News: February 12, 2010


February 11-15:  No School
February 17:       Site Council, 3:30pm; Restaurant Night at Su Hong, Palo Alto;                                   Science Fair Parent Information Mtg, 7 PM
February 24:       Family Math Night, 6:30 PM
March 2:               New Principal Selection Information Meeting with     
                                  Scott Bowers, 7 PM
March 13:           Annual Palo Verde Auction

Palo Verde and PTA News

From the PTA President…
Support Measure to Renew Expiring Parcel Tax
Each year, Palo Alto schools receive approximately $9.4 million in stable locally-controlled parcel tax funding.  By law, these funds cannot be taken away by the State.  Parcel tax funds are used to attract and retain qualified and experienced teachers, keep class sizes small, and protect the innovative instructional programs that lead to high levels of student achievement in our schools.  The parcel tax was originally approved by over 70% of local voters in 2001 and renewed by over 70% of local voters in 2005.  Now this funding is once again set to expire.  If the parcel tax does expire and our schools lose $9.4 million in annual funding on top of other funding reductions, the impact on each and every one of our schools will be devastating.     
On Tuesday, January 12 our Board of Education voted unanimously to place a measure on the ballot this spring to renew our parcel tax for another six years and increase the rate by $96 ($8 per month) to help offset budget cuts to core instructional programs.  The Palo Verde PTA Executive Board also unanimously voted to support this measure because of its significant impact on our school as well as all the others within the district.

Seniors will continue to be eligible for an exemption to ensure the parcel tax is not a burden to those living on a fixed income.  Mandatory annual audits and an Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee will ensure the funds are spent as promised.  Funds from this measure cannot be taken away by the State or other school districts.       

Be careful not to confuse the parcel tax with the bond measure that was passed in 2008.  By law, bond funds may only be used for school buildings, equipment and furnishings.  Bond funds may not be used for teachers or programs.  Parcel taxes are the only way to generate stable local funding that can’t be taken away for teachers and programs.  Remember, bonds are for buildings and parcel taxes are for people and programs. 

This election will be conducted entirely by mail and there will be no polling places.  All registered voters will received a ballot the week of April 5 and all ballots are due by May 4 (postmarks don’t count).   

It is important for parents to note that spring break falls within this voting period.  We strongly encourage all parents wishing to vote in this election to complete your ballot and return it as soon as you receive it to ensure it is received on time. 

Between now and the election we will be providing regular updates regarding the proposed parcel tax, PAUSD’s budget and how you can get involved to help pass the parcel tax.  Keep an eye out for more information.

Kim Amsbaugh,
Palo Verde PTA President

Bake Sale Supports Haiti Relief Efforts
Dear Palo Verde Families,
On behalf of the first grade classrooms, thank you very much for your wholehearted support of last week’s First Grade Bake Sale to Help Haiti.  The first graders did a fantastic job roving the playground to encourage fellow students to “Help Haiti.”  And Palo Verde students and their families responded with such gusto.

A special thank you goes to Dana Guillet, Rani Notowidigdo, Susan Papp, Katharine Saunders, Uma Sonak, Krishna Varia, and their children and grandchildren for their amazing help with the bake sale. Plus, first grader AJ Gualdoni took the bake sale on the road to his mother’s (Krishna Varia’s) office and drummed up more business. Great work, AJ and Krishna!

As a result of everyone’s support and generosity, the bake sale raised $507.43!  The funds will be combined with the money raised from the Palo Verde Coins for Haiti campaign along with funds raised by other classrooms.  Palo Verde will donate the grand total to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF to support its emergency response in Haiti.  More details will come soon.

Thanks again for your support!
Maria Zajac

Restaurant Night
Please join us at Su Hong on February 17 any time between 11 am and 9 pm for our monthly Restaurant Night!  20% of all proceeds go straight back to Palo Verde.  It’s a chance to have some fun and help the school at the same time!

