Schools Districts Scramble to Deal with Teacher Shortages
In counties across our state, school districts are scrambling to fill hundreds of open teacher positions, despite being less than a week away from students returning. In Forsyth County, there are 81 open positions, a dramatic increase over last year, and some school officials are predicting that some classes will start with substitute teachers.
With less than a week before students return to class, the pressure is on to make sure each of those classrooms has a teacher in it.
Chances are, some Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools will not meet the deadline.
On Monday, the district still had 81 open teaching positions.
“At this time last year, we had 52 total positions,” said Alex Hoskins, spokesperson for the district. “With 47 at elementary school (this year), that’s quite the bump.”
That’s right. As of Monday, there were still 47 open positions in Forsyth County elementary schools. Traditionally, elementary positions have been some of the easiest to fill. Hoskins said the majority of those openings are for regular classroom teachers, though there is also an acute demand for exceptional children teachers and bilingual teachers who speak both Spanish and English. There are an additional 16 openings in Forsyth County middle schools and 18 in high schools.
The district is reaching out to its pool of substitute teachers and teacher assistants who were previously working in a part-time capacity to fill some of the open positions.
Individuals could become full-time teachers through a process known as lateral entry, which allows qualified individuals to start teaching while still working toward a teaching license.
Hoskins said the district is also reaching out to retired teachers, looking for those who may want to reenter the classroom.
Still, it’s unlikely that all 81 positions will be filled by the start of school Monday.