COVID-19 UPDATES: Please click to see the latest announcements and resources for students and families.

Online Education? We’ve Got This!


Most conversations around schools in the COVID age start from a place of deficit– it’s a narrative that assumes we should strive only to survive. That is not our school’s reality: to the contrary, our model is designed from the ground up to help students unlock their power as they navigate uncertain terrain. The Oxford Day Academy (ODA) community has come together to support our students to succeed and thrive academically and socially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.  This month the wonderful work completed by the staff and students are showcased.  The work presented in this newsletter demonstrates the theory of change of our academic model, and the resilient, persistent and deep commitment to learning that makes up the DNA of Oxford Day Academy.  This sentiment is presented in  Ernesto Cambron’s (10th Grade) untitled haiku:

The ocean always 
Finds a way to make me smile
As it waves back, slow.

Submitted for Ms. Brown’s English class, the creative expression of Oxford Day Academy students are displayed.  In reflecting on The Colors of Earth’s Creations, Jailah Mitchell (11th Grade) writes:

The greens of the ground,
Of the sky and all around,
Yellows, reds and browns.

To celebrate long summer Beach Days, Angel Patino (9th Grade) writes:

Swimming at the beach
The blue sky looks cool today
Rapid waves push me

Meanwhile,  Salvador Mendoza (9th Grade) considers Nature’s Beauty and writes:

What a sight to hold
Nature is as beautiful
As the moonlit sky

In science, student efforts demonstrate a capacity to argue for, and support, explanations by using MLA formatted citations that are collaboratively posted using JamBoards. 

Through this media the students, along with their instructor Ms. Rice, explore the questions: What makes up an argument? Is it verbal, written or an image?  Students present their responses in video (via flipgrid), visual (via graphic notes) and in written forms.  In reflecting on this process, Ms. Rice states, “We may be sheltering in place, We may be doing remote education.  But we are showing up… with science.”  This point is demonstrated within a tutorial session conducted with Rick Aringia-Rendon (10th grade).

On the other side of Oxford Day Academy’s virtual campus, students critically examine the structural components of schools and consider how a school’s organization impacts social systems.  This occurs in Dr. St. Roseman’s Sociology of Education course where students are asked to develop expository short answers that reference assigned reading and media sources.  Student work is posted to Google Colaboratory Notebooks where students are required to use markdown language. 

In considering the goals that a  parent might expect schools to meet, Jeremiah Gallegos (9th Grade) writes:

Parents expect schools to support students that are in need of help. According to the reading, schools serving affluent communities are “expected to help their students to maintain their middle or upper middle-class status as adults.” This suggests that affluent parents want schools to teach their children to be economically successful as adults. Parents who live in poorer communities expect schools to seek ways to help their students become “socially mobile.” One way for this to occur is for students to go to college. In some instances, they may be the first in their family to go to, and graduate from college. Based upon the reading it can be concluded that parents, regardless of class status, expect schools to support their children to become economically successful as adults.

Brianna Medina (9th Grade), on the other hand, provides a critical perspective on the ways that schools may promote social inequality.  She writes:

Education promotes social inequality through the use of tracking and standardized testing. Schools differ widely in their funding and learning conditions. This type of inequality leads to learning differences that reinforce social inequality. For example, schools often have a hidden curriculum that can cause conflict between the students and the teachers because student behavior and values are challenged. For example, at Oxford Day Academy online learning is having an impact on the students and teachers because not every student has the same learning skills. Some students are hands-on learners and others are visual learners. This has a strong impact on student behavior which results in some not doing their work. The hidden curriculum in online learning are the high standards that teachers have of students. These high expectations may result in conflict because students feel lost and disconnected to what is being asked of them.

