Callback Controversy

This article was written by Journalism student, Stella Stouffer.


Callback is a time during every school day that is dedicated for re-performing and work time. “The idea is that it’s an opportunity for students to come get help on a specific proficiency that they might have in a class or reperform on a summative assessment,” said Jes Wills the assistant principal at U-32. 

There are multiple options for scheduling callbacks that students have. “Teachers call the students back or the students sign up, and they can get extra help around a skill. It’s an intervention, so to speak, to support students with learning,” said Jes. 


Jes believes that callback is a helpful period for students to have in their schedule. “We’ve polled students in the past to see what they think, and they really like callbacks. Teachers really appreciate callbacks especially for re performance. Overall it’s very positive,” said Jes 


 “I would say the only issue with callbacks is me having to go out and spend time making sure kids are where they need to be,”said Jes. Over the time Jes has been working at U-32 she has noticed the amount of unscheduled students everyday. 


“Well you’re supposed to be signed up ahead of time,” said Krista Dy, an art teacher at U-32. All students should be signed up for callback at least 24 hours before the day. U-32 uses Enriching Students for people to sign up for callback. “Sometimes teachers call students back and they put it in their schedule. Then the expectation is that students attend on time,” said Jes. 


Teachers expect students to be in a callback with them if necessary. The norm at U-32 is that the student/students won’t leave the room. “Sometimes [callbacks] are closed and not available to students. But the idea is the students go somewhere during that time,” said Jes. 


When an educator is not available they have a choice to close their callback so the students can’t go into their room. Callback scheduling closes during the school hours. Which means that students can’t self schedule during the day. “As long as students are signed up before 8:30am every morning. That’s when the Pro System will lock everybody out and changes can’t be made,” said Sarah Volinsky, an educator at U-32. 

During the week, Teacher Advisers (TAs) will help to sign their students up. “It’s annoying because they can’t expect us to sign up for callbacks in such a tiny window because some people can’t get to TA on time, or they just can’t sign up,” said Pearl Jackes, a 10th grader at U-32. Pearl believes that the time you get to be signed up is too short. 

Corey Robbins, also stated regarding the situation “ I think [students not being in callback] become a pretty big problem within the school and I think there’s at times up to like 100 kids a week not signing up. They just end up either wandering around or popping into a class and asking to be put into callbacks and it puts the teachers in a rough situation.”


“Callback norms are that students or their TAs have them signed up every day,” said Sarah. The expectation for everyday is that students are always signed up and that they stay in the room they signed up for. However that is not always the case. “I feel like just having the TAs make sure kids are signed up, if the kids don’t sign up would help. It should be the TAs job to sign them up,” said Kierten Potvin, a 10th grader at U-32. Kiersten believes that a student’s Teacher Adviser should be responsible for whether or not you are signed up for callback. 


When self scheduling turns off it tends to cause students to miss callbacks. “I think it makes it so they just don’t sign up for callbacks at all because they can’t do it the same day. And they’re more likely to skip a callback,” said Alice Lamb, a 12th grader at U-32. Self scheduling being turned off at 8:30am hasn’t always been the case. “This year we can’t sign up the same day and last year they made it so that you could and then it stopped happening,” said Alice. 


The deactivation of self scheduling and blocked callback causes a mix of emotions for the students. “It stresses us out and we can’t actually use callbacks effectively because we can’t go to a class we want to. It’s almost like callback is just pointless because we’re supposed to be working on stuff in those classes that we can’t even go to,” said Pearl. Pearl believes that having callbacks blocked makes it harder to get work done for a class, and students won’t be able to get the help they need if a callback is blocked. 


U-32 doesn’t want students wandering around or leaving, like going to the library Somor bathroom. Some of the callback expectations are heard around U-32 but others are new. “I heard that there is a rule that you can’t use the bathroom during callback,” said Addie Croteau, a sophomore at U-32. 


There is an expectation that students are in the classroom during the entirety of a 40 minute callback. “The norms are that students stay in that space during the time because the librarian have their own callback, so they’re not available for students to check out books. You can’t move around, it’s not a free band,” said Jes Wills. 


Corey Robbins, the behavior specialist at U-32 said“When students don’t see the importance of signing up they might try to hide in corners and that reflects badly on Megan and I even though we are really occupied.”


During the everyday callback running into students outside of the classroom happens often. JB Hilferty, the dean of students at U-32 said “Yeah, I did just that today with a dozen kids, I ran into an average of 100 kids that dont sign up for callbacks.” 


Jes believes that the hardest part about callback is making sure every student is signed up. She often finds about 150 students a day that aren’t signed up. “I walk around and find students in bathrooms or in the locker room or just various places in the building. And they’re not signed up to be anywhere and then I don’t have a place to send them, it makes the job harder,” said Jes. 


So what will happen to students that don’t sign up? It’s not completely clear whether there is a protocol or not. “If I want to sign up during the day like before the callback starts, and I can’t, I might get sent to loft,” said Pearl. 


Being sent to loft is only put in place if you aren’t signed up multiple times in a row. “Loft for after school is being assigned for students that don’t sign up chronically,” said Sarah Volinsky. When there are many students not signed up educators need to be able to send the students somewhere. “We have in the past sent students to student services,” said Jes.


The amount of unsigned up students makes it difficult to send them to student services. “We were starting to send them to the office since we have gotten so many numbers,” said Jes.Jes believes that having a separate room that will allow her to just supervise, like a study hall would be easier, but there isn’t a direct plan yet. “We haven’t really made a determination around how to handle this yet,” said Jes. 


Not only is it difficult for teachers to not have students signed up, but it can also be dangerous. Jes believes it’s a huge liability and makes her job really challenging. “If something like an emergency happens during that time, and I don’t have 150 students signed up to be somewhere then I can’t take attendance,” said Jes. This is another reason why students need to stay in the room the entire time. 


Teachers have noticed a chain of events occurring during callbacks. “For kids who don’t know if you’re not going to call back. Are you good in all your classes? I really don’t know then on top of that like if you’re in the hallway and there’s someone else out in the hallway if something happens more students go out into the hallway it becomes one big snowball of students roaming in the hallway,” said Alex Donelson, a math teacher at U-32. 


While staying in the assigned room is an expectation students wonder about bathroom breaks. “I heard you couldn’t go to the bathroom,” said Kiersten. Kiersten believes that because using the bathroom is necessary, and that students should be allowed to leave to use the restroom. 


“If someone needs to use the bathroom, I think they should be able to. It’s taking away your basic human right to use the bathroom,” said Addie. Students need to stay in the classroom, but it’s unclear what students can and can’t do. “Students stay in the classroom for the entire time until dismissal. We want as little moving around the building as possible,” said Jes. The information on every norm and expectation for callback is still in progress. However Jes is working to make everything more organized.

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