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Gunn counseling committee offers 'compass'

Original post made on Mar 5, 2013

Brightening up the Gunn High School campus with paint and using the online tool Schoology were among the long-awaited suggestions of an advisory committee on counseling issued Monday.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, March 5, 2013, 9:57 AM

Comments (94)

Posted by Paper-Paper-Paper, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 5, 2013 at 10:15 am

The document pointed to in the link above is 104 pages!

Who is going to have the time to go through this recommendation with a fine-tooth-comb?

Who is going to actually track the recommendations that are adopted?

It's difficult to believe that the average student will be spending more than an hour or two a year with a guidance counsellor. So--why so many recommendations?

Whew .. what a mess.


Posted by try reading it, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 5, 2013 at 10:25 am

And only 4 of those pages are the actual recommendations.


Posted by Wow, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 5, 2013 at 11:13 am

A whole year and this is what they did? They punted? Well done PAEA in killing this. More do-nothing from Skelly and co. What a farce. Not surprising. Millikan delivers nothing just as he was told to do. But it's 100 pages of nothing so it looks like something. The parents got rolled.


Posted by David Pepperdine, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 5, 2013 at 11:28 am

Interesting that Schoology was mentioned in the recommendations. Unlike Paly, Gunn (and Skelly) totally dropped the ball on that.


Posted by observing, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 5, 2013 at 11:35 am

Gee, such a bunch of negative posters. Try reading the documents instead of taking the lazy way out and criticizing first. Good thing the committee was constructive. We don't need no Gunn-bashing here.


Posted by palo alto parent, a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 5, 2013 at 12:33 pm

This is what seems to be the actual recommendations, which don't seem to be much of a change from the status quo

 Clearly define and deliver the 4-year guidance curriculum across all 3 domains. Assess the effectiveness of both the curriculum and the delivery mechanism regularly.
 Define the overall structures that can best deliver this curriculum and build caring, trusting personal relationships between adults and students.
 Deliver guidance curriculum in group meetings when reasonably possible (e.g., students with laptops do the Common App together), thus freeing up time for designated adults to meet with students 1:1.

 Expand the Titan 101 program beyond a freshman transition program, as a vehicle for delivering guidance curriculum. Make the Titan curriculum more relevant in terms of content and timing for each grade level. Provide necessary professional development for Titan coaches and conduct regular evaluations to ensure the program is achieving its goals.

 Schedule more 1:1 time with counselors during the second semester of Junior year and first semester of Senior year.
 Make tutorial mandatory and incorporate guidance curriculum that is inclusive of all 3 domains as needed.
 Have tutorial during the school day (not at the end) and reconsider the day of the week it is offered
 Establish a reasonable student-to-adult ratio and/or a reasonable time allocation for student-to-adult interactions.

Paly obviously spends significantly more of its $$ on the guidance department, TA program and College/Career Counselors (they have 3, Gunn has 1). If both schools receive the same amount of money, where does it go at Gunn?



What does Gunn fund instead of Guidance/College Counseling?


Posted by Marty, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 5, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Hey "Wow", Mr(or Mrs)hot-stuff,

What's your idea? If this was easy it would have been done long ago. Instead of just scoffing, tell us what you would have done! What is your cure-all??


Posted by Wow, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 5, 2013 at 12:46 pm

It doesn't take a year to approve nothing specific and leave it to the teachers.


Posted by Literal whitewash, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 5, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Brightening it up with Paint? Paint is the recommendation? I'm with wow. I can't believe they want a raise and paint is the recommendation.


Posted by Gunn Dad, a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 5, 2013 at 1:21 pm

The point of this committee was to ensure that Gunn won't get a directive from the school board to adopt TA. Now Gunn will have more years to say we're working on it. Short story: teachers at Gunn who oppose TA won. Gunn kids lost, again .


Posted by RTFP, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 5, 2013 at 1:23 pm

@Marty:
Read the post from palo alto parent.

@observer:
What did you want, glowing praise? Sorry, reality sucks sometimes.


Posted by Waste not want not, a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 5, 2013 at 1:35 pm

This has been a reprehensible waste of a year, as well as a waste of money and resources. Obviously, it was all for naught.


Posted by Paly family, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 5, 2013 at 1:40 pm

@palo alto parent

"What does Gunn fund instead of Guidance/College Counseling?"

From what I have read on these threads before, Gunn spends that money on smaller class sizes.


Posted by Wow, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 5, 2013 at 1:48 pm

It's not a money issue. It's a power issue. The union did not want the school board or parents telling then to do anything eve if it is voluntary (TA). Skelly has no manager ability and the board has even less. Dana Tom just cringes and pleads when he should forcefully state what needs to happen. Sad. Meanwhile another year went by status quo protected!


Posted by Jack Burton, a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 5, 2013 at 2:27 pm

I read the article, as my namesake says, "What the h*** does that mean?" I swear, I am only a simple engineer with advanced degrees from Stanford and 20+ patents, but I cannot find any substance in the description of this document. As far as I can tell, they use a ton of broad brush verbiage to cover the fact that they are in fact saying nothing.


Posted by palo alto parent, a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 5, 2013 at 5:45 pm

the one significant change would be making tutorial mandatory which means that students would be in contact with an additional staff member on a weekly basis.

I asked around about the smaller class sizes and it sounds like the money which goes to Guidance at Paly goes to reduce English class sizes due to the kids that don't speak English well.


Posted by Gunn Mom, a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 5, 2013 at 6:42 pm

I completely agree with Gunn Dad - 3 more years to implement "improvements," give me a break! In the real world no one can wait that long. How can this be acceptable? PAUSD Board - will you rubber stamp this too?

