Titan Talk

Henry M Gunn High School

May 10, 2020: Vol 3 Issue 33

PAUSD Webinar series: Backstage with the Superintendent.

Beginning Monday, April 20, PAUSD will begin a live webinar series for anyone interested in hearing more detail about numerous aspects of the closure and submitting questions and/or comments. The webinars, called Backstage with the Superintendent, will run live each Monday during the closure at 5:30 p.m.

Please visit the district's School Closure Resource Page for answers to questions you may have regarding the closure. This page addresses questions regarding meals for students, technology needs, special education, and 504 plans, EL support, and mental health support among other things during the closure of our schools.

Please read PAUSD Superintendent of Schools, Don Austin's Letter on Credit/No Credit.

Schoology Resources

Here are some resources created to help with using Schoology in the PAUSD Schoology Backpack. Check out the Parent Guide in Additional Support with Schoology folder.

Community Resources for helping Families in Need.

Gunn PTSA has partnered with a variety of community organizations to provide help and information for families during this crisis. Please check out these resources on how you can provide or receive help.

One page guide for resources for all types of community needs.

Any PAUSD family in need from COVID-19 can get a grocery/gift card. Families can contact their counselor for referral. They can also email sheryl@rise-nonprofit.org (a former Gunn parent and alum!) and Spanish speakers can call/text Blanca at 650-823-9957.

You can also donate to the Palo Alto Community Fund's COVID-19 Relief Fund to help our community families as well.

SELF (Social Emotional Learning and Functionality)

Our wonderful SELF mentors have been continuing to reach out to their students to check in about their general health and well-being, in keeping with the SELF program's strong commitment to caring for the whole student. Some mentors have arranged trivia games for their cohorts, and some are encouraging students to discuss videos like this one from Stanford authors and design thinkers Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, who offer terrific advice for redesigning our thinking as we all grapple with the challenges of the COVID era: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myzqDCbXMpM (for more, check out their website: http://designingyour.life/articles/).

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The Wellness Center:

Gunn Wellness Center

For Mental Health Month this week, students were asked to share their stories with us about their experiences being a student at Gunn. The goal is to collect as many narratives as we can to create a collective piece of work to shed light on the student experience and hear directly from our kids about how to support them in the challenges that being their age brings. At the end of the year we will publish a digital version of these stories to share with the Gunn community-be on the lookout for that!

Coming Soon

PAUSD’s Wellness & Support Services Department is partnering with Asian Americans for Community Involvement to offer “Creating Calm at Home During Covid-19”, a four-week series focused on supporting families. The webinar series will cover:

  • Week 1: Improving the parent-child connection in close quarters
  • Week 2: Working through generational differences in communication
  • Week 3: Helping children manage their emotions while managing your own
  • Week 4: Developing children’s coping and self-efficacy skills

To learn more and register click here!

Mindful Minute

Mental Health America has put together a landing page with a lot of resources and information that highlights the impacts of COVID-19 on one's mental health. Check out the site here. This will definitely take multiple minutes but a lot of the info here provides a lot of help in navigating the various effects that this global crisis has had on us and our families.

Gunn Counseling

Gunn Counseling's Virtual College Workshop.

In this installment of our Virtual College Workshop series, Gunn Counseling takes a look at the topic of standardized tests. We provide a brief introduction into the SAT and ACT tests and the purposes, the purposes they serve, as well as critical information on the impact that COVID-19 has had on the examination process--including the responses from colleges thus far. Finally, we focus on the class of 2021 and explore ways to approach the tests with many colleges choosing to go “test-optional” for the next college application cycle. We hope you find this information beneficial!


Here are the latest Newsletters for Seniors and Juniors for the 4th Quarter. Sophomores and Freshmen Newsletters to follow soon.

Senior 4th Quarter Newsletter.

Junior 4th Quarter Newsletter

Families in need of support: If you are aware of, or are in need of financial assistance during this crisis, please reach out to your counselor. Here are some community resources that can be of help also:

As the transition to Phase III of remote online learning continues, Gunn Counseling would like to offer the following strategies to help you and your student(s) adjust to learning at home. Remote Learning – Tips & Strategies

Grades: The district has moved to credit/no credit grading for the spring quarter of 2020. All coursework for 2nd semester will be reported as Credit/No Credit on all PAUSD transcripts. Please contact your teachers on the standards for receiving credit in your particular classes.

Off-campus course update:

  • District policy remains as follows: 1) Graduation requirement courses must be taken on campus. 2) Students may take a maximum of 40 credits of elective courses off-campus throughout their high school careers. 3) Students may earn a maximum of 80 credits per year, including from courses taken on- and off-campus.

