Paly Community Update

Friday May 28, 2021

Good Afternoon Viking Families!

Today is the last full day of classes for students - we are all excited for summer break and return to full in-person learning in August. We know this has been a challenging year for everyone - we appreciate your continued community support. We wish you and your family a wonderful and relaxing summer break. Here are a few general updates followed by our last Paly Guidance newsletter update.

Graduation: Please be sure to check Parent Square for updates about the graduation ceremony to be held on Wednesday, June 2nd.

A reminder that our finals schedule has been updated on our calendar. Please see our other updates about Advisory and College and Career below.


Paly Admin & Guidance Teams

Book Return

Congratulations on completing a uniquely challenging school year. There are three ways to return your Paly-issued books before the end of the school year:

  1. Return books at the COVID screening stations in the morning as you check into school.

  2. During the school day, return books to the boxes in the hallway of the Tower Building.

  3. On Friday, June 4th, we will set up a drive-by system to drop off books in front of the school

Graduation Updates

Graduation Tickets

  • Please check your ParentSquare account Thursday (5/27/21) afternoon for your graduation ticket. This ticket will have a QR code that you will scan for touchless entry for all members of your party at the entrance of Viking Stadium the day of graduation. You can load this on your phone or print the ticket at home and bring it with you the night of graduation.
    • All members of your party need to be present and enter the stadium at the same time.

Graduation Rehearsal

  • Graduation rehearsal will be held on Tuesday, 6/1/21, at 10am via webinar. Please have your graduates log on to There will be a video practice shown as well as a Q & A session for students following the instruction.
    • This session will be recorded and posted on Schoology, sent to families on Infinite Campus, as well as posted on ParentSquare for students who are unable to make the webinar. Please have your graduate familiarize themselves with the process before the graduation ceremony.


  • Comfortable shoes are recommended, as people may need to walk long distances, walk on the field, or walk up the bleachers.
  • The weather may be hot, so please plan accordingly.
    • Hats are okay. Umbrellas are not.

Graduation Day

  • You will be required to fill out a Health Screening Questionnaire the day of graduation to ensure that everyone in your party is able to attend. This will be sent to you via ParentSquare. If you are unable to access ParentSquare, please email Margaret Reynolds at

  • Paly graduation will be held at 5:30pm on June 2nd, 2021 in the Viking Stadium. The ceremony will end by 7:30pm.

  • Gates open to guests at 4:30pm.
    • Please fill out your health screener ahead of time to avoid wait time and have your party and ticket ready for entry.

  • Graduates must go to the Peery Center for preparation and cueing at 4:30pm. They should be wearing their caps and gowns.

  • For those who are unable to attend the graduation ceremony in person, we will be live streaming the event for your convenience at Please share this with all friends and family, near and far, to help celebrate your graduate’s special day!

  • After the ceremony, graduates will be escorted out of the stadium. Guests will then be dismissed by section. No one may remain in the stadium after the ceremony has concluded.

Diploma Pick-Up

  • Drive-thru Diploma Pick-up will be held Thursday, 6/3, from 9am-3pm in the main driveway outside of the Tower Building and the Performing Arts Center.
    • Students must come at the assigned a time below to come pick up their diploma:
      • A-Cha 9am-10am
      • Che-F 10am-11am
      • G-J 11am-12pm
      • K-N 12pm-1pm
      • O-T 1pm- 2pm
      • U-Z 2pm-3pm
  • Drive-thru Pick-up Make-up Day will be Friday, 6/4, from 9am-3pm
    • Any student who did not pick up their diploma will be able to pick up any time Friday.

  • If you have any questions, please reach out to Assistant Principal, Margaret Reynolds, at

Class of 2021 Car Parade

Similar to last year, all 4 Palo Alto high schools will be invited to participate in a city-wide car parade. Seniors can decorate their car, wear their cap and gown, and show off their school spirit as the Palo Alto community joins students from the Class of 2021 in celebrating their incredible accomplishments! Participants can join the car parade at the point closest to their home. You can find the car parade route below. All decorations must be school appropriate and cannot interfere with students’ ability to safely operate the car. The parade will start at 5:30 p.m. and end at 6:30 p.m.

Web Link

Car Parade Route

Guidance Specific Updates


Our final Advisories of the year were filled with housekeeping items: surveys and reminders of next steps.

12th Grade: Seniors met with their TAs for the last time on May 19 & 21. The time was spent not only sharing some final time together and wishing everyone good luck in their next chapter, but ordering that final transcript from Parchment for their college of choice:

  • Everyone must order a transcript to be sent to your college.
    Paly does NOT upload the final transcript to Common App.

