Overall, should the 2020-2021 school year be considered a ‘lost year’ for education and learning?

May 12, 2021

The world as a whole has recently begun shuddering to a start again after over a year of lockdowns and mandates, and the general consensus is that everyone has lost a precious year of experiences. In terms of education, this is where the overarching debate lies. Despite a majority of students not being in school, has virtual learning truly kept them on the set path or are the impacts of learning loss so great that it cancels out?

 

Mya Collins, freshman, virtual 

“I know that not all students have suffered during this school year, but as a whole, I think it’s fitting to consider the 2020-2021 school year a ‘lost year’ for students.”

 

Janjabill Tahsin, sophomore, virtual 

“This entire year is a loop of saying ‘well at least I learned something!but if I were to be entirely honest, I feel like I have learned more about listening to other people’s thoughts and feelings – especially through clubs! The clubs have taught me much more than my classes…Although advisors contribute to the clubs, I learned more from the students…With Social Justice Club, the Black Student Union, and just in general, multiple clubs being introduced to various groups of people to talk about issues that are rarely touched upon in high school – well you’re sending us into the world without discussing these real issues. With clubs and how much we are pushing for social justice, it is so important for students to recognize what needs to be learned.”

Mr. Hatziandreou

 

Seth Tavormina, junior, virtual 

“Yeah, because it’s just the classes were doing a little less than we would have. For example, my AP-US History class wasn’t as much as it was supposed to be. I do feel like we did learn but not in the same ways and amounts. We didn’t get what we should and we’re unprepared.”

 

Meadow Drapala, junior, in person

“I don’t think it was a total loss, I’m confident that I learned what I was supposed to, but definitely not at the capacity that I was supposed to. I don’t fully grasp the concepts but I just do it to get by, so next year might be harder.”

 

Kiyoshi Brown-Braun, senior, in person 

“I really believe that it has really been a lost year for us. People learned and tried but because of all of the things we missed out on in classes and even without motivating events like Red and White Night to keep us going… we’re all held back by that and for some who struggled more it definitely has been a complete blow out.”

 

Joseph Wilson, senior, virtual 

“Yep, yes. Just because, especially for 2021, we didn’t really take notes. We didn’t have any real notes to take anyway, cause everything was weird. I don’t really have anything to bring with me to college. Like calculus, I’m going to need it in college, and I don’t really have anything to bring with me. English too. Everything is online sure, but this Google account is going to close, and I’ll be losing all of it. So it’s like, well what was the purpose of this whole year then? It’s definitely not gonna be great going to college with no physical or mental things to take with.”

Principal Martin

 

Mrs. Rennie, Health and Physical Education teacher 

“I don’t think it’s a lost year. There’s a lot of positives we can pull from it, and obviously there’s so much negative. Cause there were some great things that came out of it, I know with my family, just being home, it was a nice chance to slow things down, and it was kind of nice to just stop…I don’t think its a lost year, but I think that the mental and emotional issues have really put a strain on students, teachers and staff as well.”

 

Mrs. Clymer-Smith, Biology teacher

“No, I don’t think it’s a lost year. It’s not the year we could have had, but it’s not a lost year. It’s definitely a year where teachers and students all learned perseverance; we’ve all learned a new real world skill. Something new that they never knew they could do before, whether it’s something through tech, or things they can apply later. Are they academic goals? No, but there are definitely skills that everyone needs. It’s not a lost year, yes there are learning losses, but we have gained skills through going through this…It’s given students the chance to mature, and gives students opportunities that otherwise they might not have had to take on. While that might have pushed back on their academic learning, sometimes the academic learning needs to take a back seat to make room for things that are much more life sustaining.”

 

Ms. Perkins, Driver’s Ed, Health and Physical Education teacher

“No, not at all. If anything, we have to look at it as ‘this is the way it is. How do you want to adjust to it? We have to move on.’ As difficult and as challenging as it has been and is…it’s all a lot of work but I know that my kids rely on me and vise versa. For some kids, yes it is. I don’t want to blame them, it’s not their fault. A lot of it is that they just need a little push, and many of those kids should be in the building, they need us to help them and we need to be ready to help them…This is what I signed on for. This is life how it is and we need to work through it.”

 

Mr. Pliskin, Theater/Fine Arts teacher

“If we were to do a study on it, really sit in a circle and start speaking about it I think one could argue that we’ve learned more in the past year than we’ve ever learned. I think a lot of the learning that we’ve learned, this might sound crazy, but what I see in young people is a lot of emotional intelligence that has been learned in the last year. The way the seniors acted last year…were like these huge crybabies, they came back from the senior trip, one of the only classes that actually got a senior trip, cried about the last month. But you guys, the then juniors now seniors, came back, calm cool and collected, everyones been really level headed, grounded, pushed back in a dose of reality…”

“My final real big idea statement, especially in a district like RV…we can sit here and argue about everything that kids have lost this year. But I have seriously seen a lot of beautiful behavioral intelligence this year.”

 

Mr. Martin, Principal 

“For academics, it’s both. Some kids are gonna get what they need and use what they need for the rest of their lives. Get those college acceptances, military goals, or training, but the fact of the matter is that for some kids it has been a loss. Some of it might be by choice – saying ‘you know what, I’m just not doing this’. I think some of it is not by choice, they started out airtight but now that we’re nearing the end they’re running out of fuel, or senioritis is kicking in. Or they’ve really tried and it’s just not working for them. It’s been a mixed year; there was an opportunity to learn if they wanted it and I don’t think everyone took a bite of the apple, but we tried to do as much as we can.”

It’s been a mixed year; there was an opportunity to learn if they wanted it and I don’t think everyone took a bite of the apple, but we tried to do as much as we can.”

— Principal Martin

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