Problem: Greenville Public Schools is an innovative school district located in the Mississippi Delta. One of the largest problems facing the district is the ability to recruit and attain quality certified teachers to maintain the high standards the school board expects. Prior to the 2015-16 school year the school district was searching for Middle School Math, Science, Spanish and High School French teachers to fill their vacancies. Due to retirements and the loss of several teachers to other school districts, the opportunity to hire the teachers needed to fill these vacancies was getting more challenging by the week—especially when few real candidates were submitting their resumes. Within a month of school beginning, the district was still not able to find and hire the qualified teachers they needed and started to put in place a plan for long term substitutes.
Solution: Three weeks prior to the start of school, the superintendent of Greenville received an email alerting him to a new option called Virtual K-12 Staffing, a process that offers live, certified Mississippi teachers streamed directly into the classroom. The district recently upgraded their infrastructure and technological equipment, increasing quality internet speeds and student access to computers and tablets. Interested, he connected with PLI’s local account manager and afterwards decided to do a small pilot to cover the French teacher vacancy in high school. Students began French classes with teachers provided virtually by Proximity Learning, while the students in Middle School Math, Science and Spanish had long term subs.
After three weeks of instruction in the French class, the principal invited the superintendent to view the classes because he was surprised to see the students were excited for class, engaged, and learning from the virtual teacher. After seeing the success that was occurring in the French classes, the superintendent decided he wanted to expand the use of virtual teachers to his Middle School Math, Science, and Spanish vacancies since little instructional time was occurring with long term subs. Within three weeks of a signed contract with Proximity Learning, every vacant position was covered by a virtual teacher certified in Mississippi. After an additional four-week review of the middle and high school programs, the district found that students were more present, involved, and mentally stimulated within each of the classes taught by Proximity Learning’s virtual instructors. The partnership with Proximity Learning has allowed the district to focus on meeting their goal to give every student the opportunity to succeed.