Pleasanton Weekly

Column - September 14, 2007

Space travel comes to Valley View 5th grade

by Jeb Bing

Students in one fifth grade class at Valley View Elementary had a virtual front row seat at last month's launch of the space shuttle Endeavour thanks to their teacher Rob Palassou, who is passionate about space exploration and wants to encourage young Americans to consider it as a future career.

Palassou, now in his 11th year as a teacher, actually came close to becoming an astronaut. Well not too close. He was among 197 teachers in NEAT--NASA's Network of Educator Astronaut Teachers--to compete for a chance to fly aboard a future space shuttle. NASA picked three, not him, but he was chosen to go to the August launch of Endeavour, spending a week at the Kennedy Space Center as a special guest of NASA. He met Barbara Morgan, a fellow teacher and one of the seven Endeavour astronauts, now 55, who was the backup to Christa McAuliffe, the first teacher selected to fly on the Challenger in 1986. The Challenger exploded shortly after launch, killing all on board and delaying both the shuttle program for several years and civilian participation even longer. Morgan waited 22 years before NASA gave her a spot on Endeavour and Palassou was in a front row seat on the bleachers overlooking the launch site to see her off.

Although he won't be part of a future shuttle launch, NASA likes Palassou's enthusiasm for its space program and his commitment to inspire fifth-graders to focus on science, math and engineering as they move into middle and high school and then to college. In his travels and meetings with scientists, he sees students in India, China and possibly even Russia moving faster and unwaveringly in rocket and space travel careers. Although the U.S. may not have the quantity of the enthusiastic 20- and 30-year-olds in the coming decades to keep the U.S. space program and exploration in front as we had in the 1960s, '70s and '80s, Palassou and fellow teachers on NASA's teacher brigade are determined to provide students with the quality needed to keep this country on top.

A Cal State East Bay graduate with a degree in biological sciences, Palassou worked for the Livermore Lab for seven years, losing interest after the federal government cut funds for an environmental science project he planned to conduct in the High Sierra. Always fascinated by race cars, he quit the lab and joined a friend who was in the sport. For the next six years, Palassou raced on tracks up and down the West Coast and even Daytona and Sebring until the cost of moving into the big time races became more than he could handle. Without Madison Avenue and corporate sponsors, Sears Point would be his best shot at racing as a career. That's when he turned to teaching, first in San Leandro and moving to Pleasanton 11 years ago.

Not married, Palassou calls his 33 fifth-graders this year--and the several hundred he taught earlier--"my family." He likes fifth grade because it's the last year kids have just one teacher who gets to teach all the courses. He's using every chance he has to interest them in science and space travel. Last week, he put a video of the Endeavour launch on "YouTube" (search YouTube for "rpsport") for his students to watch. He's also working with his class on building lunar growth chambers, where they can create different environments in which to grow seeds that Astronaut Morgan took into space. Next summer, he's hoping to join two other Pleasanton teachers on a NASA "weightless" flight over the Gulf of Mexico, affectionately known as the Vomit Comet. The teachers will conduct experiments their students will help design, bringing back results that can be examined and tweaked. On Sept. 29, Palassou will talk about his NASA-related work and space science opportunities along with Astronaut Sally Ride at the Sally Ride Science Festival at Moffett Field in Mountain View for fifth- to eighth-grade girls. Check www.sallyridefestivals.com for more information and be sure to tell Palassou you're from Pleasanton. He might have a special NASA experiment for you to handle.

Comments

Posted by camilla william-olsson, a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Sep 18, 2007 at 3:05 am

Hello from Sweden!
As a former Valley View parent and volounteer who was fortunate to have Mr.Palassou as a 4th and 5th grade teacher for my son I would like to add a comment;My son was far ahead his fellow students in Science and Math after our move back to Sweden-eventhough he was a year younger that most in his class. His keen understanding and interest in these subjects are all thanks to an ever enthusiastic and inspiring teacher like Mr. Rob Pallassou.Pleasanton should be very proud to have him as a member of the Valley View family.Best Greetings from Sweden, Camilla


Posted by tamara nguyen, a resident of Ponderosa
on Sep 20, 2007 at 6:39 pm

hey,
my name is tamara nguyen and im in fifth grade. i go to valley view and my class is 3 classes away. most of my friends are in his class like Mariah, May, Carly, and more. my teacher is great but i still wish i was in his class even before i was in fifth grade. plus they have a couch in his room. he is realy funny.

from,
tamara


Posted by MR. Autism, a resident of Danville
on Feb 6, 2010 at 4:45 pm

I think Palassou should lessen his strictence of the rules. He yanked my book from my hands when he was leading me back to my class when i got llost during a fire drill but he says i'm wondering by myself. He never told me not to look at it and since i'm an elementry scholl kid i dont think right so he needs to either lessen strictence of rules or teach middle school or above where strictence of rules is actually needed


Posted by Typo man, a resident of Danville
on Feb 20, 2010 at 10:28 am

I agree with Mr. Autism's commont he made me stop crossing a cross walk while he was on duty because i was doing it wrong. You know the path that leads right to the side of the office building and how just beyond the cross walk there's a purotudence. I was crossing on that and was perfectly safe due to no cars either way. And he goes nope nope nope. I go back and cross right he goes that's the one dude if had courage to talk to people i would say "DUDE you like your job to much."


