April 20, 2018

Hello to our PAUSD Community,

“Journalism keeps you planted in the earth.”

– Ray Bradbury, American Author

The work of our student journalists and their faculty advisors receives widespread and well-deserved attention, some of which I hope I can capture and do justice to in today’s Weekly.

At Gunn High School, The Oracle and the Titan Broadcast Network provide broad opportunities for our student journalists under top-notch faculty, including Kristy Blackburn, The Oracle (newspaper/online), Ed Corpuz, Titan Broadcast Network (broadcast), and Mark Gleason, The Olympian (yearbook).

TBN Reporter and Gunn High School Junior Anna Allport has been kind enough to share her time and professionalism with me, providing another opportunity for me to reach out and communicate with students and staff.  If you have a chance to watch the interview that we did together, you will no doubt be struck by how poised and articulate she is!

KH Interview

Today, on another day marking student-led voice against gun violence and safety issues, I wanted to make sure you had seen the recent publication of Paly’s Verde magazine. This issue, in which a physical hole pierced each page of the publication, provided a powerful representation of the health and safety crisis impacting the educational experience.  

There was significant and widespread media coverage in response to the courage and the quality of the work, examples of which can be accessed on KTVU’s website and the SF Gate’s website.

With the support of esteemed faculty listed below, student publications at Paly include:

  • C Mag: An arts and culture magazine centered around the community of Palo Alto High School
  • Campanile: The campus newspaper, featuring news stories and current events
  • InFocus: Paly’s broadcast journalism program
  • KPLY: Paly student radio broadcast
  • Madrono: Paly’s yearbook
  • (proof): The Paly arts magazine that includes contributions from all of the Arts programs, as well as various aspects of arts for learning in the classroom for creative thinking. Issues include regional, national, and international arts exhibitions, events, and topics.

MAC Journalism Teachers:

  • Brian Wilson - adviser of Viking, C Magazine, and Madrono, and teaches beginning journalism
  • Rod Satterthwaite - co-adviser of Campanile and teaches beginning journalism and sports lit
  • Esther Wojcicki - co-adviser of The Campanile
  • Paul Kandell - adviser of Verde newsmagazine and The Paly Voice website
  • Margo Wixsom - adviser of Proof and teaches photo
  • Paul Hoeprich - adviser of inFocus and KPLY Paly radio and works with Broadcast students (including working with the Jordan Middle School program this year)

Paly journalists had outstanding success last week at the  Journalism Association of America and National Scholastic Press Association.  For more specific information, please see the Paly section of Great Things Happening in PAUSD below.

And circling back to Ray Bradbury’s quote above, it also happens that we are celebrating Earth Week. I have attached a Sustainability Program newsletter to share some good news stories from all around the District. I have also attached a short, student-friendly comic book about renewable energy. Hope you enjoy them!

Thank you, everyone, for your consistent, persistent efforts to make PAUSD a place where sustainability is a community value.

Upcoming Events

We have a regular Board meeting scheduled for Tuesday, April 24, 2018.

For your convenience, below is a list of Open Session Agenda Items for the regular meeting:

  • Goal Updates: District Office Operational Supports
  • Resolution No. 2017-18.13 Department of Rehabilitation Contract Augmentation
  • Project List for the 20-Year Facilities Master Plan
  • Evaluation of the Possibility of a Ballot Measure Authorizing a 2018 School Bond
  • Resolution No. 2017-18.14 Authorizing the Issuance and Sale of Bonds of the Palo Alto Unified School District in an Amount Not to Exceed $40,000,000, by Public Sale; Prescribing the Terms of Said Bonds; Approving the Form and Authorizing the Execution and Delivery of an Official Notice of Sale, a Paying Agent Agreement, a Continuing Disclosure Certificate, and an Official Statement Relating to Said Bonds; and Authorizing the Execution of Necessary Certificates and Documents Relating to Said Bonds
  • Extension of the Lease of the 525 San Antonio Site to Athena Academy
  • Authorization to Bid the Replacement of the Clock/Bell/Speaker System at Palo Alto High School
  • Board Policy (BP) and Administrative Regulation (AR) 5141.21 Administering Medication and Monitoring Health Conditions
  • Board Policy (BP) and Administrative Regulation (AR) 1312.1 Complaints Concerning District Employee
  • Board Policy (BP) 6111 School Calendar
  • Board Policy (BP) 5131.62 Tobacco
  • Resolution No. 2017-18.12 Reduction of Classified Employee Services
  • AB 2109 Home Hospital Instruction

Great Things Happening in PAUSD

Advanced Authentic Research (AAR) & Innovation

Gunn students in Career Technical Education (CTE) & AAR Teacher On Special Assignment (TOSA) Ed Corpuz’s video production classes have created and submitted video entries for the California Department of Education’s 2018 CAASPP Video Contest. We are very proud of their hard work, which is reflected in the polished, professional videos they produced.

If selected, the students’ videos will be used to promote awareness and participation in the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress exams.

From the CDE:

“The video contest is part of a statewide effort to raise awareness about the importance of the statewide assessments. This contest will put the script and the camera in the hands of our talented and creative students to create a message for other students. Open to all public schools in California, the video contest seeks creative ways to emphasize to students of all ages the importance of the CAASPP System in improving teaching and learning; how students can prepare for testing; and why it is important for all students to try their best to show what they know and can do.”


Barron Park

Barron Park celebrated Autism Awareness Month and Earth Day, with inclusive lunchtime activities. “Light it up Blue” - all B.P. students wore blue today to raise awareness about people with Autism. In honor of Earth Day, students engaged with their school mascot, bees! Kendal’s Bees brought a living bee hive to school. Children explored beekeeping tools and learned about these important pollinators. Neighborhood Bol Park donkeys also paid a visit! Students enthusiastically greeted Perry and Jenny, as they grazed on the play yard.