  • Any college attended will require a final transcript - including CSUs, UCs, and Community Colleges.

  • D1 / D2 sports? → must order one to be sent to the NCAA.

Time was also dedicated to the completion of surveys. The two surveys are the Graduation Survey and the Evaluation of Guidance Services Survey - both found on Naviance. I can not stress enough the importance of the Graduation Survey!! Each Senior must complete the Graduation Survey.

The information is essential for Paly to prepare the School Profile required by all colleges. Results are also used to help future Paly students research colleges on Naviance by providing them anonymous statistics about where Paly students attend. If your student is choosing a different path (Gap Year, employment, entering the Military etc…), we’d like to know that, too. Please remind your student to take this survey; it will only take a few minutes of their time.

And finally, there is an Evaluation of Guidance Services Survey. For our Guidance Dept. to understand what we do well and where changes could be made, we need input. Parents - please refer to these slides (Here) for more detailed information about the surveys and how to access them.

And of course, we have a survey for Senior parents as well! We’d like to hear your thoughts and experiences with our 3-Tiered Guidance System. We use this feedback to make changes to our program going forward. To take the survey, login to your Naviance account > Choose the “About Me” tab (upper right-hand corner) > then choose “My Surveys”> and finally “Surveys Not Started” - you’ll access the Guidance Services survey there. If you have any questions about logging in to Naviance, please contact Karla Larson at

These evaluation surveys were also given to the Freshman, Sophomores, and Juniors in their last Advisory meetings of the year.

College & Career Center

For Juniors & Their Parents
Phew; you made it! This past year has been challenging for many. Hope you take some time to relax and recharge this summer. Your summer plans might have changed--and that's okay. We're all exercising our ability to adapt and cope with change; it's okay to grieve and to reset expectations--colleges are doing so, too. It's an unprecedented time.

Not only have colleges accepted the change to Credit-No Credit grading from last Spring semester, many have also extended the temporary suspension, or permanently eliminated, their testing requirements for the class of 2022 due to test cancellations caused by concerns over the pandemic. The Cal State University (CSU) system is not requiring--and will not consider--SAT or ACT test scores for eligibility or admission as part of their applications next fall; however, as a result, the minimum A-G GPA has been raised from a 2.0 to a 2.5. The University of CA (UC) system dropped their SAT or ACT test score eligibility requirement as well. Other colleges have become test-optional for the next application cycle (and, some, beyond).

In addition, colleges are aware that not only have shelter-in-place orders impacted your ability to pursue your extracurricular activities but that some of you and your families are experiencing serious challenges ranging from illness to financial hardship; they understand and are empathetic. Colleges have always evaluated applicants in the context of their high school and personal circumstances and will continue to do so; some of that context will be provided by Paly (i.e. our School Profile, TA letter) and some of it will be provided by you, in your college applications. We can talk more about how to do the latter, in the fall.

For some families, the summer months are when rising seniors start to take college planning more seriously. If that's you, read this hyperlinked document to learn more about the following topics:


These topics were discussed at C&CC orientation with your US History class and/or during our individual appointments with juniors this semester (depending on each student's individual search). Don't forget to review the resources in the Post High School Planning folder you received at C&CC Junior Orientation at the start of the semester. The Viking Guide has been updated and serves as an excellent primary resource for your college planning; topics include: how to select colleges, letters of rec, financial aid, and many more. Naviance has many great functions and features to explore. And, is content-rich too!

Finally, don't forget to complete the tasks for students’ Senior Profile (Info for TA Letter survey, Parent Assessment survey, and Supplemental Information Forms), to help his/her TA draft the counselor recommendation. Access the surveys via your Naviance account through the Clever icon in your student ID portal. Parents login to Naviance with their username/password (if you need a reset, please contact; click on About Me in the upper right corner, then Surveys to Take.

Work Experience, Career Development & Job Exploration

Work permits requests are in high demand this time of year, but rest assured that permits are processed all summer long. Here’s how to advise you child:

  • Work Permit directions can be found at this website

  • Permit requests can be sent via email: OR dropped off:

  • Paly: lockbox outside of office 711 (Paly)

  • Gunn: main office lockbox

    • During Summer School, permits can only be dropped off at Gunn (as Paly is closed)

Community Service Opportunities

Interested in community service this summer? Check out the Paly Community Service page and the Service opportunities slideshow to find the right match for you. Be sure to review Paly's Community Service Guidelines as it answers many questions you might have. For more questions, contact