It's crunch time for back to school with some districts heading into the classroom next week. While students are preparing, administrators across the country are scrambling to make sure they're appropriately staffed with teachers.
Locally, administrators in Acadia, Calcasieu, Iberia, Jeff Davis, St. Martin, St. Mary and Vermilion Parishes all say they are still hiring for teachers ahead of the 2021-2022 school year.
KATC wasn't given a precise number of teachers needed in each parish, and it's likely that's because districts are working out alternative solutions. Just like in previous years, they predict not having all the applicants needed to fill each desired teacher role.
"What we are forced to do is to hire what we call a long term sub. We also look at tightening our schedules to make sure we are hiring teachers where there is an actual need. If there is a small class at one school or another, we may look at collapsing that class," explains Dr. Teresa Bagwell, Superintendent at St. Mary Parish School District.
She says she's seen a dwindling interest in education as a career and Covid 19 didn't help. Now districts are doing whatever they can to attract quality candidates back to the profession.
"In March we passed a .45% sales tax to raise teacher pay for $3000 for our certified teachers. That was in that vain to make sure that we can recruit, that we are offering a competitive teacher salary," says Bagwell. She says she starts working to recruit teachers while they are still in high school, adding that this has been a successful tactic to keep familiar faces and quality candidates in the St. Mary Parish schools.
Educators encourage, even if your degree is in another field, teaching is a solid and viable career to consider.
"Education is so important! There are no other jobs without an educator," says Suzanne Bergeron, HR at St. Mary Parish Schools.
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