The Hellgate Lance (Missoula, Montana) 1964-current, January 23, 1980, Image 4

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[ - ·.:s- • \ r~ ll•ft . i·li , ..... :J.·lt-- 4- lAIC:E. W......,, ,J_., Z3. 11M MCHS computer hassles students By KAREN MOULDING Editorials Editor A dozen or so B students in one class last quarter must have shouted for joy when the computer MCHS uses ac.\Cidentally gave them all A ' s . It is no secret that if a Hellgate student gets excused from a certain number of periods , he or she is automatically excused to be absent for that entire school day . Unlike these two example , most of the flaws in our computer system are a pain and a hassle for the students. Junior Mark Kirkpatrick , for instance , did not exist fvr two weeks during first quarter . The computer had insisted he was withdrawn, and it took weeks to re-program his records. That incident was only the beginning of a · long series of abuses the computer inflicted upon Kirkpatrick . One week Kirkpatrick ' s teachers kept telling him he should not be in Missoula. The computer had recorded him as a transfer to New York City . Right before• Christmas vacation, Kirk- patrick spent a full day in detention study hall. The computer had accused him of several un - excused absences which he knew nothing about. His mother would have called in to tell the school there must have been a mistake , ex- plained Kirkpatrick, but \ she had given up long before that.\ As th~ m~_t re.!!~nt blow , the first quarter Lance misleads transcript of Mark Kirkpatrick's junior year had him recorded as if he had never earned any credits . In a similar incident this year, one senior who had graduated last year was given a Hell- gate report card which described him as a freshman . Another girl , whose grades at Hellgate have all been A's, was claimed by the computer to have a 2.6 (C plus) average. Most students probably noticed that it took a long , long time to get first quarter report cards this year . Although grades were not even sent out until four weeks after the quarter ended, in the words of Assistant Principal Don Lawston, \We have found an unusually large number of errors in the first quarter grades .\ One reason for this delay was that the com- ' puter was also busy with registration when it was time to distribute grades. There are about 500 student class changes every quarter . The key-punch operator for the computer at Hell- gate has to change a student's card every time that student changes a class. These drop/adds are another tremendous obstacle to gettmg the grades done efficiently. This overload causes problems at both ends. The computer had teacher Jim Gregori record- ed as teaching only one student for an entire period . That student was not even in Gregori ' s class . The same computer which caused all the higher income families , but for everyone . To the Editor: I think Mike Windham ' s article on gymnastics was very comprehen - sive and basically quite fair . How- ever , there are a couple of points that are misleading . The Bitterroot Club does support the high school gymnastics program. Ninety-five percent of the members of the Hell- gate girls team received their gym- nastics background from the Bitter- root Club , and a substantial part of the varsity women's team currently takes lessons at the Bitterroot Club . The Bitterroot Club will continue to support the high school and provide Hellgate with athletes with a good gymnastics background . In response to the choice the girls have made , as to where to compete , I think the emphasis should be on these girls ' indi vi dual goals and in- terests. My concern as a coach , is not for my reputation , but for the present and future total happiness of the girls 1 work with . Terry Hamiltion Bitterroot Gymnastics Coach Club harder To the Editor: This letter is in response to Mike Windham ' s article \School , club come head to head over gym- nastics\ in the last Lance. above inconveniencies may be in charge of MCHS registration next year or the following year . The county leases the computer for record- keeping , such as grades and attendence, and for computer classes, at $70,724 a year . This is not including the cost of the key-punch ma- chine , cards, paper and employees to run the equipment. Big Sky Assistant Principal Hyrum Tatton is working for MCHS to find a more \ integrated \ computer system. Tatton is looking for \human solutions to the computer problems.