Online school returns for second year, policies clarified


Meghan Ortizcazarin

While the BSM building is closed today, students will be utilizing Haiku to attend “online school” and continue their learning.

With Minnesota approaching its long and cold winter months, there’s no surprise that BSM found themselves closing up the school during the first snowstorm on November 10. With road conditions at hazardous levels, BSM wanted to keep students safe, but also wants to keep their class work going.

Instituted at BSM last year, students and teachers are now able to continue learning and working on their lesson plans even when students are given a snow or cold day. Finding all of the information and assignments given through Haiku–BSM’s homework/education database–teachers and students will be able to avoid having to make up extra days in the future as a result of the cancellations.

Many teachers are now on board with this new learning plan, because the school has created a new system of how to communicate with students on what to do during the online school days. “I think now that we’re in tune with what ‘online teaching’ means, a day like this is not too disruptive [to my teaching schedule],” said BSM English teacher Maura Brew.

With a policy in place and teachers getting assignments and lessons posted to Haiku by specific times, it has made the online school process that much easier for students to make sure they get their assignments done. “Teachers are asked to post their lessons or instructions by 9:00 and provide their students with work to be done in lieu of the regular class time; I don’t think this is too difficult [for teachers]–we never sleep!” said Brew.

Though students are given the opportunity to sleep in and avoid the slippery roads, online school may be slightly inconvenient for themselves, since time restraints may be too close for every assignment. “Obviously it’s nice that we don’t have to go to school, but I feel as though some teachers give a heavier workload for online school than what we would do in actual classroom time,” said junior Joseph Martino.

Students may be able to manage the different assignments on the day off, but others prefer the “classroom” experience, just without the classroom on snow or cold days. “It would be nice if for some classes we could hold a Skype conference or Google hangout, because this would give students a way to have a structured time limit of doing the assignments and learning them, instead of just throwing assignments and directions at us online,” said Martino.

Many students may be frustrated with the amount of work and lessons they are given, but online school is a necessary aspect of snow days at BSM to help keep the curriculum from falling behind, or being forced to shorten a school break or add days at the end of the year. “I think that for a day like this, online instruction is the best plan: I’d much rather have my students be safe at home doing their work than out on treacherous roads with the threat of a car accident or worse and I also really appreciate online teaching as an alternative to making up the snow day with a day in school down the road,” said Brew.