Ohio School District Innovates in Classroom with Live Video Language Instruction

Written by Christina Peebles

March 4, 2020


Proximity Learning Inc. (PLI), an ESS Company, is proud to announce a new partnership with Richmond Heights Schools. For the 2019-2020 school year, PLI is providing 83 students at Richmond Heights High School with real-time live online teachers for one French class and five Spanish classes.

Superintendent Dr. Renee Willis and high school principal Marnisha Brown were having difficulty hiring a teacher to teach both Spanish and French because of the school’s small student population of 265. They previously attempted implementing online courses but faced a lack of success due to it being primarily self-paced and student-led. Not only were some of the students frustrated, but parents were concerned with the lack of communication on student progress.

“I was not going to give up on the innovation of hybrid staffing,” Dr. Willis said. “I never ever thought that there was a company that would have live teachers that can be available during real-time school.”

Since partnering with PLI, communication with parents has not been an issue. Brown said that they had instances where they have set up computers in the classroom where parents can come in and talk to the teacher about their student’s progress in the class.

“The other piece that we truly, truly appreciate is the fact that kids have access to multiple languages,” Brown said. “So we no longer have a French class or Spanish class … It’s titled ‘World Languages.’”

PLI has provided the high school with one French and four Spanish teachers for the ninth to twelfth grade. Within the same classroom, Brown said students are able “to have access to their individualized learning at the same time” by logging into the online class of the PLI teacher correlated to the language they are learning.

“In Ohio, it is not a requirement to have a foreign language, but it is required if you are going on to college,” Brown said. “We did not want to take that track away. We did not want to tell parents we didn’t have those offerings and were not preparing our students for college.”

Prior to the incorporation of PLI, Richmond Heights High School was seeing a drop in foreign language enrollment. But with the live video instruction, Brown said they have seen an increase of 20 students in foreign language course enrollment due to the connection between the students, classroom facilitator and PLI instructor.

“We live in an ever-changing world and technology is the premier vehicle by which these changes occur,” Dr. Willis said. “So no longer is schooling to be thought of as a teacher standing in front of a classroom with a blackboard or a whiteboard, but that education happens in many different ways.”

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