Henrico Schools using out-of-state educators to ease staffing concerns

School leaders say it’s helping with teacher shortages.
Henrico Public Schools are getting creative when it comes to meeting their students’ needs.
Published: Sep. 9, 2022 at 6:12 PM EDT
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HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - Henrico Public Schools are getting creative when it comes to meeting their students’ needs.

“The past couple of years with education has definitely made some changes, made us think outside of the box,” Jackson said.

Hermitage High School Principal Michael Jackson says out-of-state educators are teaching some of his students through video chat without being physically present in the classroom.

“The students each have a laptop, which is a Henrico initiative, but they’re now looking at real-time instruction with a teacher who’s in a different location,” Jackson said.

The school division has been using a program called Proximity in recent years, but school leaders say it’s been helping to address teacher shortages recently.

Jackson says it’s been a struggle to find fully licensed and qualified teachers, so this is a big help.

“They are able to interact with students in real-time, ask questions, answer questions, give feedback and really deliver quality instruction in absence of a live teacher in front of them,” Jackson said.

He says although the teacher is not physically present, assistants are placed in each classroom to keep instruction organized and to hand out course materials.

Jackson says this is his first time implementing this program at Hermitage High. He says one educator teaches six different Honors Chemistry classes for juniors and seniors.

He says Hermitage currently has three teacher vacancies.

Twenty-three classrooms across the division are using the same learning model as the division is still looking to hire 170 positions.

Jackson says they’ll continue to adapt as long as they meet students’ needs.

“Going from fully in person prior to 2020 to then going to virtual, we definitely had take the best parts of the virtual world and make it work for the benefit of our students,” Jackson said.