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Tough love: Paly's new principal settles in

Original post made on Nov 27, 2007

"She wants to cancel Spirit Week." "She's going to make Paly a closed campus." "She doesn't care what we think." At least Palo Alto High School students haven't accused new Principal Jackie McEvoy of wanting to shut down the school -- yet. But the wave of resentment triggered when McEvoy arrived from San Mateo High School this fall and began making changes to school policy has yet to let up, students said.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, November 27, 2007, 11:29 AM

Comments (46)

Posted by Paly Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 27, 2007 at 1:33 pm

It may be that she hasn't communicated well with students, but I am concerned that as yet she has not appeared to communicate well with parents. Some of the changes have not been told to parents clearly if at all, and there have definitely been some problems with getting legitimate absences taken care of. For one off campus activity, the whole class got the dialer and this did lead to extra work to sort out the problem (although I can't definitively say the new principal's methods were the cause).

Posted by Former M-A Student, a resident of another community
on Nov 27, 2007 at 2:53 pm

Personally, I think all high school campuses should be closed.

Posted by Former PA Student, a resident of another community
on Nov 27, 2007 at 3:05 pm

When Mr. Lawrence came in as the new principal, he stayed quiet, met a ton of people, then when he was instated, he continued to build that relationship with students and faculty alike. The new principal (from what I've heard) came in "like a tank," changing all these programs, threatening to close the campus, etc., all without bothering to even meet the students and ask what they want. She even brought in a new person to take over a job that was supposed to be given to (the extraordinary) Susan Shultz, who had been working at Paly forever. While I am glad to be in college, it sickens me that something like this would happen to Paly, and when I come winter break to visit, I hope I don't run into her.

Posted by Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 27, 2007 at 4:51 pm

I have personally met Jackie McEvoy and can attest to her earnest desire to understand current Paly traditions. She has been hired to lead Paly now and everyone should give her a chance. Just because something is the custom right now does not mean that it should continue. For example, the kind of dancing that had been allowed at the Paly dances was inappropriate for a high school dance environment. I'm glad that the new Principal is trying to change that.

I'd like to see Spirit Week stay. It's a great tradition.

My interactions with Jackie McEvoy have been cordial and the outcome of discussions fair.

Posted by John, a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 27, 2007 at 5:00 pm

Former PA Student,

You claim, "When Mr. Lawrence came in as the new principal, he stayed quiet, met a ton of people, then when he was instated, he continued to build that relationship with students and faculty alike. "

What did that get him when he did the right thing and reported vandalism to the police ("Tom")? He got shat upon.

The principal is NOT required to listen to the students demanding this or that. I have not met this principal, but she sounds like she has heard many student demands in the past, and she is immune to them...a breath of fresh air! The principal is the main adult in charge. Get real, Student. If you are going become sick when you visit, then don't visit. Simple solution to a simple problem.

Posted by Former PA Student, a resident of another community
on Nov 27, 2007 at 5:14 pm

Demand? I didn't say demand, I say up until then, and when he moved in, people respected him because he went out of his way as much as he could to meet the students that he governed. Get real? Don't be ignorant. Get into the mind of the student, how would you feel if some outsider came in and started changing everything? How would you react?

Posted by Susan, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 27, 2007 at 5:30 pm

Former PA Student,

I have to say that I agree with John. I have had several new outsiders become the lead person in my work and school life. I didn't always like it, but I did not whine about it. You are whining.

Posted by A Paly parent, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 27, 2007 at 7:55 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

The various preemptive changes Ms. McEvoy has instigated make for an unfortunate start to her tenure as Principle. While it may be somewhat bothersome to give consideration to others views, it does show some level of respect, and eases change.
It is unclear that the changes Ms. McEvoy made, apparently impulsively, were time critical. Would it not have been more appropriate to make health-and-safety changes first, and work towards consensus on other matters? Does it really matter if student dance one way or another? That does not seem like an emergency situation.
Is Ms. McEvoy trying to "make her mark" on the school, and show that she is the boss? Ironically, her course of action makes her look defensive and weak.

