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School district, PTA to hold 'student services fair'

Original post made on Sep 10, 2013

Information about academic support, mental health services, recreation and volunteer activities will be available Thursday, Sept. 12, at the first annual Student Services Fair, sponsored by the Palo Alto school district and the PTA Council.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, September 10, 2013, 1:03 PM

Comments (17)

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Posted by Wish
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 10, 2013 at 3:10 pm

I wish the district officials would attend this fair and have a table where they explain what the they are doing to improve Gunn's counseling services, this affects the mental health of the students. We had a suicide attempt at the end of the summer vacation, and one anoother one just a week ago. Both were Gunn graduates; which probably means t that they were already experiencing mental health issues when they were at Gunn. Wonder if anybody noticed it.


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Posted by Gunn Parent
a resident of Gunn High School
on Sep 10, 2013 at 4:47 pm

I need to understand the differences in the counseling models between Gunn and Paly. I hear all kinds of stories about how at Paly there is an on-line system for college applications and that students have a counselor and an advisor? Why are things so different? Isn't it one school district? Why is the Paly College website so much better than Gunn's? Why do we have two websites at all? The information on colleges and resources is the same right?

My son told me about the suicide attempts and that a suicide note was poste on Facebook. What is the school's policy on notifying parents? He was very upset about it and I could not believe that one of the incident happened on campus and no one told the parents or checked in with the students.

Can the new PR officer help to answer some of these questions?


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Posted by Mom
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 10, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Another Opportunity for the district to showcase what it is doing with it laundry list of differing and uncoordinated programs. There shouldn't be different resources and programs at all these schools. You don't need a confusing fair if you have one set of evidence based programs that implement best practices everywhere.


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Posted by School Board Watcher
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 11, 2013 at 10:59 am

Why did the district back out of sponsoring the OCR (Office for Civil Rights) event last year? The parent groups that did sponsor this event provided free child care as well (I think that may have been paid for by Ken Dauber). They also provided very good refreshments (paid for by the parents and not the district I might add).

This whole event looks like a PR event and I would be very surprised if parents learn anything new that will actually help change what has been happening (or not happening) in this district. The Board will be continuing to take direction from (instead of giving direction to as it should be) Supt. Kevin Skelly. He has streadfastly opposed requiring Gunn to move towards
the Teacher Advisory model that has been successfully operating at Paly for many years. He has also not been open and honest with the Board and the people who elected them. We need answers about so many things and not a smoke screen of an event that will is probably intended to give parents a false sense of security about things being perfect in "perfect Palo Alto".

It would be nice if the district gave a table to OCR people to hand out information intended to keep our children safe from the abuses of bullies throughout the district. I feel like Dr,. Skelly has bullied the Board into going along with whatever he dictates. It is time for them to show him the door. We have had enough.

By the way, was this event dreamed up by the $150K PR person brought on board recently?I want my tax dollars to be put to better use (or was the salary paid for by PiE money?). No matter........it's all a disgrace.


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Posted by Been there before
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 11, 2013 at 11:19 am

They have held these student services fairs many, many times in the past, but absolutely none of it has had any lasting effect. One year, they even had a "massage booth" for the Paly kids. Unless they do that daily, it won't help.

Even the peer tutoring is I effective: most kids know that the tutors are going to blab to others about "slow kids in school". most kids do not want to be seen going to a peer tutor. There is no privacy here, and adolescents crave and need privacy. The student services fair certainly does not give the. That!


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Posted by history
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 11, 2013 at 11:35 am

"Why did the district back out of sponsoring the OCR (Office for Civil Rights) event last year? "
Because it became clear the primary motivation for the event was to educate parents on how to file OCR complaints against the district.
Even then, the district members were criticized for attending. They were damned either way.


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Posted by Mom
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 11, 2013 at 3:27 pm

History can you tell us why you think educating parents about their rights is a bad thing? It seems there is nothing wrong with that (the title of the event was "know your rights" and the agenda included how to file a complaint with OCR when Dr. Skelly agreed to sponsor it. There wasn't anything that "became clear." It was always clear. I can post the documents if you are not clear about the hisotry of what happened, and when.

