Class of 2020 Parents (2016-17): 10/13/17 Meeting Notesanonymous 10/17 2207
There were approximately 25 people at the Class of 2020 Parent Network meeting last Friday, October 13th. The meeting kicked off with Shannon Flaskerud, a counselor at Gunn, speaking to us about ways to help victims of the Napa and Sonoma fires. Shannon's family is in Sonoma and she volunteered to collect and deliver any gifts cards, clothing, or other supplies that fellow Gunn staff members wanted to donate. The donations came pouring in and soon students asked how they could help. The administration has since "adopted" five families from the area who have lost everything. If you would like to donate you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
At our September meeting some parents were interested in learning about effort at the school to connect students with each other and the school. We invited the Gunn student-led organization ROCK (Reach Out, Care, Know) to speak at this meeting. Paul Dunlap (ROCK teacher advisor), Meghna Signh (ROCK co-President), and Helene Cirne (ROCK Treasurer and Communication Secretary) joined us to discuss the history of ROCK and let us know about some upcoming projects.
Mr. Dunlap, a fellow class of 2020 parent, was approached by students after the tragic suicides in 2009. The students wanted to start a club with the purpose of watching out for peers and keeping students more plugged in. The students said they wanted to be rocks for each other and ROCK was born. The club creates and organizes various events throughout the year to involve and educate all students. During NIOS last year the club had students create a hand print mural to show that they stand hand in hand. (Not in Our Schools Week is a campaign to promote acceptance, awareness, and identity safety within the PAUSD community.) This year they are looking for students to help them with a different project during NIOS involving arts and crafts tables, ball pits, and conversation cards. They have also created Talk to Me tee shirts to remind students to talk t o one another and reduce the stigma of mental health issues. They have created a Trusted Adult Chain where students wrote on a small strip of paper the name of a trusted adult and then the names were linked together and strung up throughout the school. Another project they have started is the Appreciation Grams that students give to each other, just a little word of encouragement or appreciation from student to student. ROCK also has therapy dogs on campus every Thursday for students to visit and sit with.
ROCK has also been working on its goals for the upcoming year which include reducing the stigma of mental health and being trained for R U OK Day schedule for next September during suicide prevention month. R U OK is an Australian organization focusing on suicide prevention. They also plan on having professional speakers in to talk about mental health and grow through a social resilience campaign and videos about resiliency.
The club currently meets on Tuesdays at lunch in N114. They can be found at
text 81010@rockatgunn for text reminders
Anyone can join anytime!
Lisa Hall, Director of Student Activities, then spoke a little about Homecoming Week which is October 16 - 20. On Monday all classes are encouraged to wear their class colors; sophomores are green. The daily themes and events are posted on the student activities website:
Parents who want to get involved are invited to help with float stuffing Tuesday and Wednesday after school until 6pm. Thursday night the homecoming BBQ starts at 6pm and the Night Rally starts at 8pm. The football game is Friday at 4:30pm and the homecoming dance is Saturday at 7:30pm. Lisa informed parents that another way for students to get more connected is to join a Gunn student club; there are currently 100 clubs for students to join.
Once the guest speakers left we opened the floor for questions or discussion. Sigrid Pinsky, PTSA president and sophomore mom, informed us all of a Behind the Headlines segment of the Palo Alto Weekly entitled Students Speak Out On Mental Health. Three Gunn students give their perspective on the issue and many parents found it to be a positive segment. To watch the youtube video please click here.
A few parents asked about the recent post regarding a fund raising effort at Vineyard Vines and the "Vineyard Vines" theme for homecoming for the sophomore class. Parents feel the store is expensive and it was unfair to expect people to buy clothes there to participate in homecoming.
****After the meeting Sigrid and Colleen spoke with Lisa Hall for clarification on this. Lisa informed us that the theme is not "Vineyard Vines" day but rather "Preppy" day on the style of Vineyard Vines, and was organized by the students themselves. Students are not required or expected to purchase anything from the store to participate in Homecoming Week. If they want to dress up for that theme they only need to wear something preppy. In addition, a few Gunn students work at the Vineyard Vines store in the Stanford mall so, as a courtesy, Vineyard Vines reached out to Gunn and offered a discount and fundraising opportunity. Again, this is not required. There will be plenty of other fundraising opportunities for the class of 2020.
A concern was raised that students who take it upon themselves to "look out" for their peers may be taking on too much responsibility. Other parents appreciated the fact that the students care about each other and want to do something; they are full of good ideas and want to help. They have an insight about what they need and how to make things better. It was also pointed out that the students are not in this alone; there are dedicated professionals here to listen to them and help them.
Our next meeting is a social one near the holidays: December 10, 4-6pm, Eichler Tennis and Swim Club. Hope you can join .