Picture this: You’re a student in the AUHSD school district. You log in to Schoology for your daily conferences only to find that the website is, as usual, a mess. Your teachers are scrambling to provide updates on a platform that some don’t fully understand and teach you through a conference call system that is unreliable at best. You sigh and think, “What is going on?”
For many students at Cypress, this is the reality. And unfortunately, not much seems to change. With an entire three months to prepare, we have to ask: why is the district’s system so often letting students down? Schoology has become more of a hassle for students. With constant shutdowns, lagging, and lack of understanding on how to use it, Schoology is more of a burden than a tool. At the least, our school’s main platform for virtual education should allow students to easily attend conferences and discussions. Rather than this, many students have reported that they often have issues with connecting to conference calls or hearing their lessons through Schoology. “I cannot explain the terror I felt when Schoology crashed while my teacher was in the middle of taking attendance. After I got it to work I had to keep saying “I was here, my Schoology crashed, sorry!” It was embarrassing,” said senior Hibah Ganie. Others report that their teachers are equally confusing. “The teachers aren’t on the same page. They all require different apps! Some use Band and some use Remind… I wish they would stick to one,” added senior Samantha Jauregui. The real question is: why has the district not made any changes in regards to the incompetent system? Why is there a lack of action and care for the poor quality education? Especially during a global pandemic that brought a multitude of changes to how colleges will be overseeing student applications and standardized testing, school and GPA are at the forefront of priorities. But, the current technological errors have placed a massive strain on students partaking in distance learning. Rather than providing solutions to these continuous issues, AUHSD seems to plead for students’ and parents’ patience and understanding while sending out empty gratitude emails that ring hollow, while the constant technological errors speak volumes.
In addition, our own leadership here at Cypress has been put into question. Club leaders report that they are struggling to recruit members due to a lack of information with the annual Club Rush, resulting in a major delay. New clubs aren’t being given enough information from student leaders when it comes to important details about clubs, such as finances or the bylaws each is expected to uphold. We turned to senior class president Alexandra Rojas about what ASB is doing to support student activities. “Club Rush is coming up,” says Rojas. “We currently have a committee working on that. [It will take place] within this month, I believe.” But why is it that ASB promotes virtual spirit weeks and introductions to its members, yet has offered little to no updates for clubs and student activities? “We will be contacting [clubs] very soon. We’re still working on the planning of Club Rush and making sure things run smoothly. It’s been a bit difficult since we’re online and we have been at a stall since there has been a lot going on behind the scenes with advisors,” Rojas tells us. A week after we spoke with Rojas, students were invited to a Club Rush that was crammed online, with Remind messages that caused many club leaders to be confused. “It was difficult. I didn’t understand what they were saying nor what they wanted me to do. I don’t even know if my club is on the Google Slides,” stated an anonymous club president.
If a school is supposed to be centered around students and their wellbeing, why is there a lack of representation of students’ opinions? Why haven’t there been any surveys regarding how students feel and what they believe should be prioritized? This is evidence of a lack of care and attentiveness regarding student issues. As students in the AUHSD district are feeling more restless and worried about their academic future, leadership seems to fall short. Our district and school should be reassuring students, not placing heavier burdens upon them.
Clearly, AUHSD has a long way to go before it can say that it is giving its students the educational opportunities they deserve during this lockdown. In future weeks, something must be done. Whether it is improvements in the virtual classroom system, support of student activities, or greater representation of student’s opinions, change must occur soon. It is our district, our school, and our students who must step up to make that change.