Students design new tutorial system

Online program aims to reduce absenteeism


Ryan Syms

Students used to sign in to the library during student support, but the new system eliminated the need for paper sign-ins.

Katya Vial, Staff Writer

A new system for student support developed by students stated on Monday to help minimize students skipping classes they’re supposed to attend.

The new system eliminates the use of paper student support passes, assistant principal Jeffrey Osborn said. Instead, teachers will have to input students names into a digital spreadsheet and take attendance every day during student support just like they would any other class. 

In order to attend another class during the 40-minute support period after first and second periods, students have to check in with their teacher in advance to sign up.

During student support this year, many students have left classes and roamed around or left campus instead of meeting with teachers who were expecting them. 

The decision behind the changes to student support was sparked by a need for accountability and safety after administrators and some teachers met to discuss problems, Osborn said. 

“I feel like [the new system] is worth trying because I worry for student safety, especially when they are unaccounted for,” Osborn said. “I doubt these changes will affect the vast majority of students at Cal. However, it will change the behavior of those who make bad decisions.”

The new electronic sign-in program for student support was developed by two of computer science teacher Sean Raser’s students, sophomores Rohan Ramakrishnan and Arnav Pandey, according to an email sent to Cal staff by librarian Jessica Bailey.

“[The program] is very easy to use,” Ramakrishnan said. “We are actually going to make a different system over the summer, for next year. Right now, we are mostly doing test runs, [but] the entire program will probably be established at the beginning of next year.”

Ramakrishnan said the current version should make student support run more efficiently and allow teachers to better keep track of their students.

Teachers have mixed feelings about the changes to student support. While some think the changes add to the workload, many believe these changes will benefit students and staff.

“The idea that I get to take attendance helps because I have students that sneak out during student support,” social studies teacher Sarah Eddings said. “It benefits the students because many students forget about where they need to go at student support, and now their teacher can tell them.” 

Social studies teacher Benjamin Andersen disagrees, pointing out that the new system creates unnecessary extra errands for teachers.

“I don’t think a lot of teachers like it,” Andersen said. ”It’s another added task that we have to do every day, piled on top of the work we already have. Different teachers have a different vision of what support is.”

Freshman Lily Tang feels that the school should keep student support as it is because the online check-in process could make things much more complicated for teachers and students.