BOHS’s ‘Back-to-School Night’ Goes Virtual

BOHS parent Adriana Abalos watches a video posted by French teacher Nadia Fox during BOHS’s “Virtual Back-to-School Night” on Wednesday evening. Due to distance learning, the traditional on-campus Back to School Night was replaced with Google Classroom posts and teacher-created videos. (Isabella Abalos)

Instead of parents hustling from class to class on the BOHS campus to watch presentations from their child’s teachers, Wednesday’s “Virtual Back-to-School Night” involved Google Slides presentations, YouTube videos, and virtual classroom posts.

Back-to-School Night was held virtually with pre-recorded videos of teachers on Wednesday evening due to the COVID-19 pandemic preventing in-person meetings. Teachers’ videos reviewed class rules, expectations, and ways to communicate with faculty. 

Gil Rotblum, History teacher, posted a Google Form to obtain feedback from parents and get their contact information. In order to make up for the loss of in-person communication between teachers and parents, Rotblum made a Google Form quiz about the contents of his video presentation which enabled him to “interact” with the parents. 

Adriana Abalos, parent of a BOHS student, said of the evening: “Although I would rather meet teachers in person, I enjoyed watching their videos that explained in-depth about their backgrounds and how they were going to be running their classes.”

Summer Teal, English teacher, said that pre-recorded videos for Back-to-School Night is “the best solution for right now. That way, it stays flexible and informational, and that seems to be a good approach for the time being.” 

One thing teachers added to their presentation was the way they taught using Zoom. They explained ways to communicate between students and teachers despite seeing each other through a screen and other methods to track attendance and check participation in the classroom environment. 

Verronica Clements, English teacher, and Liah Kim, chemistry teacher, both said that they missed the face-to-face interaction between parents and teachers. 

“I believe there is great value in shaking someone’s hand and meeting them in person. It is very hard to convey your sentiment and personality through a video,” Kim said. 

Clements added that “human interaction,” and being able to shake the parents’ hands, are what she missed most about in-person Back-to-School Night.

As a parent of a BOHS student, Teal said, “I do like that I can view the video any time and revisit it if I need a refresher on the classroom policies, but I [felt] like it [was] a bit impersonal. Unfortunately, I think that is one of the themes of distance learning that we are all working through.”