Diamond Bar High School will be student-free through the summer, but online virtual summer school, which is halfway to its conclusion, is allowing students an opportunity for academic enrichment.
Unlike the distance learning program that took place during the second half of the school year, students enrolled in DBHS’s virtual summer school must be present for a set schedule—Monday through Thursday, from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
A normal day begins with the morning roll call, followed by two to three interactive on-line lectures throughout the day, punctuated by short breaks. Virtual summer school ends at 1 p.m., leaving students free to complete digitally assigned homework.
“I am glad that Diamond Bar High School found a workaround for summer school rather than just…canceling summer school,” sophomore Ryan Golonka, a chemistry student, said via Discord.
Some summer school attendees voiced their preference for virtual summer school as there is no commute time, breaks are frequent and they can finish homework during class.
“I like that you have the ability to talk to your friends while in class,” sophomore Aditya Karki, who is taking Algebra 2, said via Discord. “Whenever my friends help me, I feel like it is easier to understand.”
However, some students have expressed concern over the limited materials available to them and a possibly diluted curriculum.
“I don’t have access to DVP cameras unlike what might happen in summer school pre-quarantine,” sophomore Jason Kim, who is enrolled in Digital Video Production, said via Discord.
Students in science courses have conveyed similar worries. Some fear that the inability to carry out laboratory activities may affect their learning experience. Others worry about the lack of one-on-one interactions with their teachers, as the explanations that are given in-person are often much more in-depth and quickly answered than a written one.
“In a normal class setting, when you want to ask a question you could ask after school in private at ease,” freshman Angelina Liu, a geometry student, said via text. “However, in an online class setting, the teacher will end the session at precisely 1 p.m., leaving no time for additional questions.”
Other Brahmas feel that virtual summer school should have been discounted from its normal $625 price tag because the school no longer has to pay for utilities and laboratory supplies. While some courses, including a selection of free courses and remedial classes, are non-tuition, the majority of students are enrolled in paid classes.
“They should charge less because it’s not what we signed up for. We signed up for in-seat summer school,” a student who wished to remain anonymous said. “While there have been modifications, the online version doesn’t provide the same amount of interaction as face-to-face [communication] does.”