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The Paly Voice

The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

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Principal plans to host ‘School Culture Workshop’ in April

Palo Alto High School Principal Brent Kline responds to questions during a conversation with The Paly Voice on Feb. 29 in the Media Arts Center. According to Kline, he plans to host a “School Culture Workshop” in April that will improve Paly’s student culture. “There has been a plan into continuing providing our students with opportunities to be part of creating and maintaining a positive culture,” Kline said. (Photo: Celina Lee)

Building upon student connections and feedback from the Breaking Down the Walls event hosted last month, Palo Alto High School’s Principal Brent Kline is planning to host another event on April 22 geared towards improving school culture — but this time he’ll be inviting students from other schools, too.

The “School Culture Workshop” — Kline told The Paly Voice on Feb. 29 — will focus primarily on school climates instead of student interconnection like Breaking Down the Walls. Only small groups of up to five students and two staff from each school are allowed to attend. According to Kline, the event organized by Ignite2Unite will be hosted to encourage a more inclusive student body across all the schools. 

“In April, we’re going to be hosting a regional ‘School Culture Workshop’ [with] up to 11 other high schools at our school,” Kline said. “It’s for them to look at their school climate and build a positive student culture.”

According to the Ignite2Unite website, the event will consist of four-hour sessions. It will focus on “alignment, ability and action” to implement processes that will create a thriving culture.

Kline said he has become more aware of the competitive student culture and environment surrounding academics at Paly. 

“The academic conversations between them [students] especially as you get close to finals is pretty intense,” Kline said. “‘What score did you get? How was it? What was your grade?’ We need to consider some of the conversations that we’ve instilled with each other and think about what we could do differently.”

Kline said he spearheaded the initiative to host a Breaking Down the Walls activity earlier this year that focused on building student unity because he wanted to encourage students to foster deeper connections and have them take a break to unwind from school.

“[Student mental health] is kind of exactly why I thought of bringing Breaking Down the Walls to Palo Alto High School,” Kline said. “You begin to learn and understand and develop more support, by knowing more people and having more communication and connections with people around you. Part of Breaking Down the Walls was to learn about new people, and to take a break.”

According to Kline, getting students to attend the event was surprisingly difficult due to students’ hyper-fixation on academics.

“I thought that I would have no problem at all,” Kline said. “My first goal was 1,000 kids, but I struggled to get 500 students to participate because the pressure in students’ lives to continue academically trumps their willingness to just take a break for six hours and enjoy students and peers around [them], and I think that we all need to pause every so often.”

While academics are important, Kline said school culture shouldn’t primarily focus on preparing for college and building resumes. 

“Part of high school should be fun, and you should be able to play and just have some moments of just complete joy,” Kline said. 

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About the Contributors
Celina Lee
Celina Lee, Editor-in-Chief
Motoko Iwata
Motoko Iwata, Opinion/Editorial Editor
Motoko Iwata (Class of 2026) joined The Voice in her sophomore year. At Paly, she does badminton and debate. In her free time, Motoko enjoys spending time with her friends and reading about current events.

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