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Gunn/Paly Freshman Orientations Good Way to Visit Schools?

Original post made by Planner, another community, on Jul 9, 2010

We're planning to relocate back to Palo Alto next year and would like to visit/tour both Gunn and Paly at some point this year, preferably in August. Would attending the Gunn and Paly Freshman Orientations be a good way to do this, or should we wait until the schools start in the last week of August and try to arrange visits with each one? Thanks in advance.

Comments (16)

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Posted by PAHS mom
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 9, 2010 at 7:29 pm

You must be kidding?

The "orientation" is for incoming freshmen and more an exercise in team building and confidence boosting for the new young kids thaa a guided tour of the campus. The last thing they need is random strangers barging in.

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Posted by Another parent
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 9, 2010 at 7:48 pm

Is it really necessary to be rude? It was a reasonable question from someone who is unfamiliar with what the orientations entail.

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Posted by Planner
a resident of another community
on Jul 9, 2010 at 7:50 pm

No, I wasn't kidding--just asking. We weren't planning to "barge in" either--I just thought it might be a relatively unobtrusive way to get a feel for the two schools if there were hundreds of students and parents milling about anyway. But thanks for your input.

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Posted by Shadow
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 9, 2010 at 8:33 pm

Not sure if your kid(s) are coming too, but the schools frequently arrange "shadowing" where a prospective student visits for a day and is assigned to similar kid for the day. Call the school to arrange.

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Posted by gunn parent
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jul 9, 2010 at 11:09 pm

Are trying to get info this year(2010-2011) for entering fall 2011?

There are parent info meetings at both schools, i think they are in the winter/spring when the middle school kids are getting schedules. After the freshman kids have their orientation, I recall attending a parent orientation early in the semester. You might need to contact the schools or PTA member to find out about this. The high schools have new principals this year, so parent meeting would be expected. As indicated in the post above shadowing is available at both high schools for student new to the district. The school calendars on the websites might have some info regarding parent meetings and PTA board members are also resources for info.

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Posted by Mom
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 9, 2010 at 11:49 pm

Shadowing does generally occur in January/Feb. with most schools, along with the tours and parent info sessions. I don't think the schools allow guided tours during the school year much but I could be wrong. There are so many interested in PAUSD that they have to limit it.

If you are planning to move here, be sure to check the school boundaries and availability of attendance: Web Link There is an area off 101 which is advertised as Gunn High attendance area but in fact, it is Paly attendance area.

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Posted by Planner
a resident of another community
on Jul 10, 2010 at 7:24 am

Thanks, everybody--this is very helpful, especially the part about shadowing, since our son would be coming too.

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Posted by Be on the Watch
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jul 12, 2010 at 8:37 pm

Once your child make it to Palo Alto, make sure you have a psychology on hand and keep on eye on your son for signs of depression, anxiety or mental illnesses are the result of coming to PAUSD high schools. I would hate to see your children getting hurt.

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Posted by Mimi
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 12, 2010 at 9:05 pm

Re posting from "Be on the Watch", it depends on the parent's expectations. Many of these students are pushed over the edge due to parental expectations for them to attend Ivy's or top UC schools, following in the parents' footsteps. Make sure your children are in the appropriate lanes and don't overdue the APs and they have some fun/down time along the way. Many of the parents who are pushing so hard also have their children's lives filled with extras such as Chinese classes, orchestra, sports, etc., and the children become sleep-deprived and stressed out. Acc. to staff I know, they are so tired of parents pushing their children further than the student can handle.

It is true that the gene pool in Palo Alto is quite intellectual with successful parents and your children will be competing with those genes. In our family, my husband fields the math/science questions and I field the English/creative questions.

You might also consider Mountain View High School, which has Los Altos and Mountain View students. They send to top schools too but the competition isn't as rigorous.

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Posted by SS
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 13, 2010 at 12:42 pm

"It is true that the gene pool in Palo Alto is quite intellectual"

Snort. About average, actually, just more full of themselves.

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Posted by Mimi
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 13, 2010 at 1:39 pm

@SS, Barron Park is not like living in the rest of Palo Alto, thus your knee-jerk reaction. If you have lived elsewhere in CA or in the midwest, you would understand my statement.

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Posted by SS
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 13, 2010 at 2:14 pm


Thank you for confirming that those of average intelligence around here have a high opinion of themselves and are eager to display their middle-brow arrogance.

I suggest you get out of your enclave and confirm for yourself the averageness that abounds here.

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Posted by Mimi
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 13, 2010 at 4:38 pm

@SS, Barron Park residents always feel the need to defend where they live. People with low self-esteems are the ones who complain of others' arrogance. Since success has not been earned by those, they find comfort in bashing others who are successful. There are plenty of modest, successful Palo Altans. The reason you think there is so much "averageness" is that they don't brag about their accomplishments. So, yes, while they appear and act like average people, they are not necessarily average. I grew up here, left for 20 years to live in various places and find the average Palo Altan to be more intelligent than in other areas of the nation and our PA stats of the high number of college and graduate degrees confirm it. Perhaps one needs to leave this area to appreciate it. Working class towns might be more appropriate.

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Posted by SS
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 13, 2010 at 5:02 pm


What exactly are you talking about? I never defended Barron Park. On the contrary, you have been at pains to defend the superiority of Palo Alto--so I guess you are the one with low self esteem, right?

All I can say is that you need more life experience if you think the average Palo Altan is more intelligent. I've lived on the East Coast and midwest, in slums and ritzy neighborhoods, in college towns and rural towns, in other countries by golly, and I have to say you don't have a clue what you're talking about. Maybe your mistaken impression derives from who you palled around with. Maybe from insufficient understanding and social skills on your part.

Gene pool my ass. It's just money.

Get over yourself.

Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 13, 2010 at 7:51 pm

Anyone who claims that people who live in slums are comparable in mentality to Palo Altans loses all credibility!

SS, feeling such disdain for this community is not healthy. Why don't you cash in on your house and move to a place where you feel more comfortable and appreciated instead of feeling inferior? Life's too short to not enjoy it. Your postings are quite transparent.

I love Palo Alto!

Like this comment
Posted by SS
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 13, 2010 at 8:33 pm


Ah, I see. So it's disdainful to deny that Palo Altans are genetically superior, eh? As I recall, there were a number of groups who fully agreed with that kind of idea. Eugenics, or something like that, wasn't it? What were those groups called again? Dang, history is such a bummer. So many details.

But you, Stevie, you can sleep easy knowing you are genetically and mentally superior to those denizens of the slums.

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