USC High School

A Rebel Review and Preview of all the Action at USC

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We are BACK!! Hybrid Learning begins on Monday, January 11

Distance learning is done now. Our positive COVID-19 case numbers continue to trend down, and we are ready to safely come back into the building. Hybrid learning means that we must keep our classrooms at 50% capacity, and we must be diligent in wearing masks properly and washing hands regularly. Students will find that desks have been spread out to maintain a 6 foot distance, that mask reminders are ready to be distributed to anyone unable or unwilling to wear a mask properly, and hand sanitizer jugs have been refilled. Most importantly, though, students will find that teachers and staff are ready to reconnect, and everyone at the school is excited to have our students back in the building.

Attendance took a little dip, but overall, attendance during distance learning has been improving over the last few weeks. Routines are so important to learning, and most of our students were able to shift into a new routine and attend class regularly. Some students may have struggled to settle into a learning routine in distance learning, so getting back into the classroom could be the support that will help them get back on track.

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This graph represents the percentage of students who attended their classes regularly.
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Six Students and Six Different Perspectives

For this newsletter edition, I reached out to a number of students to get their take on distance learning. I asked them questions like: How did it go? How did you keep yourself motivated when you were working all alone? How does it compare to in-person learning? I encouraged them to write about their experiences. Read their perspectives below.

Students Look Forward to Returning

Arianne Schaper says:

Personally, distance learning has been a struggle for me and most of the other students I have discussed this topic with. I find it hard to stay sitting at my desk for all of my classes, when the comfort of my bed is inches away from me. Although it is not nearly the same as seeing my classmates every day, face-timing and communicating through social media with them during this tough and unique time has helped me get through it. I find myself more anxious than I was previously. As a senior, I worry if I will be able to safely experience the last few months of high school with my classmates physically by my side. When it comes to distance learning, I feel like I am not learning nearly as much as I would be in the classroom. The teachers are working hard to keep their students engaged, but it is hard to find the motivation to do the work when you are surrounded by so many other distractions at home. Online learning is not ideal for many students, but it is also out of our control. Like Mr. Routh says, “Cowboy Up” and find ways to make the most of the situation. I am looking forward to returning to the building to see my peers in the upcoming week!

Nathanial Clore says:

During distance learning, I learned to make the best out of any given situation. Although it was disappointing to leave my friends at school, I liked the fact that I could get work done at my own pace. I found that if I kept a good schedule I was able to get my work done. I am definitely looking forward to coming back to school and playing sports with my friends!

The Tough Side of Distance Learning

Lillian Neubauer says:

For me, distance learning has been tough. I struggle with finding the motivation to get school work done, and feel overwhelmed with all of the work. I find myself a lot more anxious than I would normally be at school. It is very hard for me to be able to separate homework apart from regular class work. The workload feels never ending, because I am in the same spot all day and night. The “homework” doesn’t feel like homework anymore. To help me get through these hard times, I find myself face-timing my friends a lot. It helps me get some stress off of my chest and still stay connected with my friends while we are home. Personally I don’t feel like I have been learning as much as I would be in the classroom. It is very hard for me to stay concentrated with the work I am doing, even when I am in the zoom calls. I get distracted with my other homework that is sitting right next to me and feel the need to work on that too. Overall, I feel as though distance learning has been a challenge for me.

Grace Niebuhr says:

I have become accustomed to distance learning and now I do not have a preference on whether I am in school or not. While distance learning is easier for me and I am able to get more sleep, I still feel as if I'm not learning to my full potential. I try to keep a schedule, but I usually just go with the flow. For example, if one of my morning classes is cut short, I am able to use that extra time to work on another class and finish it early. When I have homework for a class, I write on my desktop, so that every time I look down to do my work, I see the other homework I have yet to do out of the corner of my eye. This is so I can never forget my homework. It's easy to erase and doesn't leave a mark which is why I do it. That is how I stay organized. I try to have a tab open for every class, so that I can easily get to the next class without having to wait for it to load.

As easy as distance learning can be, it has taken a considerable toll on my mental health. For example, when we first started going back to school, by the end of the week, I didn't want to be near any of my friends and I wanted to be alone. I was socially drained. Before distance learning, all I wanted to do was hang out with my friends. Now that we are in distance learning again, I seem to never want to hang out with anyone, for I don't see the need to. I was used to seeing them everyday, but now I don't. I cannot speak for other students if this is the same for them, but this is one of the effects that distance learning has taken on me.

Distance Learning Shifted Their Thinking

Daisy Holl says:

Even with the flexibility, distance learning has had its struggles. Contacting teachers, remembering to turn in assignments, and going to class on time are just some of the challenges that are expected. Even with all this, I honestly thought that distance learning did better for me than in person. It was indeed easier but I thought that I was able to keep up with the materials better when I was in the comfort of my own home. With distance learning I never found myself really unmotivated. I always managed to finish assignments and everything so it wasn’t that hard to stay positive.

Saying this, it's not like I didn’t have days that were a little unhappy, but thankfully I had friends that I could rely on to help me out. My friends and I really helped each other out through distance learning whether it was keeping high spirits through texts or figuring out homework over calls. Overall I thought that distance learning was not the worst possible thing but I am excited to get back to normal sooner or later.

Lillian Holl says:

I will not lie: distance learning was difficult in the beginning. I had to learn to manage my time outside of school’s rigid schedule. Anxiety about my grades were at an all time high. It was hard to adjust to my new classroom of one. Over the summer, I acknowledged to myself that things were likely not to change once we returned to school.

I took stock of what had gone wrong as a sophomore and realized I could attack my junior year differently. For me, communication to teachers and completion of my work on time is key. I work on my homework all the time. I feel I email my teachers almost to the point of annoyance with questions, but I know it is important for me to understand the material in class better. In my experience, teachers respond better when you respect their time.

My mental attitude has changed since last year. Last year, I would have been in tears multiple times each week agonizing over every deadline and project due. Now, I look at this experience as practice. When I go to college, no one will set a schedule for me. No one will ask the questions in my head. Distance learning is tough, but I feel it is building skills I will need for the future in return.

January Hybrid Schedule and End of Semester Schedule

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