MADISON - Scott High School is serving as a pilot program for Proximity Learning in Boone County, which includes two algebra 1 honors classes.
The classes are taught by Kellian Strange, who is a long-term substitute in that position.
Proximity Learning Inc. is essentially a virtual staffing company connecting highly qualified teachers with students in grades K-12. Their flexible learning solution provides live, interactive instruction from state-certified teachers streamed into the classroom. Their offerings have been implemented in over 150 school districts across the country.
Scott High Principal Jacob Messer, who also serves as an adjunct professor for Marshall University and a course facilitator for the West Virginia Department of Education, said he sees the initiative as an absolute positive for his students.
"There is a statewide and nationwide shortage of teachers, especially in foreign languages, math, science and special education," Messer said via email. "We have five math teachers on staff. Two of them are certified math teachers. The other three are long-term substitute teachers. Although we are blessed because all three do an excellent job, Proximity Learning allows us to fill that need for a certified math teacher in those classes and it also allows us to supplement the great teaching and learning that Ms. Strange is orchestrating in those classes.
"I told our participating students the other day that they were getting the best of both worlds because they had two excellent teachers instead of one, with one on the computer and one in the classroom."
Messer said the format is a good way to prepare students for higher education.
"I also love the fact that Proximity Learning exposes our students to the blended learning format that are the hallmark of many online courses," he said. "I am fully aware that online courses will be a part of my high school students' futures, and Proximity Learning is one way to prepare them for their future academic endeavors."
According to Proximity Learning, the program works with each school individually to fully align with their bell schedule, parent teacher conference night, grading expectations, and curriculum adoption. This allows schools to resume normal operations and schedules without affecting current faculty or resources.
Messer said his students are adapting to and progressing in the program.
"I honestly don't see any drawbacks to this program," he said. "It may take some time for our students to get used to it, but we are blessed with students who are very intelligent and technology savvy, so I think they will make a smooth transition into this program, and I think they will greatly benefit from it."
To learn more, visit proxlearn.com.
Reporter Phil Perry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @philipdperry.