The Student News Site of Lakeville South High School

The Current

The Student News Site of Lakeville South High School

The Current

The Student News Site of Lakeville South High School

The Current

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Letter to the Editor: Don’t Remove Hybrid Classes

Graphic+created+by+Adeyla+Hoenck
Graphic created by Adeyla Hoenck

Dear Editor:

96% of teachers nationwide reported improved student engagement in hybrid classes. A 2013 study found that hybrid learning yielded higher test scores (Aly, 2013). In essence, hybrid classes provide an improved opportunity for students across our school district and students nationally. Yet, our school board is attempting to cut these classes, to the detriment of our students and teachers. Hybrid classes have many benefits; cutting them will only harm the students and teachers in the ISD-194 district.

Hybrid classes provide numerous benefits for students. Cutting hybrid classes denies multiple benefits for students. As a combination of both online and in-person classes, students gain the benefits from both. Online days provide students with the opportunity for independent study; with no teacher pushing work onto them during those days, it is fully up to the students to do their work. Independence in schoolwork is an incredibly important part of development, especially for teens. It teaches them proper time management skills by creating strong incentives to do their work even when no one else is watching; an overall sense of autonomy and accountability is formed. Independence during these online days primes often ill-prepared students for the increased responsibilities in college or the workforce. Furthermore, students have the flexibility to choose when and where to get their work done, whether it’s as soon as the teacher makes it available or when they have time. If a student happens to fall behind in class, in-person classes are always there to catch up and support them. Proactive students get the benefit of an extra study hall, either doing other school work or even going home early. School policy makes it so that if a student is failing a class, they must go to class that day. In-person class days allow students to engage with their classmates, while also giving an opportunity to get support from their teachers. Simply put, hybrid classes reward students ahead of their classmates, while providing a support system for those behind. Cutting hybrid classes removes this reward, while also making an unfair environment for both those falling behind and those ahead. 

Accessibility issues are often relieved by hybrid classes, without going to the extremes of full online courses. Fully in-person classes often exacerbate chronically ill students’ workload, who often are unable to make it to school many days a week. We all know the feeling of missing school for a couple of days; teachers rarely make their lessons and assignments available, and the moment you come back, you have 3 tests, 50 missing assignments, and a week to make it all up. Now, imagine this issue if you were gone for one or two days almost every week. Hybrid classes give a solution for many students, allowing students to have all their resources for the week even when they’re gone and allowing work to be done online. Student-athletes also benefit from hybrid courses, decreasing the amount of work missed. In-person days guarantee that students are able to check in with their teachers and get the support needed.  Why should we cut a program so obviously aiding many students? Hybrid classes nearly always benefit students. Cutting hybrid classes cuts students off from opportunities. The opportunity to learn important life skills; the opportunity to catch up to their peers. Why should we punish students for factors outside of their control? Should we punish students for being involved in school activities? Cutting hybrid courses is to the detriment of students. Denying students access to a more inclusive classroom, better tailored to their needs, only harms them.

Students aren’t the only ones who benefit from hybrid classes at South; teachers do too. With only one break hour a day, an hour long work day, and a two-day weekend, teachers often fall behind on their work, slowly piling up on their desks. Hybrid classes provide teachers with additional time to catch up on work, similar to students. Cutting hybrid classes only serves to substantially raise the amount of stress teachers face. Stressed teachers reflect on the classroom; in a 2016 research study, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that 46% of teachers “report high daily stress… compromis[ing] their health, sleep, and teaching performance” (Greenberg et al., 2016). The study concluded that when teachers are stressed, students show “lower levels of both social adjustment and academic performance.”  An opportunity to reduce stress, such as hybrid classes, correlates with an increase in academic performance. Online days allow teachers much-needed time to rest and prepare for other classes. The ability to call in students gives teachers more one-on-one instruction time, specifically tailored for a student’s needs. Increased one-on-one time allows students and teachers to bond, improving academic performance. Improving academics is a key part of teachers’ and administrators’ jobs; improved academics allow students to succeed in the future, improving not only our city, but also our state, and our country. Hybrid classes are keys to improving academics, benefiting teachers and, therefore benefiting students. Cutting hybrid classes cuts costs, at the cost of both teachers and students. 

Those in favor of cutting hybrid classes argue that hybrid classes lack the rigor and benefits of fully in-person classes. They claim that hybrid classes lose the benefits of meeting face-to-face every day, making students fall behind. On the contrary, hybrid classes at Lakeville South often do the exact opposite. Ms. Grawe, who teaches both in-person and hybrid Spanish classes, says that her hybrid classes have higher test scores in comparison to her fully in-person classes. Students taking such classes gain the benefits of both online and hybrid courses, alongside new ones not offered by either. Hybrid classes allow students to have flexibility in an otherwise rigid schedule; proactive students are allowed an extra study hall, while those falling behind are granted extra one-on-one time otherwise not available. Hybrid classes are always available at both the teachers’ and students’ choice. If they are both willing to take a class, why should we take it away from them?

Hybrid classes undoubtedly benefit both students and teachers and must not be taken away. These classes only help students, helping to close the gap between disabled students and others. Teachers also profit from hybrid classes, giving more opportunities to rest and connect with students. An opportunity that clearly aids nearly all those who take advantage of it shouldn’t be removed. 

Sincerely,

Daniyal Abedi

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