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School district shifts, again, on counseling work

Original post made on Mar 8, 2016

Palo Alto school district staff have pivoted on an idea for a committee that would have identified a new, unified counseling model for both high schools to a new group that will recommend a social-emotional curriculum for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, March 8, 2016, 8:17 AM

Comments (9)

16 people like this
Posted by Very Frustrated Gunn Parent
a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 8, 2016 at 12:54 pm

Wow. After waiting for more than 4 years for some concrete change in the Gunn counseling model, the district offers this even more wishy washy answer? TA isn't perfect, but it would give the students an adult to check in with and answer basic questions on a regular basis. Don't get me wrong, I am VERY, VERY grateful for the new block schedule (huge improvement) and the addition of a few more guidance counselors. However, many students and parents continue to raise the issue that the counselors are still too busy to meet with students when needed.

The students and parents of high school aged children have expressed serious dissatisfaction with this issue for so many years. While there may well be a necessity for a k-12 SEL, I expect that this will take years to develop and implement. The district should not wait any longer to further address the support of high school students.

One final thought. Where is the accountability for the changes (policy and other) that have been made? How is the homework policy actually being practiced? What is the feedback on the block schedule at Gunn? What effects have been experienced by the very important addition of new guidance counselors and other SEL practices at Gunn?


13 people like this
Posted by outsider
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 8, 2016 at 2:25 pm

wow. well with full week turnaround for response from palynet with funding for that program,. If they paid the person they hired more, would he answer emails in under a week? I can see that kids will really appreciate committees and such and their careful thinking and schedules with input from many different experts. OR. just do the right thing , treat kids well and follow state curriculum standards and best practices set out by the CA dept of education. Totally free, but the smartypants time wasters will get no attention so this is probably not an option at PALY. What an embarrassment to this district. How many projects and committees will they set up to avoid following standards and common sense practices with kids.


10 people like this
Posted by Legal
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Mar 8, 2016 at 2:35 pm

Buried in Superintendent's Executive Summary for Board Meeting tonight: Web Link
statement that he will give an update on RESPONSES to Request for Proposal for Special Education Legal. Apparantly, it was already done and sent out, without Board of Ed or public input or notification.

"In addition, I will update the community on the Cubberley planning process and responses to our Request for Proposals (RFPs) for both Special Education legal services and financial advisory services."


17 people like this
Posted by Wow is right
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 8, 2016 at 3:16 pm

Chew gum and walk much? My frustration runneth over... I would not normally begin a post with a snide comment, but seriously folks, professionals should be able to do both - at the same time. And if they can't? There are professionals who can. Let's go find them.

The stakes are too high to continue to kick this can down the road any further or expect us to believe that this continual pattern of renaming committees and drifting goals is actual progress. It's not.

Examining and choosing a PreK-12 SEL curriculum and deciding upon a common counseling structure at the 2 high schools are not the same thing. And one does not preclude the other. Not a horse and cart issue. Do both. Start now.

Safe to say that even among the District's historic defenders, patience is very very thin.


13 people like this
Posted by good grief, not again
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 8, 2016 at 7:03 pm

Again? How many times do they need to do this?

Paly counseling has been suffering now for decades. Survey after survey shows how bad is and they still haven't done ANYTHING about it. The situation is appalling the situation is at Paly. The kids have been telling us time after time how advisory isn't working. It's a waste of time.

How much longer do we need to wait for something to be done about? Instead we get yet ANOTHER committee "to look into it".


6 people like this
Posted by Please no
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 8, 2016 at 10:38 pm

Could the school district be changing horses midstream, because of this new question added into high stakes testing on emotional health? Heard about this on NPR this morning. If so, it appears Max is addressing our stressed out students with more curriculum, one with the potential to do damage for those who may struggle with mental health issues.

Please tell me we are not once again teaching to the test.

Web Link


12 people like this
Posted by Business as Usual
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2016 at 9:10 pm

Just another case of too little, too late.


3 people like this
Posted by Marc
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 10, 2016 at 8:42 am

Time for Max to go?

Is it time to start looking for a replacement? We've been here since 1990 and each time it has been the same thing.

The previous superintendent leaves under a cloud of problems. There is a search. A "wonderful" candidate is found. They are hired and everyone says how wonderful they are. How great they were in their previous district. Then a year goes by and problems start appearing. Information is found that they weren't so great at their previous district.

Then after a couple of years there is a parting of the ways. After, of course we have paid big bucks and suffered.

And we repeat the cycle again. And again. And Again.


6 people like this
Posted by It's a good cycle
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2016 at 3:20 pm

Gleen McGee should go. It's that simple. He is not good enough. PAUSD should not settle for mediocre performance, and that, in my humble informed opinion, is exactly what he has delivered for almost three years. He is essentially the rookie Kevin Skelly, but with over a good decade of experience, but still the same lack of transparency and ability to lead beyond the symbolic or superficial. That said, you have Ken Dauber, who has set himself apart by asking basic questions about relationships with families, legal bills, and health, and then you have Heidi Emberling who represents the utter lack of leadership on the school board. I have read these forums for over a decade, and I read them regularly now, and I have dared posters to list any accomplishment of Heidi Emberling, and it has always come up empty. What I don't understand is why this question sometimes gets deleted. It is a fair question. The board, led by Heidi, is way too scared to accept the responsibility of getting another superintendent. They had Skelly for seven years, the last four of them utterly rudderless. In fact, it was Dauber in January, 2011 calling for a change of leadership. He should do that again, actually, they should all do that again, but they appear, by their behavior, to value multi-million dollar donations, paint, and cheerleading more than achievement in social-emotional health. There is a reason why savethe2008 has not gone away: the school district is still sick.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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