Move attendance online

It’s 2009, people. Tacking up multiple pieces of paper on a bulletin board is not only old school, but wasteful when everyone is talking about “going green.” Students would all benefit enormously from an online resource for checking attendance. 

Upper School Attendance Coordinator Gabriel Preciado said many students fall into detention because they forget to check the notification board in Chalmers. The best solution is to form a website that requires an individual student log-in pin. The school employs full and part-time programmers that could help develop a system like this. After all, the daily bulletin is about to be transferred to video — surely it couldn’t be difficult simply to make a website instead of print out attendance reams every morning. Students could check their attendance on their mobile internet phone at any time. If they’re sick at home, they could easily visit this website and see the missing holes in their attendance.

Didax already gives faculty access to the daily attendance list on their computers. This information should be shared with the students, who need the attendance updates just as much, especially when they’re in danger of receiving a detention solely because a teacher marked them absent by mistake.

In addition to forgetfulness, which is admittedly the fault of the students, many end up in detention because they were accidentally marked absent. Students don’t check the board, knowing they have been present in class all week, and later find themselves on the cut list. While we understand that teachers make honest mistakes, it’s unfair to expect the students to be responsible for fixing those mistakes and then punishing them when they don’t.

Since we are expected to check our school e-mail accounts daily, the simple resolution is an e-mail notification as soon as a student has an attendance infraction. An automatic e-mail system can be set up, or Preciado’s student interns could be in charge of delivering these messages. While this may lift the burden of responsibility off of a student who actually does ditch class, it would also prevent many unjust detentions, since an innocent student would be able to clear up a nonexistent absence quickly.

As well as being fair this system would provide an environmental benefit to an online attendance setup. Lately, Harvard-Westlake has been pushing the color green. Electronic attendance and e-mails are an extremely easy way to save the school pounds of paper that are used up by the overflowing bulletin board each morning.

Our online attendance system, currently stuck in the Stone Age, could be the envy of high schools everywhere. And it would just take a few clicks of the mouse.