On Jan. 19, St. Charles North started its third schedule of the school year, which introduced Extended Learning and TeachMore.
Extended Learning consists of two 40-minute time slots every Tuesday through Friday where students are able to meet with their teachers on a smaller scale. Extended Learning can serve many purposes.
“I’ve been using it mostly for remediation work so meeting with students that are struggling with skills in class or with certain concepts,” said Jenny McCall, science teacher.
It also is a time to make up assignments that you might have missed in class.
“That could be a good opportunity for a student who needs to make up a lab or makeup an assessment or makeup a presentation or something like that,” said Melinda Roberts, Assistant Principal for Student Life.
Some teachers have even used Extended Learning times to run review sessions before tests or have book talks.
Students have been able to attend Extended Learning either virtually or in-person which is a change from Office Hours, the time allotted to meet with teachers in semester 1. Extended Learning has been allowed to take place in-person as long as North follows the Illinois Public Health Department guidelines on social distancing and close contacts.
“We can have students meet with teachers in person, you know, provided they stay socially distanced, and we follow the same protocols and procedures when we’re in class,” said Roberts.
Teachers have liked having set times for class periods, so students know when to come get help.
“I really like how there’s a dedicated time for your class specifically,” said Jennifer Shoaf, English teacher.
Students have also liked having Extended Learning times to meet with teachers.
“They’ve been useful. I’ve missed a couple days of school this past month, so I’ve been going in to take tests that I miss,” said Ella Melei, junior.
To help schedule Extended Learning time slots, teachers and students have been using a program called TeachMore.
TeachMore is “a tool where students can sign up to schedule appointments to meet with teachers. It was originally created and invented for that purpose, not necessarily for teachers to invite students,” said Renee Reynolds, Assistant Principal of Instructional Programs.
However, due to COVID-19, the TeachMore website has been adapted, so teachers can make appointments with students.
Some people have found issues with the TeachMore program.
“It would be cool if in the TeachMore app we could send emails to students and to their parents, like ‘hey, parents and students, you’ve got an appointment on this day,’” said Shoaf.
Another issue teachers have found is that they do not know if a student has made an appointment. Unlike students, teachers do not get a new email every time a new appointment has been added.
“That’s one thing I do not like about it is we do not get a notification, so I have to log in and look at who’s made an appointment, so it’s kind of that constant like ‘oh, I gotta
keep refreshing to see,’” said McCall.
Right now, though, those options are not available on TeachMore.
However, “we have suggested to [the app] that that is an interest both to the students and the teachers here, and they are working on developing that part of the app,” said Quinlan Kyp-Johnson, Administrative Assistant.
Currently, not many students have been voluntarily going to Extended Learning. Teachers have also struggled with getting students to attend when requested to be there.
“I would say probably between 30 to 50%, depending on the day are participating in the appointments that are requested by their teachers,” said Reynolds.
Teachers have noticed that students who are really struggling are reluctant to attend.
“The kids who need the help need more coaxing [to attend],” said Shoaf.
However, teachers and administration are proud of students and urge them to take advantage of Extended Learning.
“I can’t stress enough just how proud I am of everybody for getting through this, and especially for those students who have been taking advantage of extended learning. I hope that it’s been a benefit to them,” said Roberts.