Oh - and I have read the document once I could figure out where to find the recommendations and the part at the end that apparently the group could not reach agreement on.


Posted by Ian Sears, a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 5, 2013 at 7:28 pm

As a student at Gunn I'd just like to say that many of my peers and myself have often found Titan 101 to obstruct us from actually meeting with our teachers during tutorial as they're too busy conducting Titan 101. Many freshmen I've talked to have described it, to put it lightly, as a waste of time and have suggested that most of it could easily fit into an extended freshmen orientation at the start of the year.

Also this is not really related, but the bathroom in the boy's locker room has 4 stalls, but two of them are missing doors and of the ones with doors, 1 has a smashed toilet paper dispenser and 1 is perpetually out of toilet paper since it's the only useable one. I really don't know who I'm supposed to go to about this kind of thing so here's probably as good a place as any.


Posted by Wow, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 5, 2013 at 7:54 pm

Ian, please print out this report and use it for the paper you just mentioned that you need. Both problems solved!


Posted by Observer, a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Mar 5, 2013 at 8:15 pm

Ian, Thank you for your comments. You managed to bring the level of discourse back to what actually matters to students. I have also heard that Titan 101 is experienced by students as a waste of their all too precious time. I'll try and find someone at Gunn who can get the boys' bathroom fixed. Things like that can make a big difference in how the day goes.


Posted by students rule, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 5, 2013 at 10:58 pm

So, Ian makes a great point. The group should have been made up of several students from each class so that the parents who are so worried about their students could actually listen to what the students feel that they need. I was once in a conference with a room full of adults discussing what could be done for a student who was having difficulty completing assignments. The adults finally came up with the idea that they should allow the student more time to complete things if he felt it was necessary. Finally the student spoke up and said, "If my issue is procrastination then why would you want to allow me to procrastinate even more?". Goes to show that adults do not always have the answers especially when it comes to our students. Let the students talk, listen to them and then do what works for them.


Posted by Gunn has no idea, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 5, 2013 at 11:32 pm

I find it funny that the school says they put students first. They really need to survey the students, all students, on a facets of student life and publish the results, including fill in questions.

1. Walk into the main the office and what do you see? Clutter. Everywhere. They don't have a dedicated clerk to meet and greet visitors. Instead, students are treated like they are bothering staff. The moment a student walks in, they should be treated like a client, a guest, a customer, someone special. These kids have so much to deal with, if they are in the office they need their question answered now.

2. Fix the attendance office. Seriously, kids don't need notifications that they've missed 20 class periods when it's not true.

3. Fix the guidance office. It should be welcoming and inviting. Students should be allowed to come in and be themselves without counselors bothering them about chatter. It's the students' place. If counselors are gone, kids like to know when they'll be back.

4. Allow students to add and drop classes when they want within the add drop period. If they don't like a particular teacher, let them drop.

5. Fix the scheduling system. No reason why students should receive schedules with two algebra courses. Doesn't anyone verify these things?

6. Where are all the new release novels in the library? So much money is spent on blogs, online resources students don't use, and other waste. But where are books that students can read for enjoyment to clear their head?

7. Dump Titan 101. It's taking up time that belongs to students.

8. Camp Everytown is fun, but everyone returns back to their old selves 2 weeks later. The school should schedule reunions on campus a month later and then 3 months later to reconnect and reinforce what was learned.

9. Continue to make tutorial optional. Kids will resent being forced to go. Again, it's their time not the schools.

10. Create a home room during period B. make it 15 minutes. The teacher will become a mentor and its a time to discuss what's on the kids' minds. Take down what the kids say and report their voices to admin.

11. The counseling website is a joke. It's disorganized. Very little info. The dept should put together all of the common questions and answer them on the site. Students love to browse sites and should be able to find what they're looking for quickly and accurately. Create a discussion board with different topics so students can read and post--a true community! It should be monitored by staff. Here students will be able to ask questions about what courses are like, hw tips, etc.

12. There's no reason why AP classes should be harder than real college classes. Research is out there that homework in general doesn't boost performance. Everything should be done in class. Experiment: take an algebra class by the same teacher and have the teacher assign hw in one class and no hw in another (more class work). Look at performance at the end of the semester. Results? I bet both classes get the same grades.

13. Student stress comes from hw and projects students believe are nonsense. Ask them! If students are assigned 4 math problems and they don't understand it, assigning them 25 problems will make them go crazy.

14. School spirit is awesome, though. Great job! It's is because students are allowed a lot of freedom to do what they enjoy. Continue that.

Thx


Posted by Gunn has no idea, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 5, 2013 at 11:58 pm

15. And to students who are upset about poor facilities. Go right to the main office and ask for a Williams Settlement claim form. Put your complaint on it (dirty restrooms, broken doors, classes that don't provide calculators etc). School has 30 days to fix it!! By law.


Posted by Jack Burton, a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 6, 2013 at 6:19 am

As a parent of a Gunn student, I can say that fixing the counseling is a major issue. The general sense I have from them and their hard working friends is that the counselors have misguided more of these students than they have helped them. One top end student took Chem H a and APUSH year later because the counselor had shied them away. Their take was that they had been foolish enough to put any stock in what the counselor had said. Served as the best guidance my kid got on the matter. The resistance to trying the Paly like teacher based counseling is amazing, despite the fact that the latter is clearly far more effective. Thus, they do studies, they come up with long reports with nebulous language, and the recommendations are so broad that they in fact mean that no substantive actions will happen. It is a crying shame.


