Houston ISD officials said on Wednesday that they want to deploy administrative personnel who possess teaching credentials to assist in filling any remaining openings when classes begin in less than two weeks.
According to Jeremy Grant-Skinner, HISD’s Chief Talent Officer, principals are supposed to assign certified employees who are otherwise doing other tasks to classes when a teacher is absent. At the start of the school year, at least 95% of the positions are expected to be filled, he added.
The district has raised teacher pay to keep up with neighboring districts and will also use certified long-term substitute teachers to fill in for absent teachers in the first few weeks of school.
As of Wednesday afternoon, HISD’s employment webpage advertised 779 teaching positions requiring certification, despite the district’s first day of classes not occurring until August 22.
In contrast to the previous year, members of the central administration staff will not be sent out to fill the vacancies; instead, according to Superintendent Millard House II, the district will accept volunteers from inside the central administration.
In addition, from now through the end of August, the district will provide $2,000 in signing bonuses, hold job fairs, and provide stipends to teachers who fill crucial positions in high-need areas including mathematics, science, special education, bilingual education, guidance counselors, nurses, and bus drivers. Grant-Skinner said that in addition to hiring people from the United States, the district will hire about 100 people from other countries who are certified to teach in some of these high-demand areas.
Educators will also be able to take advantage of the district’s free alternative certification program.
The 779 available teaching positions represent approximately 7% of the 11,000 positions allocated for the upcoming academic year.
It’s not just one school district that’s having trouble. Since last week, schools in the area have been trying to fill more than 3,400 teaching positions.
Last week, TEA officials indicated that trouble keeping instructors looked to be a contributing reason to the statewide educator shortage. This is because the state is generating a growing number of teachers, but not enough to keep up with the number of teachers departing the field or the number of districts adding jobs to be filled.