New cellphone policy lets teachers make the call on in-class use

By Benjamin Custer
Palo Alto Weekly (Published June 2014)

The Palo Alto Unified School District’s new cellphone policy, adopted in early June, requires students to turn off their cellphones in class unless teachers allow them for instructional purposes.

The policy’s language provides a clearer expectation compared to the last version, which permitted students to use their devices as long as they were not disruptive or engaging in unethical activities such as cheating.

As with the previous policy, students who misuse their cellphones face possible confiscation and “may be subject to further discipline” under board policy and administrative regulation, including counseling and even expulsion.

Continue reading

Paly prepares for hard hats, rubble to pave way for athletic center

By Benjamin Custer
Peninsula Press (Published December 2013)

Palo Alto High School’s main gym, built in the 1920s, features a basketball court with six backboards, four of which cling to the railing of the upper-level stands.

The school’s smaller gym dates to the 1960s and more closely resembles a community room that happens to have a hardwood floor and some backboards that protrude from its walls.

“You simply don’t see gyms … that are that old and functioning at today’s level,” said Bob Golton, facilities and bond program manager for the Palo Alto Unified School District.

Continue reading

Paly students show high spirits for annual tradition

By Benjamin Custer
Peninsula Press (Published November 2013)

Almost every Stanford football home game in recent years, between 600 and 700 cars have filled Palo Alto High School’s parking lot at $20 apiece.

For Cardinal fans, the high school’s proximity to Stanford Stadium – a quick walk across El Camino Real – makes the lot an appealing option.

For the Palo Alto Unified School District, the parking arrangement drives annual revenue in the tens of thousands.

Continue reading