Students Need Extra Attention and Incentive after Pandemic


Creative Writing students receiving help from their teacher

Amanda Ross, Reporter

The Public High School System Needs to be Updated after Covid-19

After almost two years out of the classroom, students this year returned to the school day they were used to before the Covid-19 outbreak. However, spending so much time doing school online caused changes in students’ attitudes about school. It revealed the need for some updates to the public school system. 

There is evidently a lack in overall motivation for academics among many students, especially high schoolers. Online learning allowed much more freedom and flexibility, as students were “learning” from their beds and finding answers to assignments online. Most high schoolers would agree that succeeding in classes became easier with the shortened single-semester courses and a lack of supervision while completing work. 

Even though students had to get used to an entirely new style of school, they returned to the same system prior to the pandemic. Entering classes that require a full school year of coursework but only previously learning from a singular, condensed and rushed semester presented challenges for many students.

Jakob Peterson, a junior at Novato High, talked about the challenges they have had since returning to an unchanged school system after Covid-19. 

“I had to take Algebra 2 online the first semester of sophomore year. When I started Pre-Calc junior year, I was struggling and missing big chunks of information,” Peterson said. “It was harder to keep up because when we came back, the school didn’t really think about the lack of learning kids had while we went online.”

Another junior at Novato High, Owen Busby, spoke about his experience.

“It was weird to go from school online where teachers barely even taught to in-person school and still be expected to know everything they ‘taught’ us through zoom,” Busby said “It was harder to pay attention through the computer so I missed things that my teachers brought up this year. None of them reviewed important things we might have missed.”

The lack of recognition for the class time lost to the virus is not the only flaw in the current public high school system. Students are not provided with enough individual attention in classes. They are expected to reach out when in need of help, yet a majority of students either don’t feel comfortable reaching out or don’t care enough to stay on top of their struggles. Whatever the case, there needs to be a better way to prevent students from going downhill.

Rebecca Pollack, MSA Creative Writing teacher at Novato High, talked about the issue. 

“It seems like the biggest challenge in effectively accommodating all students is the lack of resources and personnel. My understanding is that counselors have far too many students on their caseload to be able to support them effectively,” said Pollack. “In addition, large class sizes also make it challenging for teachers to be able to support all the varying needs of their students.”

Stephanie Short, ASB accounting technician at Novato High, added her thoughts.

“I would make the classes smaller, especially for the appropriate students, depending on their academic needs,” Short said. “A lot of students fall in between the gap of success and failure.”

Currently, there are core classes which all students are required to take in order to graduate, regardless of their plans after high school. This system may discourage students as it limits students from taking courses that gear them toward their passion.

Short also suggested a change that could be made. 

“They should gear kids toward their interests so that they won’t be so discouraged to go to school and actually look forward to learning,” she said.

Pollack added her thoughts.

“There should be more ways for students to explore the post-secondary pathways that they are passionate about and that they should be able to make choices that align with their path and their interests,” Pollack said. “For example, if a student knows they want to be a professional musician and are planning to join the marines to play music after graduation, I believe they should have the option to take additional electives that align with their career path and shouldn’t be forced to take another core class because it’s required for a UC or CSU (which they don’t plan to attend).”

Pollack also suggested some ways the school can change that would ultimately motivate high school students.

“We should continue to integrate opportunities for students to practice and build skills that are essential to college and careers beyond high school—like collaboration and presentation skills,” she said. “When we connect curriculum to the real world and to authentic external audiences, it makes what’s going on in the classroom more relevant to students, and hopefully more motivated and excited.”

Remote learning helped expose flaws in the current academic system. Students need essential changes in order to feel more excited and motivated to learn and come to school.