News: December 12, 2008


Tuesday, December 16:  Fundraiser at Books, Inc., 6:00 – 9:00 PM
Friday, December 19:  Minimum Day for All Students
December 20 – January 4:  No School – Winter Break
January 5, 2009:  School Resumes

From the Desk of Lupe Garcia….

Dear Palo Verde Parents, Students, and Community,

During this time of year family and friends typically get together and celebrate in the spirit of the season.  Most of us have much for which to be thankful and take the time and opportunity to embrace “our family” in the spirit of appreciation.  There are also some in our midst and many around the world who are struggling.  I want to encourage all of us to “reach out” and extend a helping hand wherever and whenever possible, either directly or through organizations that provide support to those in need.  In either case, please take the time to embrace and express that joy with those close to you and with others, as possible.

I want to express my personal gratitude for your thoughtful, kind and ongoing support.  That support has come in various ways, but all has directly benefited our children.  As such, the PiE Fundraising drive that will benefit our school next year is currently taking place and many have already contributed to the cause.  I thank you in advance for any and all donations that will make it possible to maintain the level of support we currently offer at Palo Verde.

It has been fulfilling for me to observe the children mature, both academically and emotionally, and although the year is quickly passing, I look forward to returning from the winter break in January to see the “burst” of learning that usually takes place this time of the year.

The Palo Verde staff and I wish you and yours a warm, safe, and fun-filled holiday season.  We look forward to an exciting rest of the year— when we return in January 2009.

Happy Holidays!
Lupe García

Kepler’s Book Fair at Palo Verde a Real Page Turner!

After a busy week, the second Kepler’s Book Fair at Palo Verde closed up the registers and packed up the boxes of books… and aside from celebrating reading, offering a peek at the newest and hottest titles from over 40 separate publishers, and helping check off many holiday lists, the Book Fair grossed over $11,000. Kepler’s Books will donate 15% of that amount back to Palo Verde in a combination of cash and books… so that the Palo Verde staff can continue fostering a love of reading and books all year long.

Our warmest thanks go to the following people for their help with setting up, cashiering, tearing down, organizing, reading out loud, recommending, and providing logistical, physical, and emotional support of all kinds: Tori Bers, Alison Cormack, Lidija Davis, Lynn Drake, Gail and Maia Foelsch (who rocked  at labeling boxes), Lupe Garcia, Chris McGranahan, Joan Jennings, Lori Harrenstein, Pat Hanley, Jeanette Brosnan,  Julie Schwardt, Louise Valente, Joanna Schloss, Fidelia Wang, Joan Kusek, Charlene Temple, Rita Wiseman, Teddie Stewart, Julie Sternfield, and Noah and Mara Smith.  Thanks are also due to Moises and Allan for their help in setting up and dealing patiently with opening and closing MP Room doors multiple times every day. And thank you to the 4th grade families who set up and ran a fantastic pizza dinner on opening night.

Tracy and I also wanted to let everyone know that after this year, we will be hanging up our Book Fair Fairy capes and wands. Having wielded them for more years than we care to remember, we would love to pass them along to a new generation of Palo Verde volunteers. Organizing and running the book fair is a wonderful opportunity to bring the joy of reading to Palo Verde, to connect with the greater school and community population, and to show the students at Palo Verde that reading matters. Tracy and I will both be around next year, and we will be more than happy to share our expertise with whoever takes on this enormously rewarding project.

Last but certainly not least, we’d like to thank the entire Palo Verde community for their support for the Book Fair. Everyone who walked out of the MP room with a purchase – anything from the Wookie Cookie Cookbook to the latest adventures of Percy Jackson– has also given their children, and our community, a gift of reading that will last a

Even though the book fair is over, Palo Verde is still a Kepler’s CPE (Community Partners in Education) school. That means every time you shop at Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park and mention Palo Verde at the register, Kepler’s will donate 10% of your purchase – including gift cards, toys, games, puzzles, and yes, of course, books — back to Palo Verde. So please don’t forget to support both a wonderful independent local bookstore and your school at the same time!