Posted by Jack Burton, a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 6, 2013 at 6:31 am

Oh, and it has not escaped our attention that since the teacher counseling push has happened, there has been little change in what the counselors do, but there has been a sudden surge in weekly updates in emails from the counselors, taking credit for virtually every positive student activity going on at Gunn.


Posted by another parent, a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 6, 2013 at 6:34 am

So the student wants to get rid of Titan 101 and the parent wants four years of an amped up Titan 101 (TA system). Maybe we should stick to fixing the bathrooms. I wonder if they would ever let the girls bathrooms get so unlivable. Doubtful.


Posted by another parent, a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 6, 2013 at 7:06 am

Hey Jack, did you give input to the committee? Their meetings were open to the public, they had a website for input, there were focus groups and committee members were identified. What did you contribute? My guess is a big fat zero. Let us hear about it if you actually did contribute something.


Posted by Jack Burton, a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 6, 2013 at 9:30 am

No, but I kept track of folks who were heavily involved and have listened to the students I know. As for the folks who were heavily involved, it appears that they were mostly met with obstructionism. In fact, as I recall, the numbers in the original report on counseling were obscured until the "We Can Do Better, Palo Alto" folks got hold of the raw data and presented it to the community.

As for the Titan 101 comparison the TA system, it seems surprising that a program that most freshman seem to find useless is compared to a program at Paly that seems pretty effective.


Posted by Jack Burton, a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 6, 2013 at 9:41 am

And your statement indicates that without attending the meetings, I cannot comment on the lack of substance in the document and the recommendations. Thank you, no. Lack of substance is lack of substance, and we should be able to know what if anything will come from these recommendations. If it takes a lawyer or a press secretary to interpret them, then I stand by my claim that nothing will happen.


Posted by another parent, a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 6, 2013 at 9:47 am

So you were not of any help but you are whining now. And you have bought WCDBAPA's interpretation hook, line and sinker.


Posted by Jack Burton, a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 6, 2013 at 9:59 am

You could say that, I guess. We all have to pick and choose where to help with the schools and I would say I'm probably up in the 85th percentile of doing stuff, not the "dedicate my life" type, but do a lot more than most.

As for the We Can Do Better Palo Alto folks, I don't agree with them on a lot of issues. However, their interpretation seems best supported by the data on this one.

However, rather than attacking me, why not focus on the document itself. You could show me all the concrete proposals in plain English that I have missed. Then we could discuss the net effect of those. My basic premise is that after reading part of the document, and looking at the end, I could find neither concrete proposals nor plain English.


Posted by another parent, a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 6, 2013 at 10:48 am

@Jack, That sounds more reasonable. For a while there you were sounding like all you wanted to see were the two letters "TA" and since you didn't see them you didn't like the report. If you read the recommendations, what would be your input as to how to implement each of them in a specific fashion?


Posted by Jack Burton, a resident of Hoover School
on Mar 6, 2013 at 10:53 am

So, you decline my invitation to show me plain English in the report or concrete recommendations?


Posted by curious, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 6, 2013 at 12:26 pm

I am wondering about something. Why is being a member or agreeing with WCDB or Ken Dauber like a mark of idiocy? WCDB is very necessary as a watchdog on a superintendent who (see the other thread...) is not always honest or competent. Civil Rights? Dauber is obviously the candidate with the best credentials, education, work experience and if he had won we wouldn't probay be up you know what creek without a paddle now. So why does "another parent" use supporting him as a weapon? Yes I agree with the Yale educated Google engineer who worked for The head of OCR and is a national education data expert. They used to attack Ken by saying that he thought we should hold Skelly accountable. Yeah thats a horrible idea! what a dummy! Why should I apologize for that? How about if the people who think it was a great idea o listen to Camille praise the Superintendents fabulous apology and ramble aimlessly about nothing whole Rome burns apologize for shafting us all.


Posted by Wow, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 6, 2013 at 12:33 pm

agreed, can't wait to hear Camille praise this incredibly empty pile of paper for 30 minutes and praise the process too!


Posted by Jack Burton, a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 6, 2013 at 12:50 pm

It would seem, that if there was any plain English or concrete proposals (and by that I don't mean "form a study committee to find most effective ..."), that it would be very easy to dismiss my commentary. The fact that nobody takes the tack of showing factual information in which I am mistaken, but instead turn to personal attacks on me, on WCDBPA (and by extension Ken Dauber), actually lends more credibility to my commentary.

WCDBPA seems to have the habit of arguing from facts and numbers.


Posted by looked into it, a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 6, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Before today there were two work orders turned in to the district office for the boy's bathroom to be fixed. As of today there are three. Need to ask district office about it, Gunn has been doing their part.


Posted by Jack, I have a great investment for you from my Nigerian friend!, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 6, 2013 at 2:39 pm

@Jack
"the numbers in the original report on counseling were obscured until the "We Can Do Better, Palo Alto" folks got hold of the raw data and presented it to the community."
Yeah, they presented data and you drunk the kool-aid. Did you actually take a cirtical look at their analysis?
- Did you notice all those entries showing Paly approval below 50%. Yeah, Gunn really needs to duplicate a model that sucks!
- Why is the following question left out of his "analysis"? "Advisory is a valuable use of my time" - only 37% of Paly students agree. Funny that it wasn't reported. A cynic might say....
- Why did he leave out over 50% of the data?

Seriously, it's great to have numbers. But don't assume just because someone gave you numbers their conclusions (or numbers) are correct. Especially when they have a vested interest in the result!


