Palo Alto Online : High school life: To whom it may concern

Palo Alto Online : High school life: To whom it may concern

Some ideas from a veteran teacher at Gunn High School, Palo Alto:

■ Start the school day later on Thursday so that kids can catch an extra hour of sleep;

■ Have the Adolescent Counseling staff visit classrooms to say “hi”;

■ Restrict the use of cell phones and other devices on campus during school hours;

■ Host a once-a-month, school-wide evening potluck so parents, teachers, students, administrators and counselors can mingle and hobnob;

■ Emphasize to new teachers, and enshrine in our culture, the immense worth of moment-to-moment affirmation of students (as expressed in Project Cornerstone’s “40 Ways Teachers Can Show Students That They Care”);

■ Unplug the round-the-clock, online feature that enables teachers to post, and students and parents to track, grades on tests, quizzes, homework and papers on a 24/7 basis;

■ Change summer-school curricula back from two semesters to only one (students’ GPAs and AP course loads — and most importantly, the kids themselves — will survive);

■ Require parents of a student registering for more than two AP classes to sign a form acknowledging that this course load may result in detrimental losses of sleep, time with friends and time with teachers and may lower their child’s resiliency, increase his or her anxiety and affect mental health;

■ Scuttle the “Titan Profiles” from morning televised announcements. These portraits of achievement are sometimes agreed to in order to please an adult but can also discourage our kids most affected by depression;

■ Move the counselors’ presentation on how to approach college applications from junior year back to senior year;

■ Add a technology that monitors students’ total nightly homework (with a function that gives teachers feedback on how long their assignments are actually taking) to the technology that tracks attendance and grades;

■ Institute policies that require special attention to homework loads in the immediate wake of any campus trauma (and require deferment of disturbing learning materials such as films or books that deal with genocide, war or torture);

■ Survey students to rate all teachers and coaches and administrators on how approachable they are (with the results communicated to the educators only upon request, in complete confidentiality, and with follow-up support and guidance or coaching made available);

■ Fairly and consistently enforce, and clearly communicate, rules against academic dishonesty so that our kids’ anxieties about whether the academic playing-field is level are allayed;

■ Keep teachers’ full-time loads at five classes rather than, as was proposed this past year, adding a sixth, once-a-week class period in which faculty are expected to bond with 20 more students and facilitate group discussions of personal issues;

■ Commit to the smallest reasonable class sizes so that teachers’ energies are husbanded and every student has a maximum chance to be heard, recognized and valued.

California Bay Area – Selected High Schools & School Districts

#

County

Website

Accountability Progress Report

01 Alameda URL APR
07 Contra Costa URL APR
38 San Francisco URL APR
41 San Mateo URL APR
43 Santa Clara URL APR

#

School District

Website

Accountability Progress Report

Cty #

D01 Dublin Unified URL APR 01
F01 Fremont Unified URL APR 01
L01 Livermore Valley Joint Unified URL APR 01
P01 Piedmont City Unified URL APR 01
P02 Pleasanton Unified URL APR 01
A01 Acalanes Union High URL APR 07
M01 Mt. Diablo Unified URL APR 07
S01 San Ramon Valley Unified URL APR 07
S02 San Francisco Unified URL APR 38
F02 Fremont Union High URL APR 43
G01 Gilroy Unified URL APR 43
L02 Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union URL APR 43
M02 Milpitas Unified URL APR 43
M03 Mountain View-Lost Altos Union URL APR 43
P03 Palo Alto Unified URL APR 43

API

High School

Website

2009

SD #

California High School
Counseling
880 S01
Dougherty Valley High School
Academic & Career Center
905 S01
Monte Vista High School
Counseling and Career Center
897 S01
San Ramon Valley High School
Counseling & Guidance
Career Center
885 S01
Amador Valley High School
Counseling
877 P02
Foothill High School
Counseling
Career Center
889 P02
Dublin High School
Counseling
Career Center
842 D01
Irvington High School
College/Career Center
Counselor
830 F01
Mission San Jose High School
Career Center
Counselors
948 F01
Granada High School
Academic Counseling Center
Career Center
830 L01
Piedmont High School
Counseling
College Center
904 P01
Acalanes High School
Counseling & College/Career
902 A01
Campolindo High School
Counseling & College/Career
919 A01
Las Lomas High School
Counseling & Career Center
858 A01
Miramonte High School
Counseling & College/Career
Counseling Office
College/Career
927 A01
Northgate High School
College & Career Center
855 M01
Lowell High School
Counseling
949 S02
Cupertino High School
Guidance & Counseling
College & Career Center
879 F02
Homestead High School
Guidance & Counseling
College & Career Center
853 F02
Lynbrook High School
Guidance & Counseling
College & Career Center
926 F02
Monta Vista High School
Guidance & Counseling
College & Career Center
935 F02
Los Gatos High School
Guidance
College/Career Center
874 L02
Saratoga High School
Guidance
College & Career Center
933 L02
Milpitas High School
Counseling
784 M02
Los Altos High School
Counseling
College/Career Center
825 M03
Mountain View High School
Counseling
College and Career Center
865 M03
Henry M. Gunn High School
Guidance
College & Career Center
915 P03
Palo Alto High School
Guidance
College and Career Center
899 P03
Gretchen Whitney High School
Counseling
College Center
988 (#1 in CA)

Note: All APRs are linked to 2008-09 Accountability Progress Reporting available on CA Department Education API website.