NEEDLES — It has been a learning process for both students an d teachers at Needles High School.
Nobody knows that better than members of the Ken Parker household. Ken Parker is baseball coach and Advancement Via Individual Determination coordinator at NHS. Nathan Parker is a senior whose last year of high school has been anything but normal.
“The way we all went out was a change and a shock because we didn’t know what was going to happen,” said Ken Parker. “Then having to change into something new and a big thing was learning and being flexible with all the changes because it was an unknown.”
One of those changes was going from face-to-face contact with students to no contact and having to teach over virtual platforms such as Zoom.
“There were a lot of variables out there with students and being able to connect with them and a lot of the platforms were new to some kids,” said Parker. “It was important to be flexible with students, knowing their different situations.”
The schools being shut down for the remainder of the year had a big effect on all students but more so on the Class of 2020.
“With the way that school shut down so suddenly I say the biggest part was how supportive the whole community was to all of us seniors losing so much time and memories that we will never forget,” said Nathan Parker. “Teachers were supportive and the school has done a very good job in doing whatever we can with the remaining time we have.”
Nathan Parker said that it has been a big change from being able to get help from everyone in the classroom to only being able to reach out to teachers via Zoom.
“I’d say that the school work was a little bit more tedious,” he said. “The one-on-one contact made a difference in school and I wish we still had that. But with all the loss of contact it’s kind of preparing us for college because people are going to be taking online classes.”
Students in the AVID program at NHS were familiar with the online learning style because a couple of years back, NHS graduates were online tutors for students.
“We looked at this time as something that we’ve already been doing the online learning and online tutoring,” said Ken Parker. “The majority of the students have had that online time with a computer and it didn’t change much for us as far as the tutorial went. It was mainly how it was delivered using a different platform but all those AVID students have had a ton of online tutoring time so it was something that wasn’t very new to them.”
On the teacher side, Ken Parker said he has been looking into new ways and new platforms and the best way to bring the classroom to the home.
“Demonstrations for science and labs are going to change and I don’t know that we will go back to the traditional style until a definite handle on COVID has taken place,” he said. “Mentally preparing for online or distance learning and it might be time to look at school in a new way. Technology is going to play a big factor in this and there’s going to be a learning curve.”
One of the silver linings that Ken Parker said he has seen as a teacher is the ability to teach students who can’t make it to class because of different circumstances.
“There’s a lot of individual cases out there for individual learning and maybe one of those is a student has to work more to help their family,” he said. “Being able to log in for class will allow them to work more and get an education at the same time, wherein a traditional style of the classroom they are sitting in a desk all day long.”