Posted by Churchill, a resident of Gunn High School
on Nov 27, 2007 at 11:33 pm

Amazing tempest in a teapot, my dear friends! One must recall that, while our dear Mr. Laurence may have been new to students, he had spent many years as a Paly teacher and administrator before his tenure at Gunn. What a smooth transition had my good man, Mr. Laurence! When problems arose, it did not occur to anyone to blame the principal as he had such a strong prior relationship among all in the community.

As for Ms. McEvoy, her transition has been a tad more complicated, my fellow Palo Altans of great angst. It involves arriving from a distant land (San Mateo!), during a tidal wave of change. In the past year, we have a new superintendent in the district, and new personnel in the following positions at the city's precious flagship high school: principal; assistant principal; assistant principal again; college placement office; guidance director; counsellor; attendance. Where then, my friends, is the praise for their smooth transition? What a luxury to indulge in such superficial complaints! Have you any idea at all, my insulated little dears, what real school dysfunction looks like? No, none at all. I thought not.

Pity poor Ms. McEvoy then, for she finds herself at the helm while students react as students will, against authority. Her apparent mistakes are: not asking the children if they like the rules; to enforce rules that existed before she came; to abide by her staff's wishes to see enforcement of those rules; to support decisions made by other administrators to whom such authority had been delegated; to voice her concerns about a popular program in a private meeting with the appropriate staff members; and most galling, she has an "odd personality" according to an anonymous person who knows neither the processes being criticized, nor the correct spelling of "principal," yet sees fit to offer up to the public this curious scrutiny of someone's behavior at a social function.

Now then, shall we all have some tea and relax? Let the woman do her job. Jolly good!

Posted by Former Paly Student, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 28, 2007 at 12:32 am

In the spirit of collaborative learning and understanding her new environment, it may be best if Ms. McEvoy kept an open ear to the students and parents of Paly, rather than attempting to force her particular ways immediately onto the school.

I am already quite concerned with this method of action. I certainly hope the there is a probation period.

Posted by Parent of future Paly student, a resident of Escondido School
on Nov 28, 2007 at 1:53 am

From what I have read here and discussed with various Paly students and alumni, there doesn't seem to be a lot to warrant what looks like basic whining. The principal is being given way too much credit as a mover and shaker, but it is a welcome change and she brings with her a fresh perspective.

Posted by Former Paly Parent, a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 28, 2007 at 8:52 am

I am sure that Ms. McEvoy will do a fine job once she settles in. However, I have to say that messing with Mike McGovern is a very unwise move on her part. He is an exceptional teacher, one known to jump-start the brains of all who attend his classes. Paly has a number of great teachers dedicated to leading their students to learning like horses to water. Mr. MacNulty, Ms Laurence, and others are very good at their jobs. Please, Ms McEvoy, don't alienate our best teachers! I'm sure all these smart people can work together for the common good of our students. I would hate to see Paly lose teachers who know how to connect with students and awaken their intellectual curiosity.

Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 28, 2007 at 10:09 am

From the work history cited in this article, it sounds like the district hired a turn around artist - someone who comes in and cleans house. Reminds me of how and why they hired Callan (to play hardball).

Paly's not perfect, but hardly requiring of an extreme makeover.

So, as the saying goes... be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.

I don't so much fault this principal for doing what she does and (obviously based on her history) what she was hired to do. I fault the administration and BOE for what looks like its going to be an oil and water hiring decision. Again.

Posted by Ed U. Cator, a resident of Greater Miranda
on Nov 28, 2007 at 10:52 am

The so-called scandal here reflects MUCH more poorly on our community than it does Ms. McEvoy. Exactly which of these *minor* changes exactly are we supposed to care so much about? "Turn-around artist"??? Extreme makeover"?!?!! Hardly. Perhaps if students and parents would refrain from spreading rumors about conversations they didn't hear and processes they don't understand, Paly could get back to the business of learning.

Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 28, 2007 at 12:36 pm

Well, the info comes from the article so what's incorrect in the article? If there's no issue why the article in the paper?

Posted by Former PA Student, a resident of another community
on Nov 28, 2007 at 12:48 pm

It's not whining, and I didn't say she's doing a bad thing. I'm saying that she should have done what Mr. Lawrence did and get to know people before radically changing Paly. I agree with Parent. If you want to make huge changes, you should at least be polite and get to know the people who's environment you're changing.

Posted by Susan, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 28, 2007 at 12:57 pm

Former PA Student,

A new administrator makes a fatal error if she/he waits to "get to know" all the players, and listens to their views on everything. An effective administrator sets a tone, then goes forth to implement his/her vision. THEN, the new administrator starts to listen to the reactions to the plan, and adjusts accordingly (or not).

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 28, 2007 at 12:59 pm

First of all, in the article Skelly said they're getting from her what they expected…

"Her hands-on approach provides the strength high schools need, even if it sometimes leads to diplomatic missteps, said." In other words, she's doing just fine, just what is to be expected from her approach (which we hired her for).

The article goes on to describe her experience at San Mateo, and her challenges there...

"The thick-skinned, conflict-capable approach comes from a tricky tenure at San Mateo, she said." The article elaborate on three tough issues she faced including:

"When she arrived at San Mateo, only about 30 percent of graduates completed requirements to enroll at the University of California, but the figure had jumped to 60 percent by the end of her seven-year tenure, McEvoy said."

So, no insult to her when I said it sounds like she's a turn around artist – she specifically faced some unusually tough and high profile issues and was successful in turning those situations around. So good for her. My point is that her tough approach is what the board hired her for, so now they're getting what they asked for.

(But I doubt that only 30% of Paly is completing UC requirements… So instead she's looking at Paly's other big problems… you know, like dirty dancing and students walking to lunch at Town and Country.)

Posted by Paly Grad, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 28, 2007 at 4:16 pm

What I would really like to see is Ms. McEvoy tackling the levels of student stress- or has she never heard of the multiple suicides and suicide attempts of students? Or is that second to the loss of profit that occurs when students buy lunch at Town and Country instead of the school cafeteria?

Posted by Paly Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 28, 2007 at 4:19 pm

I hadn't heard about trying to get students to buy lunches at school. I would rather my student continue to take lunch from home rather than a move to make the school cafeteria more profitable. There are so many opportunities for clubs and things at school that having to waste time standing in line for lunch, either at school or T and C, is just a waste of time.

Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of Ventura
on Nov 28, 2007 at 5:05 pm

Why are former students weighing in about this as if they know what she's doing? Have they reviewed some meeting minutes for the various meetings they don't attend? How about the parents? Please tell me they're not just going on hearsay. As for the closed campus, the article doesn't say where that rumor came from or if she ever seriously considered closing the campus. And as for the suicides a few years ago, were those ever definitively attributed to school stress, as opposed to so many other possible contributing factors? Wasn't one case in the courts having to do with medicinal side effects? Not to suggest stress isn't a problem, but let's be careful about "assuming facts not in evidence."

Posted by Former PA Student, a resident of another community
on Nov 28, 2007 at 6:46 pm

Paly Grad-Thank you for bringing that up. I really hope she works on that as well. Lots of people in Palo Alto are ignorant to the facts about stress.


First of all, stress is a HUGE issue in Palo Alto, and it's people in the community like yourself that try and put it off. Stress definitely leads to suicide. I'm not saying the "medicinal side effects" don't at all, because they do. I'm backing up Paly Grad in saying that that's an issue that should be at the top of the priority list. There are lots of depressed kids at Paly, and their depression is due to stress (I myself am depressed, but I didn't get stressed out because I didn't take any APs.)

