LHS staff is working hard to make sure remote learning is successful

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Photo by Alp Okyar

As LHS returns to remote learning once again, administrators are constantly working to make improvements to the online model.

Since March, teachers have been having to make constant adjustments to their lesson plans in order to make this difficult year manageable for students. Online learning was new to everyone, students and teachers alike, and this school year is no different.

Behind the scenes, the LHS staff and admin are constantly working to make remote learning an easy transition from the hybrid schedule. Principal of LHS, Mr. Parent, knows that having a remote block schedule is a struggle for students, but wants to do everything possible to make it better.

“Despite the things we thought would get better this time [in remote learning],” Mr. Parent said, “more face to face instruction with your teachers, a lot more structure with assignments, and switching to block to only have half your classes a day. Obviously, it’s still not ideal, it’s still not what we once had, but we are trying to make the best out of that difficult situation.”

To make remote learning successful, administrators have been closely monitoring teachers and students with a few tactics. LHS admin wants to make sure they are fully understanding the struggles teachers and staff are working through in order to make changes to the program.

Teachers were given the guidelines of alternating between group work and independent work, as well as not going bell to bell each class period. Of course the administrators realize that not every class can be structured this way depending on the lessons, but they hope that the recommended schedule would give students a less stressful class period.

So, to make sure these classes are being run the way the LHS staff intended remote classes to be, teachers have to fill out a weekly overview to show their class plan. In these weekly overviews, teachers must account for every minute of their class to show admin and to give students the chance to plan ahead for their next class.

Admin has also asked teachers to complete surveys to go over their experience with remote, but also how their students have been during online learning. From these surveys, the admin has found that 80% of teachers believe that the transition to remote learning has been positive, as well as suggestions the administrators can use to help improve the remote schedule.

These surveys have brought many suggestions to LHS admin. From the staff’s surveys it’s been found that the staff doesn’t feel like they are successfully balancing their work and life, and it’s brought to admin’s attention when students aren’t being engaged and are feeling overwhelmed.

“Where we’ve see some challenges and stumbling blocks from students and from staff is ‘I’ve gon bell to bell, I’ve got to get everything I think I need to get in, I’m overwhelmed because I can’t step away to have a break, and nor can my student,’” Mr. Parent said. “And we have to readjust and really identify what we call essential curriculum that we want covered because it’s just too much.”

Admin makes sure to fully understand the information given so they can help everyone apart of LHS through this unprecedented time. During a time where it could feel like everyone is disconnected, especially in the winter where seasonal depression cases are statistically higher, it’s a great concern for admin to make sure everyone’s mental health is well during remote learning. 

Also from the process of reviewing weekly overviews and surveys, it’s been discovered that teachers have a hard time fitting their lessons into a 90 minute period while allowing students to have a break. Admin realized that this could be very overwhelming for students and teachers since everyone could potentially be going throughout the entire day without a break. And because of this, the admin decided to make an adjustment to the remote schedule.

“That was one of the big [suggestions] was could we get some time built in that’s literally a break from the screen,” Mr. Parent said. “…You might have a good routine in your classes, but for those who have three or four in a row it is really really difficult.”

The adaption to the new block schedule made all classes now 94 minutes instead of 97 in able to include a mandated break. The break takes place for 28 minutes and is in between C and E periods on “A” days and D and F periods on “B” days. 

During online and hybrid models, administration is listening to all feedback and will try to make all necessary adaptations, but due to the amount of work staff is doing in order to help relieve stress for all of LHS, it may take time. 

So, though changes may not be quick, admin is working non-stop to make sure that all schedules (online, hybrid, and potentially fully in person models) will be an easy transition for everyone. 

“It’s okay to be honest that none of us are at our best,” Mr. Parent said. “I’m a better principal under good circumstances and a traditional model of schooling than I am right now. I think our teachers are better when they have all their students in front of them, see them every day, and go through the routine. You are probably at your best when you come into school, you’re with all your friends, and you’re doing your thing.”

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