Pattonville High School offered credit advancement and credit recovery classes for summer school via online courses. Classes began on June 2 and will end on Friday morning.
High school English teacher Ms. Jennifer Raymond taught oral communication to 50 students using Google Classroom and said it was a whole new experience.
“I had to adjust some assignments to work better with online learning, but the curriculum is the same,” she said. “I created a lot of instructional videos using PowerPoints I’d normally give in the classroom and shared those with the students.”
Finding a way for students to present speeches was the most challenging part in a class that’s designed to have a live audience, but Raymond allowed students to sign up to present their speeches online or record themselves giving a live speech to at least two people at home.
“Kids were giving speeches to parents or siblings,” she said. “They would never do that in a regular oral communications class, but seeing the parents’ pride and engagement and the kids’ sense of accomplishment at the end, even if it’s unspoken, is really neat to see on the videos.”
Some of the assignments required students to provide feedback to each other and that’s another element that was not part of her course before.
Students were able to use a learning platform they were familiar with and at their own pace in high school social studies teacher Ms. Jacqueline Saxton’s course.
“It was a series of pre-made lessons, quizzes, and assessments that students worked through individually,” she said. “I never had group sessions, but I did conference several times with individual students using Google Meet.”
Family and consumer sciences teacher Ms. Janet Kuhn taught health this summer. Students were able to complete the assignments on Moodle at any time, allowing them to work at their own pace.
“Everybody can be at a different place,” Kuhn said. “They could start with Unit 7 and then go to Unit 2 or they could do one thing from every unit until they complete the whole thing.”
The way grading is set up in Kuhn’s class is every student starts at a 0% and their grade improves as they turn things in.
“There were no real attendance requirements, but it was the student’s responsibility to communicate with me, check their email and submit all of the work during the four weeks of summer school.”
Saxton was glad the district was able to find a way to provide the opportunity to students to complete courses and recover credits.
“Obviously, it's important for students to stay on track, especially during these uncertain times,” she said. “For many students, this wasn’t easy and just one more thing to do, but I was impressed with how hard a few kids worked to not just complete the course, but truly do well.”
Students weren’t the only ones learning during summer school.
“If I teach this class again in this way, I am going to put in more videos of me explaining the assignments,” Kuhn said. “I’m going to tell them what they need to do so I’m not responding to several emails asking the same thing. In a classroom, everyone can hear those questions, but this was a lot more one-on-one interactions.”
Virtual learning gave Raymond the chance to build personal relationships with her students.
"It's actually allowed me to get to know them better than I normally would in a summer school classroom because we’ve had a lot more personal interactions,” Raymond said. “I did a weekly Google Forms survey and the last question was always ask me anything or tell me something and I would reply to them. They would ask me about my cats and we’d have conversations that we wouldn’t have had in the classroom because we wouldn’t have time.”
Summer school laptop check-in is June 29 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. under the high school bridge.