SJHHS Hosts Virtual Back To School Night For A Second Year


Bill Kaiser

2021 Teacher of the Year, Jaime Gonzales records her Back to School night message using Zoom. The presentations were virtual again this year because of Covid-19 concerns. In CUSD messages were recorded, while in other districts like Poway Unified live Zooms are planned.

Sofia Bello, Staff Writer

For a second year SJHHS held Back to School Night virtually on the night of September 2.

And no, it wasn’t on Zoom. Teacher’s used a variety of platforms to record messages to parents about all their different courses. The messages, from 5-10 minutes in length, were made available starting at 4:00 p.m.

While some may wish for the old in person presentations, many parents and teachers found some advantages to the new way.

“Since I talk for a long time, it is easier to make a video,” said English teacher, Christy Bak-Boychuk. 

One benefit of using recorded messages is that parents can hear the presentations without having to park on campus and find classrooms on a campus they might not be familiar with.

Parents have also expressed that virtual events are easier to integrate into their busy lives. “Parents have long days at work so it is more convenient for them to come home and watch the video,” said Bak-Boychuk.

Zoom is actually a pretty good tool, not only for live interactions, but for creating short videos that process quickly as Mp4 files and can be viewed later,

— Bill Kaiser

Another benefit is they can view the messages whenever they want, not at a certain time or place.

“I prefer virtual Back to School Night because I can come home after a long day of work, and can participate in my pajamas,” said SJHHS parent Harmony Lawton.

“Zoom is actually a pretty good tool, not only for live interactions, but for creating short videos that process quickly as Mp4 files and can be viewed later,” said Bill Kaiser who teaches AP Macroeconomics and AP Government and Politics.

Others chose Screencastify or similar platforms.

Brooke Valderrama, ASB Adviser and Assistant Principal, compiled over 200 different videos onto a document that parents can click to view. It was a huge job and depended on every teacher posting their videos to folders within Google Drive.

“These are going to be viewable for about a week,” said Valderrama.

Overall, the change was probably made because of Covid-19 concerns like transmission of virus among possibly unmasked or unvaccinated people in close proximity and in closed spaces.

But certain pandemic related shifts in the way we do things, like Back to School Night, might be with us for a long time to come.