Gunn Together Times

Principal Update, 2/05/2021

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2021: The Year of the Ox

“I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart, who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience, who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward, who do what has to be done, again and again.”

-Marge Piercy (To Be of Use)

The quote above has been attached to my signature line for all of my professional emails for the past five years. I can never bring myself to update the quote because every time I read it, I am struck by the simple incremental power of perseverance. As the Gunn community enters the second week of the second month of 2021, we continue to strain to move things forward, and each day, we continue to do what has to be done. While we have made great strides, there is still much work to do. We continue to commit to finding ways to increase student engagement and student agency. We continue to explore ways to bring more students on campus safely. We continue to partner to continuously improve.

This newsletter includes some important updates with regard to school photos, small-group cohorts on campus, and high school athletics among other things. Please attend the Principal's Coffee next Tuesday evening for more in-depth information on topics of relevance.

In the spirit of 'Gunn Together',

Principal Stratton

Small-Group Cohorts

Currently, we have 5 small-group cohorts coming on campus twice a week. Within cohorts, students are able to socialize before school, during breaks, at lunch, and after school. During class, students zoom into their classes, just as they would if they were at home. We are continuously exploring ways to enhance our student's experience of the community during the school day. As seats become available within cohorts, and as we are able to add more cohorts we will begin inviting others who may be interested to join a cohort. If you are interested in having your student join our waitlist, please notify your counselor. When seats become available, we will reach out to those on our lists.

School Photos

We have finally solidified dates (March 1st, and March 8th) for photo day! Updates will follow in Schoology and in the next family newsletter with regard to when and where your student will have their photo taken.

Seniors and Parents of Seniors - Graduation Ceremony Survey

Please fill out this short survey about graduation to help inform planning for this year’s ceremony. The survey will be open until Friday, 2/12.

The Superintendent's Reopening Update

The Palo Alto Unified School District took unanimous action on November 10, 2020, to reopen secondary schools as early as January 7, 2021. A short time after the vote, Santa Clara County moved two levels to enter the Purple Tier. The shift to the Purple Tier prohibited PAUSD from opening schools not previously open for in-person instruction. As a result, secondary schools have remained in distance learning.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) developed a new framework (published on January 14, 2021) to support school communities as they decide when and how to implement in-person instruction for the 2020-21 school year. This framework is intended to provide an update to the COVID-19 and Reopening In-Person Learning Framework for K-12 Schools in California, 2020-21 School Year (July 17, 2020) guidance. It also provides a consolidation of content from other CDPH COVID-19 and school-related guidance and supersedes previous CDPH COVID-19 and Cal/OSHA school guidance. The PAUSD required website posting occurred on January 26, in front of the February 1 deadline.

Return of Grades 7-12
Santa Clara County has an adjusted COVID case rate of <25 per 100,000 for more than five consecutive days. There is growing optimism that the County could return to the Red Tier sooner than expected. Teams of teachers and principals are being formed to discuss options for students to participate in classes held in-person. It is premature to detail delivery models or concrete timelines. The ability to return to in-person depends on many things outside the control of PAUSD. Staff will share brief thoughts about concepts under consideration for surrounding school districts.

Potential returns for grades 7-12 should not be compared to our elementary in-person program. Efforts will be made to get students back on campus for small periods of time. The current Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) allows for a return, although details will require additional discussions. Timing, capacity, and logistics are all considerations for our principals and teachers to work through.

Fall Planning
The default academic program for 2021-22 is in-person instruction, five days per week. Adjustments will be made if conditions or regulations mandate alternative models.

Surveys for families, secondary students, and staff members will be distributed within two weeks to measure key elements of reopening plans and to frame focus group discussions. Focus groups may be formed after survey results are analyzed.


