Computer problems spur a student walkout at Jefferson High
Yana Gracile | August 25, 2014
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Continuing problems with LAUSD’s new MiSiS computer system prompted nearly 250 Jefferson High School students to walk out of class today in protest over scheduling conflicts.
The students, mostly juniors and seniors, said their schedules were wrong and they have not been assigned the honor or AP classes they need for their college portfolio. They blamed the student data management system for the errors.
MiSiS, or My Integrated Student Information System, is designed to track every aspect of a student’s academic career by integrating a variety of existing computer programs. But ever since its roll out at the start of the school year, the program has been riddled with problems, including losing student data and scheduling errors, creating chaos across school campuses.
Senior Daniela Echavarria told LA School Report that she has been complaining to school administrators ever since she noticed that she was missing three classes.
“At first it was a really big mess, I had a bunch of ninth grade classes,” she said. “I didn’t even have an English class.”
She also said many students were missing electives and were scheduled for classes that they had already taken. Others, she said, had been assigned two classes at the same time.
Echavarria put the blame not only on MiSiS, but also on district officials.
“It seems to me that the district doesn’t really care about what’s going on in the school. I don’t feel like they’re doing their job right as educators,” Echavarria said.
Jefferson High School world history teacher Aissa Riley said that these problems are disrupting valuable instruction time. “Over half the students don’t have accurate schedules; it’s destroying any instruction,” Riley told LA School Report.
The district has acknowledged problems with MiSiS and is working to fix them.
“We absolutely agree that Jefferson Senior High School students deserve a quality education, which is why we have made extra investments to hire more teachers, counselors and other staff to support students to graduate ready for college and career,” Tommy Chang, Superintendent of Intensive Support and Innovation Center, said in a statement.
Making matters even more complicated, students are dealing with new leadership on campus after the district hired a handful of new administrators over the summer. According to UTLA, the class scheduling matrix had to be completely redone because the new school leaders weren’t familiar with the campus and the student population.
Chang said that administrators did make some changes in the master schedule last week, all in the best interests of students.
“We learned that parts of the previous schedule were unacceptable,” he said. “All Advanced Placement classes were slotted in the same period, limiting students’ access to a college curriculum. The same was true for core content classes for English learners, limiting their access to various subjects as all were scheduled at the same time.”
He added, “L.A. Unified is about creating opportunities for all students to take the necessary rigorous courses that prepare them for success. We have a sense of urgency, just like the students.”