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Student How-To Guides

HOW-TO… Keep the school computer lab open after school and on weekends.

You said it. You said you could really take advantage of the computer lab if it was open after school and on weekends. You say it would benefit your education. You say you would learn more and get better grades. If you want to influence such a change at your school, it will involve a well-thought out proposal, commitment, and dedication. We think you’re up to the challenge!

This How-to Guide will help you develop a proposal to share your idea with your school community. We’ve started some of the work for you, but you need to take it from here. Make it work for your school!


Problem and Proposal
What is your problem? What is your proposal?

Problem: I would really like to use the technology at school but there’s not enough time in the day.
Proposal: Keep the school computer lab open after school and on weekends.

Print out this worksheet to collect your ideas and your research for your action proposal.



What reasons support your goal? Some examples might include:

  • Having the computer lab open after school and on weekends will allow more students to use technology to complete their school work or to learn new things.
  • Many students don’t have computers at home.
  • There is not enough time during school to finish all that we want to do.
  • Having more access to computers will help us more efficiently complete our schoolwork.

What is your school's technology plan? Can you show how your idea supports your school or district’s plan for technology?

Read about school technology plans.


Find examples: How have other schools approached this problem? Researching other school’s successes can give you new ideas and help you refine your own ideas.

Find news articles and other research to learn how other schools have approached this same problem.

Browse the SVRC Success Stories for advice from the student community.

Collect data: What data can you collect from your own student community to support your idea? If you can, organize a student poll to find out how many would regularly use the computer lab after-school and on weekends and what hours would be most popular.

Find resources and articles about planning research projects.


What other issues do you need to consider?

Read about issues to consider when suggesting change.


Details of your proposal

What is your proposal? Now that you’ve identified your goals and completed your research, write a summary of your proposal. Do you think the computer lab should be open after school everyday for an hour? Twice a week for three hours? Do you have a plan for who could volunteer to staff the computer lab? Write up the details as much as you’ve figured out.


Think about groups and individuals who would be willing to support your idea. Some examples may include individual teachers, student clubs, your school’s PTA, the student government, service clubs, and local business groups. Try to think of a group that would have an interest in volunteering some time to help you organize or support the computer lab.

Share your research and your proposal and see if these groups are willing to support you as a volunteer, a mentor, or even just adding their word of support to your proposal.

7. Make a presentation

A successful presentation summarizes your proposal, your rationale, and your research. This is what you are going to use to convince the decision-makers to support you.

Review the worksheet of what should be in your action proposal.

See an example of an Action Proposal presentation.
8. Set up a meeting
Write a letter, make a phone call, or send an email to set up a meeting with decision-makers to present your idea. Your letter should include an introduction of your proposal and a polite request for a time when you can share your idea. Explain that you have done research and have a proposal to share with them regarding your school’s computer lab.

Who makes decisions about school use of the computer lab?

Read a who’s who of school decision makers.
8. Present Your Action Proposal: This is your chance you use your best manners. Remember, you want to be convincing and likeable. If you’ve followed the steps in this guide, you are prepared with good research and support for your ideas. Your job now is to present your proposal and gain support from decision-makers.

Have you had success with opening up your school’s computer lab? Please submit your Success Story or email any feedback about this module to You are a star!

What YOU Said:

(Student Quotes from NetDay's 2004 Speak Up Day survey)

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