Posted by Data please, a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 6, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Here we go again. The data:
Web Link


Posted by Wow, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 6, 2013 at 3:40 pm

I am always a bit surprised at the way the Gunn teachers are willing to slam Paly teachers and Paly programs. Phil Winston just takes it because he used to work at Gunn and I guess he just considers the source. But here, put this in your pipe and smoke it:

Web Link

This is the Paly Campanile editorial endorsing Ken Dauber for school board because of his support for Teacher Advisory. All Paly student publications endorsed Dauber and all supported TA. Not to rerun the election but hey, Paly students like TA.


Posted by Terman parent, a resident of Terman Middle School
on Mar 6, 2013 at 3:45 pm

My older son graduated from Gunn last year. He hardly saw a counselor, and we ended up hiring a consultant to help choosing colleges. He ended up at USC so all is well. My question is what happened to the idea of making Gunn as good as Paly? That's what I heard about last year.


Posted by Jack Burton, a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 6, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Thanks, "Data please". Interesting comparison. I found no question on there with the words: "Advisory is a valuable use of my time". I did see that even when the Paly scores were bad, they were generally ahead of the Gunn scores. So, what mathematical kool aid am I drinking?

Perhaps the 50% of data that is missing could be presented side by side like this stuff was. Might help.


Posted by Wow, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 6, 2013 at 3:59 pm

There is a question like that, but as there is no advisory question for Gunn, there is no similar "counseling is a good use of my time" to match it with. Maybe Mr. Dauber can correct us if we are wrong, but I believe that these are only those items where the same question was asked at both schools.

If they asked at Gunn "meeting with a counselor is a valuable use of my time" the most common answer for freshman and soph would be "I have a counselor? who's my counselor?" Paly kids like TA!


Posted by Determinant, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 6, 2013 at 4:01 pm

What vested interest?


Posted by Jack, I have a great investment for you from my Nigerian friend!, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 6, 2013 at 4:11 pm

" but I believe that these are only those items where the same question was asked at both schools."

Nope, you didn't look at his survey either. He explicitly calls out a questions where they were only asked to one school. Looks like he only excluded questions in the results that made Paly look bad. A cynic might conclude....

"I did see that even when the Paly scores were bad, they were generally ahead of the Gunn scores. "
Your comments suggests you did drink the kool-aid. Where Paly's results are bad, they are bad! You can't glam it up by comparing it to another failing system.
Why would you want to adopt a bad solution at Gunn? Surely you'd look for a solution that improved over both Paly & Gunn's results. Ken's proposal was to implement a failing Paly program at Gunn. Yeah, that really makes sense and you drunk it without question?!


Posted by Jack, I have a great investment for you from my Nigerian friend!, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 6, 2013 at 4:13 pm

"What vested interest?"
Ken's been pushing for TA at Gunn long before these results came out. He admits to using them to further that effort in spite of the results showing how bad Paly is doing.


Posted by Determinant, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 6, 2013 at 4:32 pm

That's not what vested interest means. He prefers a policy choice and he analyzed data about it. Vested means something else. For a smart aleck you are just an aleck.


Posted by Wow, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 6, 2013 at 4:37 pm

No this is every question on which there are data for both schools. I checked. Stop lying or produce the data.

Also stop casting aspersions on Paly teachers. It's not a "failed program."


Posted by Paly teacher, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 6, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Last spring the school board took a look at these numbers and other writings from our students and told Gunn to improve because of the gap with our results. That is why there is a report from Gunn at all. The idea that we have a failed system at Paly is ridiculous.


Posted by Jack Burton, a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 6, 2013 at 5:09 pm

I don't agree with Paly on tons of stuff, but calling what they do a failed system is way out of line.

Come with facts or stay home.


Posted by parent, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 6, 2013 at 7:20 pm

Disgruntled parents - just be courageous and vote down the next bond measure which will cause the school district to sit up and take notice. And don't cave to the Weekly/PA real estate cabal when they cry "Lower real estate values unless we support the schools"!


Posted by Jack, I have a great investment for you from my Nigerian friend!,, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 6, 2013 at 7:48 pm

"He prefers a policy choice and he analyzed data about it"
No, he prefers a policy choice and doesn't care what he has to do with the data to get it. If you don't understand his vested interest in presenting the results as they suited him, my Nigerian friend is waiting.

Let me walk you through his methodology:

10 students at each school were asked "Is the food at school healthy"
Paly responses:
Strongly agree: 0
Agree: 2
Neither agree or disagree: 0
Disagree: 0
Strongly disagree: 8

Gunn responses:
Strongly agree: 1
Agree: 0
Neither agree or disagree: 9
Disagree: 0
Strongly disagree: 0

Ken's methodology, which Ken freely admits he made up, concludes: Paly results show 20% and Gunn 10%. Not only that but since Paly is 10 points better we should clearly implement Paly's system at Gunn.
Actually, in his analysis, it's even worse since even with his take on the numbers, there is no proof to show that the difference is caused by TA.
It would be funny if it wasn't so clearly manipulative. And you fell for it.


Posted by Ken Dauber, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 6, 2013 at 8:56 pm

Ken Dauber is a registered user.

These data are extremely simple. Here's a link: Web Link

In sum, the data show that for hundreds of points of comparison, a greater percentage of Paly students than Gunn students answered that they agreed or strongly agreed with statements about counseling services. I encourage readers to look at the data themselves.

I didn't make up this "methodology", which just consists of presenting for each item the percentage of students who agree or strongly agree with a statement. That is the method that the district's consultant, Kelun Zhang, used when preparing her report. I merely carried forward the district's methodology in order to enable comparisons. However, I think it is a reasonable way to present categorical data like this.

