(High School Insider)
La Cañada High School

Distance learning in La Cañada Flintridge and La Crescenta

On August 17, 19 and 25, La Cañada High School, Crescenta Valley High School and Flintridge Preparatory School started their 2020-2021 distance learning school year.

Due to the high number of coronavirus cases in California, many schools have decided to transition into online schooling. Three of these schools are LCHS, CVHS and FPS.

After numerous interviews, I have learned that the majority of students, teachers and parents prefer physical school over online schooling.

Sophie, a LCHS student who requested to be identified by first name only, claims that she prefers physical school because she is able to see everyone, it is more convenient to ask questions after class and going to a different location for school is motivating to go to class.

Many other students at LCHS had similar comments on their preference of physical school over online school.

Christina Zhang, a senior at LCHS, also adds that school events are more exciting on campus. She lists activities such as spirit week dress ups, assemblies and football games.

However, Kaitlyn Pak, a freshman at CVHS, and Nicole Lee, a freshman at FPS, bring to light a benefit to online schooling. They both mention that online schooling allows them to wake up later, with a change in school start time and no need to consider travel time.

Although all the students interviewed preferred physical school, if given a choice between a hybrid schooling system or an all online schooling system, they would all choose the online system during this time. Although students like Nicole Lee and Audrey Ouh, a CVHS senior, would rather have an engaging, hands-on experience in class and not stare at a screen all day, they all feel that it would be too risky going to school during these times.

Teachers at LCHS have also discussed the pros and cons of online schooling in their interviews.

World History and AP Psychology teacher Julie Hong claims that online schooling has been a challenge as it is hard to get to know everyone through the internet. It is hard to get feedback from the students when only a few students are visible on her screen at a time.

Jessica Quinn, an AP Statistics and Financial Literacy teacher, expresses similar concerns, and also adds that it is hard to see the work her students are doing, so it is harder to help them out during class.

This seems to be a concern shared among many math teachers, as many say that they catch students’ mistakes while checking their work when walking around the classroom. Without the ability to do so through an online platform, these teachers are unable to point out students’ mistakes, so students are more likely to make mistakes without knowing.

Ryan Hainey, the AP Biology and Forensics teacher, provides some pros to online schooling.

He states that having school online allows him to have more one-on-one interaction with his students. He also reports being able to focus more on curricular development during class time, as he is able to pre-record lectures for his students to listen to during their work time in class. But, as a laboratory science teacher, there was difficulty in translating in-class labs to an online environment.

Despite all the challenges teachers have been facing since the summer, students from all three schools applaud their teachers for making the transition from physical to online school easier. Although many students had never thought of doing lab work online, teachers like Mr. Hainey have surprised us all with online resources that can slightly mimic what would have been done if we were physically at school.

Mr. Hainey’s Forensics class uses an online textbook website to do labs. (Image courtesy of Lauren Hong)

“I’m lucky to have what I have, so it was fairly easy for me to transition,” Thomas Menjivar, a senior at CVHS said.

Parents of Ayla Nappi, a senior at LCHS, and parents of Nicole Lee have all stated that they are willing to consider, in caution, sending their kids back to school if schools took coronavirus precautions seriously.

When asked when they thought schools might reopen, all students answered that they were hopeful for the reopening to happen for the second semester; however, they all knew that the more practical estimation for a reopening date would be next school year.

“I doubt we will be back to normal until at least the start of the next school year,” Rishi Gupta, a LCHS junior said.