SIS possesses a considerable amount of significance for the average high school student. Just logging in to the Aeries system can strike a nervous chord. So you would think that an SIS-free break would be great for everyone, right? Wrong. Over the weeks of finals and holiday break, the lack of SIS kept many students pacing by their computers, hoping everything was turned in and wondering how finals went.
“I personally did not like it because after having just taken finals, I just wanted to know my final grades,” junior Alec Aaron said. “I didn’t like the long, suspenseful wait from the first day of finals to the first day of school almost three weeks later.”
Finals, and the work turned in immediately before them, have the potential to make or break a student’s grade, thus making it a little bit harder for everyone to sit still during the holidays.
“Basically, knowing my grades after taking all those tests would have given me a better sense of closure to first semester than just waiting around for a couple of weeks,” junior Katherine Liu said.
Despite some stress from not knowing their semester grade, many enjoyed the break from wondering about their academic fate. Winter Break provided a welcome reprieve from the challenging school work week, giving students some much deserved down time.
“I thought shutting down over Holiday Break was good because it allowed me to take a break from the busy environment at school,” sophomore Michelle Deng said. “For me, relaxing every once in a while is crucial for sustainable productivity. My favorite part of getting a break is sleeping, which is really relaxing. I refuse to do anything that requires a brain during break.”
Student reception to SIS’s closing is mixed: Many think it is wrong, but still others think it is exactly what students need. It may have initially seemed unfair to have the SIS shut down this year to block grades, but it is important to remember that students are not the only people affected by the Aeries system. Teachers are usually subject to countless emails regarding test scores and rounding. Shutting down SIS takes away the student’s ability to see any updates, therefore taking away the subject of inquiry, and giving teachers their vacation, too.
“I don’t want 69 phone calls over break,” math teacher Carol Evans said. “I don’t want tons of emails. I want to be able to put in grades completely, and not just halfway before students see them. All the teachers’ grades should be put in before a student can see any of them.”
Despite the stress caused by the shutdown, closing SIS actually had the potential to provide advantages for all involved. However, it is not beneficial for students to have SIS closed the week of finals, preventing them from checking missing assignments and borderline grades as teachers enter in the final few scores.
“I can see that there would be a middle ground here,” social studies teacher Seth Donnelly said. “Toward the end of the semester there’s a lot of entry and recalibration where it might be helpful to have it closed for a brief period of time because when students log on there would be changing all the time. It’s like a moving target. But it seems like it was closed for a long time, so maybe we can make some adjustments.”
By creating a situation in which students do not wait from the first day of finals to the last day of break and teachers have ample time to grade, everyone is satisfied. Students should be able to view grades the week of finals to check for missing or misentered work, but then a break for both faculty and student body is reasonable. Opening SIS a few days earlier, without interfering with staff vacation, could help students see their grades once they’ve returned after break with enough time to fix any unprecedented problems. In order to cater to everyone’s needs, whether they be relaxation or closure, a compromise is definitely the best answer.