Teachers and students at Riverside have had to adapt to the changing circumstances during the 2020-2021 school year. The quarter system of learning has been the biggest implementation by far and has created many differing opinions throughout the school.
The quarter system was first implemented at the beginning of the 2020 -2021 school year to mixed first impressions. Grade 11 Riverside student Justin Cecchetto initially liked the idea, but soon came to realize it was not all he had anticipated it might be.
“The sound of only two classes per-day initially sounded great, but if you were stuck with two classes you didn’t like it wasn’t so pleasant,” said Cecchetto.
The Coquitlam Teachers’ Association President, Ken Christensen, found the quarter system to be a quite stressful for all involved when it came to making connections, which make a school a community.
“Because there’s only eight or nine weeks in quarters, it’s just a frantic rush for students and teachers to try and complete the work, and benefit from meaningful feedback; developing those important connections with kids, with the next quarter just around the corner, is difficult, said Christensen.
Teachers did their best to adapt their courses to fit the time period, focusing on the most important learning outcomes. Riverside History and Social Studies teacher Mr. Ben Lepore reduced the workload for his courses in order to fit the tight time frame.
“There has been a significant reduction in addressing the content in the course, so less work is being completed overall. Units are more compact and streamlined. Most of the skill acquisition takes place in class and there is not much homework. My focus has been on the key ideas, a few curricular competencies and major assignments,” said Lepore. “Assignments are the primary focus. Many hours of class time are provided to support the completion of assignments.”
Reduced workload, less time at school and less classes at any given time may seem like a dream come true for high school students, but some felt it came at the cost of the ability to learn and retain information.
“It’s super easy to get distracted while at home for an online lesson. Especially for difficult classes like math or science where it’s really easy to fall behind and miss something important,” said Cecchetto. Some students also felt that the Hybrid part of the quarter system did not have the same energy and as the Cohort part.
Grade 11 Riverside student Wyatt Johnson said he favored the quarter system over the traditional semester system.
“I like it more to be honest. If I get my work done right away, I find myself with a lot more free time to play golf or video games.” When asked what he thought about the school returning to the semester system, his opinion reflected most students’ thoughts that the semester system means more time with friends. “It doesn’t really matter to me, as long as we get to play sports and hang out with our friends again”.
Others, such as grade 11 Ammarah Siddiqui felt there were some educational benefits to the quarter system. “The quarter system provides a sort of flexibility to school and an added advantage to more hands on classes. There’s options of coming in at flex for help or spending your no-class day working independently. Classes such as woodwork and robotics also benefit with added time for project creation,” said Siddiqui.
The quarter system is scheduled to close with the start of the 2021-2022 school year in September and the semester-based schedule at Riverside will start once again.