Thanks again,
Irena Smith and Tracy Stewart, Book Fair Co-Chairs

Buy Scrip Gift Cards for Your Holiday Shopping

Take care of your holiday shopping and support Palo Verde at the same time.  The sale of Gift Cards is back at our school until Winter Break.  Every morning and after school, a table will be set up next to the principal’s office so look for us there.

How is this scrip program different from escrip?  One important difference at this time of year is that you receive a gift card that is just like the one you get from the stores.  You pay retail value for the card ($5-25), but a portion (4-25%) of your purchase goes to Palo Verde PTA.

Many popular retailers participate: Starbucks, Peet’s, and Jamba Juice, for example.  So make it easy on yourself, give a gift that will be appreciated, and support Palo Verde.  We hope to see you at the scrip sales table.

Diane Jakubowski, Gift Card Coordinator, 855-9047

Palo Verde Giving Tree

Want to make this holiday season a little brighter for a child in need?  Please consider the Palo Verde Giving Tree Holiday Drive. The Family Giving Tree is an organization that provides gifts to people, of all ages, who would otherwise not be getting presents this year.

Please stop by the office and pick up a card to find a person’s gift request. Once you get the present, put it under the tree in the office by Monday, December 15. Don’t forget to attach the card to the unwrapped present.

Books Inc. Fundraiser

Books Inc, located at Town and Country Village on El Camino and Embarcadero, is hosting a Palo Verde fundraiser on Tuesday, Dec. 16th, from 6-9 pm. During this time, Books Inc. will donate 20 percent of sales to Palo Verde School. We hope to see you there!

Donate Now to PiE for a 2008 Tax Deduction!

It is not too late to receive a Charitable Tax Deduction for 2008!  Funds raised by PiE support essential staff and programs that directly benefit our students.   $650 per student will bridge the gap in funding; however, any amount is greatly appreciated and every dollar counts!   All mail-in check and credit card donations should be sent by 12/20 to allow processing time. Online donations can be made until 12/31.  Donate now at

“Personal Emergency Preparedness Training”

How to plan and prepare you and your family for a disaster.

When:  Thursday, January 15, 2009, 6:00 – 7:00 PM (Childcare provided)
Where:  Palo Verde Kids’ Club

Dinner & refreshments served 5:30 to 6:00 PM

Open to all Palo Verde School parents and staff

Training provided by the American Red Cross, Silicon Valley Chapter

To RSVP call Palo Verde Kids Club at (650) 852-9475

Save The Date:  Palo Verde’s Ice Skating Party

Friday, Feburary 6, 2009
5:30-7:30 pm, Winter Lodge Ice Rink.

Details will come closer to event date

To volunteer at the front ticket desk, pizza & drink table or bake sale
tables please contact Lori Harrenstien at 856-3237  or iceturtles [at} gmail dot com

Like to Sing?

The Ragazzi Boys Chorus, a nationally-recognized performing arts organization based on the Peninsula, invites boys age 7-11 to join them for a free singing and music workshop and optional auditions on Saturday, January 10, 2008, in Redwood City.   For more information or to reserve a spot, please contact Ragazzi at 650.342.8785, or

Community Kiosk

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News: December 5, 2008

Principal Lupe Garcia’s State of the School Address

Wednesday, December 10th, 7 pm, MP Room
Child care provided by Palo Verde Kids Club free of charge

Please join us for a State of the School Address with Principal Lupe Garcia. Come hear Principal Garcia speak about his observations of the school since arriving this year and his plans for Palo Verde in the coming months and years.

Coffee and sweets will be served.

This event is sponsored by the Palo Verde PTA

Community News

Soccer Uniforms for Oaxaca

Now – Fri. Dec. 12

Each year, Neighbors Abroad (Palo Alto’s Sister City organization) and Girl Scouts of PA collect soccer uniforms for the children of Oaxaca, PA’s sister city in Mexico.  Please place CLEAN soccer shirts, shorts, and socks (but no shoes or shinguards) in the box in your school’s office.
Questions: Marion Mandell, 493-3798.

