It’s been almost a year since COVID-19 has created unpredictable times for all of us. But a major area of life that has seen significant change is education. Without a doubt, distance has taken some toll on children everywhere. We reached out to our students to hear their experiences during the pandemic — both the good and the bad.
When the 2020-2021 academic year began, we provided the option of an in-person, remote learning, or hybrid education. Students could choose whether they wanted to remain remote or attend smaller, socially-distanced in-class sessions.
In addition, students had the opportunity to accelerate their education and complete their courses early. Thus, we understood that students would have different experiences for the school year. But as we’ve navigated these times, we have constantly tried to keep students connected and continued to prioritize social and emotional learning.
In order to better gauge student experiences, we sent a survey out to all grade levels for voluntary responses.
The pandemic has affected all of us, but some more than others. It was important to us that we included this question in the survey to touch base with our students.
Here’s a response we received from ninth-grader Sophia Sta. Rosa: “I’ve been lucky enough to not be terribly affected by the pandemic. Sure, I miss seeing my friends and family, and quarantine has put a pause on some activities I’d like to do, but my family and I are healthy, my parents haven’t lost their jobs, and school is still continuing.”
In addition, the responses illustrated that students experienced both positive and negative effects due to COVID-19.
Chloe Culver, a remote seventh-grader shared: “The pandemic has affected many things in my life very differently. Education-wise, I have taken an advanced pacing plan with my work because being a fully remote student has taught me to become more productive and independent to make my own schedule plan.”
From the responses, we see that students really appreciated the ability to choose their own path for the semester. This choice provided a sense of control over the pandemic situation which has led many to feel powerless.
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This question poses a great opportunity to narrow down the attributes of school experiences that students enjoy most.
Jade Smith, a sixth-grader, shared: “I miss actually getting to see everyone’s face. It is harder to make friends … with online learning, you can’t see many people.”
During our hybrid approach, remote students had in-class student partners. This encouraged students to learn how to collaborate while also keeping remote kids connected to their peers. In addition, the responses allow us to analyze what about our classes motivates our students. Many students spoke in reference to our integrative education style.
Amanuel Nega, a remote seventh-grader, wrote: “I miss the abundance of field trips. I always thought the school was great because they are able to integrate learning into interactive field trips that make it fun to learn!”
Thanks to Microsoft we’ve been able to live stream field trips and keep our classrooms connected.
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We were so interested by some of the responses we received to this question. Many students mentioned their family as their source of comfort during these stressful times. It was exciting to see that some students also took this as an opportunity to further expand their skills and explore their interests.
“During quarantine, I’ve had a lot more time to write and spin stories. I’ve started a personal writing project and I’ve read a good number of books,” Sophia Sta. Rosa said.
“Binging comedy shows and finding new favorite actors,” Chloe Culver said, “As well as trying to learn a new language.”
“I found video games comforting, as they helped me bond with my friends and family,” seventh-grader Rayna Srinivas said.
While COVID-19 has created newfound obstacles, we are proud to see the resilient nature of our students and their adaptability. This experience has truly encouraged students to develop interdisciplinary skills that will aid them in their future endeavors.
“They are many things that have made me really scared and worried about the world right now. The only thing that could really calm me was to either drown myself in lots of work or family and friend time,” Jade Smith said.
“I find that just sitting down and doing something that I like (coding, for me personally) helps because I’m just focusing on one thing and not worrying about other things like due dates or COVID-19,” Amanuel Nega noted.
The success and well-being of our students are our priority. Even in times where some students are distant, we prioritize staying connected socially and emotionally with every student.
Their experience and development is ultimately our top priority. We strive to provide the best experience for our students and encourage personal and professional growth.
Contact us today to learn more about our school, educational practices, and innovative environment. Enrollment applications for the 2021-2022 school year are currently open.