News: December 18, 2009


December 19 – January 3:  Winter Break – No School
January 4:  School Reopens
January 6:  Ice Skating Party at Winter Lodge, 5:30 PM

Palo Verde and PTA Announcements:

From the desk of Principal Lupe Garcia…

It’s the time of year when we ask our students to take extra precaution as they travel to and from school and to make sure NOT to approach or get into a strangers’ car– regardless of the situation.

On Tuesday morning, a student came into our school Main Office and informed us that he felt like someone had followed him on the way to school.  In this case the student did the right things and he is safe.  However, I thought I’d share this with you to serve as a reminder for all of us to stay alert and vigilant.

Specific information: an older red Toyota (Camry or Corolla) drove behind a Palo Verde student who was on Colorado heading toward Louis Road on his way to school.  The student was riding his bike on Colorado and turned left onto Louis Rd at the intersection.  The car continued behind the student on Louis Road heading south towards Palo Verde– that is, until the student took evasive action on a side street.  The student turned right and the car followed– but the student quickly made a U-turn and returned to Louis Road and continued on to school.  The car did not pursue at that point.   We called the police from school and reported the situation.  They are following up with the investigation.

Driver: Caucasian; late 20s to early 30s– w/goatee; wore a grey beanie and blue jacket
Car:     Cherry red with scratches on the hood and on the back bumper, by the license plate
License plate: started with the number: 4

If you see this car, please do not approach it.  Just call 911 and inform the police of the car’s specific location.

Parents, please have a conversation with your child about stranger safety.  Urge him/her to:

  • Be vigilant and remain aware of surroundings and the people nearby.
  • Do not approach a stranger’s car
  • Refuse to accept a ride or gifts from a stranger
  • If your child feels threatened or scared in any way by an individual, have him/her run to where other people are and get help immediately
  • Tell a trusted adult about any situation where an adult makes your child feel uncomfortable or threatened
  • Contact the police (call 911), when help is needed immediately 

If you have any questions, please let me know.
—  Lupe Garcia

Reduce Waste and Raise Fund: Purchase a reusable lunch kit at

Did you know that the average school-age child generates 67 lbs of lunch waste each school year? Help us reduce waste at school by packing a waste-free lunch for your kids.  Not only is it better for the environment, but it will reduce our waste collection costs and result in substantial savings for our school.

Help us spend less money on trash and more money on school programs! Palo Verde School has partnered with Citizenpip, a company that sells reusable lunch kits designed to be fun and stylish for kids, and practical and convenient for parents. Everything in the kits is made from eco-friendly and lab-tested materials that are lead-free, PVC-free, phthalate-free, and BPA-free.

Kits include an insulated lunch bag, stainless steel water bottle, BPA-free airtight food containers, stainless steel insulated food jar, stainless steel fork and spoon, and 100% cotton napkins. Purchase a kit, or just the items you need. Purchase a reusable lunch kit at

During checkout, enter school code ilovePALOVERDE and 15% of your purchase will be donated to Palo Verde School.  Spread the word to family and friends, Palo Verde School> benefits from any purchases with the school

Save The Date!

Palo Verde’s Annual Ice Skating Party
Wednesday, January 6, 2010, 5:30-7:30 PM, Winter Lodge Ice Rink
Sign Up forms will be sent home early December.  Volunteers needed to work the front ticket desk, pizza, and bake sale tables! To volunteer, please call Lori Harrenstien, 856-3237 or iceturtles (at) gmail dot com

Support Track Watch

One of the key short term strategies to combat deaths by suicide on the train tracks is known as “reduction of lethal means to self harm” and the experts advise that making the tracks a less attractive option will likely break the cycle.  Several deaths in one place can create a “hot spot” and reducing means to that site can break the cycle.  Counter intuitively, persons intent on suicide won’t easily just pick another location.  Deterring the suicide by reducing access to the “hot spot” can likely prevent it.   See to learn more.

You can help by becoming a volunteer Track Watch monitor, write to Or you can support the effort financially by sending tax deductible donations (checks payable to the City of Palo Alto) to: Barbara Teixeira c/o Safety Net Fund, Palo Alto Police Dept.  275 Forest Ave. Palo Alto, CA  94301.  To make your tax deductible contribution online, visit

Former Palo Verde Parent Working with Track Watch

As some of you may know, I am involved in the Palo Alto Track Watch.  After meeting with the city, Police Chief, and other people, we have managed to have lights installed at the tracks and even a paid security guard for the West Meadow site. We are still watching the Charleston site.  We are trying to raise funds to keep a security guard on the West Meadow site for as long as we need it.

We want to keep our students safe and send the message that we care, and I would like to ask all of you for your help.  The Palo Alto Track Watch Group and students will appreciate it greatly. Please see the article above for information on where to mail a donation or donate online.

