Champaign Central Chronicle

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Champaign Central Chronicle

Champaign Central Chronicle

Unveiling the Controversy: The Impact of 5-Star

One of many QR codes students use to access a pass to the bathroom at Centra High School
One of many QR codes students use to access a pass to the bathroom at Centra High School

Here at Champaign Central High School, students, staff, and parents are experiencing something new. On January 17, a new system called 5-Star was put into place. Administrators made the decision to implement the new app in order to track student attendance and solve the problem of students in the hall during class time.

Just like many apps we use today, the issue of privacy is always a concern, and privacy is not about hiding something. It’s about protecting everything that matters. This is one of the reasons I’m against the new system implemented at Central. Out of all the things I bring to school, my phone is one of the most personal, and I try to keep it that way. I try to keep my home life on my phone and anything school-related on the school-issued Chromebooks. My first thought when I heard about 5-Star was about my privacy. One of my biggest fears is not knowing what the school has access to on my phone. 

I don’t believe that this app will be convenient at all. It has been in place since the 17th of January, and from the looks of it, it’s slowing us down. It takes longer to log into everything just to get a student to the bathroom than it did before. What was once as simple as giving a laminated pass to a student has turned into a complicated system of logging in, searching, and tapping. Getting into the building takes longer because more often than not, we have to go back to be scanned twice. 

And it’s not just me who thinks 5-Star is a waste of time. A teacher who has requested anonymity, thinks the same of this new system. When asked if the app would make their job harder, they said, “I personally feel that having this app open 24/7 makes me spend more time looking at the computer instead of conducting my class.” 

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The 5-Star app as it appears on cell phones as students download it.


This teacher also believes being on the computer and away from teaching their class can be detrimental for both students and them as a teacher. For students, it may red

uce the opportunity for direct interaction and personalized one-on-one time with the teacher, throwing off their ability to effectively ask questions and receive immediate feedback. Knowing the teacher must stay up front to monitor the computer, students decrease their engagement in class. 

For teachers, being away from their students to monitor this new system affects their ability to effectively monitor and manage the learning environment, as well as establish a strong rapport with their students.

For this teacher, their initial view of the app wasn’t favorable, and after it was experimented with, their opinion almost worsened. When asked about it, they responded with, “It is not efficient. I get that this provides more data to the school and it helps keep track of where students are and when during the day but it’s more steps and extra work for the teachers. My time is being taken away from being an actual teacher.”

Of course, opinions aren’t just limited to just the negative ones. Students have many opinions about the app and some of them are both for it and against it, including students like Loreal Allen, a senior here at Central who has mixed feelings on the efficiency this app will provide. 

When asked about her view on the app, she said, “Currently, I think that the 5-Star program as a whole is not efficient because our teachers and students don’t know how to work it and neither do our students…I think once we get into the flow of using it more often it’ll become easier.” 

Many students think like Allen. There is room for improvement but overall, this app could have the potential to be good for students and staff. If the process is learned 

it becomes easier and that is what we want for both our students and teachers. We want their jobs to be easy, but what about privacy? Allen says, “I don’t think you need to use your phone for school related things because we’re given a Chromebook and we have our ID’s to scan in instead of 5-Star.” 

Downloading the app is a choice and it’s become very clear that many will not download it. Some students like Allen have accepted the reality that this is in place and it’s here to stay for a while and it’s our choice as students to participate in it. 

Parents aren’t as involved with the app as students and teachers, but their opinions matter just as much. To parents, it seems like 5-Star is just another app. Jon Dillow, a parent to two Central seniors, initially believed 5-Star was a texting app but after an explanation stated, “It doesn’t cause me any concerns as a parent unless they’re using it to track students without their permission.” 

In the end, again, this is optional to students. They can choose to download it or not but teachers have no choice but to follow this new protocol. One thing that everyone must think about is how long will 5 Star survive at Central and will it really solve the problems that it was implemented for?  

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