JADA Student Experiences

JADA Student Experiences

Olivia Zimmerman, Staff Writer

At the beginning of the year, Jonathan Alder gave students the choice on how they want to start this year with Covid. One option is whatever the district decides based on current health data, and the other was to enroll in the Jonathan Alder Digital Academy (JADA).  When the end of Thanksgiving came the district chose to go all online giving Jonathan Alder students a chance to see what these JADA students had been doing this entire school year, a choice there for students and families who wanted to limit contact with others to increase safety and hopefully avoid COVID-19. 


Jonathan Alder’s Digital Academy is where “students are 100 percent remote at all times,” says Mrs.Wright, one of the JADA teachers. JADA “follow[s] a totally online curriculum…online learning in this format requires more close reading and a lot of self-discipline.”  One difference for JADA students, according to Wright, is that they ”use an LMS called Buzz, whereas Jonathan Alder students use Canvas.” For students in JADA they have a “Jonathan Alder teacher in each subject area. Sometimes some students are encouraged to attend office hours and Zoom meetings with teachers when needed.” These students are expected each week day to log onto JADA and work each day just like “Jonathan Alder students are expected to work daily.” 


Olivia Bruno a student apart of JADA.

Sophomore Olivia Bruno chose to do this program due to her mom having underlying health conditions. “I want to keep her safe,” Bruno says. However, that’s not the only reason–she also decided to pick JADA because she has a hard time with  transitions. “Covid conditions can change at any time for when we go to school.”


  While the transitions between hybrid and remote haven’t affected JADA students, there are other challenges.“My grades have been lower than usual since I have a hard time focusing on being by myself,” Bruno says. 


When asked if  teachers have at all tried to help her get higher grades, her response was “some of them yes, like my science teacher, but I’ve found some of the other teachers to not be as helpful when I ask.” This is often because, unlike non-JADA students, Bruno can’t just come into the school and ask teachers for help –she has to wait a longer amount of time until she gets a response. “Sometimes I miss coming to school,” Bruno said, but when it comes to social distancing she doesn’t think socializing in any way would be better. “Im looking forward to not doing JADA anymore,” says Bruno. “I’m actually going back to public school next week.” which was an option for JADA students at the end of the 9 weeks. 

Taylor Heineman a student apart of JADA.

Sophomore Taylor Heineman chose to do JADA because “at the time myself and my parents didn’t know what the virus would be like in the coming months so we thought that [JADA] would be the safest option for all of us.” Unlike Bruno, Heineman has found her teachers to be very responsive “ If I have a problem or a question I can email them and they get back to me in a timely manner. Some of them have even opened up weekly Zoom meetings if we need extra help.” 


Despite the academics, Heineman wishes everyone could  “find a way that we can be connected with the students who didn’t choose JADA.” Last year Heineman was in mixed choir although she’s“unfortunately not been able to take Choir this semester while in JADA.” When asked if she missed choir at all she said, “I do really miss not being in choir this semester. It is honestly my favorite class because I have such a passion for singing and being part of a big group to make music.” Choir has also given Heineman many opportunities these past 4 years she has been enrolled. Another thing Heinman misses is school itself. “ I miss being in class with my friends and making high school memories with them like I always dreamed I would.”


Overall, being a part of JADA has been an opportunity for growth. “I was really glad I got the opportunity to join JADA because it has given me a lot of freedom when it comes to completing assignments,” says Heineman. “I have found myself having an easier time handling school work since I can see everything that needs to get done in any given week. I am looking forward to going back full  time but this opportunity has proven to be a very beneficial experience.”