St. Mary’s Students, Teachers Weigh-in on First Days of Distance Learning

St. Mary’s Students, Teachers Weigh-in on First Days of Distance Learning
St. Mary’s School is nearing the end of its first week of distance learning; in the face of many unknowns and rapid changes, the feedback from parents, students, and teachers has been overwhelmingly positive.

St. Mary’s junior William Kranenburg ’21 provides his thoughts, saying “I would prefer to be in the classroom; however, the fact that St Mary’s immediately took the time to perfect an online and live learning platform, when so many other schools in the area are at a loss for teaching their students during this crisis, is one of the many reasons why St Mary’s is such a special institution in the Rogue Valley.”

Indeed, the preparation had been in place for weeks. Prior to Governor Brown’s statewide school closure, the administration and staff at St. Mary’s School had been preparing for the high possibility of a campus closure by looking to distance learning. In the sudden move from an on-campus presence to online classes, St. Mary’s students didn’t miss a beat.

Kranenburg’s young brother, an 8th grader at St. Mary’s, provided a look at how class interaction has been influenced by this change. Christopher Kranenburg ‘24 shares “[Online learning] has its benefits: it’s great to stay in school while being at home. Everything is live and the teachers do an excellent job of making it seem like you actually are in a classroom with your friends; there is a lot of interaction. That said, I would much rather be learning back in my school, face-to-face!”

While many St. Mary’s families have reached out with words of kindness and support, St. Mary’s faculty members have also had a positive experience. High school social studies teacher Lauren Huizinga ‘03 gave her perspective on the change. She writes, “So far I’ve been so pleasantly surprised and appreciative of my students. They’ve ALL shown up to class, on time, ready to go. We’ve done all the same things we would have done in our physical class with only minor tweaks. I think they enjoy that their lives didn’t completely grind to a halt. I know my day is better getting to see and teach them versus just having gone to an early break. Overall, for mental health, keeping school going and maintaining these interactions seems crucial. It’s been so nice to be part of this community that values relationships and education, even when unforeseen challenges arise.”

Despite the presence of much uncertainty communities can sometimes rise and come together, putting their best foot forward for the good of all; St. Mary’s School has certainly seen this response from their students, parents, faculty, and staff and has been overwhelmed with the positive and supportive response from its community. 

About St. Mary’s School
St. Mary's School has provided its students a high quality, college-preparatory
experience in the best traditions of Catholic education, morality, and social service
since 1865. As such, it is a long-established presence in the Southern Oregon
community and the third-oldest school in the state of Oregon. The St. Mary’s Athletic
Program offers 19 sports for students grades 5 - 12 to explore.

St. Mary's School inspires all students to discover their talents in a uniquely
responsive Catholic environment.