Palo Alto High School's Arts and Culture Magazine

C Magazine

Palo Alto High School's Arts and Culture Magazine

C Magazine

Palo Alto High School's Arts and Culture Magazine

C Magazine

Empowering Change: Paly’s Social Justice Pathway

Paly’s Social Justice Pathway (SJP) is not just another program
SJP Cohort 10, pictured above, during their field trip to the Santa Clara County Hall of Justice.

Paly’s Social Justice Pathway (SJP) is not just another program; it is a transformative journey for students who are eager to make a tangible impact on the world around them. Rooted in self-direction and project-based learning, SJP fosters an environment where students become active agents of change, addressing pressing issues both locally and globally.


Why are students drawn to this path? SJP holds a special appeal to Paly students for several reasons:


  1. Field Trips:  Paly’s SJP Pathway is known for its engaging field trips, which provide hands-on learning experiences and foster a sense of community among students. The main goal of these events is to build a bond within cohorts and learn about social justice issues more interactively. Aside from the annual Boulder Creek camping trip, other excursions include watching live court cases in person and traveling internationally to build a bond within cohorts and interactively learn about social justice issues.
Photo Courtesy of Marc Tolentino. Cohort 8 smiles in front of the U.S. Capital on their DC trip during spring break.

 2. Project Based Learning

Photo courtesy of Emily May. Sophomore Kacey Washington gazes towards the distance while at the SJP student-run potluck. “As the sun began its descent, I stared in awe. My friends made jokes, I ate food, and all were superb in SJP”, said Washington.

Rather than learning through traditional classroom methods, SJP uses more project-based assignments. Teachers strategically place students into small groups with new individuals, maintaining a core principle of SJP: building connections throughout all three years of SJP.

3. Preparation/education about the real world

Regarding preparation and education about the world beyond high school, Paly’s SJP program does not fall short. Through class discussions about current and past events, students learn about social justice issues and how they have been handled in the past. Along with thorough academic inquiry, experiential learning, and active class discussions, students develop the skills and empathy to address them effectively. This enables them to guide each other through the learning process of social justice issues.

Photo courtesy of Caitlin Drewes. The camp supervisor of SJP’s 2021 Boulder Creek camping trip gives a backstory about the camp site’s history.                                                                                               

















4. Making new friends   

Sophomores Isaac Telyaz and Finn Rutkowski stop and pose for a photo while setting up their tent at the 2023 SJP Boulder Creek camping trip. “I am so glad I joined SJP. The camping trip especially helped strengthen my relationships, as it was just a couple months after I joined.”

Every aspect of SJP revolves around making friends. The field trips, class discussions, and group projects are bonding exercises that allow students to be productive while building connections.


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About the Contributor
Isaac Telyaz
Isaac Telyaz, Staff Writer
2023-2024 Staff Writer I joined C Magazine to fulfill my strong interest in arts and culture. I love journalism, particularly photo journalism because it amazes me how photos can make such compelling stories. I am excited to build new connections and share stories through journalism.