As a response to Covid-19 West Catholic Prep was closed on March 16th with plans to open in April. The school moved to a virtual learning environment where students would “attend” all of their classes each day through video. This would let students keep some sort of consistency and normalcy in their daily routine. It would also allow teachers to continue to drive academic instruction. This post is part of a series profiling the school’s response to Covid-19 and how it has impacted its students, faculty and staff.
Upon hearing that West Catholic Prep planned to transition to a virtual learning environment, 11th grader Beinushi Jean-Pierre didn’t like the idea at all. For one, school was a place that she enjoyed going too each day. She felt comfortable there and she was also going to miss seeing her friends each day. Wanting to be fair given the difficult circumstances, Beinushi tried to approach virtual classes with an open mind.
“I had really strong objections in the beginning, but I actually enjoy the classes online.” Said Beinushi. Once classes got underway, she began to see the benefits, especially keeping the daily class schedule, which she believes helped her stay organized and focused.
Beinushi also realized that just like students were trying to get comfortable with learning in an online environment, teachers have been learning as we go as well. “Teachers are learning on the fly, just like we are. In the beginning the amount of homework felt overwhelming, but teachers have begun to adapt some, and I think it’s helped a lot.”
A question often asked about virtual learning is can teachers still offer a challenging academic environment. According to Beinuishi she’s felt the same level of academic challenge, especially in her Pre-Calculus and English classes, “Our teachers can share a screen, which mimics a white board in a classroom, so in a lot of ways it feels pretty similar.”
Of course, everyone would prefer to be back in the building and for normal classes to resume, but there have been some positives students will take from their virtual classes. Beinushi believes the amount of independence students have in completing their work will help them with their planning and time management, “It will help in college. A lot of time a college professor is going to give multiple assignments and ask you to complete them as the semester goes on.”
It’s not lost upon Beinushi that the school is trying to make the most of a very difficult decision. “My niece does not attend West Catholic Prep, and she hasn’t been given any schoolwork yet. She has no schoolwork to do at all. I am grateful that I attend a school that is working to keep us on track.”