10年级家长会笔记anonymous 09/13 336
There were over 50 people at last Friday's sophmore parent network meeting. Sigrid Pinksy, Gunn PTSA president and Josette Domokos, VP of communications, were also both in attendance at the meeting. The PN moderators introduced themselves - Barbara Best, Annie Bedichek, Lili Nova-Roessig, Xin Liu, and Colleen Petersen. They reminded parents that UpToUs is for informational purposes, it is not a chat group. There is a sophmore parent chat group (not affiliated with or moderated by the Gunn PTSA) started by Star Teachout, Connie Butner, and Sheri Tye. Parents can signup at
It is for sophmore related questions, answers, social gatherings, informal discussions, and connections between parents. You can also email Connie at email@example.com for information on hiking groups and crafting Fridays. There is also a school wide Facebook group (also not affiliated with or moderated by the Gunn PTSA), called The Gunn High School Parent Community, where parents can post or find other information and resources. There are about 800 parents in the Facebook group.
Jen Schultz, parent rep of the Gunn Site Council, spoke and encouraged parents to come to monthly meetings where Gunn staff, student, and parent reps address deal with school wide matters such a s high quality teaching, learning, equity, and access. These matters are discussed in an open forum usually the second Monday of every month.
Some parents were asking about how to proceed when there is a problem with a teacher. The school encourages parents to have the student first advocate for themselves with their teacher or their counselor. If that is unsuccessful or not possible, parents should then follow the chain of communication from teacher to instructional supervisor to the assistant principal overseeing that department (check the Gunn website’s “Administrators” link under the "About" tab). Sigrid reminds us that communication doesn't always need to be negative. It is also important to let teachers know when they do something great.
B arbara invites all to attend the first general meeting of the PTSA this Thursday 9/14 at 8:45 in the staff lounge.
Courtney Carlomagno then began her presentation on the SEL (Social Emotional Learning) program. She is a Gunn special ed teacher on special assignment (TOSA) to develop and roll out the new SEL curriculum at Gunn; she worked with the district last year on the secondary school curriculum development.. Courtney's brother is a senior at Gunn so she feels connected to the student body.
SEL was orginally meant to be mandatory for 9th and 10th graders this year. However, after working with Keeth Matheny, an advocate for SEL and developer of the school connect curriculum, it was decided that to be immediately effective the program needed to start slow. Ninth graders will have mandatory SELF classes this year and each subsequent year a new grade will be added; that means our students will never have mandatory SEL classes).
This year’s 10th, 11th, and 12th graders will be offered two "opt-in” sessions (not mandatory; student chooses to attend), one in the fall and one in the spring. Each session consists of one class per week (during Flex period) for three consecutive weeks. The fall session starts in November and will consist of the following three classes:
What is SEL?
The Teenage Brain
The Power of Thoughts
If students sign up they will have to attend all three sessions, three weeks in a row. Sign-ups will begin in late September or early October. The school will conduct parent information sessions, and Courtney will provide SEL materials to Barbara to pass along to parents.
Parents asked how the school plans on getting students interested since many will not decide to opt-in. Courtney says the SEC (Student Executive Council) and Oracle (student newspaper) will sell it as something fun to do by getting well liked students involved in the hope they will bring in others. SEL is a muscle they need to keep using, it is a skill they need to grow as they get to know themselves. It is branded as SELF (Social Emotional Learning and Functionality) sessions.
Many parents throughout the meeting expressed concern that if the program is not mandatory for 10th graders, they will not go. Students won't self select without knowing what they are getting into . Courtney assured us that there is a movement to make Thursday flex times more wellness based - Courtney clarified that Flex periods do count towards right now they are optional instructional minutes. One parent noted that there is a challenge in branding SEL as most students already believe they have these skills. It was suggested to get to get parents and other community members to speak on how important this skills are in the workplace. Another parent brought up the idea of having students, maybe theatre students, do something on TBN (Titan Broadcast Network, the Video Production class) to "sell" it to others.
A parent asked how teachers will teach to all developmental levels of SEL. Courtney will be looking at all the material and adapting it to all levels. Another asked if we have enough teachers. Courtney says this is a priority at both schools and the board is dedicating resources to it. Over 100 Gunn and Paly teachers were trained by Keeth Methany and they will be doing follow up sessions (there are 23-25 students for each teacher). SEL will be different than Titan Connect because there is a curriculum specifically developed for it. It will be engaging and interactive ; it addresses technology use; There will be assessments done at the beginning and end of sessions to measure its success. Again, the school will conduct parent information sessions, and Courtney will provide SEL materials to Barbara to pass along to parents.
On a final note, parents were worried that many students feel lonely and isolated and parents emphaseized how important they think mandatory SEL sessions are; Courtney will take this input back to the Gunn administration.
Courtney then moved on to the development of 10th graders. Many are at a point where they feel comfortable at the school now. They are getting more social but are also getting more responsibilty. Their homework is increasing but so is their desire to be with friends. Many become more private at home and need more space and time to develop. It is a time to find their passion, what they want to do. She suggested parents support students in becoming advocates for themselves. Students are now expected to be included in parent/teacher meetings.
One parent mentioned that construction is making it difficult for students to get to the cafeteria on time and food runs out. Courtney will be looking in to that. Another parent brought up the Chrome books and the temptation some students feel to be on the internet all the time. Courtney encouraged parents to take the computers away at night.
Any other questions c an be directed to Courtney at CCarlomagno@pausd.org
The next Parent Network meeting will be Oct. 13.
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