Can you also say why you think Skelly and Townsend should have been at the meeting? The purpose of the meeting (explained on the flyer. And above) was to educate parents about their rights and what they can do if their child is bullied based on race, gender, national origin, or disability. Having district staff present is potentially intimidating. Camille Townsend acted very oddly, photographing each slide (for what purpose is unclear). It is akin to having the company bosses attend a meeting for union members with the NLRB. There was no proper purpose for them to be present and that would be true regardless of whether they sponsored it (meaning allowed the use of space) or not.

Indeed there was no purpose for them to sponsor it. The CAC wanted the district to do it as a gesture of goodwill toward the disabled community. The district agreed, them reneged, then lied and said it had never agreed. The whole performance by the district on this subject was 1) unprofessional 2) unnecessary 3)had nothing to do with stopping bullying or helping kids.

This is national suicide prevention week. Is this fair the districts effort for that? Not enough.


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Posted by Been there before
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 11, 2013 at 4:05 pm

mr Skelly obviously realized that an awful lot of parents, especially at the middle school level where most bullying occurs, have complaints about HIM.


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Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 11, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Posted by Wish, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Sep 10, 2013 at 3:10 pm

I wish the district officials would attend this fair and have a table where they explain what the they are doing to improve Gunn's counseling services, this affects the mental health of the students. We had a suicide attempt at the end of the summer vacation, and one anoother one just a week ago. Both were Gunn graduates; which probably means t that they were already experiencing mental health issues when they were at Gunn. Wonder if anybody noticed it.
___________

Why should it be schools' responsibility to act as psychologists? The question really should be did anyone at home or friends notice signs of instability. Perhaps some disturbed students do not take advantage of the counseling services. To blame it on the school is unfair.


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Posted by history
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 11, 2013 at 9:46 pm

@Mom,
As noted, it was presented to the district as an event to educate parents on OCR to which the district agreed. As soon as the real focus for the event was made clear, the district pulled out. [Portion removed.] The district, again, made the right decision.
Your second paragraph simply validates my point. Obviously you have a problem with the district. [Portion removed.]


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Posted by CAC parent
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Sep 12, 2013 at 8:26 am

What @history is saying isn't true. The purpose of the meeting was to provide information to parents about their children's rights in regards to bullying and harassment. It was a standard presentation from OCR lawyers. There was also a question and answer period. Over 100 people turned out. (It was sponsored by PASS and SEAN and WCDBPA in addition to CAC).
I thought it was fine that Dr Skelly and Ms Townsend came. I hope they learned something useful.


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 12, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Manners are useful.


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Posted by history
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 12, 2013 at 8:25 pm

@CAC parent,
Read the Post's report of the event where they quote Ken Dauber saying exactly as I've stated.


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Posted by Mom of 3
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 12, 2013 at 8:59 pm

Real smart to plan it for the same night as the Senior Parent Night. Don't they look at any master plan for conflicts?


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Posted by Mom
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 12, 2013 at 11:53 pm

Here is the precise agenda exactly as it was proposed to the district that Holly Wade approved. it was sent to the district on April 16, 2013 at 8:30 am. please note item 4 below:

"Know Your Rights" Technical Assistance event for parent education in Palo Alto

1. The law of discriminatory bullying;

2. rights of parents and students under the law;

3. what OCR is;

4. how people can file a complaint with OCR;

5. Q&A;

6. who to contact if you have more questions.

Holly wrote back the same day at 5:18 pm: "Thank you for the follow up, I was able to speak to Dr. Skelly this morning and he welcomes this opportunity to partner with you on this information event for our community. Please let me know if we can assist you in identifying and securing a location for the talk, date, and any other assistance that you may need.
Best,
hw"

So hopefully this thoroughly rebuts the false statement that the event "was presented to the district as an event to educate parents on OCR to which the district agreed. As soon as the real focus for the event was made clear, the district pulled out." The event was presented as a Know Your Rights presentation that always included (see 4 above) "how to file a complaint with OCR."

"History" is now simply telling a false story about this because what the district actually did by agreeing then reneging, then lying about it when caught out is embarrassing, unprofessional, and reflects poorly on Dr. Skelly and Holly Wade.


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Posted by Mom
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 13, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Not so chatty now?


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Posted by Gunn parent
a resident of Gunn High School
on Sep 14, 2013 at 9:49 am

Wow, thanks for the info.


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