  • For spring 2020, no courses taken off-campus will be put onto the PAUSD transcript. This includes all courses taken off-campus that have received prior approval from the site counselor and administrator. If you complete an off-campus course in spring 2020, you must provide colleges with a separate transcript for the course(s).

  • Courses taken in summer 2020 will appear on the PAUSD transcript with the letter grade earned and applied to the 80 maximum credits per year to be taken in the 2020-21 school year.

AP Testing. College board has moved to online testing for AP's this year. Please see the following link on information and resources.

Counselors and teachers will be available through email to answer questions and concerns during normal school hours. Please contact your counselor or teacher through Schoology or direct email. Counselors will not be checking phone messages regularly.

Exclusive Collegewise Webinar Series for Gunn Families

Hello Gunn Parents and Students:

As part of our comprehensive approach to taking care of our families during a time when we don’t get to see our students at our high school campuses, we have contracted with Collegewise to provide a series of online seminars to our Gunn HS community about many of the impacts all of this is having on college admissions.

What is being offered? Collegewise will be offering 5 webinars between now and June 11. 3 of the five webinars are exclusively for our Gunn families and the remaining two will be offered districtwide. The 3 exclusive webinars are:

  • State of the Admissions Nation due to COVID
  • Highly Selective Admissions
  • Changes to the UC/CSU Admissions Policies

The other two district-wide webinars are STEM’s Many Branches: College Planning for Students Considering Majors in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics and Character Counts: How Character Plays a Powerful Role in Selective College Admissions.

As you can see, we’ve tried to cover a lot of relevant ground, and we are highly confident in the skills and knowledge base of the various presenters.

Who may attend? Any Gunn HS parent or student from grades 9-11.

How much does it cost? It’s free - but you do have to register in order to participate.

How do I register? Just use this link and sign up for as many of the webinars as you wish:


We’re very excited about this as we are one of only 9 high schools in the state who get to offer this program. We hope you choose to take advantage of it.

Congratulations to the 2020 Gunn Foundation Scholars

The Gunn Foundation is pleased to announce the grant of $92,000

in scholarships to 23 amazing students from the Gunn Class of 2020. We are in awe of their stories, their resilience, and their triumphs. We are proud of them and are rooting for them as they head into their bright futures. Congratulations to the students!

We thank all Gunn Foundation donors for supporting the Class of 2020! These scholarships are only possible because of you.

Below are our 2020 Gunn Foundation Scholars:

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Sources of Strength

Share your story! Fill out the attached form (or something creative) saying what helps you in times of difficulty, and we will share on our instagram @gunnsourcesofstrength and link it nationally to #WhatHelpsUS

Stay present. Stay well.

Gunn Sources of Strength

ROCK (Reach Out Care Know)

Check out ROCK's recognition of first responders and essential workers below!

We know this is a tough time for anyone. If you need to talk, please email rockatgunn@gmail.com or message @rockatgunn on Instagram. Learn more on our website.

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College and Career

Planning For College after the Pandemic- 11th Grade Parent Network Talk

Gunn Counselor Linda Kirsch talks about what will be different and the same about planning for college during and after the pandemic.

SENIORS: About to choose a college, if you want help sorting through options, just send Mrs Kirsch and e-mail and we will talk about the options.

Wait List: let them know you are interested still. This is highly likely to be used heavily this year so be prepared to ask questions if you do come off a list.

—cost, any possibility for discounts? (If you don’t ask they don’t tell)

—housing, any issues you should be aware of?

— start date will it shift?

— classes: will they be on line? will there be any changes?

Letters: Feel free to ask for what you want this year. If you do find they will not open till January, ask if it is OK to do some of the gen ed classes at FC and transfer them in as that may save you time.

GAP: They know this may pop up more and even places like public colleges may allow it this year. Find out what the rules are for this GAP.

JUNIORS: Look for interesting volunteer activity this summer. Hopefully we will be allowed more movement and if so, the adults who have been providing service may have gone back to work and there may be great need to fill those slots with teens. Caring for you community is a good way to find out more about your self and may help you shape your use of college differently.

SAT/ACT are cancelled through May and as a result, some colleges may go test optional for the fall. New info from College Board has been released regarding SAT. Whereas SAT is clearly not administering a test in June or July and will try to have one in Aug and add to Sept, ACT is not saying that it cancelled June and July yet. They do say they are working on a way to do online with remote proctoring in August. Please visit the sites of either SAT or ACT for the most up to date information.

