Palos Verdes PeninsulaHigh School

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Principal's Update


March 24, 2019
Follow the latest Pen news on Twitter:  @PVPHS_Principal   
Good luck to our seniors as they 
hear from colleges this week
ASB organized our annual basketball game featuring staff members versus seniors from our varsity basketball squads. The gym was packed at lunch on Wednesday to watch this exciting back and forth game. The staff scored with just seconds left on the clock to pull ahead by 2 and the students had a heart-breaker 3-point attempt at the buzzer  that swished into, and out of, the basket - giving the win to the staff this year. Years ago, when we were Rolling Hills High, this annual game was played atop of donkeys...
On Friday evening, March 22, our beautiful choir, under the direction of Dan Doctor, performed their Spring Concert for a very appreciative audience at the Rolling Hills United Methodist Church. The Chamber Choir, Varsity Voices, and Women's Treble Choir sang songs of peace, joy, faith and love originating from throughout the world. A special thanks to the choir's accompanists Jarod Sheahan.
Thank you to those who joined us for TEDxYouth@PVPHS 2019! Our 8 speakers gave some incredibly inspiring thoughts and ideas. Video links for the talk will be available shortly. Thank you to Service Learning Leadership and their teacher Heather Myrick for sponsoring and bringing this event to Peninsula. The student and adult speakers left the audience with plenty to think about and discuss about their "ideas worth spreading".

The first two rounds of this year's Scholar Quiz are in the books. The quarterfinals will be held tomorrow and the semis on Tuesday followed by the final round in the gym this Wednesday during an extended lunch period. Good luck to all of our teams!
Team Backpack is moving on to the quarterfinal round
Last week, 14 Peninsula student delegates joined students from Palos Verdes High and Rancho del Mar, teachers, administrators, parents, and a school board member for the annual Capitol Convoy to Sacramento. The group advocated for Assembly Bill 39 which is authored by Assembly member Al Muratsuchi. The bill would increase school funding for all schools in California. Thanks to PTSA for organizing and funding this valuable experience that gives students a hands-on opportunity to learn about state government and foster civic engagement.
This week we will be observing Disability Awareness Week. Our PLUS leadership students, Best Buddies and Unified campus clubs, and our Skills for Independence students have been working hard to  prepare. Several lunch time activities will be held to teach our students to Choose to Include. RESPECT t-shirts will be on sale for $5. The week will culminate in a Unified Sports Track Meet on Thursday during 4th period and lunch - everyone is invited to come to the football field and cheer on the athletes.
Nourish individuals living in homelessness by making sandwiches on April 12th from 2:00-3:00pm. Volunteers will meet in the library and sandwiches will be assembled in the faculty dining room adjacent to the library. Sandwiches will be donated to Beacon Light Mission. Service hours and supplies will be provided! For questions and to RSVP please email Please be aware of the exposure to peanut butter during this event. Looking forward to seeing you there!
We are looking for a few parents who are available to help during AP Pre-Administration on Thursday, April 11. On this day, over one thousand Pen High AP students will be coming to the gym to prepare their AP answer sheets for the upcoming AP exams. Volunteers are needed to hand out materials and to help the students complete their paperwork accurately. There are two shifts we need more help with: 6:45am - 10am and 12:30pm - 2:45pm. If you can help at either of these times, please send email to Susan Breitenstein at
Peninsula Education Foundation (PEF) proudly presents  Parent University this Tuesday, March 26 at Miraleste Intermediate School from 6-7:30 pm. The speaker Harlan Cohen is a New York Times best-selling author of six books, and a nationally syndicated advice columnist who has spoken to thousands of students and parents to help:
  • middle school students dream big and get over their fears
  • high school students become gritty leaders and navigate college planning
  • high school grads successfully make the transition to life in college
  • soon-to-be grads find their dream job
  • parents get comfortable with all the changes along the way
This is a free event for all PVPUSD parents!
Join us this Tuesday morning, March 26, for the March PVPHS PTSA Association meeting. We will be holding the election of officers for the 2019-2020 school year, hear about our students' visit to Sacramento and get an update on the PTA Reflections program. Our guest speaker will be Mark Hernandez, the Tobacco Use Prevention Education (TUPE) Coordinator from the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE), who will talk to us about teens and vaping. The meeting is in the PVPHS Community Room. The meeting begins at 9:00 am, but come early for hot coffee and good conversation with fellow Panther Parents. The meeting agenda is HERE.
Congratulations to Julia Kate Bradley and Paulina Garmute, league champions in Parliamentary Debate. They were the first team from Peninsula to qualify for the State Championships in May, going undefeated at the Debate Qualifiers on March 16.

