School hosts Friday Family Time to answer parent questions

November 12, 2021 — by Jonny Luo
Photo by Jonny Luo

This month’s FAQ

Principal Greg Louie, guidance counselor Alinna Satake and 15 parents sat in a circle on Oct. 15 in the community center, discussing topics such as college admissions, GPA calculations, concerns for students’ mental health and even the Los Gatos mom who was arrested in October and accused of hosting drunken teen parties. 

The meeting was the first Friday Family Time meeting, a monthly meeting that Louie and Satake have set up to discuss parents’ questions and concerns. These meetings occur on the third Friday of every month, from 9:30-10:30 a.m. 

“I felt like, especially coming out of COVID-19, it would be really helpful to open up more avenues of communication with the parent community,” Satake said. 

The idea of Friday Family Time started when Satake was invited to a PTSO meeting to answer a few questions about the school profile and college admissions. However, the conversation extended much longer than the 15 minutes she was allotted, prompting her and Louie to create the monthly initiative to answer the breadth of parent questions. 

Before meetings, parents and students can submit questions through a Google Form. Then, Satake and Louie answer those same questions, in addition to those posed in-person. Afterwards, Louie compiles these answers into a document that he sends out through his Friday Letters. 

The Friday Family Time meetings are held in-person instead of onlinethrough a hybrid method because Louie “hates hybrid-mode with the fire of a thousand suns.” Parents have similarly expressed the idea that they prefer meeting in-person rather than online.

The school takes into consideration the concerns brought forth by parents during the meetings and through the Google Form. For example, after a parent brought up a question about student stress after reading “How to Raise an Adult” by Julie Lythcott-Haims, Satake decided to start a Book Club for parents to discuss the book and others that discuss student stress. The book club’s tentative first meeting is planned for Nov. 29 from 12-1 p.m. through Zoom. The club will discuss the book through four separate meetings ending in May. 

Satake has also talked to the Wellness Center team about having a share-out with the parents about mental health, and she is also considering having themed topics for future Friday Family Time meetings instead of the current, open discussion. 

Jessica Liu, parent of senior Christopher Liu and Class of 2021 alumni alumnus Anthony Liu, said she has thus far enjoyed Friday Family Time and will continue to attend future meetings. 

“Parents are very grateful and appreciative to have this meeting series,” Liu said. “The first one-hour meeting was too short, but we [parents] look forward to the continuous meeting series.”

Liu much prefers the new in-person, group format to one-on-one channels between a parent and a counselor because both the school administration and other parents are able to easily input their decisions. 

Similarly, parent Baoqing Huang said she is also planning to attend more meetings in the future and prefers the in-person format.

“I really enjoyed Friday Family Time; it was candid, friendly, and very informative,” Huang said. “I appreciate the opportunity to have a dialogue with the school administration in such a productive way — nothing beats being able to sit in a room, look at a person, and have a genuine conversation.”

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