The Guthrie Common School District in Texas serves the third-smallest county in the United States. The district’s 100 students does not warrant a full-time world languages teacher, yet the state still requires students to graduate high school with two years of Spanish courses.
Guthrie’s solution was to partner with Rosetta Stone to offer a virtual solution. That partnership, and the considerable success that has followed, is profiled in a new case study.
Guthrie organized its blended learning offerings into the Guthrie Virtual School. Once it was approved by the Texas Virtual School Network, it could then be offered statewide to other rural school districts in similar situations. What started as a solution for 175 students now serves nearly 900 across the entire state of Texas.
In particular, Rosetta Stone provides the conversational backbone of the GVS course. Because there is only a teacher of record, who might be shared by dozens of students, there is very little opportunity for these remote students to practice speaking in Spanish.
This can even be the case in traditional instruction, where students still only receive a limited amount of time to converse in their chosen language during class. Rosetta Stone’s advanced voice recognition technology and the availability of an online tutor can give a student much needed speech practice.
“We’ve found that the pronunciation is so much better after a semester of Rosetta Stone than after in-person instruction. There just isn’t enough time for each student to practice speaking in a classroom,” said GVS’s lead teacher, Summer Reel.
The flexibility of blended learning means students can study from anywhere at any time. Summer is a popular time for students to catch up on their Spanish graduation requirements, even though these students might be traveling with family or for other academic opportunities.
The story of Guthrie Virtual School is a story of creativity in the face of obstacles that other school districts simply do not have. It’s well worth the read for anyone considering leveraging blended learning to expand their own horizons.