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College Panel at PALY yesterday

Original post made by WOW .. , Duveneck/St. Francis, on Mar 17, 2017

PALY hosted a college panel yesterday - very informative.

The message that came across loud and clear from the panelists was - APs matter, Honor course matter ! PALY offers 19 APS ( or some such number ). If those colleges see 1 AP on the student's transcript, doesn't matter of the student has scored a "A" in that course, it will be looked upon as "Student didn't challenge himself or herself" ..

On the flip side, if the school offered 5 APS and the student took 1 - it will be looked at the student challenged himself/herself ..

I realize this is the reality, but given the stress issues of the kids -- shouldn't the school district be taking a holistic view of the courses being offered? Its one thing to try to convey to the student not to stress over/get buried under homework while setting up the student for failure by offering some ridiculous number of courses.

Does the school district really have the student's emotional state in focus?

Comments (13)

5 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 17, 2017 at 2:27 pm

Was there anyone on the panel from Foothill College? If not, why not? Was there anyone on the panel from SJSU? If not, why not?


10 people like this
Posted by Sam L
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 17, 2017 at 2:47 pm

Not true. My child took zero AP classes and got into all 10 of the schools he applied to, none in the Top 50, but all of them in the "top college" guides.

School pushes AP's because it makes them look stronger as a district. Parents have bought into the "must take AP's" so they demand the school provide them. It's a Catch-22.

District doesn't have the guts to tell the parents what is best in educating the students. They claim to care about stress, but it's all window dressing. It's not a coincidence that parents have demanded more mental health services.


8 people like this
Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 17, 2017 at 3:30 pm

john_alderman is a registered user.

@Sam L - "My child took zero AP classes and got into all 10 of the schools he applied to, none in the Top 50"

Not saying it is a good thing, but not getting into a Top 50 isn't going to be sellable as a success story in Palo Alto. If you want to rephrase what you wrote, it describes exactly the issue: To get into a Top 50 school, you must take more than zero AP classes (probably more than one, probably more than 2).


21 people like this
Posted by teacher in district
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 17, 2017 at 3:35 pm

@Parent-
I teach in the district. I am extremely grateful to have the resources given to teach kids that for the most part can read and write. That being said...
It is all about perception and the Palo Alto brand. I went to both Foothill and SJSU and would never in a million years offer that on back to school night.I could only imagine the eye rolls, looks of astonishment, disbelief and absolute wonder at attending such low brow non prestige entities. How do I know? My students talk that way about state colleges. The elitism is real.


4 people like this
Posted by Truth
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 19, 2017 at 12:14 am

Perhaps in other parts of the nation, but not in PAUSD since it's a college prep district. The regional college admissions people know our rigor. It depends which colleges your child wants to apply to. There are plenty of students who have gone to Ivy League and elite colleges with 4-7 AP classes. My child was accepted into UC Davis (#44), Urbana-Champaign (#44), CalPoly, Penn State (#50), Boston U (#39), Northeastern (#39), with a 3.7 unweighted GPA, 3 APs, and an honors language class. AP classes at Paly add an average of 1 hour of homework per AP class per day. Students don't need to take 7 classes every year to graduate; mine took 6 classes in 10-12th grade. Extracurriculars are part of the package too, so students should have a few extracurriculars but take classes and camps in one area related to the major. Colleges don't want students who are boring and only study.

@teacher: SJSU is known as a good college for teaching credentials.


4 people like this
Posted by former PALY parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 19, 2017 at 11:14 am

Posted by Truth
a resident of Palo Alto High School
10 hours ago
"Perhaps in other parts of the nation, but not in PAUSD since it's a college prep district. The regional college admissions people know our rigor. It depends which colleges your child wants to apply to. "

Actually, there are plenty of high quality students and school districts in the U.S.
Meanwhile, the reality is you are compared to your peers at your particular high school. So if 19 APs are offered, students ARE expected to "challenge themselves" - however false this is, or parent-prompted. It IS overwork. Many parents - but not all - pay big bucks to concoct their student's resume and academic record and extra-curricular -- a practice I have been opposing for years to no avail -- but the fact is, the authentic, self-managed, self-directed student with authentic interests/ambitions will NOT benefit by "competing" in this artificial arena currently of college applications, especially coming from PAUSD.
Some schools are famously not using AP courses and they have great reputations and their students do very well with university admissions. The AP "system" is a highly profitable one for the vendor and it's being abused by Tiger Parents, placing today's (and recent past) students in a silly artificial treadmill of pretend "achievement." Shame.


9 people like this
Posted by LOL
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 19, 2017 at 12:32 pm

Terrifying the Junior Class, from what my teen and his friends told me!


8 people like this
Posted by Stephen
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 19, 2017 at 8:23 pm

An add-on to "Truth": SJSU also has excellent engineering, educating the lion's share of engineers working in Silicon Valley, including at one time two of my faculty colleagues in our engineering department at Stanford.


6 people like this
Posted by iSez
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 20, 2017 at 1:41 am

iSez is a registered user.

Why do people incorrectly capitalize the nickname, Paly? It's a nickname, not an acronym. The letters don't represent words so it shouldn't be capitalized. If William were called Dick, there is no need to capitalize DICK.


4 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 20, 2017 at 8:31 am

Isez - Dick is the normal nickname for Richard. Bill, Billy, Willy, are the normal nicknames for William.


6 people like this
Posted by iSez
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 20, 2017 at 1:32 pm

iSez is a registered user.

@Resident: Ha, right, thank you. That's what happens when posting at 2:30AM. I love Palo Altans.


5 people like this
Posted by Midtown Mom
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 27, 2017 at 10:32 am

When PALY hosts college panels, its critical they are inclusive of the non-AP population!

The school from Ohio (Miami) was much more realistic .. the panelist stressed more than once on the all rounded student body they look for. For the most other panelists, it was - we know PALY, they offer ( ridiculous> number of AP courses, if you don't take atleast 40% of that count, then pretty much , don't even bother applying since we consider you not to be worthy of the university.

PALY really really dropped the ball on this panel - ignored the student's stress levels, ignored the other propaganda of emotional learning and basically reverted to the reality. Practice what you preach ! Very disappointing meeting ..


3 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 27, 2017 at 12:25 pm

Going back to my original post, Teacher in the District above gave the exact reason why having someone on the panel from Foothill College and SJSU is absolutely essential.

Unless these parents who turn up their noses at Foothill and SJSU are told that these are acceptable ways to enter the college system, then nobody will tell them and their own children are probably the ones that will suffer most.

We have to get the word out that going to a community college is a great choice for many students and the transfer into UC is easier than getting in from Paly (or Gunn).


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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