Thank you very much,
Marielena Gaona-Mendoza (Palo Alto Track Watcher)
Parent of Matthew, Andrew and Michell Mendoza Former students at Palo Verde and JLS, and  Aunt/caretaker of Jasmin, Ashley and Alex Jimenez

PAUSD Announcements:

Dear Palo Verde families,

Thank you to all who supported and gave during our recent Partners in Education “Donation Days” drive. Parents at our school and across the district were incredibly generous and helped us get every dollar of our $250,000 challenge grant.

At Palo Verde, 140 families have donated to PiE’s annual campaign. We are well on our way and need just 49 more Palo Verde families to reach our school’s participation goal this year.

The strength of our schools and PiE relies on the contributions of ALL of our parents. If you have already given, a heartfelt thank you.  If you have not made your donation this year, we hope you will consider a donation today. Please visit the PiE website at and give what you can. Your contribution — large or small — counts!

Tania Nanevicz, Palo Verde PiE Rep
P.S. All donations are tax deductible — but must be made before Dec. 31st to qualify for 2009.
Donation Deadlines for 2009 Tax Year Benefit:
Before December 15th, 2009 you may drop off a donation at the school office
Before December 31st, 2009:  All mailed donations need to be postmarked by December 31st or any online credit card/paypal donations on

PAUSD Budget Input Sought
The overall PAUSD budget for 2009/2010 is $153 million. 85% of the budget is personnel-related (i.e. salary + benefits).  Enrollment is 11,680 students.  The projected shortfall or structural deficit is forecast to be $5.7 million for school year 2201/2011, climbing to $10.2 million in 2013/2014.

Click here for an overview of the budget situation.

PAUSD is collecting input from many stakeholders including site councils, principals, staff, PTA members and others in a transparent, iterative, inclusive process. You have the opportunity to consider some options that are being looked at and give your input, or generate new ideas and submit those.

You can take this survey, designed to collect information to help inform the process.  The survey is open now and closes 1/11/10.

Savings recommendations from all stakeholders can be emailed to Assistant Superintendent Scott Bowers at balancedbudget (at) @pausd dot org or, if you prefer that your suggestions be anonymous, to Palo Alto PTA Council Advocacy Chair, Lauren Janov,  janovLL (at) yahoo dot com, who will forward them to Mr. Bowers without attribution.

Paly Theatre Play in a Day
Saturday,  December 19, 8 P0, Haymarket Theatre, Palo Alto High
Come and see “Play in a Day,” Paly Theatre’s most popular event.  Don’t miss this wildly entertaining evening of short one acts, all written, rehearsed and performed within twenty four hours.  Doors open at 7:30; show up early for the best seats.  Tickets $7 Adults, $5 Students/Seniors at the door.  Flyer:

For the Community Kiosk please click here.

For the Palo Alto PTA Council Web site please click here.

PAUSD Everyday Mathematics Parent Information Night
Thurs. Jan. 14, 7-9pm, Barron Park, 800 Barron Avenue, Palo Alto
“Algorithms in Everyday Mathematics (Grades 2-5)”  This session will address the research basis and philosophy for including alternative and traditional algorithms for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division in the mathematics curriculum.  Discussion and presentations will include examples of the focus algorithms used in Everyday Mathematics and resources for parents to support their children at home.


Bluegrass Benefit Concert for Juana Briones
Sat. Feb. 20, Doors open 7:30pm, Music at 8pm, Lucie Stern Community Theatre, 1305 Middlefield, Palo Alto
Come out for a great night of music and support Briones Elementary School at the same time.  Bluegrass Concert starring Laurie Lewis (, Tom Rozum and the California All-Stars (Palo Alto Student) Molly ( and Jack Tuttle ( open.  All profits benefit Juana Briones Elementary School PTA.
Tickets $24.50 at the door, $21.50 advance at Gryphon Stringed Instruments, 211 Lambert Ave, Palo Alto, 493-2131

City of Palo Alto Announcements:

Palo Alto City Library Announces Writing Contest For Kids
Deadline: Monday, January 11; Reception: Wednesday, January 27, 3:30 PM, Children’s Library, 1276 Harriet Street, Palo Alto
The Palo Alto City Library announces its 2nd Annual Writing Contest for kids.  Children from grades 2-5 will write an essay no more than 500 words in length on the topic, “How do you help a friend?” Entries may be turned in to any library branch or emailed to librarychildrensservices (at) cityofpaloalto dot org.  Submissions must be received by 9 PM on Monday,  January 11.

The essays will be judged on concept and creativity. Children are eligible to win a 1st place grand prize of a $25 gift certificate to Books Inc. Bookstore.  Additionally, each participant will receive a Culture Organic Frozen Yogurt gift certificate for one small yogurt with a free topping. The winners will be announced at a reception held for all writers.  Sponsored by the Friends of the Palo Alto Library, Culture Organic Frozen Yogurt and Books Inc. Bookstore.

Info:, 329-2436.

