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Getting the most out of high school

Original post made on Aug 15, 2014

After scattering around the globe for the summer, Palo Alto's approximately 4,000 high school students return to school Monday, Aug. 18. About 8,600 kindergartners through eighth-graders go back the next day.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, August 15, 2014, 12:00 AM

Comments (7)

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Posted by Michael O.
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 16, 2014 at 1:24 am

What a pressure cooker environment, Palo Alto, both at Gunn and (less so) at Paly. It's kind of nauseating to read that a student said, "Gunn is a really good place if you want to study all the time, but that's not good for you." Yikes.

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Posted by Paly Alum
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 16, 2014 at 1:53 am

Michael O, what makes you think Paly is less of a pressure cooker than Gunn? Because Paly's football team historically beats Gunn's? Things have actually equalized in both academics and sports and the old stereotypes should be put to rest.

I'm wondering why they chose unique students to interview instead of regular students. These students aren't good representations of PAUSD high school students. Maybe the regular students had nothing good to say. . . since they are doing homework weekdays and weekends while their teachers relax.

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Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 16, 2014 at 1:58 am

[Post removed due to hearsay.]

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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 16, 2014 at 7:14 am

I know some of these students and they are grounded kids with drive and purpose. Good for them.

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Posted by Michael O.
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 16, 2014 at 10:02 am

@Paly Alum: All I know is what I'm reading and the Gunn students sound more academically stressed in this article than the Paly kids. It's what many people say (the grades are higher at Gunn, whatever that means), but I imagine the difference isn't enormous. Remember, a student at the 25th percentile on the SATs across Palo Alto has a score higher than the 75th percentile nationally, meaning the bottom students here are similar to advanced students elsewhere, on average. That must be hard for the kids.

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Posted by parent
a resident of Gunn High School
on Aug 18, 2014 at 8:33 pm

I appreciated hearing the perspectives of these well-spoken young people.

As has been mentioned on these threads, the Hoover kids go through Terman and then on to Gunn, and that kind of environment clearly suits them. The JLS Connections kids get split between Gunn and Paly, and they're probably a little better off at Paly especially with the block scheduling, but they still don't have a project-based curriculum, and there is no place for that end of the academic spectrum at all at Gunn (yet).

The administration should find a way to extend project-based whole-child-oriented instruction into Gunn for the Connections kids, and others seeking that kind of balanced, intrinsically-driven, integrated instruction.

It's really important not to assume there are any one-size-fits-all programs at the high school level, some kinds of solutions work well for some learners and stress out others. We have the kind of program that works for the Hoover kids, but not the Connections kids.

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Posted by Historian
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 19, 2014 at 12:10 pm

True, since Paly has easily beaten Gunn since the beginning of time, they have taken a two-year break from competing against each other due to lack of competition. Paly has historically had better sports teams but Gunn has caught up with some good teams these last years. And Paly is not easier academically than Gunn.

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