Finally here: 9th graders come to class

During+their+first+day+of+hybrid+learning%2C+ninth+graders+spend+their+lunch+on+Jackman+field.

Miles Cobb

During their first day of hybrid learning, ninth graders spend their lunch on Jackman field.

Ella Beiser and Amanda Cassel

More than six months after the start of school, 120 ninth graders finally had their first day at school when hybrid learning began March 11.

Dean of Students Ana Campos said the students had a lot of anticipation for their first day of in-person school. She said that it felt great to have their first day of high school, something they’ve been waiting all year for. 

She said she saw varying levels of confidence about finding their classes, but she said the stress was lower than a typical September. 

“I imagine that had to do with the fact that they at least know their classmates even if only over Zoom, and they have already met their teachers,” Ms. Campos said.

For the rest of the spring, students who opted into hybrid learning will come to school in person for two consecutive days every two weeks — an “A” day and a “B” day — following the same block schedule in place all year. “C” days will continue to have online office hours, assemblies and counselor programming.

Izzy Kaufman-Sites zooms into her “Stars and Dust” English class from he middle school library. The class is primarily seniors who opted in to hybrid learning. Rather than joining breakout rooms for small group work, in-person students discussed short stories together. (Amanda Cassel)

On March 8, when seniors came to school, English teacher Steven Gevinson said he was impressed with the administration’s organization and described the first day as a success. Mr. Gevinson also appreciated seeing his students face-to-face for the first time all year.

“The technology is pretty fabulous really, and even someone who’s not very good at it, I still did it,” Mr. Gevinson said. “I don’t think we lost much time, so as complicated as it is, and as many disadvantages as there are, and all the safety issues it just seems to me like it was well thought out and well put together.”

Class of 2024 president Zoe Nathwani found it was much easier to engage in classes in person.  

“It was so nice to see people again,” Zoe said, “and I thought it was a lot easier to focus during classes, because just being in a room with everyone and seeing your teacher at the front of the classroom, I felt like it was a lot more engaging than over Zoom.”

Ninth grader Katie Sasamoto-Kurisu said that an unexpected issue she encountered was what to do during free periods. 

“We didn’t really know what to do,” Katie said. “I appreciated the teachers telling us where we could go because I didn’t know. There were people going outside in the Secret Garden area. We sort of just walked around and eventually settled at a hallway to just chill out until fourth period.” 

Lunchtime provided students with the opportunity to engage socially, Katie said. 

“I feel like the normal part of seeing friends is the most important part of school aside from the academics,” Katie said. “During lunch, I could tell a lot of people were getting out more like they used to, and people were playing football. It just sort of made me feel like it was more like school.”

A previous version of this story was published March 8.