Palo Alto High School is one of only a handful of public secondary schools in California to take on the daunting task of the private school tradition of service-learning. The only problem is that private schools generally have paid staff to process the forms. We have me, scrambling around juggling three jobs, and a team of skilled and trained volunteers. On Friday afternoon I left part-time job number three at Paly to attend my stepson's football game at Leigh High School. On my way home I got a voicemail from our registrar that she would be working all weekend to document our Seniors' community service hours and would they be ready for her by Saturday morning? I made a quick phone call to our volunteer Linda who updates the database and she said she would do her best to finish.
Saturday night rolled around, and our registrar Suzie was in need of more data. Another call to volunteer database technician Linda and she was almost through. Again today, Sunday, both Suzie and Linda are hard at work adding this important notation to our Senior transcripts. This semester approximately one-third of Paly's Class of 2013 will receive transcript recognition of community service in their areas of interest from media arts, sports, medicine, math, and more. We are forecasting about 30,000 more hours completed from this group alone!
Many years ago, Palo Alto Unified District signed a memorandum that community service hours would be recognized on our students' transcripts but there was no consideration of the time involved to process and verify the hours our students would document to earn this accolade. I am incredibly grateful to our team of 5 volunteers and our registrar who put in more time than we could ever compensate them for, this weekend and in the coming weeks. Someday, I hope we can be so streamlined and tech savvy that nobody has to work 'round the clock!