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An app regulates school life for Cosumnes High students

Jordan Hanson

The foundation of Cosumnes Oaks High School’s 2023-2024 academic year rests upon the shoulders of the educational app, 5-Star.

This app orchestrates hall passes, bestows student rewards (5-Star points), and hosts student surveys and polls. Ironically, the 5-Star app currently averages a 1.5-star rating with 3,159 ratings in the App Store. This should come as no shock to Cosumnes Oaks students and teachers alike.

Hall passes are the app’s primary use. After scanning a QR code, you’re granted a luxurious 10-minute grace period to use the bathroom or find your way to your next destination. If the timer runs out, behold the red screen of shame with your awkward ID picture front and center – a modern masterpiece in the My ID section of the app. 

Students who don’t have a mobile device need to go up to their teacher and ask to be signed out via computer. This often requires the teacher to pause their lesson, go to 5-Star, scroll through a roster to find the student’s name, and start the clock. 

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The common problem for students has been the failure to sign back in after going to the bathroom during class. Upon entering the classroom, you must now take your bathroom-infested cell phone out and re-scan the QR code. Failure to do so on time or at all will result in the infamous red circle with a cross, indicating you’re now on the No-Activities List. 

Outside of the bathroom policy, if a student is late to a class other than their first-period class four times in a row, they also will be placed on the No-Activities List. 

The Consumnes Oaks Wolfpack logo. (Jordan Hanson)

For students who rarely check their digital ID, it’s a shock to find that they’re on the No-Activities List once they’re tasked with scanning their ID at a school function or game. Campus security is forced to turn down the once-excited football fan, now confused by the state of their ID, and the glaring red symbol near their face.

Upon realizing they are now on the No-Activities List, students have two options. They can go to Lunch Bunch, also known by its less-sugar coated name – detention – a 15-minute intervention during which students gather and answer two prompts, decoding their faults and how to deal with them better next time.

Students who don’t care to participate in this can ask their teacher to clear their pass. They have to identify the class they committed the act in, ask the teacher to email the school’s program assistance manager, and then wait a couple of days for the red circle with a cross to disappear. 

Amidst the chaos, 5-Star also rewards students for their good deeds around campus, in-class leadership and participation. These points also can be used for snacks and – of course – bragging rights. Throughout the year, Cosumnes Oaks’ most ambitious students are fighting for the number one spot on the schoolwide 5-Star points ranking.

At its best, the app serves as a way for students to be heard on campus more effectively. Polls and surveys occasionally are sent out on the app, hoping to better the campus and focus on student needs.

But the answer to the question of whether the app is a positive addition to campus life is clear – no. It’s an inconvenience for tech-deprived teachers and students, and a QR-code nightmare for everyone involved. 

In the grand rating scheme, 5-Star seems more like a 2.5-star app.

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About the Contributor
Jordan Hanson, Reporter
I'm Jordan Hanson, a senior at Cosumnes Oaks High School. Outside of class, I enjoy writing poetry and short stories as well as playing guitar and piano. One of my favorite activities is playing my electric guitar and singing classic rock with a band. I'm interested in exploring journalism as a way to channel my creativity and writing skills.
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