Students found a surprise waiting for them on the first day of school: No more time-tracker calendars.
When social studies teacher Brent Silva was asked what he thought about the unexpected new policy, he dryly responded, “I don’t think about it. I use my own internal calendar.”
But for some students, using an internal calendar may not suffice as they struggle to manage seven classes and extracurriculars.
The heir apparent? Google Calendar, we’ve been told.
Assistant principal Martin Enriquez cites the main motivation for the switch—and for ending a service the district has provided free for close to 10 years—as striving to be as environmentally friendly as possible.
“This year’s the first year that we decided to go Chromebooks in all grades,” Enriquez says. “So we decided, why are we continuing with our planner if we’re already offering Chromebooks to all our students?”
Other factors in the administration’s reasoning include cost to the district, further integration of technology and easier modification of the student handbook and code of conduct.
While teachers were surprised, students seem to be generally frustrated with the decision. In fact, Carmel Middle School, where the new policy is also in effect, recently ordered a number of paper calendars in response to negative feedback.
In the opinion of sophomore Nathan Suess, “Some things are better in pen.” And it appears that, for now, the majority of CHS students agree with him. Or they’re just used to staying organized with pencil and paper.
The Carmel High administration did consider selling planners in the ASB store, but as it is many students have gone and bought their own.
“I guess it’s good not to use paper, but I need the writing down…and crossing out [of homework] not on the Internet,” senior Esmé Wahl comments.
As for Google Calendar?
“Out of 150 students I’ve asked,” social studies teacher Jillayne Ange notes, “three were using it.”
Despite this, Enriquez is still hopeful that, with time and repeated use, Google Calendar can become routine, and he encourages students to seek help with it in the library or computer lab.
The bottom line is everyone learns differently. And not having time trackers simply handed to them is forcing students to take stock of what works for them individually and develop their own organizational methods, which is, as Enriquez points out, the way it will be in college and the workplace.
As activities coordinator and health teacher Leigh Cambra says, “It is nice to know that students care so much about being organized that they actually miss the time-tracker.”