\ Because , of course, it is not the computer which keeps goofing up, but the people who work with it. It is good that the school district has hired someone to improve our computer svstem. as it obviously needs ironing out. It is also good that we have access to a computer so teachers and administrators can pay more attention to students, and less attention to paper work. Too much of a good thing, however, is nof good . Kirkpatrick should not have had to be- come so aggravated with the computer hassl- ing him , that he was willing to put up with a full day of undeserved detention study hall . If a change of personnel or numerous drop / adds are too much for the computer to handle with- out making dozens of ridiculous mistakes , then , at least until the improved syste~ is de- •• , r·11 S~ltJ, BlJ( OUR fiLE' 8ll0W _ YoV~5EP A'? \F z,Jd ~ra.~ OvA~rER,..,, y veloped, administrators should ease the com- puter's load by doing some of the paper work themselves. When the computer is overloade<l, as it was last quarter when the report cards were so late , it is the students who suffer . Computer registration would take less effort and time than arena registration does. A stu- dent would simply choose his classes (not his teachers or peri~) and the computer would take care of scheduling him. The students can choose favorite teachers and convenient times for classes under the present registration system, and there are still 500 student class changes a quarter. What will happen to the students in work programs, such· as internship, the student in the Pilot program with classes at the University, and the students who would like very much to take a certain · class from their favorite teacher, or from a teacher their older siblings recommended? What will happen to all these special students now the computer makes their schedules for them? The computer MCHS leases has great poten- tial. It is hoped that when a simpler system is developed, mistakes at the cost of the students will be minimized . If a choice must be made, however , convenience does not even compare to the individual attention which students sometime need . 2 . What team has won a tr i-state tournament three times and placed second once in these same four years ? 3 . What team has won two tournaments in Great Falls and placed first and then second in a Missoula tournament in the past two years? 4 . What team has lost only three contests with other schools in the past three years? 5 . What team has received practi- cally no coverage in the Lance this year? The answer to each of these questions is the same . I'll leave it to you to figure out. Also, Don Lawston ' s comment , \ I see the high school program for people with very little money to go and do\ is misleading . None of Pie girls on the Bitterroot advanced team are from wealthy families . The gymnastics lesson fees are less per hour than piano or dance les- sons . Gymnasts without adequate finances are given reduced rates and opportunities to pay for lessons in alternative ways . Jbe Bitterroot Gymnastics Club is not for just The article gives the impression that Terry Hamilton, our coach, made the decision to compete club for us . It was totally our decision. We feel that competing club gives us better opportunities for college scholarships . I am not saying that winning should be a prerequisite for school newspaper coverage . All teams in athletics and speech, as well as L---------------------------- __ ._~ · . . _ other groups which represent the school in extra-curricular activities, deserve recognition. So far this year this recognition is sorely lacking in the Lance for most such teams and groups . The students involved in these activities and the Lance's readers deserve better. We've heard an awful lot about how we \think we ' re too good\ to compete for Hellgate. We don ' t. Club meets offer us stiffer competi- tion and inspire us to work harder . Club meets and camps have taken us to Seattle; Forest Grove , Ore- gon; Great Falls; Calgary , Idaho ; Nebraska and we soon plan to go to Portland . We watch and compete against some of the top gymnasts in the Northwest. High school gym- nastics can't offer us this kind of ex- perience. We're sorry, but currently, com- peting for Hellgate would not do what club does for our gymnastics . Otherwise, we would be proud to represent our school. Vicky Worden Junior Kila Opsahl Freshman LATIN The Ancient Language for your future Sports quiz To the Editor: A quiz for the Sports Editor: 1. What Hellgate High School team has won a state title and placed second three times in the past four years? Michael Oke former wrestling coach ~------------------------- 1 • BethFox . I I ....... ~ Wayne Jackson I I -··~ 114WESTFRONT I I Ba~ (In the Glacier Bldg.) ~ I (Formerly .. . For Heads Only) . T.Jio326& 1 I END OF THE I i QUARTER SPECIAL i I s1 0 Off on any Perm I I Now until I 1 the end of January I 1 With coupon 1 ·-------------------------J

The Hellgate Lance (Missoula, Montana), 23 Jan. 1980, located at <http://montananewspapers.org/lccn/TheHellgateLance/1980-01-23/ed-1/seq-4/>, image provided by MONTANA NEWSPAPERS, Montana Historical Society, Helena, Montana.