If I understand your objection correctly, it is that a very large share of the student opinion is not captured in the "agree" or "strongly agree" categories, and therefore that in the other categories (neutral, disagree, and strongly disagree), the relation that is apparent in the agree and strongly agree categories could be reversed. But that objection is incorrect.

The percentage of students, particularly at Paly, who answer agree and strongly agree is very high, which simply doesn't leave much room for important variation in the other categories. Your contrived example, in which at most 20% of responses are in the top two categories, doesn't match the actual data. (For example, 92% of Paly students agreed or strongly agreed that someone in the counseling system can help with "making an academic plan that will allow me to graduate," while 77% of Gunn students felt similarly. That leaves only 8% to be distributed among the remaining categories. It's hard to see how that would change the overall interpretation).

Even for the neutral and negative responses, you don't offer any reason to think that the distribution of responses within those categories would differ strongly between Paly and Gunn, despite your contrived example. Your example seems to be positing a very strongly bimodal distribution at Paly focused on the tails and very disproportionate number of neutral responses at Gunn, but you don't actually present any evidence for that.

However, the raw data is available from the district. You can always download and present the results, which will be far more persuasive than the unsupported assertions that you're presenting here.

I do hope that if you respond, whether with actual data or not, you'll try to be less rude and more accurate about what I have said in the past. I appreciate your refocusing attention on the data, though, because it is the strongest argument for the need for comparable services between our two high schools.


Posted by Lou F, a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Mar 6, 2013 at 9:26 pm

And that's why you don't bring a knife to a gun fight.


Posted by soccer mom, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 7, 2013 at 7:45 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]




Posted by One more parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 7, 2013 at 8:58 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by WTF, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 7, 2013 at 9:07 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by another parent, a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 7, 2013 at 10:31 am

The give away is that they keep asking to change the model instead of improve the existing system. There is another agenda going on. I don't know what it is. Either getting TA paves the way for something else they want or they have a problem dealing with the personnel and just want someone gone by the time their kid gets there. Otherwise they would be suggesting modifications to what exists because the strategy they are using now requires such heavy lifting.

Same with the call to end site-based control. They would not be calling for it if they thought Paly would convert to Gunn structure or Ohlone would convert to Hoover structure. It is all about everyone conforming to their vision, which is not necessarily shared by everyone.


Posted by Aliens, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 7, 2013 at 10:43 am

I think "they" are pod people. There is no way that they are just concerned parents who have looked at the data and think advisory is proved better or that it's a better use of our funds. There is no way this is an honest policy difference. It has to be a hidden shandy about their child. It can't be that they are experienced parents with good motives with wh you disagree. The simplest explanation is that everyone who supports TA was kidnapped by aliens and has an implant. It can't be that there isn't enough money to make a traditional system as good as TA because of the leveraging to staff and many more adults. It's either aliens, drones, black helicopters, or their own child.


Posted by another parent, a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 7, 2013 at 10:58 am

Of course it could be an honest policy difference but the realization by that group of exceptionally bright people that many other experienced parents who have equally good motives do not agree with their solutions would have been made by now if that was all it was.


Posted by Aliens, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 7, 2013 at 11:29 am

Plenty of bright parents and teachers (including a whole building at Paly agree with them not you). What if everyone is acting in good faith but just disagree. You seems to attribute bad motives to the fact that they haven't given in but have continued to hold their beliefs. Do you have bad motives because you still hold your beliefs?


Posted by another parent, a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 7, 2013 at 12:05 pm

@ aliens, good question, i don't know the answer. but how do you know the whole paly community agrees? maybe they are too savvy to disagree in public - i know my contacts there do not agree with you.


Posted by Aliens, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 7, 2013 at 12:27 pm

So all those teaches who are TAs at Paly don't like TA and all those kids on all 4 Paly newspapers who endorsed Dauber and the Campanile that specifically praised his efforts to bring TA to Gunn are all wrong and you anonymous conspiracy theory is right. Just because you disagree doesn't mean the people who disagree with you have bad motives and misrepresenting Paly parents teachers and students doesn't help your case. Here's a test: Paly parents do you want to change from TA to Gunn system plus the recommendations in this report? Please no gunn teacher sock puppets.


Posted by Paly family, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 7, 2013 at 2:15 pm

I rarely agree with the Daubers and WCDB PA.

However, in all fairness, as a Paly parent, I think the couseling and TA system at Paly is very good. Our current Paly student is very happy with it, and so are we as parents. Our older child was slightly less satisfied although we still liked the system then.

I think that the difference in satisfaction hinges on who you have as your TA and how well you get along with him/her. Our current Paly student has a strong bond wiht her TA, which, I think, makes a huge difference.

As far as I know, TAs are volunteers. Teachers are not "forced" to do it. So, I don't understand why teachers would be unhappy about being TAs. But I may be missing something.


Posted by students rule, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 7, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Rumor control: Is it true that Paly TAs teach one less class and are paid extra for being a TA?
I have heard this several times and would love to know if this is accurate.


Posted by paly parent, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 7, 2013 at 6:04 pm

I don't think the TA's get paid more, but I do think they teach one less class. This is probably because they need to write 25-30 college rec letters every year.


Posted by Gunn booster, a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 8, 2013 at 6:35 am

The whole Paly v. Gunn thing is amusing when our kids do it, but sad when adults do it. Reading between the lines, this report was scuttled when some Gunn teachers (the same ones who sank this process last year) refused to consider "that Paly model".


Posted by Wow, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 8, 2013 at 11:40 am

@Gunn booster -- Interesting analogy. In the case of the football rivalry, Paly crushed Gunn in performance and then Gunn refused to play due to the fact that Paly is in a different class altogether. Hmm sounds familiar. I guess the teachers have learned from the kids.


