Counseling Update - April 1, 2015


Dear Gunn Community,
Here is this week's update from the Gunn Counseling Department.
Spring Break-No School on Friday  (All Grades)
A reminder that there will be no school this Friday as it is the first day of spring break. School will resume on April 13.
We wish everybody a great Spring Break.
WASC (Everyone)
As reported last week, we had a visiting group of educators from throughout Northern California who evaluated our school through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) process.
This is an activity that all high schools go through every six years and it gave us a fantastic opportunity to reflect on our practices and setup an action plan for the school to follow in the years to come.
Thanks to the great work of many, we had an outstanding WASC experience and our visiting committee was extremely pleased with our school.  Our visiting team felt that our goals, our areas of strength and our areas of growth all align well and said to us that we have a strong action plan to follow.
Here is our Gunn WASC  Self Study Report we prepared for our visiting team.
Below is an overview of our goals and what our visiting team said were our areas of strength and areas of growth.
Gunn's WASC goals of focus
1. Develop a culture that broadly defines and promotes multiple paths to success, embraces self-discover and social emotional well-being and values the love of learning beyond traditional metrics of achievement.
2. Increase achievement for all learners at Gunn High School, especially our African American, Latino, Socio-Economically Disadvantaged, English Language Learners and Special Education Students.
3. Create a comprehensive data system and align course curriculum to regularly assess student progress, inform instruction and aid communication at the classroom, department and school levels.
Areas of Strength for Gunn from the Visiting Team
-Highly qualified and high quality staff with good support from TOSA's and IS's
-Every student has an adult they can come to in a time of crisis and need.
-Every student they interviewed is glad they were at Gunn and wouldn't choose to be somewhere else.
-New administration has made effort to engage all stakeholders.
-Extensive support for a robust, challenging curriculum and array of extra curricular activities and programs.
-Student achievement and school pride are both extraordinary.
-Our WASC Goals are valid and important.
Areas of Growth for Gunn from the Visiting Team
1. Ensure the student learning objectives, mission and vision are clearly articulated and used to gauge student learning.
2. Ensure inclusion of a strong student voice on school-wide decisions including zero period, AP, block scheduling and interventions.
3. Create a stronger coordinated effort in delivery of school-wide student services and interventions.
4. Use structured collaboration time and PLCs (the Professional Learning Communities model).
5. More consistent and systematic method for in-school support for all learners.
6. Explore and implement consistent school-wide research based instructional practices focused on best practices and a plan for monitoring by the school administration.
Over the next few months and upcoming three years, you will hear more about about the progress we're making on our WASC goals.
G Period Prep (Rising 11th and 12th Grades)
Many students have requested a G period prep for next year. The first priority goes to Gunn athletes, the second priority goes to students who have jobs, which must be verified by the counseling department.
College Notifications (12th Grade)
With April 1 coming up this week, we're now at the point where the vast majority of students have notified applicants of their status. The College and Career Center is a great resource for f any questions your student might have.
New York Times on Article on College Acceptance (Everyone)
While this article is primarily aimed at seniors as we're entering the final stage of student's receiving notifications on their college acceptances, we feel it is great reading for everyone. Whether your child is a senior, junior, sophomore or a freshman, it's important for all of us to have perspective about where your child goes to college and the role it plays now and in the future.
Senior Grades  (12th Grade)
With the third quarter over, seniors are getting a vital checkpoint to see where they are academically as they enter the final stretch of their Gunn career. It is critical that students finish up academically with grades that are commensurate with how they have done in previous years. All colleges look closely at how students finish up and if there is a significant drop in grades, admissions may be rescinded. It is almost guaranteed that a grade of D or lower in a required class will result in a student not being allowed to attend the school they earned admission.
College and Career Center News
Transitioning to College (12th Grade)
The College and Career Center will be available for students to work in small groups and talk about the transitioning process of going off to college. If your student is interested in being part of these workshops, please email Ms. Linda Kirsch at
Parents Who Are New to the United States College Experience (12th Grade Parents)
If your child is the first one to go to college in the United States, Ms. Linda Kirsch will be hosting workshops to help parents better understand the college experience in the United States.
These workshops are open to any parent who did not attend college or did not attend college in the United States.
For more information, please contact Ms. Kirsch at
Family Connection Information (All Grades)
Here's some great information on our school website about Family Connection through our Naviance software. Family Connection allows you to learn more about the college application process.
The Gunn website has more information about Family Connection and a link to the Naviance too.
Scholarship Information for Colleges (12th Grade)
With college fast approaching, many students will be interested in learning about scholarship opportunities. To learn more about what scholarships are available, come to College and Career Center and see Mr. Leighton Lang.
Creating Your College List Workshops (11th Grade)
The College and Career Center will be putting on workshops for juniors to help them create their college list on April 1 and May 6.
Sign up through your Naviance account for the workshops.
Community College Workshops (12th Grade)
For those interested in learning more and applying to one of our community colleges, the College and Career Center will be hosting workshops on April 1, April 15 and April 29.
Sign up through your Naviance account for the workshops.
Community Service Opportunities (All Grades)
We are offering a new avenue for people who are looking for a way of lettings students know about community service opportunities that are available for our students.
Here's some information about an AYSO Soccer opportunity from April 24-26 in Palo Alto.
Follow Gunn Counseling on Twitter (All Grades)
Gunn Counseling is now on Twitter. You can get updates by following us on Twitter@Gunn Counseling.
Support PiE (All Grades)
Thanks to all of you who have supported Partners in Education (PiE). The donations to PiE have helped many programs at Gunn including our counseling program. Your donations have made a difference for all Gunn students.
Thank you for all of your support and take care of yourself and each other.
Tom Jacoubowsky
Assistant Principal/Head of Counseling