While some students have been longing to be back in the classroom, some have been thriving while learning from home.

SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- While some students have been longing to be back in the classroom, some have been thriving while learning from home.

“Before the pandemic, I was struggling in school a lot,” said Daziah Sorrell, junior at Phoenix Charter Academy.

Students at Phoenix Charter Academy have the opportunity for flexible schedules. It’s something brought on by the pandemic and it’s made their lives a lot easier.

The school, which is located in Springfield, aims to help Black and Latinx students from Springfield, Holyoke, and Chicopee who might have otherwise be disconnected from school due to outside responsibilities or obligations like work or helping family.

Sorrell told Western Mass News when she's not in school, she's working part-time and helping to take care of her three younger siblings. She said when the pandemic forced students to learn from home, it definitely helped, but she sometimes had a hard time focusing without sitting in a classroom.

“I like to learn in-person. It helps me better, so the way they're doing it now definitely works for me,” Sorrell noted.

Sorrell can go back into the classroom, but she doesn’t have to do it every day.

“Currently, I come in Tuesday and Thursdays. On Wednesdays, they're optional. Some days, I’ll come in Wednesdays for the extra help, so sometimes two, sometimes three times a week,” Sorrell explained.

Head of School Calvin Johnson told Western Mass News this new level of flexibility is great for students who may not be able to engage in learning for all five days a week and they can pick back up from where they left off, so they don’t fall behind.

“We understand that because of COVID and so many other factors, students are going to come into learning at various places,” Johnson noted.

School officials added that the dropout rate at Phoenix Charter Academy is drastically lower this year than in years past because students can take classes remotely and at night, while still taking on adult responsibilities throughout the day.

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