How Is Fully Remote Learning Affecting Students?

Is the company Edmentum doing an adequate job teaching remote Holbrook students?


Matthew Messina

Stacey Domingo attends her online classes early in the morning.

As the summer of 2020 came to a close, the coronavirus situation was not getting any better and many people were afraid that our community was opening up too quickly, specifically in the case of public schools. Many students and parents just didn’t think that hybrid schooling was safe enough. When it came time to choose a program for remote Holbrook students, the director of the curriculum, Mrs. DeRosa chose Edoptions Academy from the company Edmentum.

In her own words, “I make sure that teachers are utilizing the best practices and that teachers are teaching the Mass state standards. So I check in to ensure our students are getting what they need. In the end of August, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education sent out a list of acceptable vendors for a full remote program, and they listed specific criteria. And Edmentum, which is the company that offers Edoptions Academy, was one of those approved programs. We in the district have already used Edmentum for Study Island and Exact Path. It is different from an in-person instruction. So, for example, there isn’t a teacher that’s in front of the screen teaching students for six hours a day.”

However, Omentum and many other full programs didn’t anticipate this high number of remote students. According to Mrs. DeRosa, “At the beginning we did have some hiccups and challenges where the company did not have enough Mass certified teachers, and for me that’s unacceptable. Once that was resolved, within two weeks, we had Mass certified teachers and they are now teaching the math standards.”

Holbrook itself has one hundred thirty nine students in their program. One of them is HMHS senior Stacey Domingo. “So I originally went remote because my dad got COVID, which then ended up spreading into my entire household.”

Stacey is one of many seniors who feel robbed out of their senior send-off. However, many elementary school students have also gone full remote. One of these students, Emma Evitable, who seems home with her mother, Amy. According to Amy “It [going full remote] was a decision that the family made as a whole. We had a lot of things to consider like many families did. First and foremost, it was that we knew that they [Emma] could handle being home and self direct their learning.”

Despite everything, many full remote students don’t have the same motivation to log on to school. In Amy’s words, “What Emma has said is that when you have the online curriculum, they have all of the assignments listed out on a screen for you for the entire semester. So when they log in, they see that they have 50 things to complete between now and January. And that’s very daunting. Emma has found that the curriculum is a lot harder because the teachers don’t really interact with them” In Stacey’s words “Being remote is harder than being in school because it takes a lot of mental drive. I don’t have that drive to do schoolwork. I’m pretty sure it’s because I have senioritis, but I know that if I don’t do the work, I will not be graduating. So graduation is definitely pushing me to get that work done and be able to finish it off.”

Mrs. DeRosa has a different theory, however. “The students who are struggling- it’s more of a social-emotional connection, missing the students here. But with support from teachers and Miss Moriarity, the guidance counselor here, and myself, we check in with students on a regular basis. So we offer encouragement, assistance, and support. So I think that is helping students to know that they’re not in this alone.”

Remote learning is not ideal for anybody, but it’s also not anybody’s fault. It’s simply the byproduct of the coronavirus spreading over Norfolk County. So if you want these kids to return to school be sure To keep that mask on.