We all know, Wyoming is such a rural state it's hard to attract, and then keep, good teachers.

What happens if a teacher leaves the state and the school district has a hard time finding a replacement?

Students at Newcastle High School have been learning virtually for Algebra I and II math classes this year after the resignation of one of the school’s two math teachers in September. Highlighting national and statewide teacher shortage, the school was unable to find in-person teacher replacement. (Wyoming Public Media).

What else is a school to do?

The first concern was that this mode of teaching would not be ideal for the students.

Would this be as good as having a teacher in the room who could help the students along?


“When we couldn't find that live teacher that was here, then we tried to find the next best thing that still was giving quality instruction to students and some pretty good learning opportunities for them,” said Sonya Tysdal, the school’s curriculum director. “So that we wouldn't lose out on developing their mathematical understanding.”

Young Man in High School Computer Lab

With the classroom size, two teachers are necessary to teach all the courses.

The school partnered with Carnegie Learning, a tutoring service.

When asked about the learning change to computer software, Sophomore Taylor Conklin commented that it was hard to adjust to online learning:

“I'd say it's pretty interactive, I think I like it, but I think I'd rather like have in-class teachers instead, like teaching, but I like it overall,” she said. “[For the] first semester, I had a teacher and she was kind of, she just kind of lectured us the whole time. So, I found that class to be really boring, and I kind of like dreaded going to it. But then this semester, I have a really good teacher and he's really good about like, incorporating us and making sure we understand. So, this semester has been a lot better.” (WPM).

TongRo Images

It might be difficult to find teachers at this time because the school year is already underway.

There may be other reasons.

So the school had made do with what was available.

A math teacher has been hired to provide in-person instruction for the next school year, making this the last semester of virtual learning.

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