News: March 5, 2010


March 13:           Annual Palo Verde Auction
March 17:           Site Council Meeting, 3:30 PM
March 17:           Science Fair, 6 – 8 PM
March 30:           Hobee’s Restaurant Night & Books, Inc. Fundraiser

Palo Verde and PTA News

From the Desks of Lupe Garcia and Kim Amsbaugh…
The Palo Verde Auction is set for March 13th at Trader Vic’s and this year’s event promises to be a great one. As we gear up for the event, Lupe and I thought we would take a few moments to describe how important the Auction is to our school.

First and foremost, the Palo Verde Auction is fun. It’s a great time to build friendships with fellow parents in an atmosphere of community and common interest toward bettering our children’s school. And that’s just at the Auction itself. The activities and parties up for Auction further build on creating an involved, connected community for both our kids and parents, alike. Each teacher offers a party for either a small group or their whole classroom. For parents, families host annual poker parties, sushi-making parties and much more. The Auction simply provides a great opportunity for all our kids and families to get to know one another better and build lasting relationships.

The Auction also plays an important role in raising funds for Palo Verde. As the district prepares to cut $3.7 million from its budget for the next school year, now more than ever we need to support Palo Verde in every way we can. Over the past two years, the Auction has raised about $40,000. These funds have allowed us to purchase classroom and school-yard items our kids use every day: from smart boards and computers to playground equipment and library books. It also helps pay for educational activities like our upcoming Science Fair and International Fair as well as student activities like our annual Ice Skating Party and Noon Art. If these programs and funding of school supplies are to continue into the future, we need parents to support this event so that our kids can continue to enjoy the unique school experience Palo Alto and Palo Verde have to offer.

Both Lupe and I hope to see you at the Auction: March 13th, Trader Vic’s, 7-11 pm.  And don’t forget: Palo Verde Kids’ Club is offering babysitting for only $10 per child for the entire evening.

Happy Bidding!

Principal Lupe Garcia and Palo Verde PTA President Kim Amsbaugh

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 12th 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

Help Support Measure A
We need your help to pass Measure A, the PAUSD parcel tax measure on the May 4 ballot.  For the first time, this will be a Mail-in only ballot.  We need your help to tell voters about this election and to remind them to mail their ballots by April 30.  If we do not renew the current parcel tax our schools will lose $9.4 million in critical funding. Here’s how you can help:

  1. Volunteer at Phone Banks – Sign up to make calls. Training, a script, and other support provided.  You do not need to be an expert to participate.  Phone banks start March 1st and continue for 8 weeks.  Donate just 3 hours of your time.  Our school nights are March 18th and April 13th. Sign up today:
  2. Endorse Measure A, Display a Lawn Sign and Contribute – Our goal is 500 endorsements by March 1st – add your name!  For more information, go to:
  3. Become a Fan of Measure A on Facebook by clicking here. Parents are only 24% of registered voters, so we must engage all of our community voters to pass this important measure for our kids, teachers and schools.
  4. Be our Palo Verde Measure A PTA coordinator, helping to spread the word and garner support of this important ballot measure.

Questions?  Contact Kim Amsbaugh, PTA president, at amsbaugh (at) gmail dot com.

Thank you for Supporting our Palo Alto Schools!

Palo Verde PTA Needs You!
Do you like to organize parties? Are you good with numbers? Do you
like to show teachers how much you appreciate them?

If you answered yes to any one of those questions then that means you would be great at helping throw our annual Palo Verde Auction; be our PTA Treasurer; or organize Teacher Appreciation Week!  These are just a few of the positions that rely on parent volunteers to help make Palo Verde the terrific school and community it is today. And while the school year is not over yet, it’s time to start planning for the 2010-2011 school year.

If you are interested in getting involved, contact me, Kim Amsbaugh, at amsbaugh (at) gmail dot com or call me at (650) 813-1669. Or if you would like to anonymously suggest someone, put his or her name in our PTA Volunteer Box located in the Office. I look forward to hearing from you!

Palo Verde Auction Update

We’re really excited about our forthcoming auction.  We’ve got a new venue this year, babysitting at Palo Verde Kids Club for the first time, and a whole host of great items to bid on.

