By Louis Park and Soojeong Kim
The current COVID-19 outbreak has caused the enforcement of social distancing and shelter in place. Due to this, all schools within California have been closed to combat the spread of COVID-19. Karla Guerrero, the Modern World II history teacher at Summit Denali, shared her opinion on schools closing and how it affects students.
1. Do you believe that online classes are a viable method of full school courses in the future for Summit?
“Online classes are doable in the circumstances we are currently in. However, I do believe that in order to keep with Summit’s vision the core should remain face-to-face everyday work with students. Personally, I believe the everyday interactions between students, teachers, and other staff are what build community, trust, and safety; integral aspects of the environment we want to create for the student experience.”
2. Do you think the student work produced during this time will be the same level of work they would have produced at school?
“It is too soon to tell. I’ve heard from some teachers that are currently teaching their courses that there have been cases of students who had not produced work in several checkpoints suddenly complete and submit their work. I think it depends on the student, their work ethic, and the mindset they are coming with every day. As students, ya’ll really have to push yourselves like you’ve never been pushed before. You don’t have your mentor or teachers breathing down your neck and motivating you to keep going. It’s mostly you and your computers. You are being tested in willpower, integrity, and capability. I believe you are all capable and trust that you will take whatever means necessary to face the challenges online schooling might be bringing to you.”
3. What are some of the most beneficial aspects of virtual schools?
“Some of the most beneficial aspects of virtual schools is that the day to day distractions of a regular school day are pretty much gone. It is just you and your computer once individual work time starts. You are making choices that will reflect what your output is. Another beneficial aspect of virtual school is that it adds a pressure to holding yourself accountable and building/expanding your self-advocacy skills because the teacher isn’t there to sneak behind you and see what you might or might not be doing.”
4. What do you think will be the most challenging aspect of online schooling?
“The most challenging aspect like I mentioned in the last question, is how you approach online schooling, what your mentality and commitment is. You have to keep your eyes on the prize and that means showing up everyday with the right mentality and will to do what you are expected to do. Maybe even more.”
5. Do you think that at the end of the year, students will be prepared to move up into the next grade?
“A lot of classes are at the point where they are either finishing a project or starting their last one. I truly believe students will be prepared to move up into the next grade. Once again, with that hard work ethic commitment mentality of really pushing themselves more than they’ve ever have done in the past. I’m not going to be there next to you every second of class to help you move forward. That is why it is crucial that especially if you are off track in playlists or projects, you take the necessary steps in getting on track. That might look like e-mailing your teachers to meet and get 1:1 support during office hours or another space that works for both. Or perhaps getting support from a fellow peer. And of course, checking in with your mentor and seeing what your next steps are. There is no reason why you should not be prepared to move up into the next grade. Hard work is always the expectation and especially in our current situation, it is crucial. If you’re not feeling it for one or two days, it’s not the end of the world. But do have the resilience to pick yourself up and move forward. If you need a little help from your friends (mentor or teachers) like the Beatle song says, then reach out. You are not alone.”
6. Is online school an enjoyable experience? Why or why not?
“It is what you make of it. As weird as it felt the first days, I established a routine and checking in with my mentees during Mentor SDL is definitely one of my highlights each day. Find the good in everything that you do!”
7. Do you prefer online schooling or in-person schooling?
“In-person schooling 100%. I miss ya’lls faces and warm energies!”