Houston-area school districts work to implement solutions to teacher shortages

TEXAS – Teacher vacancies are becoming quite common throughout our area, right now there are 12 unfilled teaching positions at Cleveland High School.

Officials there and at other school districts are ramping up recruitment efforts.

”I have a 15-year-old that’s in 10th grade right now, I have a 17-year-old that’s a senior,” said Onelia Santos.

Santos is a proud parent of the two students, but she like many others throughout the Houston metro area are concerned about teacher shortages.

”Let them be respected, maybe we’ll get more teachers,” Santos added.

President of the Texas American Federation of Teachers, Zeph Capo says recent studies showed teachers are not feeling like their voices are being heard along with the need for better benefits and higher salaries which have declined over the past decade, are key reasons many aren’t returning to the classroom.

”Well, we’ve seen some moves on the compensation front, not as much as we need to see, but definitely moves in the right direction,” Capo said.

To help retain teachers, officials at Houston Independent School District, the state’s largest district, say they’ve raised teacher’s salaries by 11%, putting them among the highest paid in the region. The district also added signing incentives for new teachers of up to $5,000.

There are also year round recruitment efforts like job fairs and hiring events.

Jasper ISD as well as other smaller districts have elected to move to a four-day-a-week school schedule as part of an effort to attract more instructors.

And the Texas Teachers of Tomorrow program aims to attract new teachers by providing a quicker path to certification than traditional 4-year schools, as well as flexible online training and reduced rates. The organization hopes some aspiring teachers will choose Cleveland ISD.

”It’s difficult. I just want to know what can we do, how can we get more teachers in Cleveland,” Santos said.

At Cleveland ISD they say they plan to recruit teachers by continuing to post those positions, and holding job fairs and interviews.


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