Congratulations to Terman 7th grade students Roy Gross, Justin Hou, and Tasha Lera, who won first place awards at the recent Synopsys Science and Technology Championship.

Roy, a student in Ms. Peters' 7th grade life science class, completed a project in the physical science and engineering category, and focused on creating an emergency communication network for civilians. It was inspired by the need for communication in the wake of the destruction by Puerto Rico’s 2017 Hurricane Maria.

Justin and Tasha, students in Ms. Peters' and Mrs. Fortino's life science classes, entered a project in the biological science and engineering category, and investigated the effect of different lighting patterns on the growth of lettuce in a hydroponic environment.

Both projects were also selected to apply for the Broadcom MASTERS competition in Washington, D.C., in October 2018.  We wish them good luck in this next big step!


Gunn’s Speech and Debate Team qualified for the State and National Championships. Congratulations to Siddharth Jain, Arjun Prabhakar, Bryan Tan, Ichiro Tomaszewski, Andy Wang, and William Xuan. Siddharth and Arjun also won the entire MLK Invitational Tournament in January.

The Gunn Robotics Team (GRT) was ranked 10th and led the 8th-seed alliance into elimination rounds at the FIRST Robotics Lone Star Regional March 17-18 in Houston.  Mentors and judges were impressed by Gunn’s completely student-managed pit crew. Congratulations to Karly Hou, Chela New, Jonathan Rogers, Colin Schultz, Chris Tian, and Audrey Xie, winners of the 2018 Innovation in Control Award.

AAR student Maximilian Goetz won a grant from the City of Palo Alto’s Think Fund for his non-profit organization “Robotics for All.” Founded in April 2017 to teach students from disadvantaged communities robotics, this program brings Lego robotics projects to elementary school students.

Senior Zhaohua (Sean) Yu and Junior Shirley Yu placed first in the Bay Area Japanese Speech Contest March 24-25 at San Jose City College. Shirley also won a round-trip ticket to Japan.

Senior Lydia Tsai was named a CCS Scholar-Athlete by SCVAL (Santa Clara Valley Athletic League) and was awarded a scholarship.

Senior Shirley Zhang and Freshman Keshav Dhir were silver medalists in the 2018 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards contest. Zhang won for her poetry and personal essay/memoir, and Dhir won for his two journalism articles.

A Blood Donation drive and Bone Marrow donor registration will be held at Gunn’s library April 16 as a collaboration of Stanford’s Blood Bank, the YCS Interact Club, and iMed club.

Palo Alto High School

The Paly journalism trip to the national convention on Friday was a resounding success, and thank you again for the unprecedented support from the boosters — support that was indispensable in giving the convention experience to 139 Paly students. I’m pretty sure this is a JEA/NSPA record — and Brian calculated that at one point our group represented  more than 3 percent of the 4,500 students registered for the convention.

More importantly, as far as I could tell, the experience was positive and impactful for our students, who praised the speakers they saw and appreciated the energy and discussion around them.

In the end, we had the following numbers of students from individual publications/classes who joined us:

  • [proof] — 3
  • Beginning Journalism — 29
  • C-magazine — 14
  • Viking — 6
  • Campanile — 31
  • KPLY — 2
  • Madrono — 6
  • The Paly Voice — 17
  • Verde — 31

Two students were even motivated to go back on Saturday to soak up more of the journalism goodness, but we’ll give the others a pass considering Prom was later that day.

You might be interested in hearing about the considerable showing Paly publications made in the awards show at the end of the day on Saturday.  They include:

Whole staff awards

  • Online Pacemaker Award — The Paly Voice (Another one of the big plaques that we have on the wall outside the Journalism Library.)
  • Newspaper Pacemaker Award Finalist — The Campanile 9th place -- Best of Show -- newspaper broadsheet — Campanile
  • 7th place — Best of Show — newsmagazine — C-mag
  • 7th place — Best of Show — large school website — The Paly Voice
  • 7th place — Best of Show — newspaper special edition newspaper —  Campanile
  • 4th place — Best of Show — newspaper special edition newspaper — Via Verde
  • 2nd place — Best of Show — newspaper special edition newspaper — Veritas
  • Individual awards in the Friday Write-Off categories
  • Johnny Yang: First Year Photo, Honorable Mention
  • Katie Look: Photo Illustration, Honorable Mention
  • Vivian Feng: Newspaper Layout, Honorable Mention
  • Lucy Nemerov: Lit mag Photography, Honorable Mention
  • David Hickey: Sports Feature Photography, Excellent
  • Lucia Amieva-Wang: Photo story, Excellent
  • Kaitlyn Khoe: Graphic Design Logo, Excellent
  • Ashley Hitchings: Lit Mag Layout, Excellent
  • Megan Lee: YB Cover Endsheets, Excellent
  • Kennedy Herron: YB Copy/Caption Clubs, Excellent
  • Eleanor Krugler: YB Copy/Captions Spots, Excellent
  • Megan Chai: Newsmagazine Layout, Excellent
  • Byron Zhang: News Editing/Headline Writing, Excellent
  • Leyton Ho: Sports Writing, Excellent
  • Soumya Jhaveri: Newswriting, Honorable Mention
  • Neil Kapoor: Editorial Writing, Superior
  • Charlotte Amsbaugh: YB Layout Theme, Superior
  • Asia Gardias: Press Law & Ethics, Superior

My best to you as your weekend begins,

Karen Hendricks