Paly Community Update

Friday, April 16, 2021

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WASC Visit Next Week at Paly!

The Western Accreditation of Colleges and Schools ("WASC") visit begins on Monday, April 1th, and runs through Wednesday, April 21st. This year’s WASC visit is part of the annual six-year review process and for this year the visitation process will be facilitated virtually. For more information, and access to our full WASC report, you can visit the following link on

Our WASC report is the culmination of our self-study which involved multiple sessions with representatives from all stakeholder groups. Following a thorough review of our student programs and their impact on student learning (in alignment with WASC criteria), we developed a schoolwide action plan to ensure continuous improvement. The WASC visiting committee will essentially validate our plan and make recommendations based on their observations from the report and their visit.

What does WASC do?

WASC advances and validates quality ongoing school improvement by supporting its private and public elementary, secondary, and postsecondary member institutions to engage in rigorous and relevant self-evaluation and peer review processes that focus on student learning. This mission is built upon these beliefs: 1) a school’s goal is successful student learning; 2) each school has a clear purpose and schoolwide learner outcomes; and (3) for ongoing school improvement, each school engages in collaborative self-reflection and analysis to assess progress in achieving its mission, vision, and schoolwide learner outcomes.

Accreditation is integral to a school’s perpetual cycle of assessment, designing and planning, implementation, monitoring, and reassessment based upon student achievement. It fosters excellence in elementary, secondary, adult, and postsecondary education by encouraging school improvement through a process of continuing evaluation and to recognize, by accreditation, schools that meet an acceptable level of quality in accordance with established research-based criteria. In addition to its official title, WASC also means We Are Student-Centered. For additional information, you can visit the following website:

Additional updates

4-Day week update

Thank you for completing the "Request to adjust in-person days" survey sent out through Parent Square. We are reviewing all requests today and Monday and will update Infinite Campus with student's assigned days. Please note that we are able to approve all requests made through this survey.

Starting Tuesday 4/27/21 we will be inviting all students who are interested in attending "Zoom from the Room" 4 days a week. Just as is currently practiced, students can choose which days they prefer to attend.

We have some reminders for all students coming back:

  • Continue to complete the health screener in Parent Square if your student is coming to school. No matter what time of day your student arrives, they must check in and receive a "health check screening pass" for the day. After the first period of the day has started, all of these check-ins occur in our front office/nurse's office.
  • If a student's teacher is on campus, they need to be present in their teacher's room during class.
  • Students must continue to practice social distancing (6-feet) at all times and wear a mask when not eating.

Graduation Update

Graduation for the Class of 2021: Plans are underway for Graduation!

Confirmed details:

  • Graduation will be on 6/2 (5:30 PM) on the Football Field

  • Spectators - It is our hope that all graduates will be able to have some family spectators at the ceremony. Families should plan for limited numbers of in-person tickets for the event. Live streaming of the ceremony is being arranged so all family members can view the ceremony.

Other Activities:

  • Senior Awards - Our CCC has been collaborating with scholarship sponsors to recognize the hard work and talents of our students. A virtual video will be created to celebrate the students who have received scholarships and other Paly-specific awards.

  • Car Parade - Due to the popularity of the City-Wide car parade last year, both Paly and Gunn are discussing holding this event once again. The tentative date is June 1st, in the early evening. More details to follow in April.

  • Graduation Speech and Performance Tryouts - Will be held on Monday, May 10. Information was sent to seniors this week in Schoology.

As always, plans may fluctuate based on COVID safety protocols from the school and District. We will do our best to give you updated information as soon as it is available.

April 17 PAUSD Parent Leadership Summit

April 17th district-wide Parent Leadership Summit. Sign-Up To Attend!

Equity for Academic Success

Saturday, April 17th 9am-1pm

Keynote: Kiran Gaind

Equity for Academic Success: Aptly named as the sessions in this day of the series revolves around the idea of truly teaching every child. The breakdown of sessions on this day will focus on supporting diverse learners, teaching the whole child, bringing culture into the classroom, breaking down cultural barriers and biases, and the pathway towards college and career success.

