Bibb County SD Hires More Virtual Teachers to Address Shortage
In an effort to fill vacant teaching positions, Bibb County School District (BCSD) in Georgia is expanding a pilot program that has “virtual teachers” instructing middle school and elementary school students.
At the beginning of the 2016-17 school year, BCSD launched a pilot program at three schools – Weaver Middle School, Ballard-Hudson Middle School and Martin Luther King Elementary – where teachers would be live-streamed into classrooms. On Nov. 17, the school board approved the hiring of seven new virtual teachers and one substitute teacher at its meeting.
BCSD worked with Proximity Learning, a fully accredited online education provider based in Austin, TX, to find the virtual teachers. According to an action memorandum, the district in August hired three teachers for $144,000 to live stream into vacant classrooms. The cost of $48,000 per teacher is approximately $17,000 less than the cost of a live teacher. BCSD paid an additional $336,000 to hire seven new teachers, and $12,600 for a substitute teacher to supervise students and facilitate each class in-person.
Proximity currently has about 250 instructors who are state-certified, highly accredited and have at least five years of experience. The company has worked with more than 120 school districts nationwide, with BCSD establishing its first partnership in Georgia.
A video of BCSD students interacting with the virtual teachers can be found on the 13WMAZ site. To learn more, visit the Proximity Learning site.
Sri Ravipati is Web producer for THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at [email protected].