On a recent Monday in February, the students at Park Ridge High School in New Jersey experienced a virtual “work from home day” in order to help prepare them for the real world, the college in addition to providing a backup for inclement weather days that are typical in the Northeast.
“Our ultimate goal is to prepare kids for life after high school,” Principal Troy Lederman told San Francisco-based public radio station KQED. “Most colleges say that kids should be taking at least one online course, and there’s a lot of careers where people can work from home.”
In-person classes were replaced with written lessons and real-time video chats delivered online by teachers while students reportedly completed their assignments from a local Starbucks or in the comfort of their own homes.
Two days prior, students posted their comments in a YouTube video. One student said he is a visual learner, and so seeing the videos and images on a computer screen, in addition to his teacher’s virtual lesson, will make it “very easy” for him to learn from.
Another student said he was looking forward to working from his bed with his pajamas on.
Matt Reed, the vice president for leaning at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, NJ referred to Park Ridge’s Virtual Day as “simple and brilliant” in his blog “Confessions of a College Dean.”
The genius of a schoolwide work-from-home day https://t.co/SrmBS3WWV9
— Matt Reed (@deandad) February 24, 2016
Approximately 400,000 Kindergarten to grade 12-students have reportedly taken one fully virtual course. Despite the overwhelming positive response to the Virtual Day, about 50 students, or fewer than 10 percent of the student body, reportedly showed up to the school.
In Bergen County, which is where Park Ridge is located, approximately 99 percent of students have Internet access at home. In other parts of the nation, where more economically disadvantaged households are more common, it is unclear how much of a success a Virtual Day would be.
The idea for “Work From Home Day” was made possible because every student received a Mac laptop last year.
Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz.