Provo Turns to Online Learning Program to Teach World Languages


Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - 1:00am

Learning world languages is an important educational experience for students. Exposure to secondary languages can help students better understand other cultures and prepare them to compete in today’s global economy.

Unfortunately, public school districts often struggle to offer strong world language programs. Schools find themselves trimming their world language courses as budgets tighten. For the Provo City School District, budget levels were just one part of the problem. The other issue was staffing.

The district is located between Utah’s largest school district and another, mid-sized neighbor. These school districts use their size and resources to attract the most qualified language teachers. As a result, Provo City School District was not able to hire the educators needed to teach their world language courses.

Between these staffing issues and tight budgets, Provo had to severely limit the number of world languages they could offer.

Unwilling to deprive their students of the valuable educational opportunity, the Provo City School District decided to look online as a way to deliver language learning. The district was already experiencing success with online learning through its Provo eSchool, a full-time online and blended school for more than 450 students in grades K-12.

In 2011, they expanded the Provo eSchool and introduced the Elite Language Academy, which provides multiple dual immersion and online world language options for students. This has enabled the district to offer world language programs to its own students, as well as to other students across Utah.

The Elite Language Academy gives students access to seven world languages, taught by state-certified teachers. The courses are available to students online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and students can even interact with teachers through email, web-conferencing, and in-person by appointment at the district office.

The program has been extremely well received by students. When it launched in 2011, the Elite Language Academy had 40 students registered. That number now exceeds 400 students.

“If there is one indicator to the success of this program—it’s growth. We started with 40 students, and now we have about 400 kids in the program,” said Allyson Hudnall, Provo eSchool coordinator. “That is huge growth. It just confirms how much we needed this option, and it has proven to be a really good one.”

For additional information about the Elite Language Academy and how it’s helping the Provo City School District, click HERE.


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