Proximity Learning CEO, Evan Erdberg, grew up with supportive, working parents and excellent schools with a wide variety of course availability. When he worked in teacher professional development and traveled to schools around the United States, the educational inequities were evident. He recognizes now that he had a huge advantage because of the high-quality instruction he received as a student. Through his work experience, he witnessed firsthand how most students in the country do not have the same access.
He describes visiting districts in the Mississippi Delta where they had not had a Science teacher for years, so they stopped building science labs in schools. As a result, these students did not have the opportunity to conduct science experiments or learn kinesthetically. Without this experience, students are heavily disadvantaged as they enter college or trade schools.
Finding a Solution
Evan felt inspired to change this downward trend and connect all learners to the expert teachers they deserve. Proximity Learning was born out of his own experiences training and learning online. “It worked for me. I was able to engage the instructor and learn. I was able to take what they taught me and apply it. I thought if this worked for a student like me, why can’t this work for students in public schools?”
Proximity Learning partners with school districts to offer virtual certified teachers who livestream into classrooms around the country and fill vacant positions. The organization fills those gaps by offering teachers to students who would not otherwise have access. “Proximity Learning is all about connecting the student to the teacher. We started with one class and we saw that we could have success. We’re continuing to grow the company to provide access to that teacher and do it dynamically - not just any instruction, but high-quality instruction. And that’s what it’s really about.”
The Proximity Difference
Erdberg explains, “Quality is something that is still being built into these programs. This is really where Proximity Learning separates itself from the industry by defining what quality instruction is. We set the standard because it’s all about students first here. We’re going to continue on that path because we believe all students deserve access to that high-quality instructor.”
A Bright Future
“The future of Proximity Learning is educating one million students. That’s where we want to go. We want to have tens of thousands of teachers able to take advantage of the gig economy, work from home, feel safe and focus on why they became teachers, which was to teach. That’s who we want. Ultimately, we want to have reached one million students, meaning we are changing communities around the country. We would be giving kids access to teachers they wouldn’t normally have available to them, which means they might go on to college and start businesses in their small communities. It would allow them to get the gift of education to grow and succeed to lead full lives. That’s our march to get to one million students learning under PLI teachers so we can affect national change in a positive way.”
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