Thank you for the article on the South Palo Alto Food Closet. It is very timely and gives credit to a small group of volunteers. This effort was established by a coalition of churches in Palo Alto some 30 years ago. Covenant Presbyterian has provided space and utilities plus donating money and food. However, several other churches and members of the community have also stepped up to the plate. Not to mention the many volunteers from the community who have provided support behind the scenes.
This group of volunteers, around 100, pick up food, store it, stock the shelves in the Food Closet, clean the Food Closet, and cheerfully distribute the food to the needy families in our area who have been vetted by Opportunity West, our supporting churches, and the Palo Alto school system. All of this effort is coordinated by our director, Kate Church.
Again, thank you for your interest in our Food Closet. It has been a well-kept secret.
Jean C. Jones, volunteer coordinator
Concerts at MPAC
I was privileged to hear a remarkable concert by Symphony Parnassus in the jewel of our community: the Menlo-Atherton Performing Arts Center on Dec. 3. Unfortunately, the attendance in this acoustically superb concert hall was only 1/3 of its capacity. I encourage this community to support future concerts so great performers will continue to come and bring us great entertainment only a short distance from our neighborhood.
Better trails to the top
In the latest debate about advanced high school math required for graduation, I am a parent that is concerned that the debate has been framed with only two conclusions.
The choices have been presented as either:
1) Lower the degree of difficulty required for Palo Alto diplomas, or;
2) Don't dilute the value of a Palo Alto diploma and leave some teens behind.
A world-class education is like a mountaintop. As opposed to making it the domain of the few and privileged, let's build better trails to the summit.
Let's make it the goal that all students reach the summit by finding the right guides for all to attain the highest potential. Everything, once understood, is simple.
I hope other parents will join me in refusing to accept that there are only the two choices in the discussion.
Let's achieve parity
I was appalled to read of the plan to allow two standards of math competency to exist in high school. The message that will be sent to all students and to the community will wreak havoc with the general morale in our schools.
I would like the community to consider the following proposal. I will volunteer to organize a corps of people, recruiting heavily from the retirement complexes and other community members to establish a drop-in center where any student needing help in math can get it. If algebra isn't passed the first time around, students must take it until they qualify. We must find a way to achieve parity.
It is impossible to ask math teachers to offer tutoring either in or out of class for those students who are experiencing difficulty. Teachers are already overwhelmed. Rather than lower the standards, we need to come together as a community rich in resources and which can staff a tutoring corps. Who better to ask for help than the legion of able people in this highly educated area? If a student fails algebra after taking it more than once or twice and has availed himself or herself of extra help then we might have to make a different diagnosis. I suggest we try to stand and deliver first.
My name is Ellen Fox and my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I will take on the job of organizing a corps of tutors if the community reaches out to me.
Sand Hill Road
We want to thank everyone who came by the California Avenue Plaza last Sunday to celebrate the 50th birthday of the California Avenue Fountain. It was a lovely day and could only have been better if the fountain was still functioning. Some took the time to document their favorite fountain memory, but sadly many, especially the small children, couldn't remember the fountain ever having water in it. A very refreshing addition to the celebration, however, was the arrival of three awesome city ambassadors, firefighters Debbie Burk, Bill Dale and Jesus Zuniga.
It felt right to pay tribute to this 50-year-old California Avenue landmark, but also bittersweet since we know that its days are numbered.
Jan St. Peter and Paul T. Pitlick