Paly Community Update

Friday, October 1, 2021

Hello Viking Families!

Welcome to October! Starting October 11th, we will have spirit week! We know the students are very much looking forward to this week after not having it last year. Our Activities Director has been working hard with ASB to make this a safe and fun-filled event. Please have your students check Schoology and our ASB Website ( next week for further details and updates.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend,

Paly Admin & Guidance Teams

Reminder: Assembly Bill 104 - Grade Change request Extension for 2020-21 School Year

We learned on 9/20/21 that Assembly Bill 104 (AB 104) grade change was extended until 10/15. For more information, please go to our district website. In addition, our College and Career Counselors learned the following last week at a conference they attended:

Statement from the UCs regarding AB 104 and changing letter grades to P/NP

Excerpt from the Counselor Connection: Fall 2021 Updates from UCLA:

Q. With the current passage of AB104 that permits Pass/Not Pass grades, how will students be reviewed differently?

A. UC campuses strongly recommended that students take A-G courses for letter grades during 2020-21 academic year, if given the option. Students should utilize the Additional Comments section of the application to provide context for readers if they received slightly lower-than-expected grades.

Attention Junior Families--PSAT/NMSQT

PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test

Wednesday, October 13th

Sponsored by PTSA

Test Administration Information:

  • All JUNIORS are registered for the exam.
  • The exam will be administered by trained faculty and staff.
  • All Juniors report to campus by 8:10 am and check into assigned classroom.
  • Exam Start Time 8:30 (Doors close at 8:30. No late entries.)

Before the exam:

  • Get a good night’s rest.
  • Eat breakfast.

What to bring on test day?

  • School ID
  • Two #2 pencils and a large eraser
  • Acceptable calculator (extra batteries)
  • Packaged snacks and water

Basic Test Information:

The Preliminary SAT Exam supports student performance on the SAT (Scores are not sent to colleges.).

Goal & Outcome:

  1. Become familiar with the SAT.
  • Develop a sense of timing/pacing for each exam section.
  • Become familiar with types of test questions.
  • Receive a score report of strengths and areas of growth.
    • Connect with Khan Academy or other SAT Prep services.
  1. “The PSAT/NMSQT is the official route of entry to the National Merit® Scholarship Program.”

Week of October 11th

Please note the special schedule for spirit week October 11-15 below.
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Advanced Placement (AP) Test Registration

A reminder that AP payment registration through Total Registration is now up and running. The deadline to pay is November 5th.

Here is the link to the AP flyer:


COVID testing will continue to occur each week on Wednesdays at Paly. Parents and guardians may pre-register for on-site COVID testing by completing the link or use the QR code below. Please note, these links are school site specific, so if you have children at more than one site you’ll need to use the individual code specifically for your child’s school. Registration is only required prior to the first test. After the initial registration, students can simply go to the testing site anytime on Wednesdays without registering.

Once you have registered, the individual being tested will only need to walk up to the testing clinic and they will be able to search for them by name. The lab staff will be able to immediately connect the barcode for the test sample to the online registration information, shortening turn around times for notifications. You will receive your test results through an email or text message from “Patient Connect,” which is Predicine Labs new data system.

The district positivity rate remains low and despite the challenges, we are proud to offer a COVID testing program to our students and staff. We thank you for your patience and for your commitment to safety. Thriving through the pandemic requires an effort by all of us, working together to keep our school community safe.

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Guidance Updates

Advisory Update

The first progress notes of the year have been posted making it the perfect time to talk about exactly what those marks mean. TAs have been reaching out to students to talk about their grades making sure they know where to find on-campus support and the proactive steps they can take for improvement.