Science Fair Parent Information Meeting
Wednesday, Feb 17th 2010, 7-8pm, MP Room
This year’s Science Fair is scheduled for Wednesday, March 17th, 2010.  We will be holding a special parent information night for the Science Fair on Wednesday, Feb 17, in the MP room from 7-8pm.  Please consider attending this session if you’d like to find out more about the Science Fair, or if you’re looking for ideas for good Science Fair projects, or if you have any questions.

Family Math Game Night
Students, parents, and siblings are all invited to join Palo Verde teachers in an evening of Math Games. Join your children as we play a variety of games from our new math program, Everyday Mathematics. You will see how games develop over the grades, and gain insight into the deeper mathematical thinking involved in some activities that may be deceivingly simple on the surface. Learn games that will help your child master the basic number facts as well as develop a solid number sense. Modifications will be shared that will help to make games appropriate and challenging for your whole family!

What?           Math Game Night for Families
When?          Wednesday, February 24th
Time?            6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Where?         Palo Verde Multipurpose Room
Who?            Palo Verde students and their families

 Palo Verde Auction Update
A big thank you to all those families that have donated so far to the auction.  We are still accepting items so please consider what you might have to offer. You can email your donations to Rebecca at By now we hope you’ve marked your calendars for what will be a fun, relaxed evening and a wonderful opportunity to come together as a school community.

We hope that this year we’ll see lots of you at this special event – our principal and our teachers greatly value your participation. Did you know that each teacher at Palo Verde supports the auction by donating a special party or event for their students? In the face of state budget cuts funds raised at the auction help to fill the gaps for classroom equipment and materials needed by our teachers at every grade level. That can range from new books, computers and art supplies, to equipment for PE and noon games. Your whole-hearted support of this important PTA event truly makes a positive difference for our children and our school!

We’ve got some fabulous items at this year’s auction: high-quality camps and classes, local getaways, delicious food and dining, tickets for awesome games and events, family outings, incredible parties, and more! Do you have a child graduating this year? Watch for two sets of front row seats at the 5th Grade promotion ceremony. How about tickets to Disneyland, Raging Waters, or a week at Camp Galileo? A silent auction can be a great place to find a deal!

 And for the first time we will offer a babysitting service at KidsClub on auction night. So if your regular sitter is not around, don’t worry, we can help! More details will follow, but babysitting spots are limited so you will want to reserve early!  Finally a special note of thanks to all our sponsors who are supporting the event:  Charleston Cleaners, Realtor Kathy Pasin, Peninsula Pediatric Dentistry, Agile Physical Therapy, Keycon Construction, Dura-Foam Inc., Opus 1 Music Studio, and Morgan Gault Homes.

Look for further updates coming every week in the enews! Tickets will be on sale soon!
Jackie & Sheri

Meeting on New Principal Selection with Assistant Superintendent Dr. Scott Bowers
As the Palo Alto Unified School District begins the process of selecting a new Principal for Palo Verde Elementary School, we would like to hear from you.
 On Tuesday, March 2nd from 7:00-8:30 PM in the Palo Verde Library, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Scott Bowers will hold a meeting with interested parents to gather their views on the school.
In his recent letter staff and parents, current principal, Lupe Garcia, announced that he will retire at the end of this year.  One of the first steps in the process for placing a new principal at Palo Verde is to gather your thoughts on what you value most about Palo Verde, what you see as challenges for the school over the next few years, and what leadership qualities you feel are most important for your school’s principal.
Please join Dr. Bowers at this Palo Verde parent meeting so that your views may help inform in this important staffing decision.
The Palo Verde PTA has also arranged child care with Palo Verde Kids’ Club during this meeting. More details will be available soon. Space will be limited.

Save the Date!
International Fair & Food Festival – Saturday, May 15, 4 – 7 PM
Enjoy the adventure of first-hand experience of varied cultures. See the arts and crafts, hear the sounds and be entertained.Have fun with your passport! Visit and explore the countries and feel the ambiance of world travel. See the smiles on your kids’ faces as they enjoy all the fun and deepen their understanding of the cultural diversity.