I'm weighing in on this issue because I care about the future of Paly. Its unfair for the students to have a principal radically change all these great aspects about an already terrific school without a) being asked for THEIR opinion, and b) not even personally knowing them. I'll say it again: Scott Lawrence did a very good job walking around, getting a feel for the school, before changing stuff. His leadership style should have been persuaded by Ms. McEvoy.

Its pointless to review meeting minutes if she's interviewed in a newspaper about changing the school around. Show me one current Paly student (or any) that have reviewed her meeting minutes and I'll show you someone who completely, 100% agrees with this style of turning around a school.

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 28, 2007 at 9:32 pm

I have to say I don't really buy McEvoy's line that she must be doing something right if there's a lot of complaining by students. Maybe her strategy and ideas are great, but all the complaining says to me that she isn't doing a great job of communicating.

I mean, the flip side of "who cares what kids think, they're just rebelling against authority" is "who is the school for--the administrators or the students?" Last time, I checked, the mission of a school wasn't to hire principals, but to educate students. Poor communication (and persuasion) get in the way of that.

Paly isn't San Mateo--there is something to be said for standing back and figuring out the lay of the land. The school's been through a lot, numerous principals and, yes, the suicides and stress issues. A thoughtful, calm and steady hand more than a turn-around go-getter seemed more like what was needed. Paly needs, on some level, to find some sort of normality.

McEvoy may turn out to be an excellent principal--but a deep breath might not hurt.

Posted by Stefan, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 28, 2007 at 10:14 pm

Paly Parent wrote: "There are so many opportunities for CLUBS AND THINGS at school that having to waste time standing in line for lunch, either at school or T and C, is just a waste of time." (emphasis added)

Congratulations, Paly Parent, on heaping even MORE expectations on your children, adding to the general level of stress, and increasing your children's feelings of insecurity and inferiority.

Sometimes lunch should just be lunch.

Posted by Concerned, a resident of Professorville
on Nov 28, 2007 at 10:17 pm

Is Paly the only school in Palo Alto experiencing such turmoil, or are other schools facing the same 'clean-sweep', 'tough love' policies, and if so, to what purpose? The issues in ths district seem to have been largely at the administrative level, not in the staff/student arena. Also, closing the campus is likely to increase the stress levels of the students- not lower them.

Posted by Sparky, a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 28, 2007 at 10:36 pm

I don't know anything about Paly, but when I was in high school back in the stone age, we had a new principal and griped about some of these same issues - open campus, electives, content of school performances, attendance policies, etc. We students all got up-tight, administration got blustery, etc. As students we thought knew best. Over a fairly short time (six months? certainly within a year) things settled down and life went on.

So I don't know if she is good or bad, her approach over-zealous or appropriate - but it does seem like this kind of tension may be part of the typical student-authority dynamic, and hence not a big concern, assuming it subsides and the new equilibrium seems reasonable.

Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of Ventura
on Nov 28, 2007 at 11:13 pm

Thanks, Sparky! Some common sense. Students and parents tend to hyperventilate a bit about these things. Yes, someone above pointed out that the school exists for the students, but the fact of the matter is, kids come and go. The staff who have spent decades upon decades in schools know stuff about the nature of the institution that simply escapes others, they have responsibilities and priorities to weigh that students never consider but matter nonethelss.
- Former students, I'm not dismissing stress. I'm saying that::
a. we in the general public don't know exactly why those boys took their own lives. Maybe stress, maybe not - seems unfair to use their memories to support one's point in the absence of detailed information.
b. you don't really know anything about McEvoy's overall priorities or the content of discussions, you only know about the stuff that gets children riled up when they hear rumors or when they think they're losing their divine right to get a smoothie or do some dirty dancing. Meanwhile, principals have endless meetings with teachers, parents, other administrators, that almost all students know almost nothing about. I'm not actually suggesting that kids ask to read meeting minutes, but I'll betcha she's not in there forcing dance policies down everyone's throat, so I'm justsuggesting that ignorant people be careful about pushing uninformed opinions. (I don't mean ignorant=stupid. Just ignorant=unknowing).

