Where are our agendas?


Students use agendas to track assignments and due dates, but Manual students have yet to receive their 2019/2020 planners. Photo by Adrienne Sato.

Adrienne Sato

This is a developing story. We will post new updates as they become available.

UPDATE, October 22, 2019

Manual received the shipment of agendas on  Wednesday, Oct. 16. During first block on Friday, Oct. 18, Manual teachers distributed the agendas to students. Manual is currently looking into a possible discount due to the delay and misprint. As of Sept. 12, School Specialty offered JCPS a 34 percent discount for the delay, and a 20 percent discount for the misprinted orders.

UPDATE, October 10, 2019:

According to McDowell, as of Oct. 10, School Specialty has not shipped the agendas. The company has yet to give Manual an estimated time of arrival for the agendas.

McDowell has been calling School Specialty every day for an update but has been getting little to no new information. Furthermore, she is frustrated by the disorganization and lack of clear communication from the company. “I sit on hold for probably 10-15 minutes for somebody to come back,” McDowell said. “It is very aggravating.”

For now, however, all Manual can do is keep asking School Specialty where the agendas are and when they will be shipped. McDowell said she is not going to give up calling the company until we have our agendas. “I tell them every day ‘I’ll call again tomorrow!'” McDowell said. “It’s ridiculous that we don’t have them.”

Additionally, this story previously stated that Manual was the only school to have to send back the agendas due to misprints, but McDowell informed RedEye reporters that multiple other JCPS schools have had to return their agendas due to various misprints.


Typically, Manual students receive a small spiral-bound book at registration a few days before school begins. These books, called agendas or planners, include the school’s code of conduct, a calendar and space for students to write down assignments and plan their time.

But this year at registration, students received a receipt for agenda fees instead. Manual staff told students that sometime during the first few weeks of school they would be able to exchange the receipt for an actual agenda. 

More than six weeks into the school year, students have still not received their agendas.

When can we expect the agendas?

According to Ms. McDowell, Manual’s ordering clerk, agenda suppliers Premier Agendas (which is owned by School Specialty) told her that the agendas would arrive at Manual sometime during the week of Sept. 30. As of Thursday, October 3, the agendas have not arrived. 

Why are the agendas so late? 

The agendas were originally late because School Specialty was late in sending them. Manual received a shipment of agendas during the first part of September, but a printing error made the text too small to read. Manual was forced to send them back which added at least a month to the wait for agendas. 

According to Ms. McDowell, the company is currently “working out the kinks” in a new partnership with Shutterfly. School Specialty claims that this partnership is why the agendas were misprinted. 

Is this a Manual-specific problem?

Many schools in JCPS received their agendas after the school year started but only Manual was forced to send them back due to a printing error.

But JCPS is not the only district to receive late or incorrect agenda shipments from School Specialty. Countless online reviews complain about the same issues that JCPS is experiencing. 

One middle school vice principal in San Diego, Joseph Lepetri, is one of the negative online reviews. He also had a shipment of agendas come late. He was very frustrated with the communication from School Specialty. 

He told RedEye reporters that “No school should trust this company.”

Representatives from School Specialty declined to comment on this topic.

How do the missing agendas affect students? 

Students use agendas to keep track of assignments and plan out their time. Students paid a five-dollar fee for the agendas at the beginning of the year, and therefore expected to receive one before the first day of school. 

Without the official school agenda, students must either develop their own system of keeping up with their assignments or they must purchase their own planners. 

Additionally, the official school agendas act as hall passes for many students. Last year, the administration made it clear that every student in the hallway during class must use agendas as hall passes, with time, date and a teacher signature. The lack of agendas means that there is not a uniform hall pass for students who need to leave class.