Experience the cuisines around the world. This year, for the first time, families of Palo Verde will get to enjoy an International Food Festival at the International Fair.  Bring friends and family to enjoy the food festival. The proceeds from the food festival will go to PTA.

Put on that apron and whip up your most favorite dish! Culinary contributions are needed to make this event a huge success. Any cuisine around the world is welcome.   Thanks to all the volunteers who have stepped up to help with the fair. We have booth leaders for India, UK, Thailand, Netherlands, Brazil, Taiwan and Russia.

We need your help with the following:

  1. Volunteers to help with booths, setup, cleanup, activities etc on the day of the fair as well as planning and preparation before the fair.
  2. Booth leaders for more countries.
  3. Food contributions for the Food Festival.

For more information or to volunteer contact:  Ritu Das (rituparnad (at) yahoo dot com), Dipti Joshi (dsonak (at) yahoo dot com) or Priya Junnarkar (priya dot junnarkar (at) gmail dot com)

TrackWatch Volunteers Needed
TrackWatch needs more volunteers to help monitor the Charleston and Meadow crossings.  Shifts are very flexible.  You can sign up for as little or as much as you would like at times that work for you.  Please contact Caroline Camhy,, and indicate your connection to the Palo Alto community so that she can get you the information that you need to get started.


California’s Race to the Top Legislation
On January 7, California enacted sweeping new education legislation, including open enrollment.  For a summary of the new laws see

JLS Connections Observation Day
Tuesday, February 16, 8:15 AM – 11:25 AM, JLS Classrooms 410, 510, 710 and 720
Current 5th grade students and their parents are welcome to observe classes on February 16 to learn more about the Connections program at JLS.  If your 5th grader is visiting, please make sure that his/her teacher is “ok” with the absence that morning.  On the morning of the visitation, check in at the JLS Office.  Please note that there will be plenty of opportunity to observe classroom activity, but that “shadowing” an individual student is not permitted and that these visitations are for the Connections’ classrooms only. Questions: Connections’ teacher Katie Schramm, kschramm (at) pausd dot org

Monthly ADHD Parent Education and Support Group
Thursday, February 18, 7:30-9 PM, Room A, 25 Churchill. This group meets on one Thursday of each month (March 25, April 22, May 20). The group will discuss a wide range of issues and information will be provided regarding managing ADHD at home and at school.  Behavior management, getting chores and homework done,  managing school, organization, time management and study skills,  and how to get help at school through 504 Plans and IEPs.  Come get your questions answered and share your experiences with other parents.  The meetings sometimes feature guest speakers.  Led by Janet Dafoe, Ph.D., Morrissey-Compton Center.  Questions: 208-1224. 

Juana Run
Sat. Feb. 20, Juana Briones School
The 14th annual Juana Run is a community event with running races for all ages and abilities.  The certified 8K race starts at 8:30am and runs through the streets of Barron Park, the kids races by elementary school grade start at 10am and a family friendly 1 mile race starts at 11:10am.  Register:  Registration will also be available race morning starting at 7am.  Parking is available at Gunn High school.  Questions: or the race hotline 599-3434.

Annual CAC Sweetheart Awards
Monday, February 22, 7:30-9 PM,  Boardroom, 25 Churchill Avenue,  Palo Alto
Come help CAC honor those “Every Day Heroes” who have made a difference in the life of a special needs child. This will be a joyous, heartwarming and touching event to celebrate many deserving individuals.  Refreshments will be served.