Seniors: I have reached out to all seniors and Mr Lang too so as the time draws near to decide on where you will go…do not hesitate to make contact with me or him. We are here and you should get a reply within a day during the normal week. Key points that are slowly emerging:

Colleges are in consultation right now about how they will open in September. What does this mean? Some are going completely virtual teaching, some may have to find a way to keep the distancing and that will be problematic. You could be offered a later start time. There will be cuts to services that impact you, professors, amenities to so expect to hear something from your college in July. Not much info is leaking out as they try to ensure they actually fill all the seats needed to meet fiscal demands. Life will not be the same as crowds will be curtailed so you may not get the joy of some of the sport or entertainment in the ways it was delivered in prior years. Science majors…research in non essential areas may be sharply curtailed as money flows in for topics related to covid.

Please fill out the senior survey… juniors will want the info you are sharing. If you come off a wait list at any time, and I mean any time, just send me an e-mail with that info.

Do not forget to fill out the extra box that asks where you will ATTEND. Once you get to college, please share your stories with us to help us get out the word to the juniors who will be wondering how well you were cared for that year.

NAVIANCE: Some students may have heard back from all or some of their colleges. Please enter the results in the Naviance site where colleges are listed and students have applied. if you know where your student is going, have them look for the box that asks what college they chose and enter the name there. Be sure they hear back from all locations. Some colleges are still using the decide and deposit on May 1 and some are moving this out to June.

Please note that the following events may have been canceled, Please contact organizers to see if events are rescheduled or happening.

Attention Junior Parents: We have been telling you that many colleges are going TEST OPTIONAL and they mean it. Go to FairTest.org for the full array. I have met with almost all juniors prior to school closing. Thank you Grace for scheduling more in semester one! There are about 10 of you who have not had this contact…not to worry. I have your contact information and will be setting up a way to do this interview. I have my needed materials here at home. Remember this post high school planning is to talk about all kinds of options…that is why I have not tagged it with the word College. I have had folks who planned on CC think we do not need this meeting but there is so much going on at Community College it is worth the time

Any junior parent who wants additional time, even if we have met…I have all my notes from our meeting and I am available to do more discussion so just send me an e-mail and we will set at time. If you need Mandarin translation Denise is most helpful in assisting — we have done some conference calls.

Student Activities

Still Time to Buy a Yearbook! For only $95 (or $88 with ASB Card/ Lightning Pass) All purchases must go through the web store due to the school closure. Link to the Titan Web-store: https://tinyurl.com/TitanWebStore

  • NOTE - Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer browsers will work with our web-store - please use those browsers to make your purchases.
  • Not sure if you have already bought one? Check this list: https://tinyurl.com/t3t23l7

For Seniors:

May 15th is the deadline for Senior Showcase Submissions (speeches & musical selections): If you would like to be considered to present a graduation speech or perform a musical selection in our Video Senior Showcase, please read through the instructions and complete the linked form by Friday, May 15th. If you have questions, please email Mrs. Hall. Link to Senior Showcase Signups: https://goo.gl/mRtcZF

2019-20 PRINCIPAL'S CUP award Nominations.

Now's the time to submit your nomination for the 2019-20 PRINCIPAL'S CUP award (Gunn teacher of the year). Please read Principal Kathie Laurence's letter and submit your on-line nomination by May 15. Thanks!

Congratulations to these previous winners of Gunn's PRINCIPAL'S CUP award (who unfortunately can't be nominated again):

Timothy K. Farrell (1998-1999)
William C. Liberatore (1999-2000)
Hal Daner (2000-2001)
Kaye Little and Carol Kuiper (2001-2002)
John Robinson (2002-2003)
Paul Dunlap (2003-2004)
Ron Cooper (2004-2005)
James Shelby (2005-2006)
Jeanne Beck (2006-2007)
David Deggeller (2007-2008)
Tarn Wilson (2008-2009)
Todd Summers (2009-2010)
Daisy Renazco (2010-2011)
Lettie Weinmann (2011-2012)
Kristy Blackburn (2012-2013)
Cindy Peters (2013-2014)
Maria Powell (2014-2015)
Mark Hernandez (2015-16)
Bill Dunbar (2016-17)
Mike Camicia (2017-18)
Diane Ichikawa (2018-19)

Gunn Oracle Is still publishing

Even though school is closed, The Oracle is still reporting! Support student journalism and follow us on Instagram at @gunnoracle to see our social media coverage during our stay at home. We are also publishing content to our website, www.gunnoracle.com, to keep the community informed.

The Oracle #8211; The Student News Site of Henry M. Gunn High School

The Student News Site of Henry M. Gunn High School


Please check out the latest publications of the Oracle online.


Instagram @gunnoracle


Here are some Frequently Asked Questions for parents on the school closures.

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.

Palo Alto Partners in Education

Thank you to all that have supported Partners in Education (PiE). The donations to PiE continue to support many programs at Gunn, including our