The new digital norm

After almost a year of Minga and My Homework, students and staff wonder if they have been helping MCHS how they are supposed to


Claire Guzman

At the beginning of the school year, MCHS introduced digital IDs and hall passes in an effort to curb bad behavior. At the end of the school year, data suggests that the new systems are helping students make better decisions.

Tati Rubi, Staff Writer

As the school year comes to an end, students and staff at MCHS are reevaluating whether the new online passes and ID known as Minga and MyHomework really work. Both students and staff have gotten used to the new online implements after using them for months.

At the beginning of the school year administration pushed for the use of the new online passes and ID system. Part of the reason that MCHS wanted to implement these new systems was to minimize the amount of students skipping classes. Following these systems being put in place, it took a long time for people to get used to everything being digital. Since, both students and staff have felt the question “Are these apps helping student success?” weighing on them.

“We still have a lot of class cuts,” Hillary Agnello, a dean at the Upper Campus says. “We still have a lot of times where students are in the hallway without a pass.  We’re gonna trust you where to go, and that you’re gonna go where you belong. It hasn’t fully worked because we don’t feel like the entire school has fully bought in yet.”

Agnello mentions the whole purpose of these online passes is that it allows MCHS to have the kind of culture staff wants, which is where administration gives trust and responsibility to the students.

“I think it’s helped students feel like they’re a little bit more in control of where they can go,” Agnello says. “Not necessarily having to always feel like they’re getting permission because they can make it themselves, which is nice. The online pass system helps us with kids who feel like they’re taking ownership of the building. What it does for us, in theory, is that it allows us to be able to open the doors for more flexibility. For example, if a kid wants to write a pass to go to the bathroom or the nurse, they can just do that.”

As time goes on, administration is trying to improve what they can work on with the app but needs everyone to be using it for it to do its job.

“I wrote an email today about a student that I’m all over,” Agnello says. “That kid was in the hallway without a pass and security did exactly what they were supposed to do. They brought the kid to the ISS, but the kid had gotten permission, but not from the pass system. What that did was create a problem that the kid didn’t do. I do think we’re trying to hold teachers and students more accountable for using it and people are trying to do that now.”

Although the new implementation helps with maintaining the building better, it still has its cons. Many students have restrictions on the passes they want to be able to make like not being able to make passes for teachers not on their schedule. 

“The biggest limitation is we are so dependent on students and staff using it correctly,” Gregory Eiserman, assistant principal of MCHS says. “It’s very easy to just grab the thing off the wall and go to the bathroom.  But it’s hard for the teacher to stop, go over, and make sure the pass is made. To me that’s the biggest limitation is the workflow for the staff member. Students are going to push the boundaries until they know they can’t.”

During the 2021-22 school year, on average, the first semester had an average of over 400 cuts. This year the class cuts are under 100. Eiserman mentions that he’s not sure if it’s a direct correlation with My Homework, but he definitely feels it plays a part. 

“You get 45 minutes with a trained professional teacher,” he adds, “value that time or value the time to know during the lesson when the appropriate time to go is. Kids have got to be in class, right? But I mean, our intention is to use the pass system for at least two years, because I don’t think one year you can really know if it’s effective or not.”

One of the reasons My Homework has taken so much longer to adapt to than Minga is because of the lack of communication that happens between staff and students. Most students took the time to figure out the online pass system themselves. 

“I actually feel like we’ve probably done the poorest job with [students],” Eiserman says. “I’ve done a lot personally with the staff. We sit down to lunch and learn. I’ve done a bunch of videos and a lot of that stuff. We probably give you guys the least information.” 

A lot of students also don’t realize My Homework allows you to put in your agenda and homework activities. MCHS is hoping to push this out to students in the upcoming school year.

Regarding Minga, it has easily helped students and staff with their privileges. Instead of a few students harming the ability of a class to flex or effect off campus privileges, MCHS can now pinpoint these students. It allows for a smoother communication within students and staff.

“I feel like Minga has really helped with the flex learning, where you’re not in class as a part of a blended class.” Eiserman said. “That has helped us in that it has helped security have a quicker way of identifying students. I think that’s helped because one of our biggest cuts last year, it wasn’t students that were on a flex day, it was the kids hiding in the hallway who weren’t and they said they were blended weren’t.  So having those stickers on the IDS has really helped security because all they have to ask is ‘let me see your ID or Let me see your Minga.’ ”

As far as these new implements, they have been doing what they intend to do for the school. Although it has taken time, students and teachers have slowly adapted to the new culture of online IDs and passes. Administration hopes to continue for another year to truly decide if My Homework and Minga are right for MCHS.