A chunk of RHS seniors switching to WAVE for final semester

Sitting+at+home+at+her+table%2C+senior+Ashley+Cantellanos+is+doing+work+for+WAVE.+She+is+currently+working+on+financing+and+is+learning+the+best+ways+to+manage+money.

Ashley Cantellanos

Sitting at home at her table, senior Ashley Cantellanos is doing work for WAVE. She is currently working on financing and is learning the best ways to manage money.

Senior Ashley Castellanos, like other RHS seniors, has transferred to WAVE for her final semester at RHS, feeling that with all happening in the world, this would make the best impact on her life.
“I switched to WAVE to have a more flexible schedule – work, sports, and time for myself,” Castellanos said.
This flexibility in time management is something that has drawn these seniors to make this switch. This group of students has not had a full year of in-person learning since their freshmen year and many have gotten used to that extra time.
“WAVE is good for me I feel like because I like the way it’s flexible and organized,” Castellanos said. “It works around my schedule.”
Castellanos was able to make a schedule she tries to follow every day to get through the online school day.
“I normally wake up at around nine or ten and do a little bit of school work when I first wake up and then I take a break to eat,” Castellanos said. “Then I shower, brush my teeth and then usually get back on to do the rest of the work I plan on doing for that day.”
Science and WAVE teacher Kelly MacGregor has to balance teaching in-person students and WAVE students, and since the WAVE students make their own schedule… difficulties she deals with balancing online and in-person teaching.
“Some kids will email me at ten o’clock and they’re like I need this and it’s like well you gotta wait till eleven-thirty when I’m available,” MacGregor said.
So, that added time for the students is not always convenient for them to get help. There are, however, other benefits that come with WAVE that include a safer work environment. Castellanos’ mom, Ingrid Feliciano, agrees.
“I feel that she is safer because of the possibility of contracting COVID-19 and the recent uptick of violence in schools,” Feliciano said.
Even though Castellanos is not able to be social at school she still finds a way to regularly stay in touch with friends who are not online.
“I’m still able to text, hang out, and facetime my friends,” Castellanos said. “So being online and not seeing my friends is fine because we always make time to see each other.”
WAVE is a unique program in Wyandotte because it works specifically for students of RHS and helps students get better at independent learning.
“It [WAVE] is for students who still need their credits for graduation and for school but they’re taking classes virtually online at home remotely,” MacGregor said.
Students are usually getting roughly about three assignments a day for each of their five classes. Castellanos has found a way to balance time for herself and friends on the weekend after a long week of online learning.
“I like going to a basketball game and spending a weekend with friends but also having a day for myself which is usually on Sundays,” Castellanos said.
But for Castellanos, and others on WAVE, she has found that it is a little more difficult to learn online and comprehend than it is in person.
“Normally I’m able to understand things in person once I see it,” Castellanos said. “But with being online I have to go over it a couple [of] times to understand.”
The way WAVE works is there will be two to five assignments that students usually start with for each of their five classes they would normally take in school. The students have a video they have to watch and then there will be an assignment they complete in a span of time and lastly students will have a quiz to complete.
“Okay so here’s the students little introduction video, here’s the students assignments and then sometimes they will have a couple of projects,” MacGregor said.
Castellanos has also found a way to include sports in her everyday schedule, she plays softball for an outside organization.
“On days I have practice, I do all my school work until it’s time to leave to go to the school for practice,” Castellanos said. “So after I’m all done with practice, I am able to shower and relax.”
WAVE is a flexible program that can allow students to work at their own pace, however, the student’s access to teachers is not quite as flexible.
“I teach WAVE from 11:30 to three and that’s when I’m available,” MacGregor said. “We are still active on the weekends so the kids will email us if they need help.”
In spite of that constraint, WAVE students and families feel the flexibility and safety outweigh the struggles.
“I think it was a good decision for her to participate in the WAVE program because participating eliminated a high level of stress being an in person student,” Feliciano said. “She now is able to better focus on her school work in a comfortable environment.”
Castellanos felt she needed to take a mental break from going to in person school and, according to her, WAVE was the best option.
“I needed time to work and think about my future, and it was hard to do that at school or while I was going to school,” Castellanos said.
Since Castellanos is a senior she needs to think about her future, and in her opinion school was holding her back.
“I’m able to work a lot more and really focus on my future without getting easily distracted in school,” Castellanos said.
Some senior’s goals are still attending college just with being online and not in person, many seniors are still trying to live up to the goal.
“The seniors cannot take extra classes to graduate early and there are no AP classes they take,” MacGregor said. “There are students with high GPAs who that have chosen to take WAVE for whatever reason.”
MacGregor, and other educators, want to include labs and hands on learning to enhance their students’ education. That is difficult with WAVE because they’re online, but the platform gives a close correlation for students.
“They use the Edgenuity platform because they have virtual labs,” MacGregor said. “I have been impressed with the labs because they have been pretty on point.”
For Castellanos, every week looks different because she does not always get to have a set schedule, nor can she plan how her week goes always.
“My weeks are planned depending on how I am feeling that weekend,” Castellanos said. “Not all my weeks look the same.”
Being in the education system, Castellanos mom understand that her daughter is missing out on some things, but feels those can be made up for.
“As an educator I think there is some truth on the omission of in person social engagement,” Feliciano said. “I feel she can also have healthy social interaction with friends and family outside the traditional classroom setting.”