An Asynchronous School Day

The Wake County School Board members believe that an asynchronous day may be beneficial for the students and staff of the high schools. They have started to review this idea and are reaching a decision. (Photo Courtesy of Savannah Sinor)

The Wake County School board members are currently discussing a day of asynchronous learning each week.

Before these conversations, high schools had permission to implement such a day. Principals were “given control over their schedules,” said School Board member James Martin via email.

The majority of the principals were unaware that they could include an asynchronous day. It was “not a part of the original expectations set forth by the district,” said Ian Solomon via email.

The asynchronous day would significantly alter the current schedule. The proposition replaces an entire day of classes.


What does an asynchronous day look like?

It is similar to Athens Drive Magnet High School’s current schedule. Their schedule has Wednesdays as an asynchronous day. On this day, the students use the time to work at their own pace and catch up on work.

Students still have to meet with at least one teacher, so this day would not be entirely asynchronous. In this proposed plan, students will have to “log in to a homeroom teacher in order for the day to count,” said School Board Vice-Chair Roxie Cash over the phone. 

Students could work at their own pace for the rest of the day after they check in. There are multiple possibilities for the use of this day.

One is simply a day for students to make up late work or catch up on homework. A workday is helpful for teachers also. It would allow another day for teachers to grade and create lesson plans.

Another option is to use the asynchronous day as a regular day that just lacks the live instruction. Teachers still assign work for the day, but there is not a live class. 


The Pros and Cons

Either option has both benefits and setbacks. 

Students and staff are “in front of screens continually for hours, and we’re [the school board] seeing drawbacks to it,” said School Board member Chris Heagarty via a Google Meet. The first option would allow for a break day, which helps everyone to cope with being online so much. 

The disadvantage is that students and staff lose an entire day of instruction.

Classes must change to a faster-paced schedule to make up for the lost day. Previously in-class activities will become homework to compensate for lost time. 

Option number two still allows for a break from being online but keeps students on pace for the course. 

The downside of this plan is that it is not a catch-up day. Teachers could not use this day to grade or create lesson plans. It also would not let students make up their work.

Before deciding about a possible asynchronous day, more discussion will occur. After the discussion concludes, the Wake County School Board will vote.


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