When considering if a Paulo Freire quote lives in the house of functionalism or the house of conflict theory, Josue Lucatero (9th Grade) explains:

Paulo Freire’s quote lives in the house of conflict theory. The quote talks about a student’s fit in a society where one person has all the power in the classroom.  Paulo Freire explains how the power of the classroom can be changed.  His idea is that everyone has a unique point of view that is worthy to be considered.  This point is demonstrated in the following quote: “Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate [the] integration of the younger generation into… the present system… or it becomes the practice of freedom… [where] men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in [the] transformation of their world.”  For example, at Oxford Day Academy students do not learn exclusively from the teacher.  The community is a civic and cultural context through which students learn.  It is in this context where students apply their learning through field experience activities.  Based on this analysis, Paulo Freire lives in the house of conflict theory because he believes that people can transform power in the classroom by supporting students to critically and creatively participate in the world.

In reflecting upon his instructional experience within a virtual class setting, Dr. St. Roseman states, “I feel encouraged by the PowerPoints that I have developed.  I am pushed to be creative with the imagery and animation that I use.  Each slide has a purpose that guides my expectation for students. For example, some slides require me to cold call a student while others can solicit a chat response.  Overall, the Powerpoint is a platform to engage student in interactive discussion.”

In the subject of Math, Mr. Tinife communicates that in the beginning, “[The younger students and I] were… trying to figure out how to approach this new learning platform… we were not prepared for it and attendance hovered around 80%.”  In spite of the initial, bumps he states that “online classes have been a great success.”  He adds, “My learning style has moved from direct instruction by the teacher to a student-centered approach [which is the basis of our school model and pedagogical approach].”  Through the use of a whiteboard and DESMOS, Mr. Tinife and his students are able to complete interactive activities.  Student are able to demonstrate an ability to puzzle through ideas and argue among themselves when completing problems. 

When considering the virtual experience, Mr Tinife observes that in some instances, “online classes [are] more advantages because [students] are less [distracted by] their peers.”  Additionally he states, “the pandemic has pushed me to embrace various remote learning platforms… In the course of looking for new ways of doing things, I have become more creative in my art… Innovation is a product of circumstance… [COVID 19] has revolutionized my teaching… It has improved [how I] collaborate with staff and [provided me] an opportunity to rethink… the way I have been teaching. 

Virtual sessions have also addressed socio-emotional health and well being of students. Through our partnership with Adolescence Counseling Services (ACS), therapists maintained individual counseling services with our students and families.  Understanding the setbacks that teletherapy can create, therapists worked to identify effective strategies to support the virtual sessions.  As indicated in a weekly reflection by one of the therapist. ” I believe my session can continue to improve by building therapeutic rapport, encouraging clients to attend and use their camera, and by continuing the pace – which is to talk about the serious subjects and not let the clients deflect into lighter subjects due to the sessions being virtual.” In addition to individual therapy, support groups for students and parents were created to provide psychoeducation and assistance around coping during stressful times.  

Parents also experience the Oxford Day Academy community virtually, while maintaining their monthly parent meetings.  Over the last two months, a total of 5 virtual parent events have occurred (3 with current parents and 2 with new parents).  According to third year parent Lidia Rutiaga, “virtual parent meetings are much more convenient and efficient.”  Parents are excited about the college planning and preparation meetings that are occurring virtually with the college counselor, and look forward to Oxford Day Academy having its first senior class in the upcoming school year.

COVID 19 has pushed students, parents and faculty to experience and reflect upon learning within virtual settings.  The faculty have developed new approaches to interactive content delivery and have implemented strategies of interaction that are intentional, inclusive and maintain a standard of rigor.  Students have pushed themselves to stay committed, engaged and supportive of one another, while parents have been a backbone of support making sure their children have the space and resources to participate in virtual classes.  However, the learning curve continues to be steep, and  setting a culture for virtual programming is still a work in progress for Oxford Day Academy.  In spite of this, the staff is encouraged that a strong foundation has been established to build upon.  2020 is indeed a year of transformation for Oxford Day Academy.

Scroll to Top