Posted by anon, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 28, 2007 at 11:29 pm

"a. we in the general public don't know exactly why those boys took their own lives. "

I am aware of what happened in one case and it was not school related.

This is not to defend or detract from anyone's points, but Al is right, don't assume so much.

Posted by YIKES, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 28, 2007 at 11:41 pm

TURMOIL? CLEAN SWEEP? RADICAL CHANGE? What school you talking about? Not Paly. And gimme a break people, the closed campus idea wasn't hers and it was never sriously considered.

But I did hear that she's gonna push for school uniforms. How 'bout that now? Then, she's going to get rid of the achievement gap by closing all AP classes. Voila! No gap! [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Still another PA parent, a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Nov 29, 2007 at 7:57 am

Those who cannot do, teach.
Those that cannot teach become principals

Posted by Paly Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 29, 2007 at 9:13 am


You completely got my point wrong, my fault. I think of the clubs as fun and/or hangout time. There are many clubs and things to do which fall into both categories - fun and something more academically minded. How about the juggling club, or the frisbee club, I hear they watch classic movies in one club, and sing silly songs in another. These are what I would call fun things to do at lunch time, not standing in line waiting for a burger, pizza or even a deli sandwich.

I would rather my student hangout with friends with something in common rather than trying to outdo each other on how much money they have to spend on lunch. Lunchtime needs to be rethought for those who think that the only way to relieve stress is to have an expensive lunch off campus. I would rather a sack lunch from home to keep the hunger from bay and then time to relax doing something social. And, having friends at Paly often means meeting at lunch time as otherwise you would never see them as classes change so much from year to year.

Posted by Paly Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 29, 2007 at 10:18 am

Let's be honest (and fair to both sides):

On one hand, it's generally a good idea to leverage change with community support. From what I've seen and heard, McEvoy started her tenure with an unfortunate unilateralist style. Sure, garnering support takes some time, but a good idea can be shot dead for the wrong reasons if the community feels railroaded. Most of us try to be thoughtful and reasonable, and we would probably buy in to more of McEvoy's initiatives if we were part of the process.

On the other hand, we ARE biased millenial parents of mostly good, but frankly quite spoiled and frequently overrated kids. Boundaries at school often don't coincide with those at home, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's the school boundary that's off keel. Many of us assume that our children are accountable only to us and have a hard time when other adults criticize them, hold them accountable or judge them. Whenever we talk about our children to another adult, they are NEVER wrong! If something isn't just right, it's always somebody else's fault! "The rules are ridiculous" often means that my kid got in trouble and was held accountable for it, "The teacher sucks and inhibits the free flow of ideas" often means that my kid got a low grade. We have similar reactions if our children don't get their way in extracurricular activities. McEvoy has to deal with our millenial biases and a deeply rooted sense of entitlement among parents, and that probably isn't too much fun.

Posted by head scratcher, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 29, 2007 at 11:34 am

sorry i still don't get it.... what big change is she supposedly responsible for? all i see is incremental steps in issues that were part of paly before she came along.

Posted by Former PA Student, a resident of another community
on Nov 29, 2007 at 2:13 pm

She hasn't made any significant changes yet...but she talked to Mr. McGovern about altering his reenactments, which is, if you ask any student that's ever had him, absurd.

I'm glad that a lot of people have relatively the same views on this topic.

Posted by Former PA Student, a resident of another community
on Nov 29, 2007 at 2:17 pm

Another comment:

If there are rumors about the new principal shutting all these things down, and she's not denying them or not commenting them, then there's something wrong. Throughout all this turmoil and fuss, I'm hoping ALL of these issues are JUST rumors. It's sad to say they're starting to turn into facts.

Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of Ventura
on Nov 29, 2007 at 9:38 pm

Former student, I work in the district and know some of your former teachers, so I trust it wasn't from them that you learned this kind of logic: rumors start--> principal declines comment--> rumors "starting to turn into facts." I'm not sure if I should laugh or cry.

