We are excited to share that two of our Apex Learning Virtual School students were recently guests on a podcast, Opportunity Thrives, a show that explores what’s working in schools today, what’s not, and how to implement positive, lasting change. You can listen to the full episode here: https://opportunitythrives.com/student-voices-a-conversation-with-high-school-students-about-whats-next-in-education/. Nicola Peck, a full-time ALVS student, and Ryan Ziyuan Qu, who is taking individual courses from ALVS, shared their thoughts about online learning, their strategies for success, and advice for school districts as they think about implementing long-term virtual programs in high schools this fall. Nicola Peck is a senior in high school who recently landed a near-perfect SAT score. Nicola has a unique approach to learning that she credits is her father’s influence. She has always viewed her assignments as an opportunity to hone her skills in areas where she is not as strong, making her a better student and a more well-rounded individual. She has also adopted many strategies along the way that have made her a very successful online student. Nicola Peck has accepted a full-tuition scholarship to Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky this fall. Ryan Ziyuan Qu is a 16-year old sophomore at San Marino High School in Los Angeles. Ryan grew up in Beijing, China, and immigrated to the United States with his mother when he was 10 years old. In January, he founded a nonprofit organization whose mission is to assist and support single families through donations, employment opportunities and legislative reform. The two students imparted words of wisdom on how to adjust to online learning and some of the hurdles they overcame throughout their own journey. Below are five of their top recommendations that we hope will also benefit your student. 1. Cultivate self-discipline. Nicola and Ryan both unanimously agreed that online learning requires more organization and self-discipline than the traditional classroom environment. Taking an online course puts more responsibility in the hands of the student to manage their own time and complete their work. 2. Find motivation from within. Ryan shared that it was a big change shifting from the structure of hearing a bell to remind him to move from one period to the next and being in a physical classroom to being at home and having to remember to log in for a class on his own. That required a significant adjustment, but once he developed these habits, Ryan believes he became a better student. 3. Minimize distractions. Both students agreed that minimizing distractions in their workspaces was a priority for staying focused. For Nicola, this meant having more physical space between her computer and her bed, silencing her phone and keeping her Instagram and Netflix accounts at a distance. 4. Take advantage of tutoring. Nicola shared that drop-in online tutoring through ALVS helped her to stay on the right track on multiple occasions. Being able to clarify her assignments and get extra help right when she needed it, made a big difference in her success. 5. Collaborate with your teacher. Even though your student is working from home, it’s important to remember there are still teachers available to help. Ryan appreciated when his public-school teachers held scheduled office hours for students to reach out with questions. He always knew there was a regular time available to talk with them if he needed extra help. Nicola said that video chats and email responses from teachers to help reframe her thinking when she got stuck. Regardless of how you do it, both students recommend staying in touch with teachers to ask questions, collaborate or just to check-in and remember there is someone there to support you through the process. To learn more about how ALVS can help support your student with both full-time and part-time options this fall, visit: www.apexlearningvs.com.