Coronavirus: STEM school in Paramount sees distance learning success with innovative lesson plans

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Thursday, April 9, 2020
Paramount STEM school shares distant learning success
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STEM SUCCESS: Odyssey STEM Academy in Paramount engages students through fun, innovative environmentally-sustainable online lessons; helping to build lifelong habits in students.

PARAMOUNT, Calif. (KABC) -- While distance learning has proven to be challenging for some school districts and their students, a science, technology, engineering and mathematics school in Paramount is transforming remote schooling into an accessible, innovative and fun experience.

On a recent learning menu for a group of Odyssey STEM Academy students -- homemade tortillas.

"Learning doesn't have to stop happening, and the learning can actually be real and authentic even though it's online," said Keith Nuthall, the school's co-founder.

Many school districts have faced major challenges, including access to the internet.

"In large part we took care of those issues early on, before we kind of hit this school-closure piece. We do have a program that provides lab provides some hot spots for students that need them," Nuthall said.

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Every day students attend their regular classes in an irregular way.

"It's different because we have to get like a environment where we feel that there's no distractions," student Geovanni Lara said.

Paul Hudak teaches environmental sustainability. And considering it's hard to go grocery shopping, Hudak tries to keep it simple and welcomes every one. Many of them are cooking for their families and even starting gardens.

"Our attendance still still hovers right around 90 to 95%. And so, our scholars, you know they they want to be learning," Hudak said.

Access to technology has been crucial, but they believe another key to their success is relationships.

"We flipped over to the online distance learning platforms. You know those relationships were still there," Hudak said.

And they want students to learn more than subjects such as math and science.

"The confidence that they can do not just this, but there's a lot of other aspects of their lives that they can conquer because they've been through what may just be like one of the hardest situations in their lives," Hudak said.