By Eric Villanueva ’11
Do you hear that?
That silence at the start of every fourth hour?
The time that used to be filled with announcements booming over the loudspeakers is now filled with the clatter of keyboards, the whirl of computer fans and students staring at their computers screens with an almost audible intensity underlined by the chatter of quiet conversations. Instead of a student council member reading out loud, the daily announcements are now sent to students’ e-mails, and students have five minutes to read them before their fourth hour class.
The reason for this change was because less than 25 percent of classrooms were able to consistently hear the PA announcements, said Mr. Jeff Glosser, assistant principal for student activites. The talkative and noisy environment of the classrooms during announcements prevented students from hearing important information, he added.
Mr. Glosser said the implementation of the Tablet PC program in all four classes this year was another factor in the administration’s decision.
“This is the first year when all four grade levels have Tablets,” Mr. Glosser said. “(E-mail) seemed more feasible than getting classrooms to listen (to announcements).”
Students’ and teachers’ responses to these changes are varied.
The intercom announcements have been a part of Brophy for at least 25 years, said Mr. Tom Danforth ’78, a member of the English department since 1986. But, the PA announcements last year were “so long and too long,” he said.
However, the new e-mail announcements are not working either, Mr. Danforth added.
“I sent a kid an e-mail in the afternoon and supposed (he) would get it before lunch when he checked his e-mail (for the daily announcements), but when I asked him a question about the e-mail, he didn’t answer because he hadn’t checked his e-mail,” Mr. Danforth said.
Mr. Danforth estimated that a majority, perhaps 75 percent of his classes, do not pay attention to the announcements.
Mr. Glosser said the new system still is not perfect. He noted student council members believe that the majority of students still are not regularly getting the information.
“It’s still less than 25 percent of the kids paying attention or going on their computers and looking at the announcements,” Mr. Glosser said. “So communication is difficult for us.”
There are mixed reviews of the new electronic announcements amongst all classes.
A Roundup poll of 40 students with 10 respondents from each year indicated that 55 percent of the students surveyed disliked the e-mail announcements.
“They go right to my junk e-mail,” said Sean Summers ’11.
In the same poll, only 35 percent of students surveyed said they used the five minutes allotted to read the announcements.
But, many of the students surveyed said they read the announcements at least once a week or at some other time during the day.
Some students in the poll also said the e-mail announcements were clearer and easier to understand than the PA announcements, and created the option to check back to the announcements.
Other students said they missed the nostalgia of hearing someone, like former school President Mike Tree ’09, run through the long list announcements over the intercom.
Students also said some teachers teach right through the five minutes.
“(Teachers) think they have an extra five minutes to use for whatever they want,” Mr. Glosser said. “Some use it for class time.”
Mr. Danforth said he doesn’t know what to do to get students to read the announcements.
“I don’t know of anything else to do other than to walk up and down the aisles as kids check their e-mail,” Mr. Danforth said.
Many students have asked about the permanency of the e-mail announcements.
“If there is a better system to get communication out – then we will always be open to that,” Mr. Glosser said.
Students have already suggested some new forms of communication.
Some students from The Roundup poll said they did not read the announcements because they are bored by the repetitive information, and one e-mail a week would work.
Gustavo Fernandez ’10 suggested the reinstatement of the weekly video announcements, which used to air each Wednesday morning.
And at least one student has a taste for theatrics.
“Some teachers, like Mr. Garner, act them out,” said Luke Holland ’11. “I thought that was cool.”