Posted by Ed U. Cator, a resident of Greater Miranda
on Nov 29, 2007 at 10:50 pm

"McEvoy's initiatives" = enforcing policies???
That's unilateral in your view, Paly Parent? Doesn't anyone else remember we've been through these issues before with Pearson and Laurence?? Like... CNN News 2003: "School Bans 'Freak' Dancing!!!!!!

As for the re-enactments thing with McGovern..... All of you criticizing McEvoy seem to suggest this style problem is that she should gather info and talk with people......... well golly gee!!! What *was* she doing??? She went to the event... had some concerns... gathered information and talked *privately* to the appropriate people!!! It was *someone else* who let the private stuff go public, and then a bunch of impulsive overreactions that turned this into *controversy.*

But, Paly Parent, I like the rest of what you said........
"good, but frankly quite spoiled and frequently overrated kids"
"have a hard time when other adults criticize them, hold them accountable or judge them."
"it's always somebody else's fault!"
"deeply rooted sense of entitlement among parents"
--- It's refreshing to hear someone tell the truth. And remember - truth shall set you free!!

I think you get it though. After all, I could've hoped the grown ups would be the ones to say to the children, "You know, it's not easy to be a leader, especially in this community. The school has lots of new staff and administrators, and the place is getting along just fine. Not perfect, but it never was. Get over yourself. Deal with it." But when the grown ups start listening to the kids whining and then join in...... sheesh!

Posted by give her a chance, a resident of another community
on Nov 30, 2007 at 8:16 am

"But I did hear that she's gonna push for school uniforms. How 'bout that now?" Well YIKES, it may not be a bad idea.

I live in another state where the school district went to a standard school attire this year. Basically, six different colored polo shirts and pants, capris, shorts, and dresses/jumpers in khaki, black, or blue. The shirts must be tucked into the pants with a belt. The year prior to the change, there were threats of lawsuits and students screaming we were stifling their freedom of speech (as if it is not stifled until they leave the family nest...really now!) However, when school started this year, there was 98.9% participation on the first day from a district well over 70,000 students. All I can say is WOW, what a difference. No more overflowing cleavage, thongs showing and pants that needed to be held at the crotch to keep them from falling down. As someone who lived in the PA area most of my life, let's just say I was not for it or against it....if it happened it happened. I have to say....I love it...there was a significant effect. The kids actually became more creative (another stifling complaint prior to the change)....girls wearing their father's ties for belts...creating interesting jewelry....and boy's not afraid to wear pink polo shirts. in general, there was a calming effect. The threats of lawsuits have gone away as the community has embraced the change by the results of these last four months. The children learned a valuable lesson of embracing change; and with change comes opportunity. Most importantly, the parents set the stage by being well...parents...a throw back to our generation of parents. Once the board approved the change, the parents showed their respect for the leadership and in turn, set the tone to the kids.

Why can't the PALY parents show they are parents and teach their children to give the principal a chance. The kids take their cue from the parents. Whiny parents=whiny kids Entitled parents=entitled kids
How are kids going to learn to lead if all they have seen is leaders in the bay area stifled by overreaching parents who do not give school leaders the opportunity to take chances. Let's be real here...leadership can not be run exclusively in consensus mode.

Many of our schools in the district didn't really need the standard school attire; however, some really did due to gangs,etc. Another lesson learned: is that you sometimes have to make a change for the greater cause.

Posted by Curious, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Nov 30, 2007 at 8:48 am

give her a chance,
don't you see the difference? In your case there were talks, outcry and discussions FIRST (a year prior to change), then a disision was made (SECOND), and only then - implementation (THIRD). Here we have new principal who doesn't bother to have 2-way communications about her ideas before making changes.

