Tennessee School District Sources Online Algebra Instruction

Written by Christina Peebles

March 23, 2020


Proximity Learning Inc. (PLI), an ESS Company, is proud to announce a new partnership with Wilson County Schools in Tennessee. Real-time online instruction has been implemented into an 8th-grade Algebra 1 class at Carroll Oakland Elementary for the 2019-2020 school year.

“It’s been a good program for the students,” said Amy Tucker, classroom facilitator. “From what I see in the classroom, it’s given them what they need and allowed them to feel a little more independent in their studies.”

Carroll Oakland Elementary is a K-8 school that has been limited in classes they can offer due to a lack of staffing. Because of this, principal Jason Dunn previously had to put students in an algebra class they may not have all been ready for. Resultantly, his 8th-grade math scores were hurting.

To reverse course, Dunn turned to PLI for a teacher to connect online with his algebra students through live video instruction. This has allowed him the opportunity to become competitive with grade 6-8 middle schools, meet student needs from where they are and appropriately place them in the right class. Now, his testing scores are back on track and improving.

“Our last benchmark, 100% of our kids were projected to be on track and master our end-of-year course,” Dunn said. “It’s very effective. You can compare that to schools that actually have the algebra course with the instructor in the room. We are right on track with them and, in a lot of cases, doing better than they are.”

Dunn and Tucker also praised the company’s weekly communication in ensuring the needs of Carroll Oakland Elementary are being met.

“They try to see if there are any issues before there are issues,” Tucker said.

Without a teacher directly in the classroom, Dunn said that the communication between the teacher and the students is built into the system unlike in a traditional classroom. With a class size of 13, they said the students and online teacher have a comradery with each other.

“I know the students very much love their teacher,” Dunn said. “I know that a couple of them got her a Christmas gift and they all signed it and sent it over to her.”

Perseverance and persistence through difficulty is the biggest lesson Dunn hopes to instill in his students. With the latest success of the benchmark, Tucker said the students have a lot of pride in what they are doing.

“The other day at my staffing meeting they were like: ‘What would you be able to do without Proximity Learning?’ I said I’d panic,” Dunn said. “Because it’s been such a success for us. Watching them grow, watching them be competitive with their counterparts at other schools and giving me that flexibility has just been tremendous.”

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