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The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

MCPS eliminates GoGuardian from school budget

GoGuardian blocks websites that are deemed inappropriate on school-owned Chromebooks.
Screenshot by Rebekah Buchman
GoGuardian blocks websites that are deemed inappropriate on school-owned Chromebooks.

GoGuardian has been eliminated from the MCPS budget for the 2024-2025 school year. The decision was made by the Board of Education at their Jan. 23 meeting. GoGuardian is a tool that allows teachers to monitor student’s Chromebook activity in class.

The decision was made by MCPS Chief of Strategic Initiatives, Stephanie Sheron. Sheron stated that the elimination of GoGuardian will be offset by going back to traditional ways of implementing classroom management strategies such as the digital balance resolution that MCPS passed in 2023 to make sure that we think about “how are we making sure our teachers are utilizing their Chromebooks, but that that’s not the only thing they’re using throughout the day,” Sheron said in the Jan. 23 Board of Education meeting.

The digital balance resolution was passed in January 2023 by the Montgomery County Council of PTAs. The resolution included limiting screen time by using hard-copy resources, minimizing digital testing, and monitoring digital resources to ensure they are being used for academic purposes.

According to Sheron, out of the 15,000 teachers who work at MCPS only 6,000 have used GoGuardian at least once. That is 40% of all the teachers in MCPS. She also stated that in the last month, only 3,000 teachers have used it and that the use of GoGuardian is more common in high schools.

Teachers are concerned about GoGuardian being eliminated. English teacher Melanie Moomau said, “Myself and a group of other teachers got together and wrote a letter to the Board of Education saying what a valuable tool GoGuardian is and how we don’t think it would be a good decision to remove it.”

GoGuardian can be a useful resource for preventing cheating as well as seeing the progress of a class. “I do think GoGuardian is a good tool to encourage academic honesty. I use it as a tool to monitor progress in my class. If someone is stuck on a thesis for a long time, I can help them with it, or if the whole class is done with something, we can move on,” Moomau said.

Students’ opinions vary on the opinion of GoGuardian. “I don’t think GoGuardian is useful because I feel like teachers don’t use it. GoGuardian is only useful for online tests for the purpose of academic integrity,” sophomore Victoria Tejerina said.

However other students believe that GoGuardian can be a practical resource, “As much as students hate it, GoGuardian actually helps prevent cheating and encourages academic honesty,” sophomore Kathleen Nie said.

A traditional way of monitoring students is proximity monitoring, where teachers would walk around a classroom to see what students are doing on their papers. However, with 30 students in a classroom and only one teacher, it can be difficult for the teacher to ensure everyone is being honest.

MCPS spends about $230,000 annually on GoGuardian. Teacher Premium, which is what most teachers use on their computers, is $125 a year.

This decision is subject to change and won’t be finalized until the spring when the budget is finalized as well.

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Rebekah Buchman, features editor
Sophomore Rebekah Buchman is a features editor in her second year at Common Sense.  In her free time, she enjoys listening to music, reading, baking/cooking and attending concerts.  You can find her on Insta @bekah.buchman
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