Posted by hmmm, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 8, 2013 at 4:53 pm

@Wow,
Yes, let's continue the analogy. According to your model...
- The reaction to Gunn losing to Paly should be to scrap the athletics program at Gunn and adopt Paly's attitude and sports program
- Gunn should increase it's athletics expenditure, removing funds from other programs until it can be competitive with Paly in all games
- In addition, the board should define a district-wide athletics program that both Gunn & Paly must adopt

The above is WCDBPA's reaction to the results, make the athletics program identical at each school regardless of whether that's what the students, parents or teachers at the school want.
The board's reaction is that athletics at both schools need to provide the same benefits to the students. They don't need to be exactly the same as long as they both offer the same value to the students. And the schools will be held responsible and accountable for making sure they are offering the same value.

So, your analogy really provides a clear distinction between what the board is doing and what special interest group want the board to do. It's up to the voters to decide who is right and they spoke pretty loudly at the last election.

Back to the original topic, I'd really like to know why they weren't able to gain consensus on the concrete proposal at pages 92+? How close were they to consensus?


Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 8, 2013 at 5:16 pm

When is Gunn going to adopt the same Paly counseling system? they cannot keep waiting, something almost happened on Tuesday, a child almost die to suicide. Hello Mrs. Villalobos it is time to act before is too late. You were lucky last Tuesday, but you might not be that lucky next time. Students need to have a counselor they see more often so they can trust them and talk to them when they feel depressed to when they feel like they want to die. Seein a counseling once a year or if lucky twice is not going to help to develop a trust among both parties. Time to switch now. By the way you forgot to informed us parents about the incidents so we could talk to out kids who came home scared about the incident.


Posted by Jack, I have a great investment for you from my Nigerian friend!, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 11, 2013 at 9:14 am

Just got back from vacation and saw this was still going...

Ken:
- you count values where both Gunn and Paly are failing as a reason that Gunn should switch to Paly.
- you count values where both Gunn and Paly are doing well as a reason that Gunn should switch to Paly.
- you discount the majority of the data
- you repeat the same value 5 times to exaggerate any difference
- you claim you're using a standard methodology when the one you based it on was for absolute approval ratings and was not done for comparison. Who else has used your model for comparison?

You can't deny any of this but if you cleaned up your data it would severely weaken your case.

Go ahead and continue with your misinformation. Lots of people such as "Lou F" will continue to believe in you.

The top 5 areas where both schools are failing are:

1) I feel anxiety about getting into the colleges that I want to go to
2) I feel tremendous pressure to succeed academically
3) My family expects me to attend a top college
4) I feel anxiety about my workload at school
5) I feel pressured to take a challenging load of Honors and AP courses

The simple questions is, how does Gunn switching to TA fix these? Why aren't you actively engaged in trying to solve this instead of trying to get a system that doesn't solve these instigated at Gunn?


Posted by Jack, I have a great investment for you from my Nigerian friend!, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 11, 2013 at 10:14 am

"Even for the neutral and negative responses, you don't offer any reason to think that the distribution of responses within those categories would differ strongly between Paly and Gunn, despite your contrived example. Your example seems to be positing a very strongly bimodal distribution at Paly focused on the tails and very disproportionate number of neutral responses at Gunn, but you don't actually present any evidence for that."

Just for grins, look at the raw numbers for: "I see my guidance counselor/college and career advisor as an expert on colleges and the application process"

Paly: 175 246 108 45 24 Total: 598
Gunn: 433 553 378 81 34 Total: 1479

Now, apart for the huge disparity in the number of students responding to this question, which, again, brings into doubt the claims in your data, you go on to claim that across all students, you get 69% at Paly and 63% at Gunn. You also highlight it as a significant difference and, hence, a reason to instigate TA at Gunn.

Now, if you take into account the all the actual values, you get 58.88% approval at both Paly and Gunn. That is, you have exactly the same result from both schools.

I don't know if you ever actually looked at the underlying data or just took the resulting percentages but the more I look at your analysis, the more concerned I become with your final assertions.


Posted by Paly Parent, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 11, 2013 at 11:27 am

@Aliens
To answer your question re: whether Paly parents want to change to the Gunn counseling model, my answer is a resounding H*LL NO! Why would I want my kid to only see a counselor twice during his entire 4 years of high school and not be able to even see a counselor when he needs to change his classes? That's the Gunn model, and the Gunn teachers should be ashamed of attacking the Paly model at the Board meeting. BTW, I thought Phil Winston showed a lot of class in how he handled those attacks and the Gunn folks just looked desperate. Although I note the Special Ed. teachers from Gunn were all for adopting the TA model, but folks just ignored them.


Posted by Observer, a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Mar 11, 2013 at 4:47 pm

Once again, the guidance counselors at Gunn High School are for educational guidance, including advice about courses and schedules, college applications, and so forth. They are not there to help with emotional issues and I don't believe they are trained to do that. I would not recommend any student seek that kind of support from these academically oriented and overworked people.

For students with emotional or mental health issues, Adolescent Counseling Service provides free on campus help for students and families. See their website at, Web Link for more information.

Yes, the Gunn guidance model needs improvement, but please stop muddying the water by criticizing the guidance department and Gunn for not providing emotional support. It is there.


