By Chris Davis
DEL VALLE, Texas (KXAN) — When the district couldn’t find a teacher for its new American Sign Language courses, Del Valle ISD turned to technology, bringing in a live teacher via video conference.
The classes are very popular at Del Valle High School, with 250 students signing up for the new language track. Three days a week, students log in to a virtual classroom to practice ASL with a teacher employed by the virtual staffing company Proximity Learning Inc.
Due to the recent addition of the language track in Texas schools last school year and the qualifications teachers need to have, the district couldn’t find an instructor to fill the position.
“Area districts are all competing for the same staff to hire,” DVISD deputy superintendent Dr. Annette Villerot said, adding that this virtual system is “the future of education.”
The high school’s new principal, Dr. Joseph Welch said in his long career in education across the country, Del Valle is the first district he’s worked in with an ASL curriculum. He tried to recruit a teacher but had no luck.
“I’ve reached out to people as far as Washington, D.C. to the east and as far as Portland, Oregon to the west,” he said. The video conference option was a good solution to keep offering the classes.