Posted by Mr. Autism, a resident of Danville
on Feb 22, 2010 at 8:09 pm

Finally Palassou gets the bad spotlight thanks Typo man


Posted by good will student, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Feb 24, 2010 at 5:49 pm

I think insulting Palassou isn't funny i admit he's strict when there is the slightest rule issue but, he is nice i've had him as my teacher don't critize him. How about we create a vote page or something


Posted by Typo man, a resident of Danville
on Feb 24, 2010 at 8:42 pm

Ok vote #1 he is to stict a teacher
MR. Autism will back me up when next he checks this


Posted by student speaker, a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Feb 24, 2010 at 8:49 pm

i'm in Palassou's class and i say his is a bad teacher but an ok person


Posted by Mr. Autism, a resident of Danville
on Feb 25, 2010 at 5:32 pm

Well i agree with Typo man and say Palassou (I cant type his name in one go) is to stict and limiting. He should at least when there is rule issues try to say not the best way in a way that is more helpful not in a limiting way which'll get people to more often then not keep doing it that way.

By the way i check this every three days so that's when i'll leave comments


Posted by one of the many Jensen's, a resident of Danville
on Feb 25, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Hey MR. Autism and Typo man you seem to have taken what happened to me with Palassou and tried to seem like i'm critizing him. While i don't like him as much as you do, i don't want to be blammed for your comments. But i agree with you guys in every way. Palassou needs to firstly be more like an adviser rather then cop. Needs to inquire into matters, open his mouth more in a situation like mine. Which he never apologized for. And start thinking more of individual cases not general

By the way has anyone thought of changing the fence closest to Palassou's room so it meets the red line and has no gap?


Posted by One of the many jensens, a resident of Danville
on Mar 5, 2010 at 4:39 pm

didn't someone flog these comments? why are they still here?


Posted by Typo man, a resident of Danville
on Mar 7, 2010 at 5:05 pm

I think they were but, appearently since this article is three years old no one but, us checks it so they let it fly. By the way someone better get the two commenters not in our debate into this so we get everyones opinion dispite it not being needed. Palassou two thumbs down best tiolet my @&&. Try leaving comments on youtube on videos. By the way i can't find the shuttle launch vid so help would be appreciated.

On and Mr. Jensen i've got no clue if they moved the fence at V.V but, i agree with you completly.


Posted by good will student, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Mar 7, 2010 at 5:27 pm

Hey stop the bad comments about Palassou it's not funny to critize him Mr. Autism and Typo man. You two are doing everything possible to critize him. At least Student speaker and Jensen have a less critical approch.


Posted by Student speaker, a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Mar 8, 2010 at 4:29 pm

I admit i'm not completly critical of Palassou because he's ok outside the classroom but, i think MR, Autism and Typo man are trying to say stict teachers aren't good in elementry school. After that it's fine because it becomes more nesscary. Palassou did overreact in Mr. Autism's case because he SHOULD have said don't look at it and a elementry school kid will 99.999% of the time obay. But MR. Autism could be autistic suggesting both partys are at fault. As for Typo man while you souldn't do a cross like that i admit he souldn't have gone NOPE NOPE. Just say i prefer you don't do that. YOu would react the same way as Mr. Autism.

BY the way someone better check cybernite bulling and see of this is legal.


Posted by Mr. Autism, a resident of Danville
on Mar 9, 2010 at 4:23 pm

I just checked cyper bulling on wikipedia and the way i see it we aren't trying to hurt or emberess Palassou here. We are just saying he isn't completly nice or as nice as an adult helper in elementry school sould be. I've seen sevrel teachers that appear to be strict but, most are fine towards most students. The problem is lots of students cant just stay still and obay the rules. And those that don't get pounced on. At VV all adults pounce to often. Every time i did something fun they told me to stop. Why because they dont believe in speical cases to rules. They think if there's slightest breaking of rules or doing something different like throwing grass into the air and theres nobody 50 feet in either direction they say dont do that. WHAT? That makes no sense and they also dont try to sound nice they just say "oh no dont do that" rather then "I would like you to stop because someone could get hurt." See what i mean. PAlassou just thinks everyone that breaks a rule or socially accepted is a bad guy. Like me he thought i intentially left my class so he remained mute. Thats fine for an actual troublemaker or 6-colloge but, for me he's a guy ive never seen before and yanks my book no my personal property that only requires a tap and "DOnt look at that untill we're back." OR "I'm worried about your safety." or "Thats what you should do" Right? He just is to serious for elementry school. ALthough ifhe taught PE he;s perfect. I just wish someone would reply to these things other then the same five guys but then again we waited three years to check this page because we didn't know it happened. By the way I am Autistic but, it isnt serious and i actually have bambozzled many people about this. SO if you know who reads this he's going to be surprised. See you in three days.


