseling & Wellness
  • Athletics
  • Communicating
  • Upcoming Events
  • Testing Updates
  • Gunn Foundation
  • PTSA
  • Seniors Update
  • Summer Study Abroad
  • Volunteer Opportunities

Pandora's Box

On behalf of Nimisha Sivaraman and the editorial board of Pandora’s Box, Gunn’s literary magazine, enjoy their latest issue. You will find fine writing and lovely artwork.

Facilities Update

The demolition of our old admin building and cafeteria is nearly complete with almost all walls removed. The next steps in the process include plumbing and electrical work. There will be a slight adjustment to the fences surrounding the parameter of the construction effort in the coming week.

Most recently, we received news that our new signage for the front of Gunn (the Marquee) will be delivered to our installers next week. The installation of the new marquee will most likely take place during Winter Recess. We will honor past graduating classes for their contributions to the sign shortly after it is installed.

Around Gunn

Positivity Pole

Gunn's ROCK (Reach Out, Care, Know) student group took the strengths people wrote about their positive friends and wrapped the pole between Spangenberg and the bike racks.

Big picture

COVID update

Due to a recent surge in COVID-19 cases, PAUSD will temporarily be suspending contact letters until further notice. To avoid the confusion and address the lack of value in families receiving multiple contact letters on a daily basis, we are asking again that high school staff, students, and families operate as if they have possible daily exposure. If anyone receiving this message believes they have been exposed to COVID-19 (meaning they have shared the same indoor airspace with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19 for a total of 15 min or more over a 24-hour period), please refer to the information below for instructions, per public health, regardless of vaccination status or prior infection:
No Symptoms:
· Remain in school (and participate in extracurricular activities).
· Test on day 3-5 from exposure
· If test is negative on day 3-5, no additional testing is needed and the school should be notified of the negative test
· If test is positive, the student should isolate and the school should be notified of the positive test
· Public Health also strongly recommends wearing a well-fitting mask around others for a total of 10 days, especially in indoor settings and when near those at higher risk for severe COVID-19 disease
· Isolate at home; test immediately and test again on day 3-5 from exposure
· If test is negative on day 3-5, no additional testing is needed and the school should be notified of the negative test
· Student may return to school once they have been fever-free for 24 hours and all other symptoms have improved
· If test is positive, the student should isolate and the school should be notified of the positive test

COVID-19 Testing Option:

COVID-19 testing is available for students and staff Monday-Friday from 8:00am - 4:00pm at the Cubberley Community Clinic. The clinic is located in an exterior room near the walkway between the theater and the auditorium, coming from the Cubberley south entrance. For information on how to register, or to find testing schedules and locations, please visit our webpage at

In addition, we have provided Over the Counter (OTC) test kits for students and staff. They have been delivered and can be picked up from your school's main office. Please note that per Cal OSHA, all employees must now provide a date and time stamped photo of their test results when using OTC tests. Photos must be shared with an immediate supervisor.

Students in the Arts

PAUSD students entertained at the "Arts in Unusual Places" event Oct. 15 at the Stanford Mall. (photos courtesy of The Oracle)

Alternate Schedules

2022-23 Alternate Schedules Linked here.

Athletics at Gunn

Our FALL SPORTS AWARDS ceremony is Monday, Dec. 5, 6:30 pm in Titan Gym -- come celebrate your favorite Titan athletes!


Basketball: Dec. 6

Soccer: Dec. 6

Big picture

Boys Water Polo Champs!

The Gunn boys water polo team won their first game of the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) division 3 tournament with a score of 18-6 on Nov. 15 and were seeded first in the tournament. (Photo courtesy of The Oracle)


Attendance continues to be one of PAUSD's goals for the 2022 - 2023 school year. Healthy attendance is the key to student success as well as graduation, and even college and career readiness.

