Mount Carmel takes on virtual learning



Several students in Mr. Jerrold Blew’s Period 4 Pre-calculus class attend remotely this trimester.

As the 2020-21 school year began,  99 out of 600 students chose remote learning for the first trimester. Senior Theology teacher Dan Burke understands why.

“I was hesitant (myself) to start the school year in-person, so I completely understand why some families have made the choice to do remote learning for the beginning of the year.”

However, unlike the e-learning that all students experienced in the spring, when teachers posted assignments but did not require students always to be on-line, the remote learning students now must log into their classes through Zoom or Google Meets each day.  They follow the same schedule as those students who are present in the classroom.

So far, according to Principal Scott Tabernacki, the program is going well, with 98 percent daily attendance. However, the dual challenge of teaching students in class and on-line has its challenges, including log-in errors or wifi disconnections.

On the positive side, the fact that Mount Carmel students and teachers are able to stay connected despite the challenges f a pandemic points to the school’s embrace of technology.

Senior English teacher Manny Medina acknowledged both the challenges of remote learning, and the progress the school is making.

“I think our e-learning was a huge challenge for students and faculty in the beginning. Many of the teachers had to completely change their plans and students had to deal with a whole new set of expectations. I think through trial and error, we will successfully complete the school year.”

Medina also recalls that there were hidden benefits to the sudden shift to e-learning that the school was forced to take last spring.

“I think that it may have been one of the best real life experiences for the seniors advancing into college. In my experience, hybrid learning seems to be where higher education is moving.”

Most of all, Medina is proud of the school’s ability to react in the face of unexpected challenges.

“Overall, I think it showed our ability to adjust in times of uncertainty. I am proud of what we did.”

One of the approximately 100 students who has chosen remote learning, senior Ryan Thomas, sees the option as personally beneficial.

“I feel like sometimes at school I get overwhelmed, and at home I feel more relaxed.”

With an active extra-curricular schedule this has been helpful for Ryan to be able to get to hockey practice directly from home and make the most of his time with study hours.

Senior Trevor Nordstrom attends classes on-campus, but likes that Mount Carmel offers e-learning for students that need the safe space of home for their family members health or their own.

“If they feel safe, then that’s what they should do.”

Mount Carmel has accomplished a successful online and on-campus model of teaching during COVID-19 and will continue to keep the safety of the students and families as a top priority.