The Greenville Public School District in Mississippi is tackling its teacher shortage through a partnership with Proximity Learning Inc. a company specializing in virtual staffing for the classroom. A total of eight teachers in Science, Math, and French, will be recruited virtually through PLI for the next school year.
PLI CEO Evan Erdberg expressed his content and highlighted that the service’s focus on student engagement aligns well with the District’s principles and learning best practices:
“PLI courses are designed with student engagement and the development of strong study skills in mind. Our virtual classes are far from staring at a computer screen; they are interactive, engaging and equivalent in caliber to face-to-face instruction.”
The Austin-based PLI will ensure Greenville has enough teachers for the upcoming school year. As Michael Hart writes in The Journal, Greenville is not the only district in Mississippi facing a substantial teacher shortage. Citing figures from the Mississippi Department of Education, Hart says that on average every one of the 144 schools in the state is short six teachers.
Following the PLI Method, students can see their virtual teacher — and the teacher can see them — during a video-conferencing class. This two-way learning approach ensures the class resembles an authentic learning environment as much as possible. By offering an integrated learning experience, the students will have access to a number of interactive activities and 24/7 access to curricula.
Through virtual staffing provided to schools, Proximity Learning achieves 93% course passing rate, the company highlighted in the press release announcing the new partnership. Expressing the District’s optimism that the new partnership will allow these schools to advance learning, Dr. Leeson Taylor, Superintendent of Greenville Public School District said:
“We are looking forward to seeing how this opportunity to work with Proximity Learning will help expand the number of quality courses we can offer to the students within our schools.”
Proximity Learning was established in 2008 in a bid to address language teacher shortages and the lack of credentialed language instructors in K-12. Taking advantage of broadband and mobile Internet, the surge of social media use and video-conferencing technology, Proximity Learning was able to offer web-based video conferencing in education while ensuring administration costs were kept at an affordable price for schools and districts.
Initially, PLI offered Mandarin language courses to US public schools by teachers in China. These educators were the first to receive teaching credentials in the U.S. without ever having been to the country.
Presently, PLI offers credentialed virtual teachers in Math, Science, ASL, and languages such as Latin, Japanese and Spanish to US and overseas schools. In the US alone, more than 150 districts make use of Proximity Learning staff.