At Gunn High School this school year, and throughout PAUSD, we will continue our intervention in order to support each student's healthy attendance. At the 6th - 12th grade level, 1 truancy event will represent 4 unexcused period absences (the equivalent of 1 full day, when classes are averaged throughout the week). Intervention responses will look like:

  • 3 Truancy Events (12 unexcused period absences or the equivalent of 3 full days) = A call home from your student's counselor or case manager, as well as a formal notification of truancy via mail (Truancy Letter #1)
  • 6 Truancy Events (24 unexcused period absences or the equivalent of 6 full days) = An in-person meeting with your student's counselor, case manager (if applicable) and Assistant Principal Carlomagno, as well as a formal notification of truancy via mail (Truancy Letter #2)
  • 9 Truancy Events (36 unexcused period absences or the equivalent of 9 full days) = Referral to the District Office's SARB (School Attendance Review Board), as well as a formal notification of truancy via mail (Truancy Letter #3)

In addition to these formal intervention processes, parents and guardians may also receive timely outreach from our Attendance Clerks regarding any absences that are occurring in the middle of the day.

Updated Attendance Processes (Previously shared on ParentSquare)

Please note: Beginning September 1, 2022 the attendance office will be enforcing the 72 hour rule.

  1. Parents/guardians have 72 hours to excuse a previous absence. (After 72 hours, documentation is required)
  2. Prior Approval Forms for upcoming/scheduled absences must be turned in 72 hours prior to the absence. Prior Approval Forms can be used for court appearances, consulate appointments, outside sporting competitions and other special circumstances. Additionally they must be completed for the 5 college visitation days allotted to seniors and second semester juniors. Family vacations or other similar personal absences do not fall into this category.

Approval is to the administrator’s discretion. The form does not need to be filled out for health appointments or illnesses.

Counseling & Wellness

Here is this week's Titan Talk with updates on SELF, Guidance, College & Career and Wellness departments.

Balance App

Personalized meditation program. Get the first year free for a limited time!

Insight Timer

Free meditation app with a vast library of guided meditations and music to calm your mind, improve sleep, and relax.


Communications Platforms at Gunn:

Communications from Gunn PTSA

How does Gunn PTSA communicate (electronically) with families?


Gunn PTSA is using Konstella for our electronic Parent Directory, Grade level parent network, community messaging, event information and volunteer sign-ups. When registering your student this year on Infinite Campus, you indicated your communications preference to be included in emails from the PTSA or in the school Directory. PAUSD will only give us your information if you answered "YES", and you will be included in Konstella, and start receiving messages from PTSA. You can also register on Konstella - email with your preferred email address and name/grade of your student.

PAUSD is a member of Connected Schools. The Common Sense Connected School's member hub is updated weekly. The "hub" contains resources, tips, and events for educators and families to help guide students in navigating the digital age. Here is a short two-minute "how-to use the hub" video. Parents can sign up here for the Common Sense newsletter to receive ongoing, age-specific recommendations and advice on the latest movies, TV shows, books, apps, and more.

Upcoming Events

Dec. 5

  • Fall Sports Awards (6:30 pm in Titan Gym)

Dec. 8

  • Nutcracker Concert (Concert Symphony Orchestra and Jazz Band, 7:30 pm, in Spangenberg)

Dec. 13

  • Principal's Coffee (8:30 am on Quad)
  • Posada celebration (4-8 pm in Acorn Lounge/Library)

Dec. 14

  • Winter Band Concert (7:30 pm, Spangenberg)

Dec. 15

  • Parent Education zoom event, "Talking to your kids about drugs and alcohol" (6:30-8 pm, zoom link to come)

Dec. 15-19

  • Review Days (no new material)

Dec. 16

  • PRIME instead of SELF
  • Choir Concert (7:30 pm, St. Mark's Episcopal Church, PA)

Dec. 19

  • Petting Zoo on amphitheater (12:20-1:20 pm)

Dec. 20-22

  • Finals

Dec. 23-Jan. 9

  • Winter Break

Jan. 10

  • Students return to school

PTSA Student Grants available

PTSA announces Student Grants! Here is a summary of student-led grants funded Spring and Fall 2021. All students are encouraged to apply. Student-led grant applications are due January 7. See more detailed information and the application here.