Musical at JLS

Tues. Dec. 9 and Thurs. Dec. 11, 7pm
The JLS 8th Grade Showtime class presents the Broadway hit musical, “Damn Yankees” in collaboration with JLS Drama 1A, Drama Club, Musical Theater, and featuring JLS’s own Mr. Dave Tomatis. Doors open at 6:45 pm each night.  Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle School Cafetorium, 480 E. Meadow Dr., Palo Alto.  Admission is free.

Paly Glass Holiday Sale

Wed. Dec. 10, 10am-4pm
One day only holiday sale of Palo Alto High School student and professional glass work, in from of the Tower Building, on the El Camino side of campus.

Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra 43rd Season Second Concert

Saturday, December 13, 8pm, Dinkelspiel Auditorium, Stanford
The Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra will perform their second concert of the 2008-09 season, conducted by Music Director Benjamin Simon.  World renowned pianist Robert Schwartz will join PACO for Mozart’s Piano Concerto #17 in G major, and the ensemble will also perform Mozart’s Adagio and Fugue.  Beethoven’s titanic Symphony No. 5  forms the centerpiece of this concert, and will be performed by the combined forces of PACO and the Sinfonia Ensemble.  Also featured will be PDQ Bach’s delightful “sportscast” of the first movement of Beethoven’s Fifth, narrated by Art Barnes and Cary Chin.  Chamber music performed by members of the PACO orchestra will also be included. The Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra is composed of the Bay Area’s most talented and promising high school musicians chosen by competitive audition.  Tickets are $15 adults, $10 seniors, $6 students.
Info: 856-3848 or

Palo Alto Historical Association Presents “Palo Alto Vignettes”

Sun. Dec. 7, 2pm, Lucie Stern Community Center, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto
A program of personal memories will be presented by the Palo Alto Historical Association at a free public meeting.  Karen Holman, executive director for the Palo Alto History Museum Project, will serve again as the emcee for the annual holiday meeting,”Palo Alto Vignettes,” which brings forth fond reminiscences from volunteer speakers.  Past programs have featured a wide range of anecdotes, ranging from elephants setting up the circus at dawn, a former airfield at College Terrace, Elizabeth Gamble’s generosity, wartime troop entertainment, door-do-door vendors and more.  This is the seventh year for the popular program, which is videotaped for PAHA’s history archives.

News: December 4, 2008

A Message from PAUSD Superintendent, Kevin Skelly

An Update on The PAUSD Strong Schools Bond Program

Dear Community Members

As you may know, voters passed Measure A, the Strong Schools Bond, this past June.  This bond authorized the district to extend the current tax levy of $44.50 per $100,000 in assessed value up to $378 million to pay for improvements to the district’s facilities.  Since that election, staff has been hard at work assembling the planning, management, and building team to do this work.  We are entering an important phase of our planning work that requires community input, so it seems like an appropriate time to update you about some of the plans that are in the pipeline and about the construction underway.

Our most pressing need in the district is more classroom space at the elementary level.  Last year kindergarten through fifth grade enrollment grew by 200 students.  Such growth was anticipated in the bond, and a portion of funds will address this priority.  Virtually every elementary school classroom is being used, and we need to get ahead of the “medium” projected need for another 460 students in the next five years.

To do this, plans are underway to modernize and build capacity at the Garland elementary site.  This space is currently being leased to a private school, so it will not be available until before June 2010.  When we do regain possession, we plan to be ready with an ambitious construction program that will give us increased capacity in the heart of the district.  This will allow us to relieve pressure on enrollment in the north and east sections of the district.  Yes, we will have to undertake the difficult work of adjusting elementary school boundaries.  We will work hard with families to ease the transitions associated with boundary changes.  But the end result is that more students will have a shorter walk to their neighborhood schools and more families will be able to register at a school very close to their homes.

