How Woodland Park is Handling Hybrid Learning and COVID-19

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Esther Burcea, Reporter

As students and teachers returned to Woodland Park High School for a new year, we have all been challenged to learn how to deal with great changes. The students and teachers of Woodland Park have had to change their learning and teaching from remote/online, to in-person, and over again. Establishing a routine this year has been challenging, therefore flexibility has been highly valued and appreciated.  To get a sense of how the staff is dealing with teaching roadblocks, I interviewed a faculty member at Woodland Park High School. Through an online video call, I interviewed Mr. Pekron, a Spanish teacher who has been part of the school district for many years. One of the main questions I wanted to know was “How are individual teachers handling hybrid learning overall?” Since Mr. Pekron is a World language teacher, it is harder for him to connect with his students remotely. To battle this, he is making adjustments to his curriculum. One of the ways he is doing this is by offering all of his student’s Spanish e-books that they can work out of, as well as setting up “Study Spanish” and “Duolingo.” For the students who are not comfortable with attending in person or prefer remote learning, Mr. Pekron incorporates them into every class equally as well as creating breakout sessions where online learners can discuss amongst themselves. This type of quick thinking and problem solving is essential in such a demanding and different time. Knowing that the staff and faculty members of WPHS are going above and beyond to keep students safe and educated is comforting.  There is a learning curve with the hybrid learning style, but with some time students and teachers will become more comfortable with the quick changes taking place. 

In the interview conducted with Mr. Pekron, I also wanted to know some things he would like to change and a few things he likes about this learning style. He didn’t know what things he would change, but the main thing Mr. Pekron likes about this teaching style is the safety that comes with it. Potential exposure drops significantly with the guidelines implemented and students and teachers still can attend school. Another silver lining that he mentioned was the flexibility in scheduling. As a teacher, it does not feel as rushed as it would be if there were eight classes every day and he likes how he can prepare his lessons better.

The year 2020 has undoubtedly been a difficult time for not only the students and teachers of Woodland Park but everyone in the United States and other countries. It is hard to see the end of this pandemic and when things will return to normal, or if this will be our new normal. One thing that will remain certain is that we are all in this together and the only way for cases of Covid-19 to decrease is by being mindful and careful. Not being able to have a routine and having to change from in-person to online has proven to be a tiring cycle, but holding onto hope that things will get better is what will keep all of us moving forward.