Lancaster School District Overcomes a Critical Challenge On Top of the Teacher Shortage
Learn How Rural and Urban School Districts are Solving One of the Biggest Obstacles to Delivering Exceptional Learning Experiences
Nobody needed to tell Dr. Cassandra Barker about the national teacher shortage and the toll it’s taking on delivering exceptional learning experiences for K-12 children.
“The problem hit us doubly hard,” says Barker, Deputy Superintendent of Lancaster Independent School District, just south of Dallas-Fort Worth in Texas.
As if a nationwide talent supply crisis wasn’t causing enough stress on educators and student achievement, her district has an additional hand tied behind its back: competing for talent with a large metropolex just miles away, comprised of multiple districts that serve as regional magnets for educators, student populations, and even federal dollars.
Accepting reality as destiny wasn’t an option for Barker. A former educator herself, Barker understood what was at stake and insisted that students need to be educated, benchmarks needed to be met, and learning gaps need to be eliminated — regardless of the hand the Texas district was dealt.
“It wasn’t a matter of should we do this,” Barker recalls, “It was: we are doing this, now let’s find the best way to do it. I would tell my team, Nobody’s coming to save us…we have to save ourselves! I challenged both myself and my team to think creatively, approach all options with an open mind, and to be comfortable with moving outside of our traditional comfort zones.”
Enter Certified Live Teachers in the Classroom
There were multiple approaches, methodologies, technologies and solutions considered. But one emerged as the best in an imperfect world — Elevate K-12.
Rather than facing the difficult and even dire decision of having to choose between finding a non-certified substitute, reverting back to asynchronous learnings, or canceling the class altogether, Elevate K-12 enabled the district to bring synchronous learning to every student in the classroom, through live certified teachers, groundbreaking but intuitive technology, and curriculum that met both state standards and the unique instructional standards of the educators within the Texas school system.
What Did We Learn?
A year later, the numbers were in and the innovative decision was a winner. The performance of the 10th-grade Biology students in the Elevate K-12 classroom was on par with the district’s traditional class — taught by a professional with a reputation for some of the best student achievement outcomes in the entire district.
Now, some of the early detractors and skeptics are among the program’s most vocal advocates and promoters.
“It’s been nothing short of amazing,” observes Erica Butler, Secondary Science Academic Coordinator, having monitored and reviewed the performance data closely.
What began as optimistic apprehension has become enthusiastic confidence, as the Lancaster district has gone on to integrate Elevate K-12 certified teachers and instruction methodology into additional buildings and classrooms in the district.
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Want more details about how Lancaster Independent School District overcame obstacles and objections to deliver exceptional learning experiences, even in the face of adversity? Contact us and we will show you how it can be done in your district next!