Congratulations COED Choreo for their success at WCE Nationals last weekend.
 1st place Small COED Hip Hop 
 2nd place Large All Male Hip Hop 
3rd place Large COED Hip Hop JV - Silver Division 
 What an amazing end to a great season!
Congratulations Varsity Dance on a fabulous season! At USA Nationals, March 17 and 18, Varsity Dance made the finals in both small jazz (2nd place) and large dance (3rd place). Ione Ogawa made Super Dancer finals (5th place) and Lani Hollingsworth made the finals of the Solo Champion category. Great way to end the season, ladies!

On Wednesday, March 13, 2019, six Peninsula students participated in the prestigious three-hour American Mathematics Invitational Examination (AIME). Students were invited to participate based on their American Mathematics Competitions (AMC 10 or AMC 12) scores. Congratulations to these students who placed in the top 2.5% (AMC 10) and in the top 5% (AMC 12) out of all participants worldwide: Joshua Masuda, Suraj Anand, Aksh Garg, Aidan Pulmano, Taejun Lee.

On Saturday, March 16, 2019, our Math Team continued their mathematical quest at CSU Long Beach for the annual Math Day at the Beach competition. After spending their morning competing in both individual and team rounds, our mathletes tied for first in the relay round and placed SECOND in their Division. Congratulations to Albert Tan, James Ma, Joshua Masuda, Suraj Anand, Jiaju Liu, and Akash Anand for their outstanding achievement.

The following is another in a series of  weekly columns from guest writer, Dr. Moe Gelbart, Executive Director of the Thelma McMillen Center.
We all love our children. We all want to do what is best for them, protect them, help them to succeed, and insure that nothing bad happens to them. We need to find a balance, however, between support and enabling. Many parents ask me what the difference is, especially when I am working with teens (or adults) who are experiencing problems with drugs or alcohol. The basic difference is that support is a "two-way street", while enabling is a "one-way street". When we support our children, there is an unwritten contract that each of us has a responsibility to perform, and that as long as one person does what they have agreed to, the other will respond in kind. For example, you may tell your teen "as long as you don't use drugs or alcohol, we will provide you with a vehicle to drive". If they demonstrate compliance, then they get to drive. If, however, they experiment and use, and we give them second and third chances, or are unable or unwilling to put up with their upset and anger, and continue to let them drive, we are enabling them. In other words, our behavior is actually strengthening the behavior which we want to avoid.
In previous articles, I have written about the value of limits, consequences, and follow through, and enabling is not enforcing limits, and not following through with consequences. Some parents are determined to provide too much support. We have all heard the term "helicopter parenting", which describes parents who hover over their children, and are over focused on them, often taking too much responsibility for their successes or failures. Newer terms include "lawnmower parent", and "bulldozer parent". Such behavior generally emanates from a good, caring, loving place, though it may be fueled by one's own unfulfilled dreams and regrets, and living one's life through their children. The helicopter parent is so concerned that their child will not find their own way that they intervene in things like teacher selection, playing time in sports, closely monitoring school work and over-assisting in projects, selecting children's friends for them. We have come to a place in our society that we are afraid to let our children feel disappointment, uncertainty, and failure. In reality, these are often important life lessons, and help children grow, and gain self-esteem. 
Of course, our role as parents is to protect our children from danger, and severe consequences, but over protection can have negative impact. When we do too much for our children, the message we may be sending to them is that they are not capable of achieving those things themselves. Although the results may be positive, in regards to things like grades, their self-esteem does not improve and grow. In order for self-esteem and self-confidence to improve, one must benefit from the results of their efforts, and take pride in their achievements. Otherwise, results not earned can often lead to what is called "the impostor syndrome", which follows people well into their adulthood and careers. I have worked with many successful adults, CEOs of companies, who fear internally that they will be found out as incompetent. In addition to decreased confidence and self-esteem, overprotecting your children decreases the development of their own coping skills, and their ability to deal with negative outcomes, and often increases anxiety. The other major consequence is a sense of entitlement, and developing a belief that things will always be taken care of. The reality is that the world will not treat them like their parents do, the world will not enable them. Their teachers, their bosses, the local police officer will not be okay with them not holding up their end of the bargain. 

What are some things you can do to stop overprotecting and enabling your children, and to put your helicopter down?
  • Redefine the notion of failure. It is a word I try and help parents not use. Instead, I encourage them to look at behavior as successive approximations to the mark. Each time you miss the mark, you are provided with new, good information to improve your next attempt.
  • Understand limits, consequences, and follow through, and hold your children accountable.
  • Recognize that difficulties and roadblocks are building blocks to growth, strength, and independence. Overcoming obstacles may be painful, but are great learning tools.
  • Know that you cannot protect them from disappointment, and that not being successful at everything can actually be a benefit. Help them learn to understand that they do not need to be perfect. Like the saying goes: "Perfect is the enemy of good".
  • Accept, and help them accept, the notion that things will not always work out. Help them take (safe) risks.
Remember, if you have issues you would like to see addressed, please email me at . Your inquiries will always remain anonymous. 

