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The SPOKE

The SPOKE

On the agenda: No more paper planners

On+the+agenda%3A+No+more+paper+planners

By Jeffrey Heng, Staff Reporter

Years ago, my elementary teachers would make me use the school agenda book: write down my to-do list, get the teacher’s signature and then repeat every weekday. However, as students grow older, they start recognizing the habits that they must drop to accommodate their schedule best. Now the question arises: Are these agenda books even useful anymore?

Each year, ’Stoga hands out more than 2,000 agenda books to everyone in the student body. Every copy includes a handbook, map of the school, the bell schedule, administrative contact information and code of conduct. Although these books do have useful information, they can prove to be a real burden.

The agenda books provided by the school don’t have a sufficient amount of space or a well-designed format. This year, agenda books increased the space for jotting down daily assignments but abandoned the period division from the previous year’s design. Because of this, students are better off buying their own agenda book that caters to their preferences.

Moreover, the planners are an inconvenience compared to the digital resources available to students. Alternatives to the book include the Notes app on Apple devices, Notion and Todoist and even utilizing the Schoology calendar. Unlike agenda books, online planners can sync to multiple devices.

Additionally, the excessive publication of agendas negatively impacts the environment. For each copy published, 72 pages are piled inside, including the “Notes” section at the back of the book with 14 extra sheets of lined paper. For the neglected agenda books, this results in wasted paper as well as plastic from the covers.

An article by The McHenry Messenger, a student newspaper in Illinois, reviewed a 2018 study after McHenry Community High School District 156 stopped providing agendas to students. According to the polled results, the loss of agenda books only affected 41% of the student body in their methods of tracking assignments. In addition, the school saved $8,000 that it then used to fund student activities.

A solution to the excessive use of materials could be gauging if students actually need agenda books. Creating a Microsoft Form in the spring of the preceding school year would establish an opt-in system where students can state whether they want a paper planner. This way, fewer materials would go to waste, and Conestoga could save money to fund other aspects of the school.

Rather than spending money on the books, ’Stoga could save up funds for more effective uses such as expanding the classroom facilities and maybe even better air conditioning in the atrium. By redirecting agenda book expenses, we can focus on what truly matters — a cool, crisp and healthy environment. It’s time we turn a new leaf and reevaluate our agenda.


Jeffrey Heng can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Jeffrey Heng, Staff Reporter
Jeffrey Heng is a sophomore and Staff Reporter for The Spoke. He has written news, opinion and sports articles, as well as web and sports briefs. Beyond the newsroom, he volunteers for Make Us Visible PA, which aims to integrate AAPI studies in K-12 schools, is a board member of the Asian American Culture Club, and is a profound lover of frogs, puns and salt.