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Graduation 2013: Thinking back and looking ahead

Original post made on May 31, 2013

A few days before their high school graduation Wednesday, a handful of prospective grads from Gunn and Palo Alto high schools spoke with the Weekly about their high school recollections and plans for the future.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, May 31, 2013, 9:08 AM

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Posted by Observer
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 3, 2013 at 7:39 am

This quote from graduating senior and managing editor of the Oracle Boot Bullwinkle is particularly interesting:

"What Bullwinkle will miss least about Gunn is what he views as an unwarranted self-satisfaction among school leaders that interferes with critical thinking and positive change. . .

Similar resistance to change has hobbled Gunn's guidance-counseling program, which he feels did not provide good quality service to him and probably will not serve his younger sister very well.

"I'm not sure the steps we've taken have helped that much," he said. "There hasn't been a lot of change."

I think it's great that the Weekly included interviews with students who gave important constructive criticism about their experiences with our high schools. Bullwinkle's comments on counseling perfectly mirror the hundreds of comments that were collected as open-ended responses in the Gunn counseling survey conducted by Kelun Zhang. Students and parents are not happy with the Gunn counseling program. Bullwinkle's view as a student leader and editor of the Oracle that the staff's "resistance to change" has prevented any real reform is also accurate and should be listened to.

It is really unfortunate that this kind of powerful quote couldn't have been included in the many stories the Weekly has written about the effort to reform Gunn's counseling program. Even when many students have taken the trouble to come down to board meetings and state that they do not like the counseling program and would prefer an advisory system, the Weekly has not interviewed them although this kind of quote might have made a difference in helping the community to understand why parents are so vocal about wanting change. Often the Gunn counseling story has been portrayed as "district critics" versus "embattled Skelly" creating a lingering sense that the criticism is unfair or politically motivated.

Rather, it is the fact that students find the counseling program woefully inadequate, and parents and former parents have been desperately trying to force improvement for the benefit of these students (half of all district students) for the past several years against the determined resistance of Gunn administrators and teachers who, as Bullwinkle notes appear to have "unwarranted self-satisfaction" and "resistance to change."

Thank you for reporting this student's view. It would be great to incorporate more interviews like this into your reporting of the issues in order to help enlighten the public about the issues.

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