The Superintendent McGee Advanced Authentic Research Award at Stanford University


“Where else can high school students have the opportunity to pursue a real world project that will generate new knowledge while making an important contribution to society?”

Superintendent Glenn “Max” McGee, Palo Alto Unified School District 
October 13, 2017 

Except from: The Oracle Gunn High School News

Superintendent Max McGee created the AAR program to give students the opportunity to investigate a research topic of their choice t the Palo Alto Unified School District in Silicon Valley. The program has grown exponentially since its initiation to nearly two hundred students and more than one hundred mentors. Out of the many changes he implemented in the school district, McGee cited his district level AAR program and the influence it has had on his students as his proudest achievement. “Where else can high school students have the opportunity to pursue a real world project that will generate new knowledge while making an important contribution to society?” he said. Superintendent McGee is particularly invested in this program, even personally mentoring 11 students. “It was a major passion project for him, and I think it showed his dedication to interdisciplinary learning and actually letting students be able to research topics, as opposed to just learning about stuff in the classroom,” Student board member Arun said. As a result, Stanford’s Peace Innovation Lab conceived a fellowship named after McGee, the Superintendent McGee Advanced Authentic Research Award.   

As superintendent, McGee stated that he made sure that he was accessible and present at Gunn High School, and that he was dedicated to getting to know students as individuals by attending Student Executive Council work periods and even college recruitment commendation events for athletes.

Special Events Commissioner senior Mary Sapigao believed these actions had an impact on students. “He really likes to reach out to people and make them feel welcomed,” Sapigao said.

For McGee, his fondest memories of being superintendent  are spending time with students. “Reading with a group of kindergarten students, clowning around with a group of middle school students, talking about some issues that really mattered to high school students, engaging the students and hearing student voice is really my favorite part of the job,” McGee said.

The Advanced Authentic Research program now has a district level journal were students are publishing peer review articles at the classroom, district and national level.   

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