A2 • May 5, 2008
Paly community prepares for2008 graduation activities
The Parent Teacher Student Association is in the midst or-ganizing graduation festivities, including the Senior Picnic andGrad Night.The baccalaureate service will be held Jun. 8 at the StanfordUniversity Memorial Auditorium, where Dr. David Kennedy, aPulitzer Prize-winning historian and Stanford history professor,will speak. On Jun. 10, the senior class will meet on the quad torehearse the graduation ceremony. The students will then be busedto the Senior Picnic organized by the Paly PTSA at a secret beachlocation. Finally, the graduation ceremony will take place on Jun.11 at Paly at 5:45 p.m. After the reception in the quad, students will be bused to Senior Grad Night, also at a secret location.Students interested in performing during graduation or bac-calaureate can prepare a speech or performance after auditioning.
Audition sign-ups will be available in the Student Activities Ofce.
Auditions will most likely take place between May 19 and May23 in the English Resource Center.
Palo Alto High School’s Last Chance Dance, which will beheld on May 30 from 7:30-10:30 p.m. on the quad, is the last op- portunity for students to attend a school dance this school year.
Student identication cards must be presented at the door of
the dance for entrance. Ticket prices will possibly change as aresult of the issue with drinking at prom this year.“We don’t know what the price will be at this time,” StudentActivities Director Allison Davies-Mullins said. “We might haveto raise it if ASB hires security guards, which is a big expense.”If ticket prices remain the same, they will be sold at the au-
ditor’s ofce for ve dollars with an ASB card and $10 without.
Principal Jacqueline McEvoy is taking into account breathalyzersand a new dance policy.“McEvoy is considering implementing breathalyzers for thedance,” Davies-Mullins said. “She is possibly going to visit other schools to consult their dance policies.” —Pauline Slakey
Student Council preparesfor Paly Last Chance Dance
By Nolan Wong
Palo Alto Unied School District Superintendent
Kevin Skelly presented new drafts of the Strategic Plan,which discusses developed initiatives for academicexcellence, staff recruitment and development, budgetand governance at the PAUSD Board of Educationmeeting on Apr. 22.The Strategic Plan charts the course of the PAUSDand its respective schools over four years. The lastStrategic Plan was adopted for July 2004-07 and thecurrent plan will be adopted and will serve as the generaldistrict guidelines for next 12 years, with revisions everyfour years. The drafted goals were based on results of a district-wide survey taken by students, parents andstaff from late March to early April of this year.In order to support academic excellence and learn-ing, the central goal of the plan, the plan will focus on“[creating] an exceptional education environment thatconsistently and appropriately challenges and supportsevery student to achieve maximum academic growthevery year,” according to the Apr. 22 Strategic Plandraft.“The area [of academic excellence and learning]has consumed more than 75 percent, perhaps 90 per-
School Board discusses Strategic Plan
PAUSD focuses on, organizes school objectives for next twelve years
announce neweditors for next school year
After a rigorous application process, juniors Emily Hamil-ton and Sara Connolly were appointed as
magazine’s newEditors in Chief for the 2008-09 school year while juniors GraceLaPier, Connie Yang and Gillian Lui were appointed that same position on
The former Editors in Chief are condent in the new editors
and hold high expectations for the magazine and the Web site.This year’s
Editors in Chief also added a ManagingEditor position, which juniors Megan Mitchell, Shoshana Gouldand Mary Minno were appointed to.“Student journalism plays a critical role in voicing studentopinion and I want to help make
even better than it alreadyis,” Connolly said.LaPier, Yang and Lui are also looking forward to workingtogether next year with continuing Editors in Chief Michael Blochand Dan Schwartz.“I am so excited for next year,” Schwartz said. “This is by far the biggest and most talented staff
has ever seen.” —Julia Shapiro
Senior Staff Writer
McEvoy reconsiders new schedule decision
Science Olympiad team places second at state tournament
be met, although the vote failed.“I understand the rationale for thedecision she had to make, but my pref-erence would be for all teachers to beengaged,” English teacher Kindel Launer said. “Teachers are the professionals andknow the curriculum best. They reallyneed to weigh in on the decision. It’s myobligation to vote.”McEvoy chose the second semester
schedule over rst semester because the
second semester schedule includes anearly dismissal on Thursday afternoonsthat avoids athletes missing competi-tions that they would have to missschool for.“I wanted to protect instructionaltime for athletes,” McEvoy said. “One of the biggest complaints was from parentsof athletes missing class. With early dis-missal, people missed less class.”Many students do not feel this alarge enough reason to choose the secondsemester schedule.“Athletes are used to the workload,” junior and swimmer Kavitha Subrama-nian said. “They choose to make up thework they miss for sports. It’s ridiculousto base the schedule only on athletes.”While Athletics Director EarlHansen agreed with McEvoy that many
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athletes miss class, he said that students
wouldn’t benet from an early Thursdaydismissal during rst semester as much
as second semester.“The spring has the largest number of athletes of all the seasons, so there arethe most kids missing classes,” Hansensaid. “First semester is different becausegames don’t fall on Thursday afternoonsnearly as much. Football, basketball andwrestling are at night while water polois on Fridays and so on.”
