Providence Catholic students sit socially distanced during class.
Providence Catholic students sit socially distanced during class.

Providence Catholic High School’s hybrid learning model with teachers live streaming classes to students at home has enhanced participation. 

The students at Providence alternate days in which they attend in person or stay home for virtual learning. 

To provide a safe learning environment in the school, desks, chairs and lunch tables are disinfected after each use. Clorox-based fogging machines are also utilized to disinfect classrooms, bathrooms and common areas in the evening.

Having 100% of the students in person is ideal, but this model, while it takes extra work, has been great so far, math teacher Chrystal Gregory said. 

“When the students are online, they can see their classmates participating and honestly that helps them participate more,” she said. “Usually what happens is I'll ask questions about the homework to the students in class, then ask the students online again just to keep them on track.”

Providence uses Microsoft Teams to conduct its virtual learning. 

And while technology can be an issue — at school and at home — each class is recorded so students can go back and see what was missed. 

Although, Gregory and other teachers are able to help them on the spot, too.

“It’s definitely not easy,” Gregory said. “Everyone is doing 200 times more work, but this is getting closer to normal.”

One adjustment Gregory had to make was slowing down a little bit in her teaching style. 

“I have to slow down just to make sure the students can hear and don’t miss what I said,” she said. “There’s a lot of patience involved, too. As a teacher, you have to learn that there is a lot that is not in your control.”

Senior Mia Paollela said that it’s the best case scenario for how things are going right now. Paollela said she is grateful for all of the work the teachers are doing to make this year feel as normal as possible.

“You can interact while you’re online and it’s nice if something goes wrong, you can go back and get all the information,” she said.

Finding a quiet place to work when she is home has been key, she said. But she said all her classes have worked well virtually. 

As a senior, the next step in Paollela’s education is going to college.

“The college counselors have been really helpful,” she said. “They’ve been reaching out and offering extra help to make sure (we’re doing well).”

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