Gunn High School

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Henry M. Gunn High School
Gunn High School May 2011.jpg
780 Arastradero Road
Palo Alto, California, 94306
United States
Coordinates 37°23′56″N 122°07′59″W / 37.399°N 122.133°W / 37.399; -122.133Coordinates: 37°23′56″N 122°07′59″W / 37.399°N 122.133°W / 37.399; -122.133
Type Public
Established 1964
School district Palo Alto Unified School District
Oversight Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Superintendent Glenn "Max" McGee
Principal Dr. Denise Herrmann
Assistant principals Kimberley Cowell, Tom Jacoubowsky, Trinity Klein
Staff 131 (2011–2012)[1]
Grades 9–12
Enrollment 1,897 (2014–2015)[2]
Area Northern Santa Clara County
Color(s)          Red and Black
Athletics conference Santa Clara Valley Athletic League
CIF Central Coast Section
Mascot Timmy the Titan
Team name Titans
Newspaper The Oracle
Yearbook The Olympian
Feeder schools Jordan Middle School
JLS Middle School
Terman Middle School

Henry M. Gunn High School is one of two public high schools in Palo Alto, California. Gunn is well known for its academically rigorous environment[citation needed] and enjoys a spirited academic and athletic rivalry with nearby Palo Alto High School.


Established in 1964, Gunn High School was named after Henry M. Gunn, who served as the Palo Alto superintendent from 1950 to 1961. In 1964, the Palo Alto Unified School District announced it would name the district's third high school after him. The Class of 1966 was the first class to graduate from Gunn High School.[3]

In the spring of 2010, Gunn High School was picketed by members of the Westboro Baptist Church. In response, students and staff staged a successful counter-demonstration in the form of a Phelps-A-Thon. As a result, the school received favorable press and publicity and raised more than $1,100.00 for its gay-straight alliance.[4][5]


U.S. News & World Report rated Gunn High School 66th in 2007, 74th in 2008, and 64th in 2010.[6] Newsweek rated Gunn High School the 81st best high school in America in 2008 and 42nd in 2011.[7]

U.S. News & World Report rated Gunn High School 4th in the nation in 2012 for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math education.[8]

95.9% of the graduating class go on to attend college, with 80.2% going to four-year colleges. The average SAT score for Gunn seniors is 1942 for the Class of 2010 (633 CR, 673 M, 636 W).[9] Gunn has one of the highest average SAT scores for public high schools in the United States. Gunn also has many students who are selected as National Merit Semifinalists – 43 in 2007, 44 in 2008, 31 in 2009, 42 in 2010, 30 in 2011, and 36 in 2012.[10] In addition, 50 students received a National Merit letter of commendation in 2007, 50 in 2008, 60 in 2009, 68 in 2010 and 74 in 2011. Usually 25% of the Gunn senior class receives one of these two National Merit honors.

Gunn offers 22 AP classes and 8 Honors classes that count for the weighted GPA.[9] In May 2010, 657 students took 1820 AP tests. 93% scored 3 or higher and 54% scored a grade of 5. Gunn no longer ranks students, but ranking was previously recorded by decile.[9]

Education in mathematics and sciences is particularly strong. In 2004, 5 students qualified for the USAMO out of around 250 nationally, and during the 2004–2005 school year 5 out of the approximately 35 American students in the Gold Division of the USACO were from Gunn. In 2009, nine students qualified for the USAMO. Gunn also consistently places in the Top 3 at the Bay Area Mathematics Olympiad (BAMO). In 2011, the Gunn team placed 9th at the Harvard-MIT Mathematics Tournament.

In 2011, Gunn had four national semifinalists in the Siemens Competition and the Intel Science Talent Search, two of the most prestigious science competitions in America. In each competition, one individual went on to compete at the finalist stage.[11][12]


Gunn is also host to Project Lead the Way (PLTW), an organization that promotes science, technology, engineering, and math. Courses from this program include Digital Electronics and Introduction to Engineering Design, as well as Principles of Engineering.[13] However, in the 2012–2013 school year, only Introduction to Engineering Design will be offered. Digital Electronics was cancelled due to low enrollment and Principles of Engineering was cancelled due to funding issues.




