Rooting for the Home Team: Missouri Educators

Savannah WaszczukAccess Launch, Feature

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Launch employs Missouri teachers who live and work in public school districts statewide.

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Bethany Laws turns away from her computer, picks up her cell phone and dials a phone number. “Hi, is this Megan Smith?,” she says. After a pause, Bethany smiles and starts speaking again. “Hi Megan, this is Bethany Laws,” she says. “I’m with the Launch online program, and I’m going to be your son Jeffrey’s Personal Finance teacher this semester.”

There were thousands of these calls on the first few days of the Fall 2019 semester, as Bethany joined 151 other Launch teachers—all who work for Launch in addition to teaching at Missouri school districts—to personally welcome students and parents to our classes. “We started making calls home on the first day of classes,” Bethany says. “A lot of parents were appreciative of us calling and welcoming them to our online classes.”

These calls home set the precedent for the entire semester—Launch teachers pave a path to both provide quality instruction and also to build personal relationships with students and parents.

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How Launch Hires Missouri Teachers

For the Fall 2019 semester, Launch has four full-time instructors and 148 adjunct teachers. The full-time teachers are employed by Springfield Public Schools, and the adjunct teachers teach in dozens of districts statewide. So, how does that process work?

Once a school district partners with Launch, all teachers who teach in that district are eligible to apply to teach a Launch online course. Interested teachers apply at fueledbylaunch.com/careers, and applications are reviewed by Launch’s internal hiring committee. Once the committee selects qualified quality applicants, a Launch team member reaches out to the home district’s Launch liaison or administration for a personal reference. “This process helps us find quality educators for all content areas,” says Dr. Nichole Lemmon, Director of Digital Learning at Springfield Public Schools. “We’re able to hire the very best teachers from districts all over the state.” A Launch teacher may have as many as 33 students in a section.

Before the beginning of the semester, all of Launch’s online educators are required to attend an in-person training at one of Launch’s offices (located in Springfield, Kansas City and St. Louis). Teachers spend the day training and collaborating with their peers, and they leave with a plan to provide quality instruction and help develop culture in their online classrooms.

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