By now we hope you’ve had chance to browse through the catalog which came home in last week’s Friday folders.  There is something for everyone in there.  Loads of parties for kids, families and adults, great gift certificates from local merchants and a whole host of donations from summer camps.

Many people have worked really hard on the auction this year, there are lots of thank-yous to be said, but that can wait…what we really need now is for YOU to support this event and make all that effort worthwhile.  The money we raise at the auction helps pay for items that supports all our kids.  With the PTA funds the school is able to purchase books and computers, and support events such as the science fair and buy playground equipment.

The deadline to buy tickets at the discounted rate is next Thursday 10th March.  Turning in your form to the office helps us plan catering numbers with the venue, and saves you money versus buying your ticket on the night.  And don’t forget babysitting spots at kids club are limited and so far it is proving very popular.  Book soon to avoid disappointment!

Please help us make this a great event…see you there!

Jackie & Sheri

Sponsored by:  Charleston Cleaners, Realtor Kathy Pasin, Peninsula Pediatric Dentistry, Agile Physical Therapy, Keycon Construction, Dura-Foam Inc., Opus 1 Music Studio, Morgan Gault Homes and LJS Orthodontics.

Earthquake Kits Still Available

Are you still thinking about purchasing your family earthquake kit? With the recent devastation in Haiti, I think that preparing our families in the event of an earthquake or disaster is probably on everyone’s mind these days.

You can order an earthquake kit for your family and support Palo Verde at the same time.  To order online go to:
Indicate your school name on check-out so the school will receive
credit. If you want to avoid shipping fees order by March 11 and choose “Event Delivery” as a shipping option and indicate Palo Verde Elementary School as the shipping address.  

Earth Shakes will donate 20% of “Basic Kits” and 12% of “Deluxe Kits”
to the Palo Verde PTA.
Save the Date!
International Fair & Food Festival:  Saturday, May 15th  2010, 4 – 7 PM

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.

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)


Paly Theatre Presents A Midsummer Night’s Dream
March 5, 6, 13, 7:30 PM, March 14, 2 PM, Haymarket Theatre, Palo Alto High School
Paly’s spring play is A Midsummer Night’s Dream, William Shakespeare’s delightful comedy of thwarted romance, magical transformation, and mistaken identity. Directed by Kathleen Woods, Paly’s production will add touches of Victorian romance and a few surprises to Shakespeare’s popular, farcical tale of love, fairy magic, and confusion.
Tickets $7 students and seniors, $10 adults.  Tickets available at the door one hour prior to performances, at Paly Auditor’s office during school hours, or by calling 329-3710 x7245 for reservations.  Flyer:
Info, including online ticket

School Board Regular Meeting
Tues. March 9, 6:30pm, 25 Churchill
For Agendas and Materials click here.

Monthly ADHD Parent Education and Support Group
Thursday, March 25, 7:30-9pm, Morrissey/Compton Educational Center, 2555 Park Ave, Palo Alto
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.

Let’s Really Talk About Reading!
Wednesday, March 10, 7-9 PM, Board Room, 25 Churchill
K-12 Parents and educational staff: learn about the reading process, how PAUSD teachers use a wide range of strategies, techniques and tools to instruct their students in reading, and what parents can do to help at home.  Presenters: Pat Dawson, District Literacy Specialist, and Julie Saxena, District Literacy Specialist/Kindergarten Teacher.  With Question and Answer help from: Rachel  Milliken-Weitzman, Elementary Resource Teacherm Nancy Ayling, Middle/High School Literacy Consultant, Holly Hume, Middle School Resource Teacher, and Cindy Lazzareschi, Middle School Reading Specialist/English Teacher.  Presented by Palo Alto Unified School District, and Palo Alto’s TACKLE (Taking A Closer Kid Look Early).  Spanish language translation provided.

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.

Parent Ed: Raising Resilient, Successful, Less-Stressed Kids
Thursday, March 18, 7-8:30 PM, Walter Hays Library 1525 Middlefield, Palo Alto
Panel discussion followed by a generous Q&A session with distinguished local educators to discuss some of today’s most pressing questions about parenting.  Anabel Jensen, Ph.D. President of Six Seconds (; Susan Charles, Ed.D. Past Principal, Ohlone Elementary School; Julie Lythcott-Haims, J.D. Dean of Freshmen and Undergraduate Advising, Stanford University
Questions: Walter Hays parents Jennie Bernheim jjbernheim (at) yahoo dot com or Lisa Waits lisa.waits (at) nokia dot com

Dr. Ken Ginsburg:  Building Resilience in Children and Teens
Thursday, March 25, Resource fair & 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.

