Staff adapts to online setting

Staff shares adjustments made for online setting that continues for first marking period

Students+and+teachers+meet+each+other+daily+for+synchronous+classes.++The+Mountain+Lion+Maniacs+sponsored+pet+day+to+encourage+students+to+show+school+spirit+and+have+cameras+on+in+class.++Shane+McBurney%27s+class+took+the+time+to+share+this+picture.

Courtesy of Shane McBurney

Students and teachers meet each other daily for synchronous classes. The Mountain Lion Maniacs sponsored pet day to encourage students to show school spirit and have cameras on in class. Shane McBurney’s class took the time to share this picture.

Kamika Helsel, Reporter

Due to many reasons, students have been delayed from returning to the traditional setting for the first nine weeks of the 2020-2021 school year.

This delay has caused all traditional teachers and students to alternate into a virtual setting. This virtual setting consists of face-to-face instruction with the use of Google Meet and Zoom.

All graded work and other materials are posted and completed on the Google Classroom platform.

“There are many causes for the delayed start. With the impact of COVID-19, the new high school building project was delayed.  Therefore, we needed to begin the year in a virtual format for the first nine weeks which is when we anticipate the project to be finished,” Principal Jason McGinnis said.

Other than the last marking period of last school year, teachers are new to this way of learning.

History teacher Shane Mcburney thinks everyone is learning how to adapt and be flexible.

“We’ve overcome so much adversity in the past few months, and I firmly believe that getting through the adversity is going to make us stronger in the end,” McBurney said.

Students are required to attend live calls and participate within the calls for a portion of their grades.

 Students are also required to fill out an attendance form every morning and submit it before 7:50 am every school day.

 History teacher Kirk Dodson believes if students are serious and diligent, they can learn this way.

 “While it’s not ideal, at least we can deliver meaningful instruction. Colleges and universities have been offering classes and degrees for several years, so it can be done,” Dodson said.

 While students are the main focus, teachers also struggle with the online setting at times.

 “While making a video lesson, my daughter was getting something out of the cupboard and everything came crashing down!  Needless to say, I had to re-do the video. After I re-did the video, which was 15 minutes long, I couldn’t get it to upload to my drive.  I was super frustrated that day, but it all worked out,” math teacher Emily Bender said.

 Teachers use multiple different sites and platforms to teach their students essential material.

 Staff has to teach hundreds of students through a screen with only the use of online resources.

 “I’ve had a few things go wrong, but I’m happy to say that it’s nothing major. I have used two different platforms to record mini-lessons on asynchronous days, and both of them stopped working about two weeks ago. I would be in the middle of recording a video and the app would totally crash on me; this was obviously very frustrating because I had just wasted several minutes… and I kept doing it over and over hoping one of the times it would work. It did not work.” English teacher Caitlin McGeary said.

 McGinnis believes that each day has been a challenge and learning experience for teachers and students during the first nine weeks.

 “We need to make the best of these situations.  Our mindset needs to be in control of the controllables. We may not have all of the answers, not just with this COVID-19, but in life. Therefore, we need to look at what we do know, live within that, and keep moving forward. Most importantly, we are all in this together,” McGinnis said.

Students have the opportunity to return back to school on Nov. 12 or to remain in remote learning. 

“The old Chinese proverb that ‘A journey of a thousand miles, begins with a single step’ I feel is good advice in our present situation. Take things one class at a time, one assignment at a time, one day at a time,” Dodson said.