By Kiersten Donnelly ’21
In spring 2019, Head of School Katie Titus introduced various task forces. With student and faculty days and weeks already packed to maximum capacity, the Mercersburg Academy community looked for more free time. The time task forces led by French teacher Ben McNeil and English teacher Todd McGuire looked into schedules and calendars, trying to find time to give back to the students and faculty.
To that end, Jen Smith ’97, the new academic dean, began incorporating Veracross and Google help sessions into each Wednesday throughout the fall term to ease the nerves of less technologically savvy students and faculty who are struggling with the change to these new platforms. Some, however, were worried that these sessions were taking away too much time from class.
“The overall class time for each rotation this term is very similar to previous years. I think it was important that we build time into the schedule to ensure that students and faculty have time to get up to speed on our new systems. So, in short, no, I don’t think it takes away too much class time,” said Smith, who also finds the sessions beneficial even for those who do not need the time for technology help.
Shannon Fan ’20 has used the sessions in a different way. “I love to do ceramics,” Fan said, “but I do not have time in my normal schedule to do it. The Veracross help sessions give me that time back to do what I like.” Many students utilize the newfound free time to work ahead, meet with teachers, or just hang out with friends.
But all good things must come to an end. Smith says that the sessions will continue for a few more weeks. “I hope that students and faculty will use the remaining scheduled sessions to get to a place where they feel comfortable operating in Veracross [and Google]. These help sessions will not be scheduled in the winter or spring daily schedule,” said Smith.
Enjoy the free time these sessions offer now because they will soon slip away as the warm weather fades.