Students happy to be back, even online
Students at McNary High School are longing to be back to in-person school. But most are making the best of distance learning.
Freshman Jackie Baldizan said, “I feel great being back at school. I love working alongside my peers and connecting with the teachers. The distance learning was hard in the beginning, though I have since adjusted to Canvas and the class schedule. I do thoroughly enjoy having people to socialize with once again.”
McNary principal Mr. Erik Jesperson, when asked about how he and the other staff members are helping with students' mental health, said, “we heavily rely on advisories and it's super critical that advisory teachers are making really good personal connections and it's more of a social and emotional period and less academic.”
If an advisory teacher is seeing the students need more support, the school has a Multi-Tiered System of Supports, a reporting tool a teacher can use to efficiently get a student in touch with the best and most appropriate help the students needs.
“We have a team that will get information, who will reach out to the child and we may do home visits if we need to. We will be connected with the kid and we want them to feel like they're okay. That is the most important thing to me. It's challenging and difficult when you can't see me here,” Jespersen said, referring to the distance between the teacher and the student in online school.
Students of all grades said that they enjoy distance learning. “Obviously I would prefer to be doing school in-person learning wise, but I've really enjoyed having so much free time. Only having to attend all your classes twice a week allows more time for out-of-school hobbies,” said senior Toby Straw.
The most challenging part of distance learning is “focusing and getting help from teachers since there are so many other people who also need help,” said sophomore Mackenzie Mullins.