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Student Center to open early before school


With funding from the Site Council, Paly is now opening the Student Center before school to give students a warm place to be. According to Site Council member and junior Ben Gordon, the Student Center will be open by 7:15 a.m. “each and every school day.”

According to meeting minutes from Dec. 10, Site Council members Gordon, teacher Lucy Filppu and parent Anna Itoi proposed that the Site Council approve an expenditure of $2,500 to pilot the program for two months, beginning in mid-January 2019. 

The goal stated in the minutes was to “give students who have been arriving at school early a warm and welcoming place to obtain academic support and/or do homework.”

The cost of $2,500 was the estimated amount required to hire a Paly teacher or staff member to open the Student Center from 7:15 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. every morning. 

The proposal made by three Site Council members also included providing students with a healthy snack, an expense included in the $2,500 estimate.

Itoi estimated that the cost of funding the program for the remainder of the school year would be $6,100, including the $2,500 for the pilot. Principal Adam Paulson then suggested inviting Miguel Fittoria, a 2008 Paly graduate who works at DreamCatchers (a program that is working to close the achievement gap in Palo Alto schools), to help with the tutoring and homework help aspect of the program. 

The Site Council unanimously approved the proposal. Despite the initial proposed start date of mid-January, the program was postponed, and began on Feb. 12. 

“A lot of students are here before school starts, and a student center is a perfect place for students to be.”

Principal Adam Paulson in an email

Addressing the Site Council plans of offering homework help and breakfast, Paulson said that they are not currently serving breakfast nor offering homework help in the morning. 

“I would like to be able to offer both (breakfast and homework help), but there needs to be more conversation and planning to make this happen.”

Principal Adam Paulson in an email

Site Council member and sophomore Medha Atla said, “People who come early, we’ve had people tell us, Site Council specifically, that there are a lot of kids that come early, and that the temperature hasn’t been really that good lately.”

Atla also said that students should not forgo sleep to take advantage of the program. She said,
“It’s just we want to make sure you’re not coming in instead of getting sleep, it’s important to get sleep, but if you are there early, just drop in and there’s not a sign in or check in process or anything.” 

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