A special racial/ethnic affinity listening session will be hosted by PAUSD staff to get feedback from diverse groups on their experiences in PAUSD and hear what teachers, staff, students, and parents need and would like to see to build a more inclusive environment and work towards an equitable and antiracist organization. Although the affinity groups are grouped along racial lines, the experiences of LGBTQ+, students with disabilities, and other diverse groups may be addressed in all breakouts.

Take Home COVID-19 Kits

As communicated earlier this week, all PAUSD secondary schools now offer take home COVID-19 test kits with Predicine that will be offered to secondary students attending in-person classes.

Secondary students will be able to take home kits every other week beginning the week of April 12th. Every other week will rotate between Tuesday/Wednesday cohorts with Thursday/Friday cohorts. Students will take home their kits on a Tuesday or Thursday and will be asked to return the kit to the school site the next day. The take home schedule for the COVID-19 kits can be found here.

The pick-up & drop-off location will be at the Health Center in the Tower building as well as all student check-in stations.

For families that would like their student to participate, there is a consent form attached to this email. The consent form must be signed and uploaded during registration in order to process the sample. Translated versions of the consent form will be available by the first day of testing.

Please view this training video to learn about the process and how to administer the test at home. While the kits do come with FedEx shipping labels, students will be able to return their kits to the school site the next day to be picked up by a Predicine courier to be taken directly to the lab for processing.

You can also find a quick guide to the instructions in English, Spanish, Mandarin, and Vietnamese.

If you have any questions, please contact PAUSD Health Services at

Paly Guidance Updates


April is an exciting and sometimes stressful month for our seniors many of whom are waiting to hear the outcomes of their college applications. Most students have heard back, others are still waiting, and many are weighing their options before committing to their choice of college. Our wonderful TAs, who have been with them every step of the way, are available to answer any questions, help with decisions, or just offer a place to talk. Before break, the seniors had one last Advisory before filing their Intent to Enroll.

12th Grade: Senior Check-In and Anti-Senioritis Lesson

Parents, take a good look at these information-packed slides - they cover everything from next steps, financial aid considerations, what to do if denied or waitlisted, and Gap Year and Community College options. The lesson ends with a sobering reminder to students that their college acceptance is conditional upon the completion of their current courses - at the same level as their previous classes. See a few letters some Paly alum received in previous years when they let their grades slip.

9th & 10th Grades: Returning from break, with only 7 weeks remaining of the school year, we offered students an Advisory lesson on Taking Care of Business and Finishing Strong. The main message in the lesson is that there is still time to make a significant difference, bring your grade up, and complete missing assignments. We share many proactive tips about organizing their assignments and asking for help, if needed. There is even a “To Do” List template that will help them track and prioritize everything.

College & Career Center

How to Choose a College

Senior families may want to review Ms. Cernobori’s April 1 update in the C&CC Class of 2021 Schoology course for advice and practical tips about how to choose among admission offers and select a college.

Upcoming College Info Sessions & Fairs

Junior families may want to attend college information sessions or college fairs. Check the college visit calendar on for off-campus events as well as Ms. Cernobori’s April 2 update in the C&CC Class of 2022 Schoology course for how to prepare for a college fair.

Foothill Middle College

Traditional high school not a good fit for you?

Foothill Middle College - Application deadline extended to 4/30/21!

Are you a bright, curious free-thinker who is yearning for a more mature and engaging environment? Are you interested in participating in a small, accepting, and mutually supportive community? Are you capable of doing college-level work and interested in earning college credits as a Junior or Senior in high school? Foothill Middle College is now recruiting students from the Palo Alto Unified and Mountain View-Los Altos High School Districts for the next school year. Middle College is an alternative program that serves bright students who may not be performing up to their full potential, or students who are dissatisfied with the traditional high school environment. Want to learn more? To meet the staff and learn more about the program, visit our website and check out our recent Open House.

Summer School Update

Please continue to refer to the PAUSD Summer School website for information. You will receive an email update from Summer School Admin last week of April or first week of May with information on your kickstart class requests. For further questions, please contact the summer school administration.