Testing Updates

Here is an update to the testing website. There is a lot of information there about the SAT and APs. I also included an update for PSAT and when scores should come out.

PSAT: Completed October 12, 2022. Score reports will be published on December 5, 2022. PSAT scores can be viewed by clicking on this link and signing in.

APs (Optional) Who: All Gunn students. Paly Students can take Physics 1, German, Microeconomics, and Human Geography. What/why: Most students who take an AP course at Gunn take the AP exam to show mastery of the subject. Some colleges will consider AP exam scores for admissions and college credit. Please research the AP policy for each college being considered. When: Monday May 1-12, 2023. Here is the schedule created by College Board. Where: Pending exam type and number of students registered. Cost: You can pay for exam using Total Registration. Registering properly Is a two-step process and both steps MUST be completed to access the AP Classroom resources and/or order AP Exams. The entire process (both steps) can be completed in a single sitting in approximately 10 minutes.

  1. Complete the registration process on Total Registration.
  2. Enroll in your AP courses and exams in the College Board's MyAP system with the Join Codes you will receive at the end of Total Registration's process. Most students have already joined their classes using a join code, but please double check regardless.

Seniors Update

Senior portraits must be taken by Jan. 13. Schedule your senior photo at Now and Forever Studios Senior portraits will be formal, so students can choose to wear either a drape, tux or cap and gown, which will be provided by the studio during the session. Check the studio website to see what to wear to the session. The yearbook staff is only accepting senior portraits from Now and Forever Studios.

Senior tribute Ads deadline is Dec. 15. Senior tribute ads are a chance for parents to individually recognize their senior with an ad in the yearbook. We are offering quarter-page at $75 again this year to ensure we get as many students represented as possible. Use the links below to get started with your ad purchase:

Senior Tribute Ad: Quickstart in English

Senior Tribute Ad: Quickstart in Mandarin

Senior Tribute Ad: Quickstart in Spanish

Questions? Please contact The Olympian Adviser Kristy Blackburn at

Summer Study Abroad

Is your child interested in Summer Study Abroad? Gunn High School is a Global Navigator High School, which means all Gunn students have the opportunity to be awarded scholarship money to support summer study abroad with CIEE. Check out their website or contact Liz Matchett ( for more info. Apply early to have a chance to win airfare.

NEW Crisis Mental Health Resource

County of Santa Clara Launches 988 Phone Number Dedicated to Crisis Mental Health and Substance Use Services

As of July 16, the County of Santa Clara Behavioral Health Services Department (BHSD) has transitioned to the new national three-digit crisis lifeline number, 988. The new number is a more direct and accessible way to get mental health and substance use support in critical times of need. Callers with 408, 650, and 669 area codes can dial 988* and receive compassionate support and connection to local crisis services if they, or a loved one:

  • are in mental health or substance use crisis;
  • are experiencing mental health distress, including thoughts of suicide; or
  • just need to talk.

*Those who have phone area codes other than 408, 650, and 669 can call 800-704-0900, and press 1, to receive the same support in Santa Clara County.

In addition, BHSD is making non-crisis service access easier: Those looking for mental health and substance use treatment services can call one number: 800-704-0900.

Gunn Foundation Needs Your Donation

The Gunn Foundation would like to call upon our community to help students who are experiencing financial hardships to attend colleges that offer them admission.


Every year, Gunn Foundation scholarships help Gunn graduates pay for expenses like tuition and housing deposits, textbooks, fees, and other items not covered by financial aid. Your support - at any amount - will help ensure a big bright future for students in our community.

Last spring, Gunn Foundation granted need-based scholarships to 24 students who are now attending schools across the US. With your help, we can do the same for the Class of 2023!


