- Lone Pine Unified School District, a small, rural district in California, is using online speech therapy for students with speech disabilities.
- The district struggled to hire and keep qualified speech therapists before adopting PresenceLearning in 2013.
- Last year, the school ranked among the best that PresenceLearning serves based on how many students saw a level or more of improvement in speech skills.
Rural education positions are notoriously hard to staff. Outside of kindergarten and elementary teaching positions, districts often face a tough choice: go without, train a knowledgeable community member, or take a subpar candidate. Some rural districts team up to share science teachers, school counselors, or special education teachers. Beginning in the '90s, others turned to what was then called distance learning to have teachers in far away places teach students using video and phone. Lone Pine’s program takes that several steps further, using an entirely online curriculum.
Those tools have helped fill in gaps, but not all have proven to be sufficiently rigorous or well-designed. Lone Pine’s results, however, suggest the tools may finally have come of age.