Counseling Update February 9, 2015


Dear Gunn Community,
Here is this week's update from the Gunn Counseling Department.
No School on Thursday, Friday and Next Monday  (All Grades)
A reminder that students will have this Thursday (staff development day) and Friday (local holiday), In addition, the students will have Monday, February 16, off for President's Day. We hope our students enjoy their five day weekend.
Progress Reports (All Grades)
All progress reports for students who are in danger of failing will be made available online on Friday evening. A paper copy will be mailed out at beginning of next week.
Support Services (All Grades)
In light of recent tragic events at our school, we continue the conversation about caring for and supporting our students.  Below you will find information provided by our district about the grief process, how to support your child during this time, and the differences between grief and depression.
While Gunn High School continues to provide on-campus mental health services through Adolescent Counseling Services that address the unique emotional and social needs of adolescents (including grief/loss counseling), it is important to access additional community resources as needed.  Both students and parents are encouraged to seek out information about services through the Gunn Counseling Office or the PAUSD website. Students should always be encouraged to reach out to teachers, counselors or trusted adults when they need support in coping with the challenges they might be facing. Additionally, a brief sampling of community resources is listed at the end of this newsletter.
The Grief Process :
Grief is the normal response of sorrow, emotion, and confusion that comes from losing someone or something important to you.  The length of time spent grieving is different for each person and it cannot be rushed. There are many reasons for the differences, including personality, health, coping style, culture, family background, and life experiences. The time spent grieving also depends on your relationship with the person lost and how prepared you were for the loss.
With any grief or loss, it is important, over the months that follow, to continue to provide opportunities for feelings to be expressed.  Parents play a very important role in this process as how you help them process this grief can influence how they handle other challenging situations in the future.  This is a time when parents can have a very positive influence on their children.  How you help them handle this grief will, in some large or small way, help them in the future. Giving them permission to feel and share those feelings, to cry, to love and to care may be the greatest single gift you give them.
These are some of the normal responses to grief/loss.  Your child may:
·      Appear unaffected
·      Ask questions about the death or death in general
·      Be angry or aggressive
·      Be withdrawn or moody
·      Be sad or depressed
·      Become afraid
·      Have difficulty sleeping or eating
We suggest that you listen to your children. If they want to talk, answer their questions simply, honestly and be prepared to answer the same questions repeatedly.  It is key that you continue to monitor children as they move through the grief process, not letting them isolate while respecting their privacy, and accessing resources when it appears that certain feelings or behaviors extend beyond the normal grief process.
Grief versus Depression:
Depression is more than a feeling of grief after losing someone or something you love. Clinical depression is a whole body disorder. It can take over the way you think and feel. Symptoms of depression include:
·      A sad, anxious, or “empty” mood that won’t go away
·      Loss of interest in what you used to enjoy
·      Low energy, fatigue, feeling “slowed down”
·      Changes in sleep patterns
·      Loss of appetite, weight loss, or weight gain
·      Trouble concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
·      Feeling hopeless or gloomy
·      Feeling guilty, worthless, or helpless
·      Thoughts of death or suicide or a suicide attempt
·      Recurring aches and pains that don’t respond to treatment.
If you suspect that your child is showing symptoms of depression as opposed to the normal grieving process, please make an appointment with your health care provider to discuss the symptoms.  A referral for evaluation by a psychiatrist or mental health professional might be necessary.  As always, if you believe your child is in imminent danger, please contact 911.
Community Resources:

Titan 101 Makeup Sessions (9th Grade)
Next week, February 17 (tutorial) and February 18 (lunch), we will be holding makeup Titan 101 sessions for students who  missed their session with their counselor.  This session will go over course registration information for 2015-2016 and student's four year academic plan.
 We will have more details in next week's Gunn Counseling Update with room information.
Course Selections for 2015-2016 (9th, 10th, 11th Grade)
Beginning in two weeks the Gunn Counselors will be meeting with 9th, 10th and 11th grade students in their English classes to begin the process of registering them for classes for next year. The counselors will review graduation requirements, elective classes, course selections and everything that is involved with students picking their classes for next year.
The counselors will be meeting in groups with specifically their students to go over the information.
Infinite Campus will open up on February 27 for current Gunn students to make their course selections and will close on March 9. Incoming students will have an earlier registration session.
Students will receive verification of their course selections by March 18 and they will be due back on March 23.
Incoming Freshmen Meet the Counselors  (8th Grade)
Gunn counselors are in the process of meeting the newest Titans as they visited Terman last week and this week they are at JLS. This is a great opportunity for the incoming 9th graders to learn more about Gunn and get important information about course registration.
AP Test Registration (11th and 12th Grades)
Students who are planning on taking the Advance Placement tests in May can no go online and register.
For more information, click this link:
Upcoming Events
Elective Fair February 18 (9th, 10th, 11th Grades)
Because of an extra E period on the week of February 16, we will be having our Elective Fair during E period on February 18. All Gunn teaches of electives will be out in the quad to talk about elective options for students for 2015-2016 and it will be a great opportunity for students to learn more about the wide variety of elective offerings we have available.
Understanding the Teenage Brain  February 11 PAUSD Board Room (All Grades)
This Wednesday, February 11 at 6:00 PM in the Palo Alto Unified School District Board Room, Dr. David Walsh will be speaking about the development of the teenage brain from childhood into adulthood.
The workshop is based on Dr. Walsh's best selling book, Why Do they Act That Way? A Survival Guide to the Adolescent Brain, which explains what happens to the adolescent brain on the path from childhood into adulthood.
Presentation on Sleep February 19 Mitchell Park Library 7:00 PM (All Grades)
As part of our ongoing effort to bring awareness about sleep, local health organizations along with the Palo Alto Unified School District, will be hosting a Parent Education Night on February 19 at Mitchell Park Library at 7:00 PM titled "Wake Up Call: The Role of Sleep and Teen Health."
This event will be open to everybody and will have experts in the field along with district personnel addressing the issue of sleep and the efforts our district are doing and planning on doing on this issue to help you improve the sleeping patterns of your student.
College and Career Center News
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.
Practice on Oral Interviews-Each Tuesday (11th-12th Grades)
The Gunn College and Career Center is offering Tuesday workshops for students on oral interviews. The workshop is designed to help students work on oral interview for the college application process, job interviews and to improve their overall communication skills. For more information, please feel free to contact Linda Kirsch at
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.
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
Gunn High School