OP-ED: Asynchronous Fridays


Photo Courtesy of Kate Spellman

Students would often come into class on asynchronous Fridays to get work done such as tests. Malik Roth represents a student taking a test.

Amidst the early 2020 school year, students often came into school during Fridays to take tests or to connect with their teachers. On Fridays, students could seek extra help or to get clarification on assignments. Often, students got to see people they hadn’t seen in a while due to being online or being on a hybrid schedule. Anyone walking the halls could often hear the ‘thank you’s’ of students in classrooms being grateful that they had this time to work with their teachers one-on-one.

Asynchronous Fridays were a district wide day where students did not have to attend regular classes and had the opportunity to get homework done as well as having their asynchronous course work which often served as a check in. Students also could go into school to work with teachers during their office hours, which were decided by each teacher.Students and teachers both agree that the asynchronous Fridays were helpful and should come back. There is one school in the district that still has asynchronous Fridays. LaunchEd is still able to utilize their asynchronous Fridays.

“I use Fridays for everything,” Kerri Courtney, a teacher at LaunchEd says, “As a teacher at LaunchEd, I’m able to do special meetings with other teachers, [have] special meetings with students, … catch up on grading, … plan for next week and then I also have the ability to do academic achievement hour, where myself and another social studies teacher have one hour where we get to do fun extension lessons plans for social studies.”

Courtney, who is an online school teacher, is still able to utilize the asynchronous Fridays this year. Unfortunately, LaunchEd has to give it up to keep up with the normal high school schedules next year.

Having asynchronous Fridays would also be helpful for current high school teachers.

“I think it was helpful for teachers because unlike any other year ever before, teachers could talk to each other,” Jennifer Tayler, a Frederick High teacher and previous LaunchEd teacher said, “Lets say [the] 9th grade teachers can all get together and they discuss what kids are successful [and] what kids need more help. We can share strategies, so if one kid is super successful in my class but is struggling in someone else’s class, I can say ‘here’s what I’m doing,’ or ‘have you tried XYZ’ and that’s really helpful.’”

Like some teachers, many students around the school have been very adamant about bringing back asynchronous Fridays because of the many advantages.

Students were able to complete homework during the given work time so that they had their weekend free.

“I used to do all my homework and more during Fridays” Kadel Broz, a sophomore at Silver Creek said, “I would get ahead by starting the work on the asynchronous Fridays and now that we no longer have Fridays asynchronous, I can’t utilize the opportunity to get ahead.”

Broz and other students all used Fridays for the same purpose, as a work day. Having a shorter week also impacts student’s mental health. It also allowed for time to de-stress during the week and gave students the opportunity to take a break during the school week. Having the four day week boosted teacher and student morale knowing that they had the opportunity to have extra rest and time.

According to an randomized survey that was taken during a lunch at Silver Creek High School, 95% out of 45 students agreed that the asynchronous Fridays helped with their mental health.

“I think it made the school week a lot less stressful knowing that it was a little shorter and that there was a little more time to get homework done and not have to stress about it over the weekend” Sydney Vail, a sophomore who stayed online last year, said.

One counter argument against asynchronous Fridays could be that school provides meals for students that may not have good food to eat at home and that asynchronous days prevent those students from getting that meal. However, this counter argument is invalid as during the asynchronous schedule last year, the Silver Creek school cafeteria still managed to put out meals for students.

“After finishing meeting with a teacher, I could come down and get lunch at school which I think is really helpful because some kids only have meals at school,” Mia Frazier, a sophomore says. “And on top of that, the lunches were free.”

Another concern could be that teachers would get behind in their teachings. But, with a full week full of learning, teachers may fall behind in grading and planning. Teachers have six total classes every two days and only two free blocks to grade for those classes. Like students, teachers also have lives outside of school and do not want to use their weekend for school.

“Normally during the [school] week, I was teaching the whole time. So, it’s hard to do any amount of grading unless during your planning period, you spend a good amount of time planning what you’re going to be doing next week or next class,” Jennifer Tayler said, “So I think I got a lot more grading done [during Fridays] and probably a lot more timely grading.”

If asynchronous Fridays were ever to return, Courtney proposed a way to improve asynchronous Fridays. To create a credit class with about ten choices where there could be options like a study hall class where students can finish work, a genius hour class where students get to propose what to do with their Fridays such as fitness, and by proposing what students would like to do with their Fridays and could get credit for that.

Another option could be special interest Fridays, where a teacher is working with students on an extension assignment. Students could work with your counselor for Fridays, especially for juniors or seniors who are preparing for college. Just a bunch of things that schools never have time for in a normal week.

Not only were asynchronous Fridays helpful for students, they were helpful for teachers alike. The asynchronous Fridays gave everyone so many opportunities for success last year and it is such a shame that it has been taken away. Many hope that in the future they will return.