You Made It! Jamboree
You Made It! Jamboree – Call For Entries
Submission deadline Sun. Feb. 28; Jamboree Sat. May 15, Palo Alto Art Center
The Palo Alto PTA Council’s very own student “makers faire” is a celebration of innovation and creativity.  The You Made It! Jamboree is a chance for any PAUSD student to show the world his or her awesome creations.  Does your student make robots?  Invent new toys?  Design computer games or animations?  Create new fashions?  The You Made It! Jamboree is your student’s chance to celebrate the creative spirit within and display their innovations.  Info and entry forms:

Parent Ed:  Christine Carter, Raising Happy Kids
Tuesday, March 16, 7 PM, Barron Park School
Dr. Carter’s talk addresses what science tells us about the factors that breed happiness in childhood and beyond. Dr. Carter is executive director of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley and a sociologist who studies the childhood roots of happiness.  For more information click here.

Dr. Ken Ginsburg:  Building Resilience in Children and Teens
Thursday, March 25, Resource fair and community social 6 PM, Presentation 6:30 PM, Spangenberg Theatre, Gunn High School
Using humor and real-life scenarios, Dr. Ken Ginsburg will teach you how to raise resilient children who can deal with stress in an increasingly complex world.  His unique perspective emphasizes the developmental strengths of youth, equipping participants with skills needed to better teach kids to help themselves.  Dr. Ginsburg is a nationally renowned pediatrician specializing in adolescent medicine at the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia.  

His books include:  A Parent’s Guide to Building Resilience in Children and Teens and Less Stress, More Success.  Free.  Sponsors include Palo Alto PTA Council, Palo Alto School PTAs, and Los Altos-Mountain View PTA Council. 

Raffle to Benefit Paly Choirs
Support the Palo Alto High School Choirs and have a chance to win valuable prizes including an aerial tour of the SF Bay, Apple iPad, $1000 cash, and a Grand Prize trip for two to Paris.  Tickets ($10 each or $40 for 5) on sale through Sun. May 16.  Winners selected at the Choirs’ Spring Concert at St Mark’s Episcopal Church;  need not be present to win.  Must be 18+ to buy ticket/enter raffle.  Info including ticket purchase: Paly Choir website.

City of Palo Alto News

Children’s Theatre 10-Minute Playwriting Contest
Deadline March 22
Bay Area students are invited to participate in the Palo Alto Children’s Theatre’s Second Annual 10-Minute Playwriting Contest.  All genres of plays accepted from students ages 8 through high school.  Winning plays receive a staged reading and reception at PACT.  They will be performed by members of the Teen Arts Council and directed by a professional director.  Winning authors will also receive a prize donated by the Friends of the Palo Alto Children’s Theatre.  Plays will be judged in three categories: Elementary (age 8-10), Jr. High (Age 11-13), and Young Adult 14-18.  Winners announced May 11.  Submit plays electronically to Childrens.Theatre (at) cityofpaloalto dot org or by snail mail to Palo Alto Children’s Theatre, ATTN: Playwriting Contest, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto, CA 94301.  Questions: 463-4930.

Community News

Upcoming Canopy Tree Events 

Saturday, February 13:

  • 10 AM-Noon –  Free Neighborhood Tree Walk, Palo Alto. Free Tree Walk in Old Palo Alto with leading arborist  Heather Booty
  • 1 PM-4 PM – Canopy Workshop. Palo Alto. Workshop: Restoring Older Fruit Trees

Friday, March 5:

  • 9 AM-3:30 PM – Canopy Workshop: Pruning and Training Young Trees for Strength, Beauty, Longevity and Appropriate Clearances: A Practical Approach for Arborists

To sign up: sharon (at) canopy dot org.  Info: 

Documentary:  “Race to Nowhere” 
Tuesday, Februay 23, 7 PM, Oshman Family JCC 3921 Fabian Way
“Race to Nowhere” is a  film made by a Lafayette mom as a call to families, educators, experts and policy makers to examine current assumptions on how to best prepare the youth of America.  The film will be followed by dialogue with the director. 
Sponsored by Los Altos – Mountain View PTA Council and Mountain View High School Challenge Success.  Tickets: $12