PAUSD Music and Art Teachers Collaborative Faculty Concert and Art Show
Saturday March 27, 3:30 PM, Spangenberg Theatre, Gunn High School
For the 18th year, PAUSD Music Teachers present a chamber music concert.  Also, art teachers will showcase their artwork and offer it for sale. Proceeds from the concert provide scholarships for district music students in grades 4-8.  Audition sign-ups take place at the concert (audition times are limited).  Proceeds from the art sale will be awarded to a PAUSD art student.
Tickets may be purchased by sending a check, made out to “PAUSD” and a SASE to the Music Office, 25 Churchill Ave., Palo Alto, 94306 before March 19; calling 329-3944; or e-mail music (at) pausd dot org for information. Tickets will also be available at the door.   Adults $12.00 ($15 at door) Student/Senior $5.00

You Made It! Jamboree – Entry Period Extended To March 31
Palo Alto PTA Council’s 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 at the Palo Alto Art Center on May 15.  He or she might even be invited to show their creation at the San Mateo Maker Faire.
Info and entry forms:

PAUSD Summer School: Middle School Music Opportunities
Registration begins April 19; Summer School June 21 – July 16, J.L.Stanford Middle School
Music opportunities at PAUSD Summer School include Brass, Clarinet, and Flute Ensembles, Chorus, Band, Chamber String Workshop, and Intermediate String Orchestra.  Registration information and forms may be obtained from the district web page at  Click on the “Summer School” button and scroll down to “Middle School Program” for registration information and forms.

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 Sunday, 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

Palo Alto Library Commission Opening
Applications due Monday, March 8
The Palo Alto Library Commission is looking for one volunteer to serve in an unexpired term.  The Commission meets once a month and is responsible for advising the City Council on a variety of matters relating to the Libraries.  Info: or the City of Palo Alto City Clerk’s Office, 329-2267.

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.

Become a Certified Bicycle Safety Instructor
Additional instructors are needed to continue the City of Palo Alto Recreation Department’s highly successful bicycle education program. League of American Bicyclists certification as a League Cycling Instructor (LCI) is required.  A 23-hour seminar will be given for prospective instructors in June.  Ideal candidates for the seminar are experienced, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic bicyclists.  Before the LCI Certification Seminar, applicants must become a member of the League ($35/year) and must have completed a 9-hour Smart Cycling Traffic Skills 101 course with high marks.  Info:  PTA Council Traffic Safety Chair Penny Ellson, 856-0736, pellson (at)

Community News

Media Center “Zoom In” Workshop
Join a new video-making community project, no experience or equipment necessary.  The Midpeninsula Community Media Center is launching “Zoom In”, a video workshop and production collaborative.  A low-cost, fast-track course provides all the basics you need to shoot and edit videos, as well as publish them on the web.  Use your camcorder or borrow one from the Media Center.  Zoom In gives video makers of all levels of experience the chance to contribute to local media coverage and make a difference in the community. Videos can range from coverage of local events to organizations to people to scripted narratives.  Cost for sixteen hours of training is $100 and for an extra $50 you can have access to Media Center camera equipment for six months.
Info: Becky Sanders, 494-8686 x 11 or

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.

Stanford Email Newsletter, Stanford For You
As a service to the community, Stanford recently has a free monthly email newsletter, Stanford For You.  Each month it provides the latest information about concerts, parenting talks and other lectures, sports events, kids’ activities, drama and dance performances, art exhibits and more. .  All of these events are open to the public, and many of them are free.  The March issue also provides information on a broad array of summer camps.  To subscribe and see past newsletters:

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

Camp Kwizera: Empowering Youth to Lead Through Service

A week-long day camp held at Stanford University in June and July 2010 that encourages youth to identify issues they are passionate about and turn that passion into committed action by combining interactive, fun, and kid-friendly global learning about social justice issues with local community service field trips.
Info and to register: or contact Executive Director Julie Veroff, julie (at) faceaids dot org or (559) 790-7052.

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.