As of mid-October 2020, EHPS began offering live streamed classes to remote learners. Students who elected to learn from home in September were previously learning through EdGenuity. This change was decided by EHPS Central Office: the Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, and building administrators in tandem with EHPS teachers. In East Haven High School, the change started with grades nine and ten, on October 15th. In hopes of making this transition smoother, Freshman and Sophomore remote students began live streaming a week earlier than grades eleven and twelve. Junior and Senior remote students began live streaming on October 22nd.
Live streaming was initiated to facilitate the transition for students going from in-school to remote. By offering these live classes, if a student decides to switch to remote learning after doing in-school, it is almost as if they never left. The process leading to this new system was not easy, Primarily, extra equipment, such as iPads and a second Chromebook for all staff members had to be approved by the Board of Education, for easier communication with the remote learners.
With this new technology came new obstacles, as well. During class, some technical issues can be seen, such as poor connection or slow Chromebooks. Students and teachers have taken on this task remembering to not take everything so seriously as they face moments like silly accidents where they forgot to unmute their mics! Despite these small hiccups, teachers and students are working their hardest to make this changeover as smooth as possible. Over the three weeks this live streaming has been running, there has been less frustration seen from students switching from in-school to remote learning.
Unfortunately, some remote students that had been doing remote since the beginning of the year found this transition difficult. Some of the material they were seeing on the previous learning program, EdGenuity, was not matching up with the material being taught in live classes. Due to this, some students were struggling to catch up in their live classes. Principal, Mr. Vincent DeNuzzo, says he highly recommends students communicate their concerns with their teachers. Students should send emails to teachers, discussing their difficulties readjusting to work out extra help. Mr. DeNuzzo reminds us, “Students are never a bother,” so they should never be afraid to reach out.
Unfortunately, there were some issues seen with remote students’ participation as well. There have been instances where a teacher can call on a remote student for an answer, but they do not respond, which makes it difficult to tell if they are actually present during class or not. It has been made clear to students that they will only be counted present if they are logged on and participating throughout class, it is up to them to complete these requirements.
In another attempt to help remote students adjust, a peer tutoring opportunity is in the talks, where in-school students can tutor remote students and even earn some community service hours while doing so. This is all a new experience for everyone, and in the words of Mr. DeNuzzo, “We’ll get better as the year goes on”. As of now, it is unknown if there will be any more changes to happen in the future. Possible changes, if any, is going full remote. The Health Department will continue to make recommendations based on numbers, if the school should stay hybrid or go full remote. For now, the entire school community is working their hardest to make this blended learning experience as easy as can be for everyone. Mr. DeNuzzo reassures students, “There is no manual on how to do this,” everyone is trying their best! Beginning quarter two fresh, on November 9 , with remote learners and in-school students both on the same page, he hopes this can be like a reset button, plain sailing for everyone.