9th Grade - Helping the 9th graders build a strong foundation and skill set for school success is an Advisory goal. TAs helped the students understand how important organization is to that success. There are many tools to aid productivity - using a planner is one. The recent lesson mapped out 5 steps for use:

  1. Plan Your Week

  2. Update Daily

  3. Plan homework time

  4. Reflect and Revise

  5. Add Goals

If you’d like to see more, check out the lesson Planning & Productivity Lesson Slides

10th Grade - We are accustomed to introducing 9th grade students to Paly annual events and procedures. This year, due to the unprecedented and previous year and a half, we’ve had to start fresh with the Sophomores as well! One of the most beloved weeks at Paly is Spirit Week. The Sophs had a visit in Advisory from the ASB students to hear about the plans for this year’s week of fun. Dress up days, the class dance, float building are all a part of the tradition. Take a look at what is in store for your Sophs HERE. Make sure to click on the video - you’ll enjoy watching the students have fun trying to earn points from all the events!

11th Grade - In reviewing feedback from students, we’ve heard of their interest to hear from more guest speakers. They express a desire for more interactive and diverse ways of exploring ideas and topics. In keeping with that directive, we are introducing a new Career Readiness Advisory next week for Sophomores. Palo Alto City Councilman Greg Tanaka will be our guest and talk about his career journey, academic preparation, and lessons learned. The Advisory will end with a Q & A session. Should be exciting! Check back in the next S’More edition for more information and a link to the lesson.

12th Grade - The seniors have been busy in Advisory! Last week they talked about the Common App - learning how to invite and assign their recommenders. TAs shared a “how-to” video and a tip sheet that broke the process down into easy-to-follow steps. On another tip sheet, students found links to information about filling in other types of applications. And taking a cue from the freshman lesson, seniors were given a College Application Tracking Chart to help them organize their applications and due dates. Here are the lesson slides containing links to the tip sheets and the chart.

This week, Advisory focused on the different types of college applications - ED, REA, EA, Regular Decision, and Rolling and how the choice could impact financial aid. Seniors were told how important it is for them to understand the requirements of each application and the commitments they are making with an ED application before signing any forms. Click HERE to see a brief explanation of each application type.

PARENTS - if you need help guiding your senior as they decide if Early Decision is right for them, explore together the information on these slides:

College & Career Center updates

“What You Need to Know About Financial Aid” -- for high school parents and students

Staff from Stanford’s Financial Aid Office will discuss the financial aid application process to any college or university for current high school seniors and their parents. Juniors, Sophomores, and their parents are welcome as well. They will share tips about submitting the FAFSA and understanding the financial aid process. Registration is required. Event Details:

Upcoming College Application Events for Seniors during PRIME - Registration Required

  • College Application Help - Wed., Oct. 6

  • UC Application & Personal Insight Questions (PIQ) Case Study - Wed., Oct. 20

These Paly events are a time for seniors to get questions answered and/or work on their applications with College Advisors in the room to offer assistance and advice. Seniors must register in Infinite Campus to meet with Ms. Cernobori during PRIME on the date of the workshop, to attend.

A complete list of workshop events appears on the calendar in the C&CC Class of 2022 Schoology course. These workshops are for students, only.

Palo Alto College Fair

Gunn High School will host the Palo Alto College Fair on Mon., Oct. 11 from 5:30 - 6:30 pm for Paly students. Attendance is limited to juniors and seniors, only (no parents) to maximize capacity limited due to COVID health guidelines. Students must present a Paly ID for admission. The event will occur outside, in the plaza in front of Spangenberg theater, so please dress for the elements. Questions should be addressed to Leighton Lang at Gunn’s C&CC.

Work Permits & Career Month

Work Permits

Congrats to the more than 200 students who have renewed their work permits! Permits must be renewed at the start of each school year and when starting a new job (if younger than 18). Follow the Work Permit link and processing information here. Work permit FAQs.

PAUSD is hosting the first Job Fair of the school year on Wed., Oct. 6 during PRIME. Since the event will be held virtually, students do not need to sign-up to attend, and instead will follow this Zoom link to log-in. There are a variety of local companies attending, each break-out room will have a local hiring manager whom you can meet, ask questions about their job site, and practice your interviewing skills. For more information, follow this link or contact: Work Experience Teacher Rachael Kaci (

Career Month will launch in March 2022! Seeking students for the committee that will help build our programs: a speaker liaison, creating promotional material, and/or attending weekly meetings. Follow this link to directly sign-up (students) or contact Rachael Kaci (

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