Posted by Concerned, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 11, 2013 at 6:22 pm

Well there you have it. The Gunn counselord are academically oriented and not there to help with emotional issues. That will come as a surprise to them since that is what they are credentialed in and it is what they think they are there for even if Observer can detect that fact from "observing" them. How sad that this is what an apparently knowledgable insider thinks -- that there is no way that these counselors could possibly have time to provide that service. How sad that there are 2000 kids over there who are being told that they have no way to access those services even though there was a suicide attempt in the school building during school hours on March 1 in the library restroom. No parent notification has gone out. Parents of vulnerable children are on their own. No extra precautions can be taken by the parentd of those who might be vulnerable to contagion because they have not been told. If observer thinks that is fine I disagree. It isn't fine. It's just like what happened before. No help no support no explanation. Nothing to see here move along. Gunn community is hurting. We need a new principal who can lead us through this. Stop telling us about your list of random programs. Someone tried to die by suicide on campus!


Posted by Jack, I have a great investment for you from my Nigerian friend!, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 11, 2013 at 8:41 pm

By the way, 58.88% would mean that the schools didn't gain the required acceptance criteria and it needs improvement. Anything below 60% acceptance when all the data is considered is failing and no reason to recommend it to either school.


Posted by Uhh?, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 11, 2013 at 9:23 pm

Jack... your numbers don't make any sense. Both schools have 58.88%? What are you talking about? Below 60 is failing? According to who?

The difference in numbers answering that question is because at Gunn they asked this question for every student and at Paly just juniors and seniors. Look at the data: Web Link. Anyways, even if your post made sense you're talking about one number out of hundreds. If I were you I would figure out what you think you mean before coming on so hot.


Posted by Jack, I have a great investment for you from my Nigerian friend!, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 11, 2013 at 10:01 pm

No idea what you're talking about, Uhh. I thing you've missed the previous posts.


Posted by Jack, I have a great investment for you from my Nigerian friend!, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 11, 2013 at 10:16 pm

as to "faking" numbers. Why would I bother? You can get the raw data from here: Web Link
And that was just one entry to show how biased Ken's results are. He claimed using all the data wouldn't have any affect.


Posted by Uhh?, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 11, 2013 at 10:21 pm

Whoa there Nigerian Jack, I'm not saying your faking, I'm saying your not making sense. How about showing your work?


Posted by Observer, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 11, 2013 at 11:23 pm

Concerned, If you look at the list of counselors, you will see that there are only 7. Even if they were trained to be mental health professionals, there is simply no way that few individuals can hope to provide adequate mental health services to approximately 1851 students. That is approximately 264 students per counselor.

Why do you pretend that Adolescent Counseling Service does not exist? I would really like to understand your reason.

I repeat, the guidance system at Gunn could stand to be improved. But there is help available on campus at no charge for students who have emotional or mental health needs. This is a good thing, in fact.


Posted by Concerned, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 12, 2013 at 12:29 am

I agree that counselor:student ratio is too low. At Paly, students have a TA at 75:1 (25:1 for freshmen), a guidance counselor for social emotional health for each class, college advisors for juniors and seniors, AND ACS. I don't pretend that ACS interns don't exist. But they are no substitute for an adequate guidance program staffed by credentialed and fully trained professional counselors. ACS interns are also present at Paly as well, so Paly kids have access to a TA for academic advising, a counselor for social emotional, ACS interns, college and career. Paly kids have a richer set of resources and more adults to provide them at a lower ratio. Since they also have ACS interns, in addition to those other adults, it does not create comparable services to consider them. Finally all ACS counseling at both schools is provided by interns not licensed and fully trained counselors.

The suicide attempt last week? Thoughts?


Posted by Jack, I have a great investment for you from my Nigerian friend!, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 12, 2013 at 8:21 am

@Uhh?,
"How about showing your work?"

The model that Ken is using is: "(Strongly Agree + Agree)/Total". There are multiple models you can use for comparison but given the one Ken started with, the simplest is to extend this with the negative responses to be consistent for comparison: "((SA + A) - (D + SD))/Total".
The numbers are above, you can work it out yourself.


Posted by Observer, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 12, 2013 at 9:27 am

Since I know nothing about a suicide attempt last week, I can't comment on it. In general, however, I believe it would be great if our schools offered mental health screening for all students on an ongoing basis. There is no budget for this that I'm aware of. I believe the upcoming changes in the US health care system will contain some element of mental health care, but this would not be provided at school. When a student reports to their doctor for a physical, mental health screening should be part of the exam, which in the case of the students in my family, it is. Because we send our children to a public school, and because in California, the public schools are grossly underfunded, to hold them responsible, not only for educating the students, but also for mental health care is unrealistic. I believe it is important to work for changes in education funding, but also to partner with our schools and support their efforts. I take full responsibility for the well being of my children. I would never leave something that crucial to the overworked staff at the schools. As I said, it would be great if there was screening provided at the schools, but money for that would have to come from somewhere. As it is, the teachers in general do a wonderful job.


Posted by Tangled web, a resident of Stanford
on Mar 12, 2013 at 9:30 am

Jack, You should reread Ken's comment above, since it exposes the flaw in your reasoning.

"The percentage of students, particularly at Paly, who answer agree and strongly agree is very high, which simply doesn't leave much room for important variation in the other categories. Your contrived example, in which at most 20% of responses are in the top two categories, doesn't match the actual data. (For example, 92% of Paly students agreed or strongly agreed that someone in the counseling system can help with "making an academic plan that will allow me to graduate," while 77% of Gunn students felt similarly. That leaves only 8% to be distributed among the remaining categories. It's hard to see how that would change the overall interpretation)."