Posted by one of the many jensens, a resident of Danville
on Mar 10, 2010 at 7:21 pm

I'm with drawing from this debate because we've proven our pionts and MR. Autism and Typo man seem to keep using what happened to me and use it to critize Palassou so i'm gone. By the way here's the book Palassou grabbed from me. (ME not MR. Autism)

Globet of Fire HP 4 for some reason i cant cut and paste a photo on here.

Goodbye fellow commenters and Hasta la vista baby (Palassou) bam


Posted by Typo man, a resident of Danville
on Mar 11, 2010 at 4:10 pm

Now that mr Jensen is out of the way i'll admit i stole the crosswalk thing from him. Its just to easy. PAlassou needs to have a few people say he isn't always nice as all the internet things say. You need to follow him to his school life. Honestly he considers fifth graders his family well tell that to Student Speaker


Posted by Good will student, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Mar 11, 2010 at 7:21 pm

Ok Mr. Typo man you have gone to far if anyone finds this comment you are dead meat so you now need to stop the comments and withdraw from the debate. Because i tracked you down. Dont ask how i just have so withdraw i expect your answer tomarrow along with Mr. Autism's opinion.


Posted by Mr. Autism, a resident of Danville
on Mar 12, 2010 at 3:53 pm

Ok Typo man you have crossed the line my incident was real i had a captin underpants book. I didn't steal my source of critism from another person. Withdraw from this but, leave a comment. Also Student Speaker you might want to leave too. In case Palassou finds out who you are.


Posted by Typo Man, a resident of Danville
on Mar 12, 2010 at 4:15 pm

Alright if you insist this guy is gone from this debate along with its soul. Sayanara Autism some help you were


Posted by Student speaker, a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Mar 12, 2010 at 5:22 pm

i admit i only jioned this debate because of Typo man and you're right i proubly should stop. So i guess this is goodbye


Posted by Good Will Student, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Mar 13, 2010 at 1:26 pm

I know you won't see this for two days but, i think we've reached the end in this. There's nothing left to do. You and i are aware of each others opinion, have made our ways of deciding it clear and i think we both understand the other so Mr.Autism i see no reason to cary this debate espically since its just you and me so leave your replay on the 15th and i'll say goodbye after that.


Posted by Mr. Autism, a resident of Danville
on Mar 15, 2010 at 3:53 pm

You're right there's no piont in this now. So it's goodbye to the debate i guess. Look at this at about eight and see my goodbye comment which you shouldn't need to replay to.


Posted by Good will student, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Mar 15, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Ok goodbye MR. Autism. You know my opinion of you has gotten better i first thought you were trying to do everything you could to critize palassou but, it turns out you just expressed your opinion of him being above the right level of strictnece in a general sense. Palassou probubly acts right towards troublemakers but, in your case and many others he behaved wrongly. Hope i see you in future debates. By the way i'm actually the only female out of the original five in this debate.


Posted by Mr. Autism, a resident of Danville
on Mar 15, 2010 at 7:06 pm

Here is my concluding comment. For anyone who wants to state his opinion state it. If anyone in the future wants to start a second debate on palassou do so because peoples opinions are free. Began and ended by Mr. Autism.


Posted by Mr. school servayer, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Mar 19, 2010 at 4:41 pm

I have reviewed the above debate of Palassou and the more i look at it, the more i tend to agree with the negative comments made. I've googled palsssou but, all i get is nicness along with th top two comments. Then i see Mr. Autism's comment about Palassou yanking a book from a students hands and i think "he sould have said dont look at it untill i get you back." Not just yank because that sets up a bad example for people and spreds hatred for teachers.

Palassou didn't try to investagate into the matter of the person being lost and trys to set up a student into a spotlight that he shouldn't be in. I don't see the helpfulness ofadults/teachers i sould see all i see is a man who apparently thinks "Anyone who gets lost during a firedrill is a troublemaker and if he doesn't ask for help he is a lieability." Helpfulness is key. his actions sparked the debate where even the one for palassou regonized his bad actions.

I'll be reviewing a section of this everyday and i encourage the above people to come back and that new opinionators will show themselves.


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