Later this month the Board of Education will be hearing the results of an elementary school capacity study by an architecture planning firm.  This work is being done in concert with an update of our enrollment projections.  The next few years are going to be extremely tight at our elementary sites.  However, we are confident we can move ahead of this curve and soon have enough capacity to meet elementary enrollment needs with an appropriate supply of classrooms.  Besides Garland, we are also going to add some enrollment capacity soon at Ohlone Elementary, one of our largest campuses in terms of acreage.

But it is not just growth at the elementary level that poses a challenge.  Our middle and high schools are also anticipating steady enrollment increases in the next decade.  Architects have started working with middle school administrators to see where classrooms and other facilities can be placed or existing space can be used more effectively.  We believe we can make important changes and additions to our middle schools that will add to the experiences and opportunities of our middle school students and staffs.

Perhaps the biggest building buzz is happening at the high schools.  Under the leadership of the principals, both Gunn and Paly are in the throes of master planning their sites.  Both of these schools have fallen far behind neighboring high schools in terms of having facilities worthy of the promise and talents of their students.  Almost half of the building program funds are dedicated to improving the facilities at our high schools, in part because the majority of a prior bond were spent on K-8 facilities.  This master planning work is crucial because the decisions made in this process over the next few months will set in motion construction timelines, the overall layout of these campuses, and how facility improvements will enable the schools to meet the changing needs of students.  Our high schools can also anticipate large increases in enrollment in the coming decade.  Throughout the process, our work to address enrollment growth will be guided by the recently approved changes to Board Policy on School Size that captures the values of parity in terms of educational opportunity and program as well as the importance of personalized learning environments.

It should be mentioned that some construction work is already underway.  The building of the new aquatic center at Gunn began the day after the bond was passed and is on budget and on schedule.  Bids will be received for the Gunn industrial arts building on December 16, and we anticipate work beginning on this facility in January 2009.

Throughout the next three months, the Board of Education is going to be receiving reports and recommendations from staff on the direction of the program.  They will also be analyzing the information received from school administrators and members of their communities who are meeting with architects and other planners to create a roadmap for our education facility improvements.  As our elected officials, they weigh these recommendations in public and make the final decisions regarding this important work.

The best place to see the district wide efforts is to follow the board meetings and study sessions.  Materials for these meetings are available at  Meetings are currently scheduled for December 9 at 9:00 a.m. (Special Meeting) and later that day at 6:30 p.m. (Regular Meeting).  An additional Special Meeting is scheduled for December 15 at 12:00 p.m.  Our high schools are also disseminating information through their websites.  We invite your interest and voice into the process at whatever level you wish.

Making facility improvements will be our collective legacy to the students and community.  We are planning and building for the education of our students and for what they will need in the next fifty years.  We will work hard to prove worthy of the investment our community is making in this work. Thank you again for enabling progress and supporting the bond measure and our growing school district.

Kevin Skelly, Ph.D.

Movie Night at Palo Verde

Watch the blockbuster hit movie, Kung Fu Panda, with your family and friends!

Tuesday, November 25th, 6-8 p.m. in the MP Room

Admission is free, but a donation to the 5th grade promotion would be appreciated:  $5.00 per child, $10.00 per family

Popcorn $1.00; Hot Dogs $ 2.00;  Drinks $ 1.00;  Baked Goods $ 1.00

Bring a blanket, sleeping bag, or lawn chair

Hosted by the 5th grade parents and students  

News: November 14, 2008

From the desk of Lupe Garcia

Dear Palo Verde Parents, Students, and Community, 

I want to express my personal gratitude for your thoughtful and kind support in getting this year off to a very good start.  That support has come in various ways, but all has directly benefited our children.  As such, the PiE Fundraising drive that will benefit our school next year is currently taking place and many have already contributed to the cause.

Support from Partners in Education is critical to maintaining programs at our school. The school foundation provides over $2 million a year to Palo Alto schools.  At Palo Verde that money pays for ALL our classroom aides, the YMCA noontime sports program, part of the Reading Specialist, and our fabulous Spectra Art Program.  Simply put, without PiE funding Palo Verde would be a very different place.

