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BRHS considers going remote on Fridays next school year

Students may get a chance to work from home on Fridays next school year.
Jamal Quinones
Students may get a chance to work from home on Fridays next school year.

Next year, students and teachers at Bronx River High School may have the option to work from home on Fridays.

Principal Gregory Fucheck presented the Remote Friday plan to the school staff and the School Leadership Team, which consists of parents, students and teachers, in March. Both groups approved the idea, so Mr. Fucheck submitted the official proposal to the NYC Department of Education. If the plan is approved, the remote option will start in the fall.

Principal Greg Fucheck thinks Remote Fridays will improve student attendance. (Aliyah Ali)

Mr. Fucheck hopes the switch to remote Fridays will boost student attendance and make the school even more attractive to prospective teachers.

“I opened this school to create an excellent public school for all kids,’’ he said. “However, teacher turnover is an issue in the Bronx because teachers leave the Bronx and go to the suburbs because of the better commute and more parking.’’

He also thinks the remote option will make it easier for students to come to school on Fridays.
“Our Regents and grade averages as a school are good, but our attendance as a school is 88 percent year to date,’’ he said. “That percentage goes down on Fridays to 80 percent because of bad commutes, illness, weather, social anxiety, extensive travel and appointments.’’

He thinks the remote option will improve attendance because the school had high participation on the remote snow day in February. “Remote learning addresses all of the issues we have with attendance but we will only have remote Fridays when we have a full week of school,’’ he said.

In other words, during a week where Monday is a holiday, for example, all students and teachers will be in person on Friday. Also, students who prefer to come to school on Fridays will have the option to do so.

Stephanie DeCicco, a teacher who is a member of the School Leadership Team, thinks the option is worth trying. “It’s an opportunity to do something different and to push students into the hybrid world,’’ she said. “It has never been done before, but it is still manageable. For those who feel that they aren’t motivated if their teacher isn’t there with them, they can still have in person learning.’’

Assistant Principal Tene Kelly thinks the experience can prepare students for the real world. “The world is a combination of both in person and at home work, so remote learning helps the students to manage time, space and priorities,’’ she said. “Many jobs have a blended workforce and we want both for our kids to learn.”
Even if the plan is approved, there are no guarantees: “We want everyone to know that this is an experiment and if attendance gets worse then we will end the remote Fridays,’’ Ms. Kelly said. “If your internet or Wi-Fi isn’t working, the school is still open on Fridays for you to come in.’’

Jomayra Amparo, a sophomore who is on the School Leadership Team, is looking forward to Remote Fridays. “It is very beneficial and gives us more time to relax and have a break for the weekend,’’ she said.

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Christi-Alexis Cisse
Christi-Alexis Cisse, Editor-in-Chief
Christi-Alexis Cisse, a senior at Bronx River, is a productive and social student who wants to make the most of her high school years. She is obsessed with Netflix and is a foodie.
Jamal Quinones
Jamal Quinones, Photo Editor
Jamal Quinones has many talents that even surprise him. He is a writer, photographer, an athlete and is known as the  "The Rubik's Cube Master."

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    Mr. DiodatoApr 10, 2024 at 1:58 pm

    This remote plan will be great for our students and staff for a number of reasons. Our students frequently speak of difficulties getting to and from school on the buses and trains, and other family obligations that might take up time. Some of our staff commute from outside the city, and even from other states!

    It’s also a great introduction to the hybrid world that many workers are learning to navigate post-pandemic.

    My only concern is that Thursdays might become the new Fridays in terms of student attendance. Do we think that we can work together as students, staff, and administration to maximize student buy in?

    It’s exciting to be one of the first schools in the city to explore a virtual learning model like this, and I hope that BRHS can be a role model for other schools.