Moe Gelbart, PhD
Executive Director, Thelma McMillen Center
Two big events this month:
  • Parents and educators - don't miss Julie Lythcott-Haims, renowned author of How to Raise an Adult, on March 24th and 25th at Mira Costa! This is a must see. 
  • Teens and parents - help youth connect with their creativity at this special Families Connected Speaker Series event with world champion skater, Rodney Mullen.
Read the March Families Connected e-newsletter for events, resources, parent blogs, and more. 

To access a variety of parenting topics and resources to help youth thrive, visit our own PVPUSD Families Connected wellness page.
Contact Associate Principal Toombs
Parents and guardians of incoming 9th graders are invited to visit the Peninsula High campus for an orientation evening on Thursday, April 11th. 
  • 5:00 - 6:00 pm: Meet teachers and advisers about classes and special programs available during freshman year in the covered lunch area.
  • 6:00 - 6:30 pm: Presentations by the PVPHS Administrators in the Gym. 
  • 6:30 - 7:30 pm: Attend a scheduling information presentation given by the student's PVPHS Counselor.
Expand your horizons! Come see  SCROC (Southern California Regional Occupational Center) classes in action! Come to the Open House this Thursday, March 28th from 2:00-6:30 pm on the SCROC campus - 2300 Crenshaw Blvd in Torrance. Join us in the Board Room to sign up for a tour!

It's time to get ready for Palos Verdes Peninsula Summer School open to all students entering 9th through 12th grade in the fall. This year the program will be held on the Palos Verdes High campus from June 17 through July 3 (1st semester) and from July 8 through July 25 (2nd semester). Space is limited and enrollment is on a first come, first serve basis. Visit for course offerings, teachers and more information or contact the Summer School Help Desk at (310) 378-8695.
Contact Mrs. Arico
Visit the CCC Website
Have you received a college financial aid award letter and don't know how to interpret it? Do terms like subsidized and unsubsidized loans confuse you? Join us for a one hour workshop on understanding the financial aid award letter. We are offering the workshop two times (the same information will be presented at each workshop):
  • Thursday, April 11 at 8:30am - for parents only. Please check in at the Main Office before coming to the CCC
  • Tuesday, April 16 at 6:30pm - for parents and students
Seniors, are you looking for money to pay for college? Scholarships are a great way to get funding for college so check out all the great opportunities on Naviance. Many scholarship applications are due this week and the first two weeks of April. Don't wait to check them out!
What a fun and exciting evening! We could not have been more proud of our senior athletes and all of you that came out in full force to support our student athletes. It was truly a special event. Thanks to all of you that showed your support through volunteer efforts and/or financial support. The evenings Master of Ceremonies, Larry Campbell, was truly electric with his speech and rapping. The fun just never seemed to stop. Thank you to our event co-chairs, Thea Sanderson and Michelle Seaton, and the entire committee for your months of hard work preparing for this fabulous event. And a big Thank You to our 2019 A Black & Gold Affaire Sponsors.
Boys' Tennis
Tuesday @ 2:30pm vs Redondo
Boys' Volleyball
Tuesday @ 4:30pm vs Redondo
Tuesday @ 3:00pm vs TBA
Saturday @ 11:00am vs El Camino Real
Friday @ 3:15pm vs Redondo
Girls' Lacrosse
Wednesday @ 4:00pm vs Mira Costa
Boys' Lacrosse
Thursday @ 3:30pm vs Palos Verdes
Remember the Titans!
The Class of 1969 is having 
a reunion this summer!

For more info 
Monday, Tuesday, 
and Thursday
Period 0: 7a-7:55a 
Period 1: 8a-8:53a 
Period 2: 8:59a-9:52a
Panther Time: 9:52a-10:10a 
Period 3: 10:15a-11:14a 
Period 4: 11:20a-12:13p 
Lunch: 12:13p-12:48p 
Period 5: 12:54p-1:47p 
Period 6: 1:52p-2:45p

(Mini Assembly)
Period 0: 7a-7:55a 
Period 1: 8a-8:53a 
Period 2: 8:59a-9:52a
Period 3: 9:58a-10:51a
Period 4: 10:57a- 11:50a
Lunch: 11:50a-12:47p 
Period 5: 12:53p-1:46p 
Period 6: 1:52p-2:45p
(Minimum Day)
Period 0: 7:20a - 7:55a
Period 1: 8:00a - 8:35a
Period 2: 8:41a - 9:16a
Period 3: 9:22a - 9:57a
 Period 4: 10:03a - 10:38a
Period 5: 10:44a - 11:19a
Period 6: 11:25a - Noon
Support PVPHS Winterguard and Band THIS TUESDAY

 Follow Pen High on the following official sites 







Have a great week Panthers! 
There will not be a Principal's Update next Sunday. I hope you all have a fun, restful Spring Break. The next Update will be on Sunday, April 7 and school resumes on Monday, April 8.
Brent Kuykendall