Differences and similarities between FSH and LCHS’s approaches to remote learning

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Emilie Risha

During remote learning, Allison Risha '22 has deepened her bond with her new best friend — her laptop.

As a result of the global pandemic, schools all around the world have been tasked with the responsibility of educating their students remotely. Both public and private schools are grappling with the changes brought about by this pandemic and have modified the traditional school day to keep students learning during this unprecedented time. 

Here at Flintridge Sacred Heart, classes are being held either on Google Meet or Zoom. Even though Tologs are now learning from home, they still follow the same block schedule, the only difference being that classes have been reduced from 80 to 60 minutes with 15-minute breaks in between. Aside from this change in scheduling and the postponement of group events like monthly mass, students still engage in lively English class discussions, Mr. D’Mello still conducts prayer before Religion II and Nish still yells at the unfortunate souls who fail to factor correctly, though all of this now occurs from the comfort of home. 

“School feels almost the same as when I was driving up the hill to campus. We still have three or four classes a day, and the classes have the same feel. That said, there’s nothing like meeting up with your friends and chatting between periods, ” Allison Risha ‘22 said. 

Other changes the school has made include the termination of sports, the cancellation of finals week and the institution of a no-harm grading policy, which means that as long as students do their work and participate in class, their grades can’t be negatively impacted during the remote learning period. 

“I think no-harm grading was a good idea, because it can be difficult to fully grasp some of the concepts with distance learning. It has helped me be less focused on getting all my work done just to get a grade and be more focused on taking the time to focus on learning new material,” Risha said.

Even with the no-harm grading policy, students’ workload has remained relatively the same. 

“With homework, I would say the load is very similar and still keeps me busy from day to day,” Risha said. “I think the administration did a great job of updating us and giving us clear and useful information dealing with what is expected of us.”

Students at the local public school, La Canada High, have had to adapt to a version of online school that has much in common with Flintridge Sacred Heart, even though LCHS has had to consider other factors unique to public school. 

“The concerns of a public school regarding distance learning are wide-ranging, and there are many things that they have to consider and deal with that our school does not,” Ms. Jeannie Finley, Director of Academic Technology and Online Programs Manager, said. 

Some of the elements that make public school education difficult right now include: larger class sizes, dependence on public funding and equity issues, especially with respect to technology. 

“LCHS was in a better position than most public schools to deal with this crisis, as they serve a community with a high level of access to the internet and technology in place at the high school level,” Finley said. 

LCHS sophomore Adam Geller told the Shield about how distance learning has impacted his daily life. 

“On a typical school day in quarantine, I get up at around 7:30, do a light workout, take a shower, get dressed and then start my schoolwork at 8:30. I pound out all my work and finish at around 11:30, and then I have the rest of the day to relax,” Geller said. 

Geller’s learning experience varies from class to class. 

“While some teachers love using Zoom to chat with their students, others just post assignments, so I guess you could say that the school leaves it up to the teachers to administer their own methods of teaching,” Geller said.

Like Flintridge Sacred Heart, LCHS changed its grading policy to help students adapt more smoothly to digital learning. 

“Grades are really easy for my school now. Grades basically can’t drop unless you fail to participate in at least 70% of all the work of your classes, so as long as you show up to classes and do the little amount of work they give you, you’ll be fine,” Geller said. 

Regardless of the differences between Flintridge Sacred Heart and LCHS during distance learning, students at both schools miss seeing their friends. 

“I think I can speak for most kids when I say that we miss our friends and school communities and hope to go back as soon as it is safe to do so,” Risha said.