Loyola held its first virtual Back-to-School Night on Wednesday, Sep. 16. At around 7P.M., parents and teachers logged onto Zoom from their own homes and offices for the event.
Back-to-School Night at Loyola gives teachers a chance to meet their students’ parents, often for the first time, and communicate with them better. Because Loyola is such a rigorous school, the transition from eighth to ninth grade can be difficult, but communication between teachers, parents and students can alleviate some of the initial shock, which is one of the things Back-to-School Night hopes to achieve.
One of the benefits of holding the event online was the reduced commute. Foreign language teacher Teresa Kawamata said, “Honestly, I appreciated not having to stay on campus from 7:30A.M. to 9P.M. for two nights. I also didn’t see the normal stress in parents who have to fight traffic to make it to campus and find the right classroom on time.”
Currently, the Loyola family population comes to campus from 191 different zip codes in and around Los Angeles, and 240 different middle schools are represented at Loyola. Because the Loyola community is spread across the county, the virtual Back-to-School Night eliminates the stress of beating traffic and getting to campus on time.
Michelle Liu, mother of Ryan ‘22 and freshman William ‘24, stated, “I didn’t have to drive to LHS and park, and when it was over, I was already home, so that part was really nice. I think because there was no commute, I liked virtual back-to-school better.”
Liu also enjoyed being able to see both of her sons’ teachers, rather than just one. She said, “My husband sat next to me and zoomed with another son’s teachers; so, I was able to ‘see’ both of their teachers even though I could only hear for one child.”
Though the Loyola community is looking forward to the day on-campus classes can return, teachers and faculty are finding new ways to replace in-person interactions until then. Teachers were still able to share most information about their class, and parents were surprised that not much information was lost within the virtual environment.
Liu said, “Actually, I wasn’t looking forward to a virtual Back-to-School Night, but I think it went really well. I think I would choose to have it virtual in the future. You don’t have to worry about parents that are out of town or stuck at work because you can attend from anywhere.”
Kawamata stated, “After having experienced a smooth Virtual Back-to-School Night, I hope virtual can be considered a viable option for the future.”
The on campus experience is still missed by some, and teachers spoke about the added value to doing the event in-person instead of online.
Kawamata said, “The most difficult part of the virtual Back-to-School Night was not tech-related but not being able to shake your parent’s hand and to see them in-person. I think teachers feel it’s important to be able to meet your parents who are our partners in your education.”