Gunn Athletics looks forward to the start of our athletic seasons. Listed below are the seasons that each sport will play along with the length of the season. All sports are in a colored tier set by the state health department. Sports must be in the correct tier to be able to begin practice. All athletes must have a current athletic physical. Sign up on

Season 1 (Purple Tier: B&G Cross Country, Girls Golf, Girls Tennis, B&G Swimming and Diving)

- Voluntary conditioning can start immediately

- Practice Start Date: February 1st

- Competition Start Date: February 15th (pending end of Stay-at-Home order)

- Competition End Date: March 26th

- Cancellation Date – we will cancel the sport unless we are able to start by March 1st

If delayed due to a Stay-at-Home order, competition season can extend up to 6 weeks but must end prior to April 5th

Season 2 (Red Tier: Field Hockey and Gymnastics/ Orange Tier: Football, B&G Soccer, Badminton, and Girls Volleyball/ Yellow Tier: Traditional Competitive Cheer)

- Voluntary conditioning can start immediately (no participation by Season 1 athletes until that season ends)

- Practice Start Date: March 1st

- Competition Start Date: March 15th

- Competition End Date: April 23rd (except Football, which must end no later than April 17th per CIF)

- Cancellation Date – we will cancel the sport unless we are able to start by March 29st (for Football, March 15th)

Season 2 moves to season 3 if not cleared for season 2 (based on which tier we are in)

Season 3 (Purple Tier: B&G Track and Field, Boys Tennis and Boys Golf/Red Tier: Baseball, Softball, and Girls Lacrosse/Orange Tier: Boys Lacrosse, Boys Volleyball, and B&G Waterpolo/ Yellow Tier: B&G Basketball, and Wrestling)

- Practice Start Date: April 5th

- Voluntary conditioning can start immediately (no participation by Season 1 or Season 2 athletes until that season ends)

- Competition Start Date: April 19th

- Competition End Date: May 28th

- Cancellation Date – we will cancel the sport unless we are able to start by May 3rd

Social Emotional Literacy and Functionality (SELF) Update

In 2020 - 2021, SELF pivoted to best support all students during distance learning. The curriculum was adjusted this year to emphasize connections between students.

In January, the entire SELF team met to discuss the curriculum and to review stakeholder feedback. For 2021 - 2022, SELF is adopting a new scope and sequence with regards to social-emotional learning competencies. The program will focus on depth over breadth to allow students to develop and hone specific skills. Additionally, capstone projects and/or field trips will be implemented for each grade level.

Upcoming Events

Now through February 28:

  • 2020-2021 Course Selection: Click HERE, to be taken to the COURSE SELECTION RESOURCE PAGE, where you will find valuable information, worksheets, and tutorials.

Friday, February 5:

  • Spring Virtual Club Fair

Monday, February 8:

  • TEDxGunnHighSchool “Redefining Normal"

Tuesday, February 9th:

  • Principal's Coffee at 5:30 PM

Thursday, February 11:

  • Palo Alto Unified School District Equity Leadership Team in Conversation with City Leaders at 6:30 PM (Participants registered through Eventbrite for the Palo Alto 21-Day Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge will be provided with information about how to join the weekly events: Thursday Night Live! )

Friday, February 12:

  • Lunar New Year!

Monday, February 15th:

  • President's Day (No School)

Counselor Drop-In Hours for Students

Counselors will be available on the following days during lunch for students to stop by and ask course selection related questions. Zoom links will be made available through Schoology.

Ms. Bueno: February 10th, 17th, 24th

Mr. Chavez: February 8th, 17th, 22nd

Ms. Dickson: February 8th, 18th, 25th

Mr. Fidani: February 11th, 18th, 25th

Mr. Johanson: February 9th, 18th, 23rd

Mr. Leftwich: February 11th, 18th, 25th

Ms. Reyes: February 8th, 18th, 22nd

Ms. Ross: February 10th, 17th, 24th

Gunn Foundation Scholarship Application and Board Recruitment

The application for need-based scholarships from the Gunn Foundation is open now to the Class of 2021. The application deadline is March 5. Please visit the Students page on our website to learn how to apply via Going Merry. Gunn Foundation scholarships are based on financial need and help with college expenses like tuition or housing deposits, textbooks, the technology needed for school, and transportation.

Gunn Foundation thanks all our donors who make these scholarships possible.

We are also seeking Trustees for our Board term beginning May 2021. If you would like to become more involved in supporting our students, please inquire at or by visiting our website:

To apply to join the Board, click here.

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.

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.