Early High School, like others across the country, are adjusting to a different way of learning and completing required tasks due to the circumstances created by COVID-19.
Principal Judith Ozuna said the high school campus is different from other campuses in the district. "Many of our students were already doing dual credit courses online or utilizing Google Classroom on a regular basis. The transition to ‘remote’ learning was toughest on underclassmen. There was an adjustment period and is still difficult for many, but progress has been made."
Online coursework works for some, but not all, Ozuna said. "I feel the online work is good preparation for those who take advantage of all the resources and instructional opportunities, but unfortunately, some students may not do that which will cause them to fall behind."
Distancing has been the most difficult aspect of the current landscape. "Students need constant interaction and encouragement, and it has been sad to not be able to provide that," Ozuna explained. "As educators, our desire is to build meaningful relationships with students and have a positive impact on their lives. The ‘distancing’ has made this difficult but not impossible."
Despite the challenges, Ozuna said her staff has been "incredible" while dealing with the situation. "They have stepped up to the challenge and have moved forward in providing instruction. They recognize that challenging times give us opportunities to grow and improve. Our goal has been to stay positive, united, connected and encouraged."
The staff has also been educated during this period, Ozuna said. "Collectively, we have learned that we are resilient and that no matter what life throws at us, we will overcome. We have learned the power of optimism, hope and faith in trying times and have learned that our students need us dearly."
Teachers have faced difficulties as well. "For many, it comes from the various roles they play," Ozuna said. "At home, they are also managing their own children and caring for their home while continuing to plan, instruct and assess. Also, time becomes an issue since students are not working during the traditional hours and teachers are helping students well into the evening hours."
Ozuna said she has seen other positives during this season. "Students really miss school and now see what a privilege it is to come to school. Many students have messaged me and told me that they will never complain about coming to school again. It has made students value and appreciate school, teachers, peers and even their principal more."
Plans are underway to reschedule end-of-year events. Ozuna said a date has been tentatively set for prom to be held in June. A virtual graduation will be prerecorded as a "Plan B," with hopes of holding a "modified in-person" graduation when allowed. "The milestones are important to our students, and we want to do our best to honor them."