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Q&A: California Student Shares Remote Learning Experience

When he goes back to school in person, William Scanlon is most looking forward to playing football and connecting with friends. Until then, he’s learning how to navigate remote learning. William is a 10th-grader at Eastlake High School in Chula Vista, California, a military-connected school served by NMSI’s Military Family Mission. His father is Lt. Cmdr. Gary Scanlon, U.S. Navy (Ret.).

“My son started attending the NMSI online review for AP Biology in March,” Lt. Cmdr. Scanlon shares. “We downloaded the student resources that provide guidance to understand what AP test questions are actually asking and how to answer such questions. Thank you for providing this valuable support, especially during this challenging time to educate students.”

We asked William to share more about what it’s been like to learn from home.

William-Scanlon.jpgWhat is the structure of your school’s remote learning?

Most of my classes are offline. Teachers give us a couple assignments at the beginning of the week, and we finish and submit it by end of the week. For one of my classes, we have online sessions on Wednesdays and Fridays to talk about what is coming up and if anyone has any questions.

How is this new learning environment going so far?

Generally, it hasn’t been too difficult. In the beginning, it was a little difficult to focus on school with all the distractions at home. Now, I’m getting more used to it.

In what ways are you able to interact with your teachers?

All of my teachers have done something where I can message them or talk with them over virtual meetings. It’s good because all of this new learning system is different, and any obstacles we’ve had can be answered, which is quite helpful.

How are fellow students in your classes able to support each other?

A couple of classes have group chats with friends who have the same class. We review and study together.

What do you miss about being in person at school?

It’s been difficult because we haven’t been able to see friends or do any sports. I’ve found other ways to communicate with friends over the phone and through games.

What’s been a positive experience from this extended time at home?

I’ve been more focused on myself. I’ve been able to improve my academic focus and spend more time with family.

You’ve attended a live NMSI online study session with an Advanced Placement® Biology coach. What was helpful about that experience?

They related to what would be on the AP test and gave us more practical preparation for the test itself. It was more than just going over stuff. We went more in-depth with the subject. It’s easy to access and wasn’t hard to set up.

What was it like experiencing the NMSI online session with students from across the country?

It’s helpful seeing different schools in different regions where students are taught differently. They’ve seen something that’s different than what I had and ask questions that help my understanding of the subject.

What were some AP® Biology topics covered in the NMSI session that were useful?

The structure and function of different molecules and cellular functions. The coach made anything I didn’t understand easier to understand. Now, I don’t have trouble with it anymore.

NMSI's Military Families Mission schools like Eastlake High are funded by the U.S. Department of Defense. NMSI is part of the Defense STEM Education Consortium

Are you a student, teacher or parent navigating remote learning for the first time? Share your experiences with us at marketing@nms.org, and you may be featured in an upcoming story. 

Photo by Gary Scanlon