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.