A Plague of Schedule Issues


Jenna Johnson

The Dominion counseling office.

Two days before Zero Day, class schedules were sent out to students and immediately chaos began. On zero day, as students shuffled into Dominion to fix their schedule issues, they were met with a QR code at the front of the school. The QR code has been scanned a total of 312 times from zero day to September 3rd, according to counselor Ms. Bonilla. Students were told to go along with their original schedule for the first days of school and wait to be called to the counseling office to handle the issue that they had. 

On the morning of the first day of school, Mr. Edwards sent an email to students who scanned the QR code which said, “In an effort to be absolutely thorough, we have run out of hours in the day to address your schedule concerns.” The rest of the email assured students that he is making every effort to deal with the schedule issues as soon as possible. In addition to the extensive amounts of schedule inquiries, students resubmitting their requests was slowing down the system tremendously. 

The QR code was a brand new strategy used by the counseling department in regards to handling the scheduling problems that students had. Mr. Edwards said in regards to the QR code, “I felt like it was the easiest way to create a safe and orderly environment in the school counseling office.” He also added, “[It helped] to give us the opportunity to look at the schedule changes before we met with the students, and that helps us make informed decisions.” 

An issue that students have voiced regarding the QR code is the impersonal feel that it provides. Despite that, Ms. Benson, the lone returning counselor, said, “Our focus for students has always been to be here for emotional support and academic support, those are priorities.” She also added, “The QR code is mainly for schedule changes, that is not going to be for crisis situations. We’re not turning those students away.” 

One challenge faced in terms of addressing student’s schedule issues is the fact that the counseling department is practically brand new this year. Mr. Signorelli said, “[Students] previous counselor[s] might have known exactly what you need, or a decision or a conversation that was previously had. The new counseling staff isn’t there yet.”  

The change between the former counselors and current ones added to a lot of these issues. Mr. Edwards said, “A couple of other big keys were just in the handoff between the previous counselors and the new counselors. It’s impossible to write down all the notes on all the students in a meaningful way that can be used.” Further elaborating, he said, “A lot of students were saying that they didn’t sign up for a class that that their counselor had put them in. There is some truth to some of that. There’s also not some truth to some of that.” 

Even though the schedule changes may seem endless, the counselors want students to know that they are always ready to help in any way that they can. Ms. Bonilla said, “Do not let the schedule changes diminish our presence in the building and our purpose here, because we have a huge purpose and what seems a very small presence.”