Although the nal percentage of
the teacher vote was in fact in favor of changing the schedule, McEvoy is uncer-tain that this in fact indicates the generalsentiment of all the school’s teachers.“You can’t make any assumptionsfrom silence,” McEvoy said. “Silenceis exactly what it is: it’s silence. Maybethat’s the message - that we’re not readyfor a change.”Often times at the end of the schoolyear there is a shared fatigue betweenadministrators and students, so no oneis in a position to make demanding deci-sions, Launer said.Many students are upset aboutMcEvoy’s decision.“It’s incredibly disappointing,”sophomore Nicolas Dumas said. “Everysingle time a school has moved their schedule up an hour, it has come at no
cost to athletes. The benets of having a
consistent schedule are far outweighed by
the benets of having a late start.”
A number of students have also notedthat if the original focus was on later starttimes to reduce students stress, McEvoy’soriginal decision did nothing to help the problem and perhaps worsened it. ButMcEvoy argued changing the start timeof a single day will not affect students.“One late start won’t affect students’sleep,” McEvoy said. “Teenagers get intoa biorhythm, so changing all start timeswould make a difference, but one dayisn’t going to help most teenagers.”
McEvoy also found difculty with
the schedule decision process when sim- ply addressing the format for which thenew bell schedule was to be chosen.“Paly has not made a major decisionlike this in many, many years,” McEvoysaid. “There is no formal decision making process at this school, so what you do isdecide how you’re going to decide it andstick to it. We also learned that we needto create a better process.”Several years ago, Hansen was on acommittee responsible for the last timethe bell schedule was changed to whatschedule is currently in place.“Everyone was involved and listenedto,” Hansen said. “We didn’t have all thesniping that’s going on now.”The last bell schedule change in-volved vast amounts of research and
time to nd the best working schedule,
Hansen said.McEvoy also found communication barriers between students and staff.“One of the things that have comeout of this process is that we don’t havean effective way for students and staff tocommunicate,” McEvoy said. “There isno representative system in place or wayto have a discussion group. We’re goingto look at bringing back the representativesystem for next year.”Staff had the opportunity to meetwith McEvoy during preparation periodsfor a full day on Apr. 8, which Launer said was extremely effective. In contrast,McEvoy said only a handful of teacherscame each period and that level of par-ticipation indicated low staff interest.Despite all the complications that
have ensued, McEvoy is condent that a
strong solution will be found next year.“The conversation is not over, our work is not done,” McEvoy said. “Iguarantee you if we have a vote nextyear, people will now participate. We’recreating a critical mass for change andwe’re almost there.”
With additional reporting by Danielle Kim, Editor in Chief.
cent, of our time because it is both so important and
so difcult,” Skelly said.
The plan includes initiatives to improve the cur-riculum and instructional practices, provide collegereadiness and help boost students who achieve academi-cally below grade level.The other goals of staff recruitment and develop-ment, budget and governance also encompass the goalof academic excellence. Staff recruitment and develop-ment includes attracting talented staff and enhancing theteacher evaluation system and staff development.Improvement of resources and addressing enroll-ment growth are initiatives for the budget goal, andgovernance promotes communication between thedistrict and the community.The potential mission and vision statements pre-
sented for the Strategic Plan reect the proposed goals
and initiatives, particularly academic excellence andstaff development.The school board members showed support for the direction of the drafted Strategic Plan at the Apr.22 meeting but requested some considerations andchanges in wording.“We may have a little wordsmithing,” BoardMember Melissa Baten-Caswell said. “But, I think that the basic intent is aligned with what I was hopingto see.”Board members pointed out certain holes in the
draft of the Strategic Plan, including the lack of dened
hiring standards under the staff development goal anda need to report how the district is using money under the budget goal.Some board members also mentioned that some points of the Strategic Plan require some wording beyond the realm of the district.“The one thing that I would like to see is somelanguage that shows that we want our kids to soar andreach for the stars,” Baten-Caswell said. “We have to be pragmatic and make sure we’re supporting kids weneed to support, but we need to be aspirational.”In general, however, the school board approvedthe goals of the Strategic Plan.“I’m pleased that we’ve moved to a point wherewe’re getting closer to making certain that every childis touched by this strategic plan,” Board Member Ca-mille Townsend said.The next steps for the drafting of the StrategicPlan include discussion with the broad community andfurther editing. Skelly held discussions with the PaloAlto Parent Teacher Student Association at Jane LathropStanford Middle School on Apr. 30 and at David Starr Jordan Middle School on May 1.“This is truly an iterative process,” Skelly said.“We’re taking in feedback by having discussions withstakeholders and board members and moving forward interms of the work we’re doing here [at the district].”One issue parents have brought up includes thelack of mention of the Foreign Language in ElementarySchools (FLES) in the Strategic Plan.“We feel that the focus should be on meeting collegeexpectations,” Skelly said. “It’s our belief that thinkingabout language acquisition at the end of high schoolversus where language goes during the K-12 experienceis a better way of looking at the situation.”
