Acalanes Hosts Virtual Back to School Night

By Shrida Pandey and Griffin Ruebner, Online News Editor and Staff Writer

// Many parents look forward to back to school night as a chance to connect with their students’ teachers and learn more about their classes. This year, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise and regulations force the cancellation of many activities, the event could not occur at school.

   Acalanes High School hosted its annual back to school night online on Thursday, Aug. 20 via YouTube due to COVID-19 prohibiting it from taking place in-person.

   The event started with a live stream run by Principal Travis Bell at 6 p.m. Bell highlighted several other staff members and introduced multiple Acalanes parent groups, such as Lafayette Partners in Education and Acalanes Boosters. 

   Afterward, parents watched pre-recorded videos created by teachers. The videos covered everything from grading to asynchronous and synchronous lesson guidelines so that parents could get a sense of what the coming year entails. The school then made all of the videos accessible for the rest of the night so that parents could go through them at their own pace.

   “I like meeting teachers in person better but I feel like I got a good sense of their styles and approaches, so I got the information that I usually look for in back to school night,” Acalanes parent Alexis Coyle said.

   Many parents liked that the videos were filmed ahead of time rather than streamed live at certain points throughout the night.

   “I liked that it was recorded. As a working mom, I liked having the flexibility to watch the videos whenever it was convenient for me,” Acalanes parent Janet Chan said. 

   While the virtual nature of the night brought up some challenges, most teachers were able to adapt and make the best of the scenario.

   “It was a very different experience. I get a little nervous making videos of myself speaking and I had to do many retakes but in the end, I would like to think it worked out,” history teacher Lyenne Denny said. 

   Still, teachers felt the absence of interacting with parents and getting to know them on an individual basis.

   “I think the thing I missed the most was the energy, the anticipation of meeting parents and guardians, and the value that it brings to our school community. So it wasn’t so much that I wasn’t able to get the information out; it was just more that we missed an opportunity to connect,” Leadership teacher Katherine Walton said.

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