You picked an item where Paly and Gunn students are already quite close. Try your method on the item that Ken pointed out. In the best case for your approach, all 8% of the remaining Paly students would have answered strongly disagree or disagree, giving Paly 84%, and all of the Gunn students would have answered 'neutral', leaving Gunn at 77%. But let's use a more realistic assumption, that 50% of the students at each school choose neutral, and 50% the other categories. That would produce 88% for Paly, and 66% for Gunn, which is actually a bigger gap than with Ken's method (22% vs. 15%). That's because you are essentially weighting dissatisfied students twice -- they are already reflected in the size of the satisfied population, and then you're subtracting them again.


Posted by Jack, I have a great investment for you from my Nigerian friend!, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 12, 2013 at 10:04 am

@Tangled Web,
That's the point. Ken's claiming that 5% is a significance difference. In his own words "Key: Cells are shaded when the measure is 5 or more percentage points higher at one school than the other. Green == Paly, red == Gunn.".
Now we're already are seeing at least a 5% error in his data.

Ken tried to choose an example that showed he couldn't be wrong and all his data is correct. As I've shown, he is wrong. Why didn't he choose an example where the values were closer? My example further above shows how wrong his methodology is.

Actually, Ken's example is incorrect in any case. The data against the following question for Paly: "I get enough time with my TA to plan my academic and career goals" only has 66% approval using Ken's formula. The actual data: 254 310 175 82 22 843
Gunn had one question on career planning, and Paly had 4. You have to ask yourself how he got from 66% to 92%.

The raw numbers are there if you want to look at them.


Posted by Hamstercraft, LLC, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 12, 2013 at 10:29 am

Nigerian Jack,
it is great to see people talking about data. The best thing for you to do is to follow academic norms and publish your own analysis on the web, as Ken did and explain why your method leads to a different and more accurate estimate. Then we can have a real discussion instead of you just lobbing verbal bombs. You have critiqued Kelun Zhang's method (replicated by Ken) for analyzing the data. Now, take the next step and reanalyze the data, produce a published result and then let's talk about which method makes a better estimate of the real-world conditions and why. As to the 5% significance estimate, Ken isn't making any confidence intervals or significance claims. It appears that you are making the inverse claim -- that 5% is NOT a significant difference. Please defend that claim by producing chi-square or other scores that would help anyone to understand what you are talking about.


Posted by Jack, I have a great investment for you from my Nigerian friend!, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 12, 2013 at 10:55 am

No, I haven't critiqued Kelun Zhang's method and it wasn't replicated by Ken. Not sure why you're tying to put words in my mouth.
Ken misused Kelun Zhang's model. Kelun didn't attempt to create a comparison. He was simply noting approval rating, which is perfectly acceptable. Ken has been unable to show anyone that used that model for comparison.
You seem to say that you can make a claim that a 1% difference is significant and not have to defend it? That's your "academic norm" is it? It's up to the person making the claim to defend it.
Ken has provided no evidence that a 5% difference is significant so why highlight it? Also, when your data has at least 5% error in it as I've shown, that's a hard claim to justify.
So far you've been unable to show anything that is correct about Ken's model and why it indicates we should have TA at Gunn.


Posted by Hamstercraft, LLC, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 12, 2013 at 11:17 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Hamstercraft, LLC, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 12, 2013 at 12:32 pm

You are like a clown bop bag. Here is a screenshot of Kelun Zhang's PAUSD High School Guidance Program Review, dated March 12, 2012. As you can see, comparing top-two-box was Zhang's method. It's not a crazy method so it was repeated by Ken for clarity. Had he done anything more sophisticated than this, this board would never have been able to understand it and he would have been accused of manipulating the data.

Web Link

Do your own analysis and show that the result would be different. I suspect that it would be exactly the same or worse, as the pattern is too persistent and pronounced to be affected by your top-two-box minus bottom-two-box suggestion. In all likelihood it would magnify the difference and come out worse for Gunn. But show it. What you are doing is not reasoned critique, which would be interesting. It's misinformation and rudeness.


Posted by Jack, I have a great investment for you from my Nigerian friend!, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 12, 2013 at 12:57 pm

At no point does Kelun say that one school is better than the other. That is what Ken's claims the results say.

Seriously, even if you think Ken's methodology is solid, the numbers still don't work.

Look at the numbers for: "I see my guidance counselor/college and career advisor as an expert on colleges and the application process". Paly only asked 11th/12th grades.

If you restrict the Gunn results to the same data set you get:
Gunn: 270 209 Total: 708 - 68%

So, even using Ken's flawed methodology for comparison, if you compare "apples" to "apples" you get 68% vs. 69% for "all students asked". Hardly a reason to start trying to introduce TA at Gunn.

The bottom line is that Ken's analysis is flawed on so many levels as to be relatively useless. As with "Lou F.", you can continue to believe in it but it provides no proof that Gunn would be better off with TA.


Posted by Observer, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 12, 2013 at 1:15 pm

These arguments are very strange. For example, when asked whether they see their counselors as experts, that is such a weird question to ask a high school student. A high school student has not context for how to evaluate that. If anything, they will find out some of this as they hear back from the schools they applied for. You people with your arguments and data are doing the students no good at all. If you wanted to help the students in this district, you would drop your carping and roll up your sleeves. This is about you, not the students. No wonder they feel like they live in Babel. Your nonsense fills them with despair. Shame on you.


Posted by Math Barbie , a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 12, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Data is silly.. Math is hard. We should make decisions based on our feelings even if they are based on nothing. Shame on you for using evidence. Where do you think you are, the home of the top university in the world or something? That's just like showing off to debate over math and data and evidence. Duh!


Posted by Observer, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 12, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Barbie, Thank you for illustrating my point.


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