So far 20% percent of our families have participated in the fundraising effort this year.   Last year, 50% percent of our families contributed.  Please help us reach our goal and make a difference by contributing to PiE!  There is good news:  Partners in Education has been given a three-week challenge grant by a group of generous families.  Any donation given to PiE will be matched DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR (up to a total of $100,000) until November 22, 2008.  This is PiE’s “Just Give” challenge grant:  if you give $100, your donation automatically becomes $200, $50 becomes $100, $25 becomes $50.  If you have been planning to give to PiE this year, now is the time!  I thank you in advance for any and all donations that will make it possible to maintain the level of support we currently offer at Palo Verde Elementary.

Updates and other General Information:

A Special Thanks to the many of you who take the lead (as well as the many “quiet doers”) in sponsoring and bringing school related activities to fruition. In particular, a “Special Thank You” to:

  • Lynn Drake- who heads our Traffic Committee—for her tireless efforts and dedication to making sure all our students are safe while traveling to and from school.  In addition, her singular effort to increase bicycle rider ship is second to none.  Keep it up! 
  • Diane Jakubowski and supporting cast for the fabulous 3Rd Grade Bike Rodeo. Instructional scenarios were authentically realistic and educational.  Our 3rd grade students definitely gained from your efforts!
  • Amanda Tumminaro and cast for putting on a fabulous Noon Art Program every other Wednesday.  It’s sure a “beehive” of activity in the MP Room during lunch. Kids come out at the end of the period with projects to share proudly with friends and parents.
  • Fidelia Wang and cast for heading the Noon Games every other Monday. It’s great to have this option available to kids that otherwise might not be involved during lunch recess. 

• Think safety: the rain has arrived and the weather has definitely changed for the worse.  We all need to be extra cautious as we travel to and from school.  However, if you are driving—you absolutely need to take that extra moment to ensure the safety of all our children, whether they are on bicycle, on scooters or on foot.  It’s always better to drive proactively and be safe, than think about the consequences after the fact.  Let’s keep everyone safe! 

Please remember that ongoing communication between you and the school is critical to your child’s success.  Let’s stay in touch!

Warmest regards,

Lupe Garcia

Lupe Garcia’s State of the School Address: Dec. 10th @ 7:00 PM

Please join us December 10th at 7 pm in the MP Room for a State of the School Address with Principal Lupe Garcia. Come hear Principal Garcia speak about his observations of the school since arriving this year and his plans for Palo Verde in the coming months and years. Child care will be provided by Palo Verde Kids Club free of charge. Coffee and sweets will be served. This event is sponsored by the Palo Verde PTA.  

The Student Directory is Here

In today’s Friday folder you should receive your copy of Palo Verde’s 2008-2009 student directory. (Check your email for a .pdf copy if you elected not receive the printed document.)

Please take a moment to review your family’s entries in the class lists, alphabetical list and different last name index (if applicable).  Should you find any errors or unintended omissions, please contact Edith Poole as soon as possible.  This will help us to improve the accuracy and speed of publication of next year’s directory.

Many thanks go to Kim Amsbaugh, Julie Schwardt and Chris McGranahan for assisting in proofing this year’s directory.

The “Help!” Desk…

Please think about helping out with these great events!  We need YOU!

Book Fair – Contact Irena Smith or Tracy Stewart [smithirena (at) hotmail dot com]

4th Grade Books and Pizza – Contact Kim Amsbaugh [amsbaugh [at] gmail dot com]

Auction – Contact Kristin Foss [kfoss (at) rocketmail dot com]

Sally Foster Distribution – Contact April McCandless [aprilmccand (at) yahoo dot com

Movie Night!

Watch the blockbuster hit movie, Kung Fu Panda, with your family and friends!

Tuesday, November 25th 6-8 p.m. in the MP Room, Admission is free, but a $5.00 per child, $10.00 per family donation to the 5th grade promotion would be appreciated

Popcorn $1.00, Hot Dogs $ 2.00, Drinks $ 1.00, Baked Goods $ 1.00

Way to Go, Palo Verde

The results of our “Walk and Roll” to school day in October tell us that 66% of all students get to school by biking, walking, or skating/scooters (without solo driving).  That is terrific! 

