Counseling Update - March 16, 2015


Dear Gunn Community,
Here is this week's update from the Gunn Counseling Department.
Alternative Schedule This Week  (All Grades)
Because of this week's CAHSEE Testing for sophomores on Tuesday and Wednesday, Gunn will have an alternative schedule. Please check the Gunn website for this week's schedule.
There will be no school on Tuesday and Wednesday for freshmen and all juniors and seniors who have passed the CAHSEE Test.
Grades to Post on Thursday (All Grades)
All third quarter grades will be available online beginning the evening of March 19. A reminder that quarter grade reports are only progress reports and are not reflected on a transcript. The only area where quarter grades have an impact is for athletic eligibility. If a student has any questions about their grade in a certain class, they should check with their teacher.
2014-2015 Course Registration Online is Closed (9th, 10th and 11th Grades)
The online registration for classes for 2014-2015 is now closed. Beginning on Thursday, the counseling department will be working with students who might have missed signing up for a class. After spring break, course selection verification forms will be available for all students so they can confirm what classes they signed up for.
Changes to the course selections will be limited based on availability of classes.
Summer School  (9th, 10th and 11th Grades)
A reminder that summer school registration is now open for students to register online for summer school classes. Summer school registration is handled entirely at the district office and we highly recommend that you sign up early to ensure you will be able to get the class you want.
It is important for students who receive a grade of D+ or lower at semester in core academic subjects of English, math, science, world languages or history (with the exception of Contemporary World), to make up the class in the summer rather than waiting until their senior year.
Here is the link for Palo Alto Unified School District Summer School.
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 All colleges look closely at how students finish up and if there is a significant drop in grades, admissions may be rescinded.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.
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.
Support Services (All Grades)
We are all very saddened to hear of the loss of a Palo Alto High School last week. In light of recent tragic events in our community, 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:
KARA Grief Support (650)321-5272
Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, Psychiatry Clinic
(650) 723-7704
HEARD Alliance
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (24 hours a day in multiple languages)
800) 273-8255 or (800) 273-TALK
Santa Clara County Suicide Prevention and Crisis Hotline (855) 278-4204
California Youth Crisis Hotline (800) 843-5200
AP Test Registration (11th and 12th Grades)
Students who are planning on taking the Advance Placement tests in May can now go online and register.
For more information, click the link below.
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.
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 You 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 March 25, 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.
State Seal of Biliteracy  (12th Grade)
The State of California is recognizing students who have demonstrated they are literate in two languages and will recognize this with a seal that will go on the student's diploma.
If your child is interested in applying for the seal, please have them contact their World Language teacher to pick up a form.
All forms must be in by March 27.
Scholarships  (12th Grade)
This time of the year our College and Career Center (C&CC) becomes a very busy place as many seniors inquire about scholarships for school. Our C&CC director, Leighton Lang, is here to help. Many scholarships require letters of recommendation and it is important that you give at least two weeks notice to the people that you would like to write a letter on your behalf.
If you have any questions about our College and Career Center, please feel free to contact Mr. Lang at
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