Chromebooks to Combat Cancellations

Junior Jalen Beckford works on his Chromebook during AP Physics. Photo by Skye Bragan.

For some students at Chamblee Charter High School, school cancellation is cause for celebration. But for some others, cancellations cause headache rather than joy, as students can get behind on work and find themselves bored at home.

On January 8 and from January 17 to 19 DeKalb County School District cancelled school due to frigid temperatures, snow and icy conditions. Some Chamblee students disagreed with the cancellations.

“I think DeKalb County overexaggerated a little with all the missing school days,” said junior Buckley Campana. “I think they’re just scared of getting a bunch of backlash if it did snow a lot and we were trapped in school for a while. But overall, I don’t think the absent days were necessary. We should’ve gone to school.”

One main issue accompanies the cancellation of school days: students getting behind on work.

“Most kids are not on track,” said freshman Noelia Santamaria. “When these cancellations happen, [some students] just don’t care. They don’t focus on school as much, they just go outside, they just don’t care when it comes to the breaks and stuff.”

To solve this issue, DeKalb County has decided to make up two of its four inclement weather days on February 19 and March 9. But is there another, better way to make up these missed school days?

At some schools in the Atlanta area, such as the Gwinnett County School System, Woodward Academy, and the Marist School, on cancelled school days classroom instruction becomes digital. Teachers post the day’s work online, and students then complete their work at home. This results in the schools not needing to make up the missed days. With the new distribution of Chromebooks to every DeKalb County student, could this possibility become a reality at Chamblee?

“They just put out a survey about how we want to make up the lost days, and one of the options was a digital day,” said Assistant Principal Shervette Miller-Payton. “So, yeah, that will probably be happening. I’m about 99% sure.”

Campana saw the possible advantage of using Chromebooks on cancelled school days in place of make-up school days.

“I think it could become a reality if the teachers took it seriously enough,” said Campana. “I feel like some teachers would treat those absent days as kind of vacation days and wouldn’t really give us work. But for the teachers who would [assign work], I think it would work well. I would feel good about it. I think it would be nice to not have to make up those extra days.”

Like Campana, Santamaria agrees that assigned work over break would be positive for Chamblee students.

“They’re giving us opportunities to have these Chromebooks for a reason,” said Santamaria. “In my breaks, I don’t do anything, so I get really bored at home, so I think homework would be an excuse for doing something.”

It’s hard to say if digital classroom instruction will ever become a reality for Chamblee students. However, one thing’s for sure; Chamblee students aren’t happy with cancelled school days, and they’re looking for something to change.

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