Posted by give her a chance, a resident of another community
on Nov 30, 2007 at 9:17 am


Actually, there was very little discussion. It was a group of administrators that did the research and the board that made the decision. The outcry was after research and during decision of board. The admin/board decision was really set and the outcry had little affect on the process.

I understand the two-way communication, but feel PA tries to run too much on consensus by overreaching, alpha parents who have no business or experience in academia. She was hired to lead and I don't think every decision needs to be run by the parents for their comments and/or disapproval/approval. I think a principal can do her research and receive feedback without a big community meeting.

I am going to assume she was hired because she was highly qualified to lead the "prestigious" Paly....right....or did the administration do a poor job. If the admin did a poor job in selecting a principal, then PA has bigger problems. However, I don't think enough time has passed to indicate if that is so. Paly parents need to show their kids that sometimes for great things to happen, you need to take a chance basically, asking your kids "What mistakes did you make today?" Challenging your children to think outside of the box. Paly is not even letting this principal possibly make a example of the dreaded helicopter parents colleges and businesses are now speaking out about.

Give the lady a chance to lead.

Posted by Another Paly Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2007 at 9:27 am

I for one, would prefer to hear, by way of email or some such, from the Principal herself about decisions she is making on school rules, etc. I am tired of hearing rumors from the kids themselves or them being given stuff which is expected to get to us and doesn't.

I have just taken screwed up expensive school photos from the backpack of one child and the other never bothered to pick his up. I would prefer at least an email knowing that they have been distributed so that I can ask for them on the relevant day.

In the same way, I would prefer to know about rules being changed about tardies, cuts, absences, etc. from the admin itself and not by word of mouth from my child. And, I would prefer this sort of information to be given separately from all the community stuff that gets thrown at us each week and is so repetitive that I can't read more than a few lines.

This is communication, not what we appear to be getting at present.

Posted by Paly student, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 30, 2007 at 9:45 pm

None of Ms. McEvoy's actions have been unwarranted. She made concerns that were legitimate. And as principal, she is definitely allowed to enforce the rules.

The problem? She went about doing these things in the wrong way - in a way that lost her the respect of students. If you ask me, that's no leader. A leader cares about the ones that she leads. Jackie Mac (as she is fondly called around campus) doesn't care.

And to all those out there calling us whiners, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Palo Altans sure like to make a big fuss about every little change that goes on in this city, in the state, and in the nation. Your kids are no different when it comes to their own community. So give it a break.

Posted by Sparky, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 30, 2007 at 11:38 pm

Paly Student, thanks for your candor and self-awareness. You're right - the sense of entitlement hangs pretty heavy around this place. If Jackie Mac (I bet she actually likes that!) is wringing some of that out, good for her. And good for your guys, too.

Posted by oh, please, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 15, 2007 at 8:03 pm

I'd have to disagree with Sparky- I doubt the principal is fond for her nickname, when it is primarily used to chant slogans like "Jackie Mac is hella whack."
I know for a fact that the junior class planned to use this as a chant during the final Spirit Week Rally.

Articles regarding McEvoy on the Paly Voice are a credible resource for those who haven't been keeping up.

Her first interaction with the student body was at the first dance.
Web Link
Web Link
Web Link

Posted by Terry, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 15, 2007 at 10:18 pm

When my kids taunt me, it reminds me that they are just kids and needful of discipline and guidance, as well as patience. When they cry, Daddy, you are so mean, my stock reply is, What, you just figured that out? It doesn't do much to get them more responsibility and leeway. Good luck to Jackie Mac.

Posted by The Admiral, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 2, 2008 at 11:47 pm

i graduated from paly/alta vista in 2000 and i never heard of jackie mac but this bitch is fucking hella shit up! mcgovern quit! i dont blame him! i am THE ADMIRAL and i am outraged! how can this bitch fuck shit up so bad that the BEST teacher at paly quits! ya im not some lil kid crying daddy! im a grown ass man--- a police officer... that thinks she should be FIRED! this is ridiculous! fuck that old bitch!

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