E-learning around the area

A closer look into how LZ's e-learning format differs from nearby districts

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Photo by Caroline Sun

An overview LZ's e-learning policies, compared to those of Barrington, Palatine, and Stevenson. Main differences between schools involve length of school weeks and class blocking.

Four day e-learning weeks, blocked learning schedules, check-in times earlier than some students wake up: while nearby districts have settled with different e-learning procedures, Stephan Bild, interim principal, says that he “believe[s] our e-learning plan is unique to the needs of District 95 and well done.”

“Student loads, teacher content development, and technological issues were at the forefront [of our decision-making],” Bild said. “ [Our policies] had to be substantial enough and robust enough to meet the needs of students from K-12 and deep enough for meeting high school students’ needs in so many varying courses, [so we structured] differences in instruction to the needs of our diverse student body.”

With most high schools in Illinois having adhered to the same basic Illinois Board of Education guidelines, LZ’s chosen format involves a five-day school week, a blocked Zoom schedule, and a 10 pm check-in time. 

While this arrangement works for District 95, other schools around the area have decided on different procedures. One of the most apparent differences in e-learning procedures is the length of school weeks, with Barrington High School and Palatine High School both functioning on four day weeks.

“I feel like having four days a week would be nice because then you could just have a day where you work on school and catch up but not have to get anything new,” Katie Choi, sophomore, said. “I feel like some of my teachers are giving us more stuff because they’re like, ‘you have more free time because you have nowhere else to go,’ so having that extra day to spread everything out would help.”

While some students say they would enjoy having an extra school-free day, especially in light of the current stressful situation, others prefer to maintain a semblance of normalcy as they try to structure their own school days accordingly. For Nathan Gerstein, junior, LZ’s five-day week is the way to go. 

“It’s more like a regular school week,” Gerstein said. “It just feels more natural to have a five day week. Like [e-learning] is still school, and once you cut it down to four days, you kind of just get lost in the days and you start slacking off.” 

Although Gerstein and Choi have differing opinions on week length, both agree that the schedules that LZ has put into place are helpful, as “Zoom schedules give us some sense of purpose and organization,” according to Gerstein, and “having every class every day keeps me in check,” says Choi.

Since LZ has had no basis for digital learning in the past before, Choi says that overall, teachers and administrators are handling everything “pretty smoothly, considering that this was kind of just thrown at us.”