Editorials Opinions — 31 October 2013
Opinions:  ZAP changes for the better, but still has room for improvement

The ZAP policy has been in effect for four years now, but every year since it started, there have been significant changes.

It went from all students meeting in the cafeteria during each advisor until they finished a late assignment, to meeting in the social studies teacher Chris Schmitz’s room, to meeting in Title I teacher Jeremy Lehning’s room, to the current policy.

This year, if a student does not turn in work when it is due, a teacher can give the student a ZAP card. The student then has until certain times the next day to turn in the work, or else he or she has to attend mandatory Extended Day Learning (EDL) from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. that day. To avoid EDL, work must be turned in directly to the teacher ONLY before 8:25 a.m. or between 10 to 10:05 a.m. on black days or ONLY before 8:25 a.m. or between 10 and 11 a.m. on silver days.

Personally, I think the newest method gives students more freedom and more responsibility. Previously, when meeting in certain rooms for ZAP, it would be difficult, and sometimes impossible, to get a ZAP done in that room, as some assignments required elements outside of that room or outside of school to complete.

Another positive aspect of this year’s ZAP program is that having the teacher keep the ZAP card until the student turns in the work to him or her and having the student turn in the work directly to the teacher eliminates the middle man. I like that aspect, but I do not think the times to turn in work should be so
strict because that makes it difficult if the teacher is not available or if the student is not able to turn it in during those times.

While there are positives about this year’s program, there are changes that still need to be made, in my opinion. First, as mentioned, the times to turn in work should not be so strict. I think if the student turns in the ZAP work at any time the next day, it should be accepted instead of having to turn it in at very specific times. Right now, even if a student gets his or her work done during lunch, for instance, and tries to turn it in, the teacher is not allowed to accept it, and the student is required to attend EDL, although the work is
actually done. What is the point of keeping students for two hours after school and making them miss practice, work or other after-school activities if they got their ZAP completed? It is a pointless waste of time to have to sit in a room for two hours if a person has the assignment done.

While I understand that EDL is necessary for students who do not get their work done, for those who do get the assignments done before the day is done, EDL is an inconvenience for them, plus their parents, coaches, bosses and even teachers. Personally, if I was to call my boss and tell him that I would be two hours
late, I would be fired. Honestly, it is unfair to put a student in the position of losing a job, and it also does not set a good example for high school students, making it okay to miss work on such short notice. Also, to keep students in EDL, that requires teachers to look after them for an extra two hours on days that Rock Creek would normally not have detention.

Another issue I have with ZAP this year is calling out the students’ names every morning for the whole school to hear, which I think can be victimizing and embarrassing. To me, that would be like if a class were taking a test, and the teacher was writing everyone’s name on the board who did not pass. I think a
person’s grade is a private issue, and the whole school does not need to know who has EDL that day. Plus, announcing a list of names every day interrupts classes and disturbs them during tests, lectures and class work.

The basic ideas behind ZAP are very helpful life lessons, teaching students to get their work done when it is due and to be more responsible, but I think some of the methods chosen to carry out ZAP this year are not as helpful as the creators thought. I feel like the ZAP program still needs a little “wiggle room” or flexibility.

Article by Kaeleen Laird, Yearbook Editor in Chief

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