Now that the 3rd grade bike rodeo has gotten more kids safely on their bikes, we hope to continue to increase these numbers.  Remember that students feel more refreshed and energetic after walking, or biking to school.  Continue to encourage your children to walk and bike to school during the cooler months by giving them umbrellas, warm coats, and mittens.   Keep up the good work parents and students!

Schoolpop is now OneCause

Recently, Schoolpop, the online shopping fundraising platform for K-12 schools, merged with its sister website, OneCause, the fundraising platform for nonprofits, colleges and universities. Together the two programs will now operate under the OneCause name.

With the name change comes a redesigned, friendly interface.  You can now save merchants to a new favorites section to make shopping via OneCause quicker and easier.  You can opt to receive order confirmation emails that will let you know when your purchases and contributions are reported to OneCause by OneCause merchants.  You can also invite friends and family to join OneCause and contribute to our school with the click of a button.

When you start your online shopping trips at OneCause, you will contribute as much as 20% of every eligible purchase to Palo Verde PTA, at no extra cost to you.  Hundreds of well-known merchants such as, Apple iTunes, Lands’ End, Pottery Barn and Travelocity participate.

Please take time to register at today, if you haven’t already. 

Just Start Clipping 

Box Tops for Education is a school fundraising opportunity sponsored by General Mills. It’s a great way to earn money for our school, and it’s easy. All you need to do is save those Box Tops found on many General Mills products throughout the year in preparation for our Box Top Classroom Collection Contest later in the Spring. So, look for those Box Tops coupons on hundreds of products in your local grocery store. Each one is worth ten cents to our school. So, just start clipping.

Cookie Dough is Coming

Our Sally Foster order will arrive next week!  Cookie dough and gift wrap orders will be delivered to Palo Verde on Tuesday, Nov. 18.  Please plan to pick up cookie dough anytime after 10am in front of the office.  Gift wrap will be sent home with students on Tuesday (or feel free to pick it up along with your cookie dough).  Please contact April McCandless to make any special arrangements to pick up your order:  (650) 251-0000 or aprilmccand (at) yahoo dot com.

Palo Verde’s Books and Pizza Night

WHEN: Wed. Nov. 19th, 5:30 – 7 pm, the first night of the Palo Verde Book Fair

WHAT: Pizza, salad, dessert and a drink for only $7 per person

WHERE: Outside the MP Room

WHY: Support the 4th Grade and their upcoming Gold Rush Trip

Mark Your Calendars for Palo Verde’s 2009 Silent Auction!!

This year’s event will be held on February 7th at the Lucy Stern Community Center.  Save the date for this fun evening of socializing, dessert sampling, bidding on wonderful auction items and helping raise money for Palo Verde.  This is our biggest fundraiser of the year and you don’t want to miss it!!!  Look for more details soon.

If you are interested in volunteering for this important event, please contact Kim Amsbaugh at amsbaugh (at) gmail dot com or Kristin Foss at kfoss (at) rocketmail dot com.  Volunteers are needed to help plan the event, coordinate donations with families and businesses, publicity and set up/check out the night of the event.

Palo Verde is also looking for businesses to help sponsor the event.  If you/your company are willing to help underwrite the cost of the auction this year, we would love to hear from you.  Donors are thanked in the form of a written acknowledgement in the auction catalog, on signage and more.  Please contact Kristin Foss at kfoss (at) rocketmail dot com for more information.

Have an Extra Coat in Your Closet?

The Girl Scout Troops at Palo Verde are collecting clean, reusable coats/parkas or jackets that are weather resistant. Men’s coats are especially needed.  In addition, we are collecting hats, scarves, gloves and umbrellas.  We will take all sizes.

Date:  November 17 – 25, 2008

Where: Collection boxes are located in the front of the school office 

On behalf of …One Warm Coat  

Donations will go to the Opportunity Center in Palo Alto.  Contact Evelyn Guernsey with any questions: jandeg (at) sbcglobal dot net

Community Kiosk

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