Communication with students

Photo by Ava Thornely

Aspen High School announcements located on the website. AS of April 7th.

Coronavirus has caused Aspen High School to close until April 30th but due to the powerful technology of the 21st-century students are able to have a semi-normal day by doing online learning.

Kim Zimmer, the Tech Integrationist and broadcast teacher at AHS, has been working with the technology team and IT support over the two weeks preceding distance learning, almost around the clock, to design the experience for students and staff. This team has been a big help transitioning to online learning as they trained staff on how to teach online using google hangout. On top of it all, Zimmer communicated the plan to the students and parents.

“Right now, we are trying to communicate through the grade-level Google Classrooms that I set up for each grade level at AHS. We originally were setting up one classroom for all of the high school, and then we realized that each grade level might have individual announcements, as we approach the end of the school year. So we divided up the Classroom, and now we’re using that as a primary communication tool with students,” Zimmer said.

Students have also been using Google Classroom as a way to get assignments and communicate with teachers about questions or concerns they may have. The expectation is that students still complete the work they are assigned. Students should check the grade level Google Classroom daily for attendance and read the recent announcements.

As AHS restarts, grade-level Google Classroom will continue, if there is positive feedback. Students can give feedback by filling out the response at the end of each attendance.

“I think it’s a great idea to keep [the classrooms] going. One thing we might want to discuss is who has the right to post things in there. I would love to see a few students take control of that, along with a few teachers. Maybe the President and VP of each class in the Student Senate. I think this would be a better option than Facebook because, as teachers, we don’t have access to that,” Zimmer said.

Although the end of this year has been a change for everyone, staff and students have been able to communicate through Google Hangout in order to work with peers and teachers on classwork and assignments. This could be a possibility to continue using this for future years. Otherwise, when students are in school, they receive daily announcements over the loudspeaker, video broadcasted announcements every Wednesday, and through the AHS Daily Announcements link.

“Lauren Fox updates that document according to what announcements teachers submit. I would like everyone to submit announcements, including students, in the future, especially when we’re running a formal broadcast journalism class! It will take a village to keep the news going every day. We need to streamline our communications, and that is a big goal for next year!” Zimmer said.

Online learning has been one big experiment for everyone, and AHS must work together as a community to create a new normal. Everyone must stay optimistic and understand this is new to everyone.

“We really appreciate the student’s understanding, as we work out the kinks. We are so lucky to have great administrators like Sarah and Tharyn. They were so optimistic and positive about everything, and I loved problem-solving with them. And, the AHS staff- I’m blown away by their commitment to learning a whole new way of teaching in a really short amount of time,” Zimmer expressed.

Please reach out to Kim Zimmer with any ideas to better connect and engage with the student body and community. She is always willing to hear what students have to say about communications within the school. Students can email her at [email protected].