Richmond Heights High School, located in Richmond Heights, Ohio, struggled to hire teachers that truly suited their need to provide their high school students with opportunities to explore global languages. While world language credits are not required for graduating from primary education in Ohio, the school wanted to provide their students with an equitable opportunity to have viable transcripts for college by exposing them to different curriculum offerings in regards to language opportunities. With an enrollment of 265 students, the principal and superintendent found it difficult to find qualified teachers in the area to teach Spanish and French - the primary foreign languages in the state. Resultantly, it was difficult to expand their curriculum and give their students the opportunity to grow globally.
The school’s previous experience with the implementation of online courses resulted in parent frustration from a lack of communication on student progress and an overall lack of student success. The students were not face-to-face with a teacher — they were on their own to learn the material and complete work. They began seeing a drop in enrollment for foreign language courses at the high school and, therefore, a widening gap between their mission and the students.
Superintendent Dr. Renee Willis was introduced to Proximity Learning Inc. (PLI) at an education conference and was intrigued by their innovation in hybrid K-12 staffing. PLI works with the school’s everyday schedule to connect high-quality certified teachers with students via live video. Richmond Heights High School brought in five teachers to teach French and Spanish three days a week with a lab period the other two days for students to work on their assignments. By hiring teachers from all over the world to teach in an online classroom, the school is no longer limited in the language curriculum they can offer.
Moreso, they said the partnership with PLI has been very personalized compared to their previous experience with online courses. They have been able to hold parent-teacher conferences through computers to ensure transparency with parents on student progress, alleviating parents’ previous concerns about online courses. Since using PLI, they have seen an increase in student enrollment in their foreign language classes. In the 2018-2019 school year, they had 100 students enrolled in a world language. For the 2019-2020 school year, they saw a growth of 20 additional students — almost half of their total student population. With the success of the partnership, the school is looking forward to finding other ways they can be innovative with the technology PLI has to offer.