With a growing Asian enrollment in Palo Alto schools, parent leaders are preparing a second community forum in what has come to be known as the "Asian conversation."
Students and parents were polled at the first event in March, titled "Growing up Asian in Palo Alto," to help determine a topic for the second gathering: "The Challenge of Nurturing Emotional Intelligence in Palo Alto."
The event will be Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. in the board room of school district headquarters, 25 Churchill Ave.
Organizers stressed that they hope for broad community participation in the event, and encourage non-Asians as well as Asians to attend.
This fall, Asian students comprise 35.5 percent of Palo Alto school enrollment, up from 29.5 percent in 2007-08.
The growth is even faster in the elementary grades, which this fall has an Asian enrollment of more than 37 percent.
School board President Barbara Klausner, school board member Dana Tom and PTA member Sunny Dykwel came up with the idea of holding a public series of "Asian conversations" early this year, inviting a small group of Asian Americans to help plan the March event. Klausner and Tom both are Chinese American. Dykwel moved to the United States from the Philippines as a child.
The March discussion of "Growing Up Asian" drew about 200 parents and students, mostly -- but not exclusively -- Asian.
Students and parents shared stories and perceptions about common stereotypes, such as people's frequent assumption that they are focused exclusively on math and science.
Others discussed the challenges of trying to raise "American" children while maintaining their cultural values.
For the upcoming event, parents and students are asked to complete a "time-management checklist" to analyze how the student is spending his or her time. Time blocks are sorted into "work" activities, defined as school, homework, chores, community service, music and sports, and "non-work" activities defined as hobbies, family time, religious activities, socializing, television-watching, reading and sleep.
The checklist asks parents to "challenge your knowledge about your child's current lifestyle by filling in the table."
Panelists will discuss case histories and show video interviews with University of California, Berkeley, students on the subject of student scheduling and what parents can do to nurture emotional intelligence.
Panelists include University of Tokyo psychologist and former Stanford University visiting scholar Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu; Terman Middle School counselor Bhavna Narula; and Cupertino Union School District counselor Helen Sung.
Narula, whose areas of interest include adolescent stress, multi-cultural counseling, middle school transitions and culturally responsive teaching, has led workshops titled, "Guiding the Model Minority."
Murphy-Shigematsu, founder of Multicultural Leadership, has led courses and workshops for K-12 parents and undergraduates on emotional and social intelligence.
Sung, who moved from Korea to Chicago at the age of 6, recently published an article about her doctoral research on "the influence of culture and parenting practices of East Asian families and emotional intelligence of older adolescents."
The Dec. 8 event is sponsored by the Parent Education and Community Outreach committees of the Palo Alto Council of PTAs.
Following the "Growing Up Asian" forum in March, Klausner expressed hope it would be the first of many community-wide discussions on the intersection of Asian culture with Palo Alto and its schools.
According to Dykwel, a third event, planned for next spring, is tentatively titled, "What Can We Learn from Each Other?"