The Story of Proximity Learning Inc's Founding
For the past 15 years Evan Erdberg has worked as a digital education entrepreneur who believes we must always put the needs of students first. This drive started early in his career when he focused on teacher effectiveness by building professional development workshops to enhance the educational outcomes for students. His career then progressed to measuring the effectiveness of K-12 instruction through implementing observation systems, peer mentoring and principal proficiency training across the country.
Through his work implementing observation systems, Evan would accompany the principal during school walk throughs to observe and mentor teachers. During many of these walkthroughs they would skip classrooms due to the placement of a long-term substitutes or teachers who were emergency certified covering the class. By way of experience and observation Evan noted disturbing trends: schools in the most impoverished communities had the highest number of teacher vacancies which quite often exceeded more than half of teacher population in a school.
Principals in these schools would hasten to explain that their hands were tied, no teachers applied for these positions, and or, refused to work in their school when placed by the district. This led to students who suffered inequity two-fold, the students were deprived of highly qualified teachers which in turn reflected an average student pass rate of only 20%.
There had to be a better way to improve educational equity. Proximity Learning was born out of this challenge in securing quality teachers and improving student outcomes. Evan asked the question; how can we connect the 15 million teachers not in classrooms with the students that need them without requiring them to move to the district? The answer was streaming them live through online video delivery services into the classrooms to lead instruction! All the school needed was a computing device and headphones for each student. A solution to the teacher vacancy crisis was created!