eSchoolData complications cause chaos

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At the start of the 2015-2016 year, Townsend Harris HIgh School students were introduced to eSchoolData: the system replacing the well-loved Daedalus.

Students were told by the administration that eSchoolData was the best suited replacement for Daedalus, as it would provide much of the same features, but just on a different interface. However, the experiences of students prove contrary to this statement, as can be seen with the frequency of complaints against the system, particularly involving the recent elective selection process.

When choosing electives, students found themselves in the midst of a string of random courses or a lack thereof—Punjabi was offered as a language course although it does not exist at THHS, while an option for the science research class was nonexistent until a few days before the deadline.

Some courses listed on the PDF on the school website were also not consistently available  on eSchoolData throughout the week. A course would appear one day only to disappear the next day; senior volleyball was not listed, despite being on the PDF.

In addition, eSchoolData presented a whole slew of problems in regards to prerequisite courses. As the courses taken by students in previous years were not transferred over from Daedalus, students were told that they were not qualified to take certain courses because they failed to fulfill prerequisites even if this was not the case.

Despite being a fully electronic system, eSchoolData made it tedious for students to choose their preferred courses. If a student needed to change one elective, he or she would have to delete all the courses listed previously and redo the entire process.

Another issue with eSchoolData was its accessibility.  Busy THHS students spend much of their time in school and with such a cramped schedule, it is more convenient for students to access the website from anywhere. While Daedalus was compatible with cellular devices, eSchoolData hosts an awkward interface difficult to navigate on phones.

Other problems include a lack of access to full transcripts or overall averages, issues that were never observed with Daedalus. In addition, there is a separate system to log in community service, known as x2VOL, and the information from eSchoolData and x2VOL are not synced.

The dissatisfaction with eSchoolData is not limited to the student body. Many faculty members have expressed frustration at the difficulty of sending out mass emails to their students, a feature that many teachers were easily able to use with Daedalus. There have been multiple occasions on which the grades that teachers entered into the system were not visible to the students or inaccurately reflected in the gradebook.

More recently, teachers received a list of students who applied to their classes for next year, but this vague list listed all of the students who applied to the class without distinguishing between who listed the class as a first or second choice.

The complicated nature of eSchoolData has even driven some teachers to opt out of using it entirely, giving their students no way of knowing how they are doing in class.

Although the chaos that arose during the transition from Daedalus to eSchoolData is understandable, it continues to affect the student body and faculty to an overwhelming extent.

Many unfamiliar students have resorted to ignoring the system or pestering the few faculty members who are somewhat familiar with the system. There was even a petition created for the school to abandon eSchoolData, confirming its negative reception by students and teachers alike.We agree with the student body; THHS needs a new system that is more capable of meeting the needs of a 21st century education.

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