NDB ends school year with three months of online distance learning


The Catalyst / Photo courtesy of Amelia Kyle

Students have logged in a considerable amount of hours online on PowerSchool, Schoology, and Zoom since the school pivoted to online distance learning.

The 2019-2020 school year is coming to a close at the end of this month, which the NDB community is completing at home. As the outbreak of COVID-19 continues, so does online distance learning.

While the transition from on-campus learning to online distance learning may have been rocky at times, NDB’s program has become an increasingly efficient way for students and teachers to learn and work from home.

One feature in the online distance learning model is the new class schedule. Instead of the usual five day school week with alternating “A” days and “B” days, “A” days with blocks 1 through 4 were scheduled on Mondays and Thursdays, while “B” days with blocks 5 through 7 were scheduled on Tuesdays and Fridays.  Wednesdays were set aside as student workdays for students to catch up on work, meet with teachers for office hours, and meet with clubs and other extracurricular activities.

Another feature is maintaining the same letter-grade system of A through Fail,  instead of changing it to “Credit/No Credit” or “Pass or Fail” system, like several public schools in the Peninsula area.

“I’m fine with us keeping the letter-grade system for this semester,” junior Cailey Murad said. “It actually benefits us juniors because junior year grades really matter for colleges. So, I’m pretty glad that the school decided to keep that.”

Another feature is a revised final exam schedule.  Most departments are assigning final essays or projects in place of a traditional final exam.  Only the Math, Science and World Language departments are assigning traditional finals, lasting only 45 to 60 minutes at most, rather than the usual 75 minute minimum.

“I do not mind it. Even if school was how it used to be, my students would not have [to be] in the classroom for finals,” U.S. History teacher Rebecca Fisher expressed. “I prefer to assign the project in advance and give dedicated work time towards the project than to continue to teach new content up until finals and then try and give a larger test that assesses knowledge from the entire semester or year… I’d rather have a meaningful learning experience through the project than a stressful one resulting in the student not getting out of it what I’d like them to.”

Many NDB students have adjusted very well to the online distance-learning platform.

“I really like the way the administration has done distance learning,” incoming ASB President Olivia Pera said. “It is incredibly organized, and I feel like they have made it very easy for me to keep in touch with my teachers and stay on top of my work. I have no real complaints about this change.”

Despite changes, NDB has transitioned smoothly into online distance learning while finishing out the spring semester.