TEDx speakers

TEDx Gunn High School is presented February 6 in Spangenberg Theater and we're recruiting speakers and performers. Hundreds of students will attend with over ten distinguished speakers from all walks of life to share ideas worth spreading under the theme "Blossom." We are hoping that speakers with unique journeys will spark dialogue in the Gunn community. Please contribute to speaker nominations by emailing

Reflections Art Program Coordinator

Do you love student art? By stepping up to coordinate the Reflections Art Program at Gunn, students would be invited to participate and submit original artwork related to the theme. This year’s theme is “Show your Voice.” If selected, the artwork would have a chance to earn various awards. Read more here. More information on the coordinators role can also be found here. If you are interested in coordinating the Reflections Art Program for Gunn PTSA, please contact subject line: Reflections Art Program @ Gunn

Join the Gunn Foundation

We are currently seeking enthusiastic, creative, hard-working candidates to join our dedicated team of volunteer board members. All are encouraged to apply but we have an urgent need for candidates with backgrounds in fundraising, IT, finance/investment planning and web design. We are accepting applications for three-year terms to begin in April 2023. Please click on this link to submit your application 2023-2024 Gunn Foundation Board Application. Applications are due by 5:00 pm on January 15, 2023. For more information about Gunn Foundation, go to or send an email to Judy Lee at with your inquiry.

The Gunn Foundation is an all-volunteer nonprofit that provides need-based scholarships to college-bound seniors in the Gunn community. Scholarships fund essential expenses --- housing deposits, books, enrollment fees --- often unmet by aid packages.

Your support of the Gunn Foundation shows the scholarship recipients that you believe in them and their potential. Donations are accepted via check or Paypal at Any amount can make a difference in the college plans and future of a deserving Gunn senior. Please donate today!


Substitute Teachers needed

Do you already have a valid teaching credential or substitute permit?

Due to a combination of factors, our need for substitute teachers at Gunn is greater than ever. We are asking those of you who may already have a valid teaching credential or substitute teaching permit to join our team ASAP. Whether you can offer one day a week or five, the added support would be much appreciated! Please email Lorie Prior (

Join the PTSA!

Gunn's PTSA wants you to join the team --

Your $8 PTA membership (what a deal!) pays for officer training, advocacy, insurance and operational costs of the Gunn PTSA. By becoming a member, you can join discussions and vote at PTA meetings. It’s easy to join. Go here for more details.

PTSA Leads Needed

There are many opportunities to volunteer at Gunn. Volunteering is a great way to meet other parents, make new friends, and get more involved at the school. PTSA values your contribution and we could not do it without you! Leads and committees are needed to host several events that bring the Gunn High School community together. Please let us know if you can help by signing up here.

Food Containers Wanted

Culinary Arts Classes need take home food containers, especially cup, pint and quart sizes. They may be dropped off at the main office for teacher Cindy Peters. Questions:

Academic Center volunteer needed

Can you help out in the Academic Center 12:00-1:00pm? Enjoy time with Gunn's delightful students and learn about our academic and extracurricular programs. Responsibilities include being the welcoming adult presence in the room, monitoring the automatic textbook check-in system, and overseeing the use of computers and printers. You can volunteer once a week or every other week, and partner with another parent if you'd like. Please email

Sports Boosters volunteers

Please volunteer and join the Gunn Sports Boosters board 2022-23. With half of our student body participating in a sport, we need your involvement to continue our work supporting these athletic programs that receive little revenue from the district. Gunn Sports Boosters is a not-for-profit organization that supports Gunn student athletes in partnership with the Gunn Athletics Department. We raise funds, awareness and school spirit to support our athletes by working with school administrators, coaches, parents, and community members. We assist with fundraising and work to fund projects that impact Gunn student athletes. We are looking for help in all capacities. Contact Sunny Jefferson if you are interested at

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 who 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.