Parents also discussed the targeting of specic
groups in the Strategic Plan, namely underachievingstudents in schools.“I want to underscore the point that it’s not azero-sum game when talking about the lower end of the achievement scale versus those who are at a higher end,” parent Cathy Fitzgerald said. “We should havesome initiative on giving teachers tools on assessingimprovement at a high level. It’s easy to let those higher achieving kids drop by the wayside.”Further school board discussion will be held onMay 13. The school board will vote to approve the
nal Strategic Plan on May 27.
ASB holds the nal dance o the 2007-08school year on the quad.PAUSD students are given a day o on Me-morial Day to honor soldiers lost in war.Students in grades 9-11 will take the STARtest, while seniors have two days o.Ballots will be cast to elect ASB ofcers orthe 2008-09 school year. ASB hosts a day o un recreation during alengthened lunch period.
MAY 14-15: STAR TestingMAY 26: No SchoolMAY 30: Last Chance DanceMAY 13-15: ASB ElectionsMAY 30: Field Day
STRATEGIC PLAN GOALS
S t a f f d e v e l o p m e n t
- I m p r ov e t e a c he r e v a l u a t i on s y s t e m- M a k e P AU S D mo r e a t t r a c t i v e t o p ot e nt i a l s t a f f - F i nd w a y s t o mot i v a t e t e a c he r s a nd i m p r ov e i n s t r u c t i on
A c a d e m i c e x c e l l e n c e
- I m p r o v e cu r r i cu lu m - H e l p s tu d e n t s p r e p a r e f o r c o l l e g e - Su p p o r t l o w - a c h i e v i n g s tu d e n t s
-Create plans to suppor t student enrollment growth-Build more classroom s-Support current funding st rategies
G o v e r n a n c e
- E n h a n c e t r a n s p a r e n c y a n d c o m mu n i c a t i o n f r o m d i s t r i c t - P e r i o d i c a l l y e x a m i n e S t r a t e g i c P l a n i n i t i a t i v e s
’s Dec. 3 article on hazing at Paly, written by Peter Johnson and Noah Sneider, recently won an award from the Na-tional Scholastic Press Association.“It was really surprising when we found out that we had wonsuch a prestigious award,” Johnson said.The two writers won the 2008 Student Journalist Impact Award,
along with $1000 as prize money. The article required tremendous
research and time, Johnson said.“We had to be careful because it was such a sensitive issue,”Johnson said. “We talked to a Student Press Law Center attorneyto make sure we were covering the issue correctly.”After the article was published, Principal Jacqueline McEvoytook steps to communicate with coaches and students about theissue in the article. Other Paly publications examined the articlewhile the
Palo Alto Weekly
published an article about residents’concerns and CBS 5 featured a segment on the article.“We were really surprised and grateful that it had the effectit had,” Johnson said. —Sarah Stringer
article on hazing winsnational journalism award
Continued from A1
Courtesy of Kathy Woo
“What is notable is that the underclassmenand the people who were not on the team last year performed really well, while we were expecting the people with more experience to do better,” senior Lydia Qin said.Qin and Colleen Lee are the presidents of theScience Olympiad team this year.While the team performed exceptionally in manyof the events, the engineering events posed the most
difculty. Events such as Sounds of Music require
building a musical instrument by hand.“The engineering events involve a lot of work-ing, especially at the last minute,” junior JustinHolmgren said. “This year we did okay, but notspectacularly.”While the team works consistently throughoutthe year, the work increases as each competitiongets closer.“The work scales up as the competition getscloser,” Yao said. “The last week before the competi-tion I spent at least 24 hours preparing.”Building on the team’s stellar performancethis year, they have high hopes for the team in thefuture.“This year was the best we’ve done at states,”Qin said. “Hopefully we’ll get better and better andone day beat Miraloma and go to nationals.”
Paly’s Science Olympiad team surpassed the records of past Paly seasons by placing second in
both this year’s state and regional competitions, placing frst in many biology-centered events.
Students in Advanced Placement classesbegin taking exams this week.
MAY 5: AP Testing Begins