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Around Town: school communications head quits; hooting for help

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SCHOOL COMMUNICATIONS HEAD QUITS ... Jorge Quintana, the Palo Alto school district's communications coordinator, suddenly left his post just days before the start of the new school year. Superintendent Max McGee said his last day was on Aug. 11, and that Quintana took a new job in the Redwood City School District (RCSD). McGee hired Quintana, a former broadcast journalist and public information officer from the San Jose Unified School District, in 2016. In past discussions, the school board has been divided over the value of a full-time communications officer, but McGee said Thursday that the position is "essential." Quintana supported the principals, updated the district website and produced a new online "Board Report" that briefly summarizes discussion and action at Board of Education meetings, McGee said. "The priorities shift in times of a crisis — that's when it's most needed — but I think ... the day-to-day work, the website updates, the support to the principals and the Board Reports to the community really matter," he added. The district has posted the job opening and is looking for a replacement. After the Weekly's press deadline, Quintana wrote in an email that the new job in Redwood City had appeal as a director role, which comes with a staff, compared to the coordinator-level position in Palo Alto. As a former English language learner himself, he said "I have personally been a witness to what public education can do to change the course for EL (English language) students and all children, and its is my goal to help RCSD celebrate that impact that it has on students."

HOOTING FOR HELP ... A new app launched in Palo Alto helps connect teens with neighborhood jobs to help them boost their wallet and resume. TeenJobFind, made available on the Apple Store last week, matches teens with work including baby-sitting, pet-sitting, yard work, party assistance, cleaning and organizing. The company screens job posters (referred to in the app as "owls") and teens (known as "owlets") to ensure safety between both parties. "We are bringing back a sense of community that has been lost in today's society," CEO and founder Janet Shah told the Weekly in an email. Teens can take advantage of the opportunities when they have a free day or afternoon in the midst of their academics and extracurricular activities, according to the app's website. Users can join with their email address or through their Facebook or LinkedIn accounts. To complete registration, job posters must upload their driver's license for a criminal background check in addition to their credit card information to withdraw the payment. Anyone found with convictions or pending cases for a violent crime, felony, drug-related offense, sexual offense and/or certain theft or property damage offenses will not be allowed on the app. Job seekers will have to provide an email address for their coach, a parent or another trusted adult who can serve as a reference and provide parental/guardian consent. Users will also be asked to provide their Social Security number, which helps complete background checks for the adults and ensure payment for teens. "So cool and very easy. I would encourage everyone to do it," Kris Brockmann, the app's first job poster, wrote on the company's Facebook page. Job posters pay $15 an hour, $3 of which helps maintain TeenJobFind and the remainder is given to the teens. A launch party to celebrate the new app is set for Saturday, Aug. 19, from 2-4 p.m. at Mitchell Park. Once the nest is up and running, the company plans to expand its service beyond the city and to other platforms. Learn more at


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8 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2017 at 9:18 am

Shouldn't the "communications manager" have been the spokesperson to report to the media on the recent media coverage due to the recent publicity surrounding sexual attacks at Paly? I don't think I heard his name mentioned once. With his broadcasting background it seems to me that he would have been the person to have been interviewed on the subject rather than McGee who seemed to say nothing of worth on behalf of the District.

4 people like this
Posted by jimmyh
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 18, 2017 at 7:13 pm

@resident - Quintana wrote most of what came out of the district office as well as the statements from Diorio, with the help of the district's lawyers.

13 people like this
Posted by dad
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 19, 2017 at 2:57 pm

I want that job. Give me a written statement by a lawyer and I will type out and send in the name of PAUSD.

That job must pay at least 175K per year!

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The 34th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult and Teen categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by April 10, 2020. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category. Sponsored by Kepler's Books, Linden Tree Books and Bell's Books.

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