Children’s Fine Art Classes in All Mediums for Teens, Kids and Tots
Give the gift of art.  Register someone you love in a Children’s Fine Art class provided by the Palo Alto Art Center.  CFA offers classes at the Junior Museum and Zoo, the Palo Alto Art Center, and Mitchell Park Center.  Most of the teachers are working artists; all of them are wonderful art educators.  They help children learn the skills need to bring creativity into their adult lives.  Your early registration insures you get the classes you want and helps us too.  Winter registration is underway now.  Summer Studio Camps registration lottery deadline is January 14.  Info and to register: or 329-2366.  Email (at) cityofpaloalto dot org to join the CFA email list.

Community Announcements:

Living LEGO-CY at The Museum of American Heritage
December 11- January 17, 11 AM – 3:30 PM, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, MOAH 321 Homer, Palo Alto
MOAH, The Bay Area LEGO® User Group (BayLUG) and Bay Area LEGO Train Club (BayLTC) are again combining forces this winter to repeat last year’s spectacular Holiday season display at MOAH.  MOAH visitors can explore a variety of LEGO creations and an operating LEGO train layout featuring a wide variety of creations by club members. Highlighting it all is Holidays in the Bay Area, a 12 by 25 foot train layout incorporating multiple trains running through city, farm, and suburban scenes.  Admission tis free for active MOAH and BayLUG members and $2 per person for all others. Info: 321-1004

Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra to Perform at Dinlelspiel Auditorium
Saturday, December 19, 8 PM, Dinkelspiel Auditorium, Stanford
Concert Features Viola virtuosa Sharon Wei, Benjamin Simon, Conductor.  Program includes Corelli’s Concerto Grosso in G minor,  Max Bruch – Romanze, Benjamin Britten – Lachrymae, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2 (“Little Russian”).  $15/adult, $10/senior and $5/student.  Info: 856-3848, info (at) pacomusic dot

Ragazzi Boys Chorus Workshop
Saturday, January 9, 9:30 AM – 1 PM, Redwood City
The Ragazzi Boys Chorus, a nationally-recognized performing arts organization based on thePeninsula, invites boys ages 7-11 to join them for a free singing and music workshop and optional auditions on Saturday, January 9, in Redwood City. Info or to reserve a spot, please contact Ragazzi, 342-8785, info (at) ragazzi dot org or

Cantabile Youth Singers January Enrollment
Demonstration Classes Mon. Jan. 11 and Thurs. Jan. 14
Cantabile Youth Singers, an organization of five choirs serving children ages 4 to 18, is opening enrollment for the spring semester.  Classes include age appropriate ear training, music theory, and vocal technique, as well as movement, performance, and fun.  Join Cantabile for a no-obligation trial of classes and build relationships, create memories, and make music.
Info: 424-1410,, or

Meet Your Special Education Director
Wednesday, January 20, 9-11 AM, Covington Elementary Multipurpose Room, 205 Covington Rd, Los Altos
Meet your Special Education Director and hear about existing, new, and planned programs and services in your school district:  Hilarey Davis, Director of Special Education, MVLA High School District, Steve Gingras, Director of Special Education, MVW School District, Anne LePage, Director of Pupil Services, Los Altos School District, and Carol Zepecki, Director of Pupil Services, PAUSD.  Find out how to most effectively work with your special ed team.  Find out how California budget cuts and Federal stimulus money affected programs in our schools. Moderated by Phil Shemanski, SELPA 1 CAC,   Sponsored by the SELPA 1 CAC ( an all-volunteer group of parents of children with special needs.

Math Contests for Grades 7 and Under
Tues. Feb. 9 or Thurs. Feb. 11, 7-8:15pm, Quinlan Community Center, Cupertino Rm, 10185 North Stelling Road, Cupertino
Cupertino Union School District and City of Cupertino Parks and Recreation Afterschool Enrichment Program Presents:  2010 Primary Math World Team Tryouts.  Tryout to join USA-Silicon Valley team to compete in an International Math Contest in Hong Kong in July 2010.  Fee: $42.
Online Registration: (Activity #40523 for Tues; or Activity #40524 for Thurs).  Registration questions: Quinlan Center, (408) 777-3120.

MOAH Workshop: Whisper In the Wind: How To Build a Crystal Radio
Sunday January 24 – February 21, 1-3:30 PM, MOAH 321 Homer, Palo Alto
At this Museum of American Heritage workshop, students build their own crystal radio sets, winding coils, drilling a mounting board and placing all components on it, and then wiring the set according to a schematic.  tudents learn radio history dating back to Marconi and Tesla, basic radio theory, modulation, how headphones work, and how to read schematics.  Ages 10 and up; $65 members/$75 non-members.  Registration must be completed by January 19.

MOAH Workshop: Solid State Electronics & Integrated Circuits
Sunday, February 28 – March 28, 1-3 PM, MOAH 321 Homer, Palo Alto
This Museum of American Heritage course covers the basics of transistor and vacuum tube circuits.  Students learn about the invention and development of tubes and transistors, then the history, development, and uses of integrated circuits.  Students will discover what ICs are made of, how they work, and how they are designed and manufactured right here in Silicon Valley. Students will also learn how to read simple schematic diagrams and build portable radios that use 2 ICs as take-home projects.  Ages 10 and up;  $75 members/$85 non-members.  Registration must be completed by February 23.