TakeLessons Charter brings foreign language, music, and more supplemental learning back to independent school and charter school curriculum with live-stream video lesson technology.
Bi-Cultural Hebrew Academy is redefining technology-driven, individualized education for the Jewish community of Stamford, Connecticut. Upper School students now experience American Sign Language lessons through a live-stream video platform – proving that staffing restrictions don’t have to limit learning possibilities.
TakeLessons Charter Case Study
- School: Bi-Cultural Hebrew Academy Upper School
- School Size: 53 High School Students | 6-10 Students Per Classroom
- Location: Stamford, Connecticut
- Subject: American Sign Language Live Video Lessons
“It was difficult to find an ASL teacher to teach in-person, and with TakeLessons, we are able to offer the class for our students.” – Sarah Rich, BCHA
The School: Bi-Cultural Hebrew Academy
Bi-Cultural Hebrew Academy is a small school with big academic impact framed by Jewish values. Following a merger of Bi-Cultural Day School and Jewish High School of Connecticut, the all-in-one Academy now welcomes pre-K through grade 12 students. Bi-Cultural Hebrew Academy (BCHA) is the only school of its kind in the state, and is showcasing its innovative practices through a partnership with TakeLessons Charter – an online learning platform with real teachers and real lessons, streaming live.
BCHA’s Upper School offers high school students both STEM and Judaic studies, including an advanced CIJE-Tech High School Engineering Program that introduces scientific and biomedical engineering. The foreign language of focus is Hebrew, and with the TakeLessons partnership, American Sign Language (ASL) is now part of the curriculum.
Foreign Language in Schools: The Solution
Foreign language learning has long been regarded as an essential component of a well-rounded education. In recent decades, however, both budget restraints and geography restrictions have stood in the way of schools fulfilling their language course requirements.
For Bi-Cultural Hebrew Academy Upper School, staff desired to add a second language option for students who may struggle with Hebrew class. “It was difficult to find an ASL teacher in our region,” explains Sarah Rich with BCHA. Rather than sacrificing the American Sign Language program, they embraced technology to deliver instruction through live-stream video. Rich continues: “With TakeLessons, we are able to offer the ASL class. We hope that our students will be able to communicate via sign language.”
“Studying ASL has given our students a boost of confidence that they did not feel when studying other languages.” – Sarah Rich, BCHA
TakeLessons provides the technology service and the qualified teacher: Vanessa L., a credentialed Sign Language Interpreter who earned her degree at South Texas College. Vanessa is a trilingual professional, fluent in English, Spanish, and ASL, with deep knowledge of sign language and deaf culture. By removing the physical, in-classroom requirement, BCHA met the ASL teacher they were searching for. “The students are enjoying the class and they really like Vanessa,” says Rich. “Studying ASL has given our students a boost of confidence that they did not feel when studying other languages.”
TakeLessons Charter in Schools: How it Works
TakeLessons built a two-way technology platform, TakeLessons Classroom, that allows vetted experts to teach lessons through video projection, while answering questions and providing feedback. In the physical classroom, students interact with each other and the teacher, breaking down the barrier of separation through live-stream connection.
TakeLessons Classroom allows vetted experts to teach lessons through video projection, while answering questions and providing feedback.
At Bi-Cultural Hebrew Academy, one Upper School class is learning American Sign Language with TakeLessons Classroom. BCHA provides the computer, internet, and minimal IT setup, with technical support from TakeLessons every step of the way. “We didn’t have any challenges implementing the program,” shares Rich. As the bell rings, students sit down and learn sign language through live, two-dimensional video.
The TakeLessons partnership enables BCHA to live their values by utilizing technology, offering additional language learning opportunities, and customizing courses to fit student needs. Rich adds: “Speaking another language is a great skill, and it works different parts of the brain that other subjects may not tap into.” As for the future of online learning integration into traditional classrooms, Rich is a believer: “I think schools will be able to offer more options for classes.”
TakeLessons.com partners with 5,000+ highly-qualified teachers, with specialties in foreign languages, musical instruments, and more unique subjects. TakeLessons Charter serves charter schools and independent schools across the United States.