Revert the GHHS Schedule to the previous iteration for online learning

Revert the GHHS Schedule to the previous iteration for online learning

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Mason Milligan started this petition to Grand Haven High School

The updated remote learning schedule, released to students on 12/8/2020, is not only detrimental to learning but also students’ overall retention of content. While in theory, the new schedule may appeal to administrators, we must recognize that students and staff are currently navigating a pandemic. 


After surveying much of the GHAPS student body, we see a clear increase in students that are struggling mentally and emotionally with the effects of COVID-19. While the school offers resources, albeit minimally, for promoting positive mental health, students who inquire about meeting with school counselors and social workers are often turned away and ignored and/or denied these meetings. All of this comes on top of the already high-stress levels seen in Grand Haven High School students today, as pointed out by many of the staff members who have transferred to GHAPS from outside districts. 


The attempt by the administration to extend class times to 80 minutes instead of 45, as well as regulate the online school day as one would in an in-person class, is simply outrageous. Firstly, in an online environment, distractions are increased and retention is decreased. We, as a community, cannot expect students to navigate this change in online learning without help from staff, in addition, expect them to attentively listen and comprehend lessons in each of their classes. The understanding of the student body with the previous 45 minute class times was to promote attentive learning and foster an environment short enough that would lessen distractions. However, with 80 minute class times, no breaks between, and a very reduced lunchtime from before, students are less likely than ever to pay attention in class. 


Next, many students are encountering technology issues such as weak or nonexistent internet access, along with forced collaboration and having to work around other people in the home attempting to work as well. These other family members and environmental distractions create a very hostile and hard to navigate environment for learning. This plague of technological issues may not simply be disregarded, as, in addition to just Grand Haven, the United States as a whole is not equipped to handle this amount of internet traffic and volume originating from residential areas. 


Fourthly, the ability for the staff at GHHS to be “technologically savvy” and utilize their provided internet and computer resources to run a well-organized class is, quite frankly, non - existent. Teachers were not effectively taught and do not understand technology and troubleshooting well enough to host a class with any success. Many teachers don’t have lesson plans that translate well to learning via Google Meets either. Several of our students have already been forced to give up their valuable lunch breaks to take quizzes and tests for their already challenging classes. Google Meets also often has its own issues, continually dropping calls, refreshing, and hosting other random glitches that make learning difficult. 


Finally, students in the current class format are able to use the afternoons to do school work and focus on mental and physical health, as well as the designated flex days to meet with teachers, and catch up on work they are unable to do when sick. The school board has the ability to ensure that students do not become overwhelmed with work when returning from COVID-19 and eliminating the period in which students were given to do so defeats a large portion of the purpose for online learning and the entire purpose of block scheduling. 


We, the students, ask if our mental health and success in our current lives is more important than knowing history, math, or the other subjects we learn in school. The whole goal of secondary education is to give students the skills they need to be successful in their future, which is what this current schedule prepares students to do. Fostering an environment of independence and self-reliance, as well as an environment that was much more beneficial to mental health, the old remote learning schedule was a much better choice for the students. Whether students choose to go into the workforce, learn a trade, or get a college degree, learning to handle mental health and juggle students’ own assignments and responsibilities outside of designated class time is what will promote true success in life. 


There is no need to sacrifice students’ mental health, force attention spans, and promote an environment for reduced independence and responsibility with the new remote learning schedule.

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