[email protected] provides a new way for students to learn

Isaac+Freitag+teaches+US+History+and+American+Government+to+Mehlville%40Home+students.+He+is+one+of+several+teachers+at+OHS+who+teach+classes+for+Mehlville%40Home

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Isaac Freitag teaches US History and American Government to [email protected] students. He is one of several teachers at OHS who teach classes for [email protected]

Busy schedule? Wanting to learn from home? Looking for a way to stay safe while still learning important material? [email protected] might be the answer. 

Introduced last semester, [email protected] is an online program aimed towards students who wish to learn virtually. The schedule is very similar to a regular school-day schedule, with the only difference being attending classes from a computer. 

Each school level has a different schedule. According to Mrs. Christine Mathews, coordinator of [email protected], elementary school students are expected to attend a google meet with their classroom teacher every day. 

“Elementary students have a [email protected] classroom teacher, but their specials (music, art, PE, and library) teachers join them on a Meet to teach their sections,” Mathews said. Middle school students attend classes every day, but are able to have intervention times twice throughout the day so they can seek help from their teachers. The high school schedule looks the most different. 

[email protected] students attend all of their classes on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday for new instruction,” said Mr. John DeWalle, coordinator and supporter of [email protected] “[The students] then meet for teacher-designed structured intervention time on Wednesday and Friday, where no new instruction would occur.”

Out of all the schools, 232 students are attending classes through [email protected] “This is pretty close to the same total number as [the] 1st semester,” said Dr. Jennifer Gross, high school counselor. However, there are some setbacks to [email protected], one of which includes less classes being offered. 

Gross says that students choose [email protected] “for a variety of reasons”. She says students may have health concerns that keep them from being successful in a traditional building, or they have learned that online classes fit their style of learning better. 

That seems to be the case for Anni Sciaroni (12). Sciaroni chose to do [email protected] in order to keep her immune system and her family safe, and to be able to have a more flexible learning schedule. She enjoys the format of the [email protected] program, but does not enjoy Edgenuity. 

Edgenuity is a program that assists [email protected] with the learning process where students can learn at their own pace. Yet there are multiple shortcomings of the program for Sciaroni. 

“Edgenuity was incredibly difficult for me because there was no teacher interaction. At one point the teacher graded assignments about a month after I turned them in and two days before the semester was over gave me feedback pertaining to my future work.” Sciaroni did not have enough time to apply the feedback because the teacher graded them so late. 

Overall, Sciaroni has enjoyed the [email protected] program and “would probably do it for another year” if she wasn’t a senior. 

Students Elena Bickers (12) and Remi Makos (12) expressed similar feelings about [email protected] Bickers likes that she is able to focus on her work without having as many distractions. She enjoys the activities, which “makes it feel like we’re in the classroom when we really aren’t”. 

While Makos likes that she can log in from home, she would rather attend a class on Edgenuity than attend a google meet. However, she says that [email protected] is “convenient for those who have busy schedules”. 

DeWalle agrees that [email protected] is not perfect. “I do not think there is a perfect schedule, but I feel that the current [email protected] allows for the values that came through feedback through students, families and teachers, such as the availability of structured intervention time.”

Not having a perfect schedule may have something to do with the rush to get [email protected] available to students. “The district has been considering adding [email protected] for a while and the pandemic accelerated our implementation of this program,” Gross said. 

[email protected] will continue in the years to come, according to Gross. “There are definitely some changes to be made as we move forward, but this format allows us to expand our online offerings to reach more students and address a greater variety of needs.”