Academics / Opinion

Lessons and practices to take from our hybrid model

Due to participating in the hybrid model this fall and winter, I have had a lot more time to myself recently to actually think about things other than my school work, all thanks to not being on campus 24/7. The hybrid model for a student in high school is very refreshing, to say the least. 50/50 exposure to a school setting and a work-at-home setting is a good start for a better education model. After living with the hybrid model for a full trimester, I have seen both the benefits and the problems. My hope is that future students in a post-pandemic Dana Hall will be able to reap the benefits of the current hybrid learning model.

Even after COVID, school will never be the same as pre-prepandemic, so why not make that a positive? I say, let’s continue this hybrid option through 2025 since there are so many benefits to being on campus only part of the time, but also getting the same amount of work done. I do miss Dana Hall’s in-person traditions and events. But I think that “hybrid” doesn’t necessarily have to be strictly 50/50. Maybe we could have a schedule of seven days on campus, three days off campus, to accommodate some well-deserved sleep and breathing room, while also still getting a full high school experience.

The new schedule also raises some important questions, such as why did we only have five minutes between classes for so many years? Now that I’m used to fifteen minutes between classes, I realize how much stress and chaos in the halls were caused by that five-minute passing time. The new schedule, with fewer class sessions per day, also makes clear to me how I was so often mentally gone by 5th and 6th period in the old schedule.

Here is my proposal for elements of our current pandemic schooling that Dana Hall should consider keeping or modifying for future years:

  • Continue to allow students to take tests on their own time rather than in class. This lets students create a schedule that works best for them.
  • Keep extended hours for Math Lab, English Lab, and Science Lab. You can never have too much help, and when there are hours that go beyond the traditional school day, more students have access to that help. 
  • Keep the intentional in-class work. Because time feels more limited and homework is restricted, teachers have worked hard to make class time as productive as possible.
  • Keep 60-minute classes three times a week. Longer classes allow for more productivity, and fewer class sessions per week allows for less homework stress.
  • Change the 15-minute passing times to 10 minutes. This allows students the time to casually walk to their next class, not sprint. Fifteen minutes was a little too long this fall for in-person classes, but five minutes, like we did pre-covid, now seems absolutely crazy looking back. 
  • Keep limited homework. Due to class time being so valuable, homework has been made just as concise and to the point. This allows for more time off screens, more time for self-care, and more time spent with our families for a balanced life.

In the meantime, I recommend that the School create a working group of faculty and student representatives to keep the conversation going surrounding our pandemic and post-pandemic educational models to cut out the bad, keep the good, and brainstorm for better.

Image source: Alamy stock photo.

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