New students adjust, connect through online learning

Freshman+Piper+Porter%27s+desk+and+computer+setup+for+remote+learning.+Porter+and+her+twin+Paige+are+both+new+to+Archer%2C+and+have+been+adjusting+to+starting+a+new+school+remotely.

Freshman Piper Porter’s desk and computer setup for remote learning. Porter and her twin Paige are both new to Archer, and have been adjusting to starting a new school remotely.

By Thea Leimone, Culture Editor

Whether it be the induction ceremony, fall outing with grade-building activities or grade lunches in the dining hall, Archer traditionally provides opportunities for new students to spend time with their classmates. Due to COVID-19, which has moved Archer learning online, new students have had to adjust to the new learning situation, new classmates and a new school without physically interacting with one another.

With no introduction to the school besides a tour and a possible shadow day, new students expressed feelings of nervousness and confusion about what to expect from the school year.

“I didn’t have any experience with any of the teachers and there was no real orientation so I was kind of just freaking out about the whole thing, and I was really nervous,” freshman Piper Porter, who started Archer this year said.

In the final two months of the previous school year, all schools in Los Angeles County began remote learning using various online platforms and methods to conduct schooling. New ninth grader Ijeoma Nwafor along with other students said that they had previously used learning platforms Google Classroom and Google Meets and initially felt uneasy using Zoom, but felt Archer made it easy to adjust.

“I did remote learning for the last month of eighth grade and it was really confusing, but Archer makes it feel more natural, they make it easy,” Nwaf0r said.

Even though the first two weeks of school have posed some technological and social challenges for new students, there have also been new friendships and positive reactions to starting Archer over remote learning.

“Some highlights have been meeting new friends and new girls, and just starting Archer because everyone is so welcoming, especially the teachers,” sixth-grader Lila Morgan said.

According to Felicia Paik, Director of Admissions, sixth grade is composed of 45-50 new students meanwhile in seventh, between 25-30 are enrolled and in ninth, between 20-25. Socially, joining a new school where the majority of the grade already know each other has posed some challenges for some.

“Socially it has been a bit difficult, we had grade-wide lunches and meetings where I got to meet new people but I haven’t made any real friends yet,” Porter said.

To replace the traditional in-person welcoming activities for new students, Archer adapted to create ways for students to connect online in their first weeks of school.

“For the first two weeks we did lunch online, so I got to talk to some girls,” Morgan said. “We had breakout rooms to we could talk and in math and technology we have a buddy in our grade that we can talk to.”

Upper school students have taken part in similar activities to get to know each other, introducing themselves and talking to one another in breakout rooms.

“I didn’t really know what to expect starting Archer, but I knew it was going to be harder to form connections,” Nwafor said. “It’s easier than I expected, I’d say I’ve been able to make friends.”