SCS hiring online teachers to fill vacancies in classrooms

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — There is a real teacher shortage affecting Shelby County Schools, so the school board is taking action, voting to bring in online teachers to fill the vacancies.

It's a new way to fill several teaching positions for Shelby County Schools, impacting more than 750 high school students.

As things stand now, the district is in need of six teachers. Their solution is to bring in online teachers.

Shelica Cox, a Shelby County parent ambassador, is in favor, saying teens are both familiar and comfortable with technology.

"The superintendent is doing an amazing job with accommodating the students until a real teacher can get in the classroom," Cox said.

But some parents, like Andre Ford, have concerns. He's worried about students who could become easily become distracted.

"I think it would be a bad idea because there are a lot of students out here that need face-to-face teaching," Ford said.

His daughter goes to Carver High School, one of the five schools set to take part in the Proximity Learning program. The new program includes having a classroom assistant to help guide students.

"So it's not going to be a hit-or-miss.," Cox said. "Teachers will actually be teaching while class is going on with a support person in the classroom."

Still, not all parents are on-board with the pilot program.

"Nine times out of 10, before they even log in online, they will go on to something else, and they will be wasting their time doing anything online," Ford said.

Parents will have to wait to see how the program turns out, but they won't have to wait very long. School leaders said they aren't wasting any time, as this program is set to begin in about three weeks.

The high schools taking part in the program include Carver, Central, Wooddale, Northwest Prep and Kingsbury.

Shelby County Schools said the total expected cost of the Proximity Learning program is $210,000.

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