Semester Begins with Virtual Changes

Huge changes occurred to Virtual student’s schedules this semester. 

“The largest change made for virtual students is that they will be required to meet with their teachers every day over google meet,” RHS Counselor Marc Price said. “The reason why we’re looking to make this change is that teachers, administrators, and counselors all got together to figure out how to make a better [plan] because we noticed that an alarmingly high number of virtual students were failing classes. One of the things that we know about teaching and learning is that students, in order to learn most students, require some sort of contact, communication face to face. I think that one of the things that we would like to change is that students feel isolated and on their own not being able to have that face-to-face contact with their teachers and this is detrimental to their learning. The required google meets are a way to kind of force students to get that human contact that they do need for effective learning.” 

A question being asked is how will this harm the students if they don’t attend

“It will more than likely hurt their grades,” Price said. “When a student doesn’t show up for a google meet we have a series of events that happens thereafter. So if we notice is a student isn’t showing up to a google meet a couple of times, we’ll try to contact them and get ahold of them through the canvas, google, call them to let them know that we missed them and they have to be here for these. That is step one. If students routinely miss those google meets then that contact escalates, we’ll contact parents and let them know that their child is missing google meets and that they should be there in these google meets every day. Then after that, the counselors will get involved and the final stage is the principal getting involved and it becomes a discipline issue.” 

Junior Haylee Croslow shares her opinion on the mandatory changes that are going to take place. 

“I feel that it’s a good idea to have mandatory google meets in some classes, like math, social studies, science, and English classes,” she said. “But in elective classes, I feel that it should be optional. Also, some people don’t have WiFi at home and I know some places offer WiFi but I don’t think many people are going to sit in a parking lot and do their schoolwork.” 

It’s important to know how the process will work. 

“To streamline this process we want teachers to make sure that students have easy access to google meets. We want students to know exactly how to find what they’re doing. We want teachers to give an overview for the week so students can see on Monday what they’re doing and what to expect for the week. This is so students can prepare accordingly. We’re going to make sure teachers put a link to the google meets in the calenders so students don’t forget and miss it. This will help make the process easier and more streamlined.” 

Many students have wondered when google meets will take place. 

“It will be scheduled time,” Price said. “The thing that we’ve had to change for next semester is that some students last semester had overlap in their schedule. Their schedule instead of saying period 1-7 could say 1-3,4,5,6,7. They’ll still have seven classes but multiple classes that period, like students who have a block period. Last semester to accommodate the overlap in classes is [for example, classes] being taught the same period, one teacher would take Monday and Wednesday for google meets and the other would take Tuesday and Thursday so they would never overlap. Google meets will take place during specified period times. Teachers will have specific times for their virtual classes as well to where that teacher’s schedule for that period is nothing but their virtual kids and they’re there for those virtual kids during that period when needed.” 

The google meets will be beneficial for classes some virtual students are struggling in. 

“I personally think it’ll help me a little bit in classes I have issues with like chemistry and math,” Croslow said. 

The google meet times will not be as long as someone who is in school. 

“It’s not necessarily a 45-minute google meet but it is an opportunity for students to really get clarification and understand what they should be doing,” Price said.  

Teachers will also have office hours to remain in contact with students. There is also a new class coming to virtual students.

“One of the things that we’ve built in for semester two is a Basic Skills Development class,” Price said. “It is an opportunity to have another teacher for these students to contact and ask questions. We will have teachers in the building who are there to help those virtual students with all of their stuff. It’s a more adult human response that you can use and ask questions. Who can keep track and tabs on those virtual students.” 

Croslow shares tips on what could be done for these meets to help make them better.

“If everything goes well and they make mandatory google meets for sure, I think we should be having the meetings earlier in the morning so we have time to start our school,” she said. 

Price shares what he wants the outcome to look like. 

“It is our hope that these changes will help our virtual students find success,” he said.