MCPS allocates $40 million to new Boxlight screens while no building renovations in sight


Photo by Carter Jones

The Boxlight screen in teacher Evva Starr’s room displays assignments for students’ reference.

You are walking through Wootton, one of the top 10 high schools in Maryland and you see a moldy, crumbling ceiling or exposed pipes. Students have been complaining about the old and outdated features for years, yet the school has not seen a renovation or update in almost 20 years. Recently, MCPS has spent upwards of $40 million purchasing new Boxlight screens for classrooms, but a stable fund or a plan for renovations and upgrades is still nowhere in sight. 

Those who believe that the money was well spent may believe that the Promethean boards the school received almost 10 years ago are outdated and are beginning to break; this is hindering the speed, efficiency and productivity at which students can learn and will continue to slow down students. They feel that this will bring down test scores and the success of the students, as well as bring down the school’s rating. In certain cases, teachers don’t have a Promethean board, but instead a screen projector. The new Boxlight screens are also considered to be easier for teachers to use.  

It is fair to say that Promethean boards tend to have technological issues and that simple screen projectors are certainly difficult to use and learn from. In those specific cases, fewer Boxlight could have been purchased for the teachers that really need them for the benefit of their students and themselves. More money would be leftover in the budget and the money not spent on new technology could have been put towards a renovation fund. 

Like any new technology in the world, it takes time to fully figure out how to make it work and to understand all of its functions. Figuring out how to work the board and its other functions will take up class time as well as the teachers’ valuable time, which could be spent on teaching or grading. 

Without new renovations, the safety of students also becomes more and more compromised. Soon enough, certain classes and areas of the school will become unusable and simply unsafe for students and staff. In the weight room, for example, there are multiple collapsed ceiling tiles, clumps of dust and chunks of what seems to be broken ceiling parts laying around the room. When students feel like the environment that they learn in is unsafe and potentially life-threatening, they won’t want to come to school at all and will even feel let down and uncared for by the staff. 

Overall, it simply comes down to what one believes is more important, the safety of the students versus the aesthetic level of our school. Until the school and board of education take action on this issue, the overall safety of students will become increasingly compromised and student morale will decrease. The student member of the board can be contacted at Hana_O’[email protected] with any questions or concerns.