Science teacher shares observations on the chemistry behind Xceed’s virtual learning
“Everyone always asks me how I can teach science online,” Nicholas Accardo said, laughing. “I love answering that question.”
Accordo, a middle and high school science teacher, is in his first year at Xceed Preparatory Academy. It is also his first year teaching his subject intentionally online. Before Xceed, he had only been introduced to virtual teaching during the pandemic.
The idea of a hands-on science class being translated to a hands-on-computer format can be a new concept to many at first. It was even a bit puzzling to Accordo when he was first introduced to this teaching style; however, after a few months, online education is his new normal.
“Working with Xceed Preparatory Virtual School every day has been equally enjoyable as it has been eye-opening. There is so much in place for us to succeed as teachers in the virtual environment. Other educators have an incredible amount of resources they are able to share, and it’s just so fun to collaborate and work in this kind of specialized setting,” he said.
Accordo came to Xceed after teaching secondary school science for five years at a Florida public school. Before becoming a teacher, he had received his bachelor’s in biology from Florida State University and his master’s in education from Clemson University. While at Clemson, Accordo worked as a researcher and teaching assistant, which he looked forward to more than anything else at the time. Now, he continues that passion as he teaches labs directly through virtual engagement.
Just like any other science class, his students participate in labs. Accordo explained that his students either have lab kits or are given a list of materials needed for the lesson in advance.
“Although we make full use of the 1:1 meetings, our labs are done together, which helps build a thriving learning community. Students taking it upon themselves to participate and actively build that community is something particularly special about Xceed,” he said.
The labs are one part of his job that has proven the value of Xceed’s model. He has noticed how the students look forward to labs and connecting. Despite the students being in different rooms, Accordo has found that they naturally foster collaborative relationships.
“I’ve found that Xceed students are more engaged than other schools. We have smaller class sizes, allowing for greater participation compared to traditional class sizes, and every couple of weeks, we do a virtual evening event like trivia night and even Homecoming,” he said.
Though it is only his first year at Xceed, Accordo is proud of the resources and events that define his new school. He is confident that new students will find this just as much as he has in his role as a new teacher.
“Switching schools can be daunting for parents and students, but our kids and teachers are so welcoming,” he said. “It seems like everyone ‘sits at the same table’ together— hockey players and students who are really into computers, kids from all over the country and the world. We’re very inclusive and able to learn together, which is fulfilling to experience.”
Learn more about Xceed Preparatory Virtual School at www.xceedprep.org/about-xceed-virtual.