  • 1,897 students: 1,008 Male (53.1%), 889 Female (46.9%)
Asian White Hispanic Two or More Races African American Filipino Pacific Islander American Indian Not Reported
831 734 167 117 27 15 4 2 0
43.8% 38.7% 8.8% 6.2% 1.4% 0.8% 0.2% 0.1% 0%

Standardized testing[edit]

SAT Scores for 2013–2014[14]
Critical Reading Average Math Average Writing Average
Gunn High 630 676 638
District 629 668 634
Statewide 492 506 489

2013 Academic Performance Index
2009 Base API [15] 2013 Growth API [16] Growth in the API from 2009 to 2013
915 917 2

Student groups[edit]

Gunn offers over 90 student clubs, teams, and organizations that focus on art, community action, culture, environment, politics, music, dance, journalism, and more.


The Oracle is Gunn's official student newspaper publication. The organization was established in 1964. The newspaper publishes nine issues of approximately 28 pages every school year and concludes the year with the publication of a Senior Issue.[17]

Student government[edit]

The Gunn Associated Student Body Student Executive Council (SEC) is in charge of maintaining student funds and planning and executing activities that foster school spirit and make high school memorable.[18] SEC handles Homecoming Week, Spring Fling, school dances, special events, and rallies on campus. SEC is led by an elected President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Class Presidents and VP's, and various Commissioners.[19]


Gunn students stage three major productions every year (Fall, Spring and One Acts) and occasional staged readings.[20] Current theatre director James Shelby has been with the program since 1983.


The Gunn Music Program has a long and proud tradition of excellence, achieving outstanding group results while rewarding individual competence and dedication.[21] The program contains several music groups including a Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, Orchestra, Concert Band, Concert Choir, and Chamber Singers.

Robotics team[edit]

The Gunn Robotics Team (GRT), established in 1997, competes at the FIRST Robotics Competition. It is also the only FIRST Robotics team to have won the national animation award more than once, winning in 1997, 2006, and 2012. They also won best models worldwide in their 2010 animation.[22] In 2012 The Robotics Team won the National FRC Championship Excellence in Design Award (3D Animation) sponsored by Autodesk. GRT is the only team that has won a total of three Animation awards in the history of FIRST.[23][24][25]

Gunn High School football field
Gunn High School football field

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "School Profile 2011–12: Henry M. Gunn High School". California Department of Education. 
  2. ^ a b "Enrollment by Ethnicity for 2014–15: Henry M. Gunn High School". California Department of Education. 
  3. ^ "2007 School Profile" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-03-22. [dead link]
  4. ^ "The Talon : Gunn holds Phelps-A-Thon in response to anti-gay protester". The Talon. Retrieved November 21, 2015. 
  5. ^ Gunn High School Sings Away Hate Group. March 30, 2010. Retrieved November 21, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Henry M. Gunn High: Best High Schools". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  7. ^ "The Top of the Class: The complete list of the 1,500 top U.S. high schools". Newsweek Magazine. Retrieved June 8, 2009. [dead link]
  8. ^ "Best STEM High Schools". US World & News Report. US News. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c "Gunn High School School Profile". 
  10. ^ Chris Kenrick (October 3, 2011). "Paly, Gunn seniors win National Merit honors". Retrieved November 21, 2015. 
  11. ^ Chris Kenrick (November 12, 2010). "Palo Alto students among nation's top 30 in Siemens science competition". Retrieved November 21, 2015. 
  12. ^ Chris Kenrick (January 26, 2011). "Gunn senior a finalist in Intel science competition". Retrieved November 21, 2015. 
  13. ^ Home – San Jose High School
  14. ^ "SAT Report 2013-14 – District Level Scores". California Department of Education. 
  15. ^ "2009 Base API School Report – Henry M. Gunn High". California Department of Education Assessment, Accountability and Awards Division. 
  16. ^ "2013 Growth API School Report – Henry M. Gunn High". California Department of Education Analysis, Measurement, & Accountability Reporting Division. 
  17. ^ "The Oracle". The Oracle. Retrieved November 21, 2015. 
  18. ^ "What Does the Student Executive Council Do? – Gunn High School Student Activities". Retrieved November 21, 2015. 
  19. ^ "ASB Officers, Class Officers and Advisors for 2015–2016 – Gunn High School Student Activities". Retrieved November 21, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Program Overview". Gunn Theatre. Retrieved November 21, 2015. 
  21. ^ "". Retrieved November 21, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Gunn Robotics Team – Awards". Retrieved November 21, 2015. 
  23. ^ "Awards – GRT". Retrieved November 21, 2015. 
  24. ^ "NASA Previews Robotics Engineers of the Future" (Press release). NASA Ames Research Center. March 10, 2006. Retrieved 2008-05-22. 
  25. ^ Malone, Michael S. (March 25, 2002). "The Fix-It Kids Take Over". Forbes Magazine ( Inc.). Retrieved 2008-05-22. 

External links[edit]