Learning independently without classmates and friends, without teachers, without zoom meetings and due dates… sounds a little intimidating at first, but sophomore Naomi Chen shows the realities of the Glendora Online Academy of Learning (GOAL) program that the Glendora Unified School District offers.
Her first impression of GOAL made her a bit overwhelmed. It was first portrayed as a program with a whole year’s worth of work that is due by the end of the year. However, Chen discovered that there are actually loose due dates that help in keeping her on track.
There is also a teacher to whom she is assigned to. Each GOAL teacher checks in with their designated students every week and is open for homework help throughout the week.
For Chen, it is hard to compare distance learning in March to her situation now. Some subjects, like math, are more challenging than others. As opposed to Chen’s math teacher from last year, who explained mathematical concepts clearly, GOAL isn’t as elaborate on its explanations in their math lessons.
Chemistry, however, is easier to understand: as Chen explained, “there are hour-long videos for chemistry that explain the topics.”
That being said, it is difficult to find motivation to go through so many videos and lessons. Recommended due dates are provided to help with motivation.
Chen describes, “there’s a red sign that pops up on the assignments you are behind on… that helps me not procrastinate because the red bothers me.”
Something that Chen does that is different from most GOAL students is that she participates in orchestra. Therefore, her daily schedule varies depending on when she has orchestra class.
On odd days, she wakes up earlier to attend the orchestra zoom meeting. “It’s nice to see people’s faces after staring at a blank screen all week,” says Chen.
GOAL students can also participate in sports and clubs. Chen has attended club meetings and plans to play basketball this year. GOAL doesn’t affect those activities.
Originally, GOAL was offered to families who wanted to avoid the risk of returning to a hybrid model before a vaccine for COVID-19. However, Chen also recommends it to students who have a busier schedule, since there is more flexibility in terms of time.