The absence of planners



Photo courtesy of Maeve Hennessy

Senior Anna Spirides writes down her homework in her personal planner that she bought herself. Many students bought their own planners in order to stay organized this year.

It has been statistically proven that writing things down with a pen and paper helps one remember it better. Being organized has also been proven to increase productivity. With the amount of data to back up these two claims, why would it be beneficial to stop providing planners for students, when planners improve and enhance learning environments?

FCPSON, the new program that provides laptops for every student in FCPS, has definitely brought changes to WS. While there are good changes and there are bad changes, what did not need to change is having planners available to students. Accessible laptops can enhance students’ learning environment, however, planners enhance the learning environment at WS as well.

Planners had an accessible LS calendar, a map of the school on the back for freshmen and new students to use, the contact information for administrators and counselors, club lists, bell schedules, and practically any helpful information students need about the school. Now without the planners, it has become a challenge for students to find all of this important information in a timely manner.

While advocates for not having planners might argue that a student may find all of that information online on the WS website, they are forgetting that students are not as technology based as they assume we are. Yes, we know how to work computers quite well, and we can probably navigate, or even create, a website better than the average adult, however, that isn’t the point. Just because we are used to technology does not mean we don’t appreciate physical things like planners or taking notes on paper. In reality, in the middle of class or walking down the hallway is when the planners were most used, and it is inconvenient and disruptive to pull out a laptop for a simple task, like looking up the LS schedule.

While constant laptop usage is highly innovative and will improve large areas of education, it does not mean the switch to only online resources is a good idea. In fact it is just the opposite.

What about hall passes? Planners used to be used for bathroom, library, and hall passes where a teacher signed off in a student’s agenda to allow them to get to their new location efficiently and safely. Even with the planner passes last year, the security staff was still highly involved with asking students where they needed to be or if they were supposed to be in the hall. However, without planners how will security know if a student is really supposed to be in the hall or not? In fact, how will security know if that person in the hallway is a student at all? The answer is: they won’t. There are quite a few upperclassmen who could pass as an adults, and quite a few young adults who could easily pass as students in the hall if they intended to be inside the school for unethical reasons. Planners indicated who was a student and why that student was in the hall. Whether the sign out sheets were actually intended to be useful or just a way to mimic locating students safely, they are nowhere near as safe as planners were. With everything going on in the United States, I know students, and parents especially, want to have a safe learning environment.

If planners won’t be brought back to help students stay organized, or to provide easily accessible information, they need to be brought back because of safety.

If there is one thing that would make WS a better learning environment for future Spartans, it is planners. Planners make this school better. Next year, it would be helpful if planners were sold as an option to students, or even better, if they were brought back as something every student receives.

Students, parents, and teachers all work together to create the most effective and safe learning environment at WS, and planners can help contribute to that environment if they are reinstated.