Students discuss need for new computers with board

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 12/29/99.

The high school members of the Youth Advisory Council discussed the need to upgrade the high school Macintosh computer lab at the Paynesville Area School Board meeting Tuesday after-noon.

The Youth Advisory Council is made up of students from the high school and middle school. They meet with the school board three times during the school year to comment on what they feel is working in the school system and about areas they would like to see improved.

Students serving on the Youth Advisory Council this year are: sixth grade, Shawn Reinke and Laura Weidner; seventh grade, Maggie McCarron and Michael Mueller; eighth grade, Brian Korman and Heidi Olmscheid; ninth grade, Ann Stalboerger; tenth grade, Maria Janotta; 11th grade, Ryan Flanders; 12th grade, Tiffany Rausch, Kelsey Moser, and Allison Thompson.

High school
"The computers in the lab are not very current," said senior Tiffany Rausch, who spoke for the high school students. "The Macintosh lab computers are slow, from the stone age. They are fine if you are just typing up stuff, but when doing research, they are too slow." The only time the students have access to the computers is during study hall or when they have a class that utilizes the computer lab. "When another class is using the lab, the study hall students don't have a place to work on the Internet," Allison Thompson said.

Kelsey Moser informed the board that students who don't have computers at home depend on the computer labs to get their homework done.

If given a choice, the students prefer using the IBM lab, but they can't as it is not open to study hall students. They can only use the IBM computers when they have a class in that room. In the IBM lab, there is one printer for every five computers.

"If a class is using the Mac lab, why can't we use the IBM lab during study hall?" another student asked. "Couldn't the lab supervisor watch the IBM lab when the Mac lab isn't in use."

"The library only has four computers and they are usually in use," one of the students added.

High school principal John Janotta told the Press there are several LC III computers in the Mac lab which are about nine years old. A year ago, four newer computers were purchased for the lab giving the lab a total of 30 computers. The lab has only one laser printer and several older printers.

The IBM lab has 26 computers, which are four years old. Their memory banks are filled to the maximum as they contain programs for the drafting class, yearbook, business classes, in addition to programs for other classes.

Superintendent Howard Caldwell told the students the district is working on getting grant money to help upgrade the computer labs. "The labs are on our priority list," he added.

On another topic, Moser asked about the need for written guidelines for student athletes who break school rules. "There needs to be something in writing stating the consequences. The students need to know where they stand," she said.

Board member Deb Glenz said that if students sign up for sports, they sign the high school league agreement not to drink or smoke. "They should know the consequences," she said. "The violations are in the student handbook."

Matt Dickhausen, activities director, said in some cases the Minnesota State High School League rules do differ from school rules. The school rules can be stronger on violators than league rules. "Not all the rules are clear cut. In reference to the danceline, the league doesn't count a performance and competition on the same level, Dickhausen explained.

"Is it right for a student to perform at halftime and not at a competition? " asked Dickhausen. The school says, 'no,' Dickhausen said. "On the first violation, it is usually two weeks or two competitions, whichever is greater," he added.

Middle school
The middle school students on the Youth Advisory Board thanked the board for their new I-Mac computer lab. They said the labs are awesome. The students said they enjoyed the exploratory days and community service day held annually in the middle school.

The students suggested holding a "Janitor Appreciation Day." It was suggested the students do the janitors job for a day.

Students discussed the trash in the hallways at the high school and middle school. They felt the students doing detention shouldn't get another study period at the end of the day but should be put to work picking up trash.

One board member suggested the students hold a competition as to whether the high school or middle school can keep their hallways the cleanest. A student said some students would rather lose than work at picking up trash.

School board member Maurice Dosdall challenged the student body to show pride in their school. "At the next board meeting, show us you care about your school. Each of you is responsible for coming up with ways to help keep the school clean," Dosdall said.

Another board member told the students that when they see trash in the hallways, they should pick it up instead of walking by and leaving it lay.

At the end of the meeting, board chairman Pat Flanders told the students they shouldn't get discouraged if it takes awhile before they see something happen on items they bring before the board. "The auditorium is a huge example of an issue that becomes reality. It was talked about for more than six years. We discussed the issue many times. Many students had given up on the auditorium and fitness center thinking it would never become a reality. It was you the students who kept the issue in the forefront. You do have an effect on board decisions. Just don't give up on an issue," Flanders said.

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