Distance learning is advanced study in public schools through the use of video conferences or computer correspondence courses. Many Salem High School students earn college credits before graduation by taking advantage of distance learning opportunities the school offers.
"I've enjoyed serving on the council," Rich told The News. "Since our school uses distance learning, it helps me keep informed on what is available."
Rich is the only council member who is actively involved in K through 12 education. While he runs a small school district, he represents all schools, large and small, on the council, and sometimes advocates for improvements educators would like to see in distance learning.
The Distance Learning Coordinating Council is an advisory body to the Department of Education. It is composed of educators, providers who offer classes, telephone companies who deliver the service to schools and representatives of the state Department of Information Services. Its purpose is to evaluate distance learning activities for grades kindergarten through 12 across the State of Arkansas, to determine if distance learning activities are being fully applied by the state's technical and educational resources.
Last year, Rich was involved in council efforts to keep distance learning operating at current levels, despite cuts in state spending.
The challenge was met through a consolidation of providers and other changes.
Rich's appointment will continue through September 1, 2014.
Superintendent Rich has been with the Salem School District for 19 years. He started as a teacher and advanced to assistant principal and principal, before becoming superintendent in 2003.