Programs offered bythe Center for Sustainable Change (CSC)
For more information, please contact Center for Sustainable Change, 424-0705 x. 21,

“Growing Mental Health in Our Families”
Friday,  February 19, 8:45-10:15 AM, Fairmeadow Elementary School Library
With Ami Chen Mills-Naim.  Sponsored by the Fairmeadow PTA.  Ms. Mills-Naim is CSC Director and author of “The Spark Inside: A Special Book for Youth.” She has worked with families and adolescents for more than 20 years, teaching the principles that govern innate resiliency-and what gets in the way. She is currently director of the National Community Resiliency Project, in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
“Growing Mental Health for Parents and Teens”
Tuesday, March 30, 6:30-8 PM, Palo Alto Family YMCA, 3412 Ross Road, Palo Alto.  With Ami Chen Mills-Naim. This event is open to the general public, registration is not required.
“Spiritual Fitness”
Thursdays, April 8-May 13, 6:30-8 PM, Palo Alto Family YMCA
A six-part series. Join CSC’s Director Ami Chen Naim for a reflective dive into the 3 Principles of Mind, Consciousness & Thought and how our understanding of these principles impacts family and work life, leading to increased peace-of-mind, harmony, communication, efficiency, and well-being. Teenagers 13 and over are welcome.  Registration through the YMCA,, 856-9622.

Seussical the Musical
March 19-28, Fridays 7:30pm, Saturdays/Sundays 2:00 pm, Cañada College Mainstage Theater, 4200 Farm Hill Road, Redwood City
Bay Area Educational Theater Company presents Seussical the Musical, based on the works of Dr. Seuss.  “Seussical” is a fantastical, magical, musical extravaganza. 
Info and to order tickets: or 802-8423.

Kara’s Summer Grief Camp
July 30-August 1, Applications due Monday, February 22
Kara’s annual summer grief camp, Camp Erin, is a free grief camp designed for children and teens ages 6-17 who have experienced the death of a family member or friend.  It is a weekend-long experience that combines traditional fun camp activities with grief education and emotional support, facilitated by grief professionals and trained volunteers.  Applications and info: call Kara, 321-5272 or 

BandWorks Rock n’ Roll Summer Camp in Los Altos & San Carlos 
For kids ages 8-18, week-long Summer Day Camps are open to young beginners through advanced, older teen players. Professional musician-instructors create a fun and supportive environment while they teach kids the skills they need to play in a rock band-and make new friends in the process.  Info: info (at) bandworks dot com, 510-843-BAND(2263) or

MOAH Workshop: Solid State Electronics & Integrated Circuits
Sundays, 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.  Info: 

Sibling Relationship Issues When One Sib Has Special Needs
Wednesday, March 17, 7-9 PM, Springer Elementary School, MP Room, 1120 Rose Avenue, Mountain View
All PAUSD parents warmly welcome!  This is a free program, open to any parent with an interest in supporting the emotional needs of all their children, especially when dealing with special needs within a family.
Leslie Vaasquez is the parent of two daughters, one with special health care needs.  She grew up with a brother with multiple disabilities.  Leslie, who has a Masters degree in Counseling, has served as a Parents Helping Parents support group facilitator, mentor parent, and board member for 9 years.  Her talk focuses on the sibling relationship – why it’s important to focus on siblings in a special needs family and the ways parents and others can support siblings.  She discusses the particular issues and concerns for siblings such as isolation, lack of information, loss of attention, embarrassment, guilt, and responsibility.  She also addresses strategies parents can use to deal with these issues.  Finally, she will discuss benefits of being positive and how siblings have a lot to gain by being actively involved with their special needs sibling.
The meeting is 7 to 9 PM.  Hospitality begins at 6:45pm. 
This parent education event is sponsored by the SELPA 1 CAC (  All of our events are free and open to anyone who feels they might benefit.  No registration is necessary.

Community Kiosk