Understanding the Online Language Classes 


Friends Select has robust language classes in the Spanish, Latin and Mandarin programs. These classes go up to level 5, and in some cases level 6. Last year, the school introduced online language classes, which continue to grow in popularity. This year, FSS is collaborating with an online program called One Schoolhouse, bringing American Sign Language to Upper Schoolers. The classes offered are Beginner ASL and Beginner French. “I enjoy my online classes a lot,” Aaron Operhall ‘24 states. “It’s a bit hard considering it’s online- but all things considered I feel fine with everything.” One Schoolhouse is located in Washington D.C., partnering with independent schools to show professional development the online direction that education is taking. 

One Schoolhouse assignments are assigned through a program called Canvas, whereas at FSS, language homework is assigned through Blackbaud. Students taking language classes through One Schoolhouse can communicate with their teachers through email or Zoom, but classes include students from all over the country, making it harder to develop relationships with teachers. 

One concern from students was how they would interact with their classmates. The teacher assigned collaborative projects, and students reached out to each other or had chosen partners. Students would meet and complete assignments. 

Overall, students have mixed reactions regarding the structure of One Schoolhouse learning.. “I like my online class,” Atia Osborn ‘24 exclaims. “I definitely feel supported by my teacher. She’s really nice, and I know that she’s there when I need help. I am not the biggest fan of the layout, because sometimes it gets very overwhelming. It does teach you a lot about time management.Homework is between 4-6 hours a week with assignments due Tuesdays and Fridays. 

“Overall, I say I feel ok about my online language class this year,” Peyton Meyers ‘23 says. “There are definitely some fun parts as well as challenges, but I’m sure the end result is going to be rewarding. To be a bit blunt, it’s very difficult to feel fully supported. I know I can reach out to my teacher at any time. That’s not the same classroom environment that an in-person class has, and that can feel overwhelming at times.” Understanding students’ opinions on online classes will allow One Schoolhouse to work towards student needs in the future.