Developing a pool of qualified teacher candidates can help districts quickly fill key positions, but in many regions, it’s no easy task.
“Fewer and fewer people are enrolling in teacher education programs,” said Meg Nigro, executive director for recruitment and development at Clark County School District. “We are in a huge crisis in Las Vegas.”
But it’s not just a Las Vegas problem.
The number of teacher applications received for each job posting decreased by 20 percent from 2014 to 2016 — shrinking faster than any other position type.
This means that the number of teachers applying for positions isn’t keeping up with the growing number of job postings, a phenomenon many refer to as the teacher shortage.
“We’ve struggled to find special education teachers, we’ve struggled to find teachers who have the ability to teach English as a second language, and we’ve struggled to find bilingual teachers,” said Keith Bryant, superintendent of Lubbock-Cooper Independent School District (LCISD). “Apparently, it’s a problem all over our country.”
And these teacher shortages can cause problems at inopportune times — including the beginning of the school year, which leads to less-than-ideal methods of putting a teacher in every classroom.
“Sometimes, depending on the position and the course, we can put a teacher’s aide in there or we can combine different classes together,” said Britt Spears, human resources director at LCISD. “In certain situations, we use subs. It’s just not a long-term solution.”
To combat this challenge and fill classrooms with top educators, Keith, Britt and the rest of the HR team at LCISD recruit aggressively.
“We invest in recruitment because if everyone is facing the shortage, then everyone is going to be after that same small pool of candidates,” Keith said. Keith and other district leaders worked with LCISD’s HR team to develop effective recruitment plans, which include regional job fairs, as well as posting positions and searching for applicants on SchoolSpring.com — the nation’s largest K-12-specific job board, which “makes it easier for candidates to see what openings we have,” Britt explained.
SchoolSpring is also part of Clark County School District’s recruitment strategy. “SchoolSpring is one of the few job boards we still use because of the success we’ve had finding high-quality candidates and how easy and appealing the platform is for posting jobs and resume mining,” Meg said.
Making it easier for passive job seekers to find your open postings can also help build a robust candidate pool, according to Keith Palmer, associate superintendent of human resources at Pasadena Independent School District. Pasadena ISD increased applicant volume to 81,000 per year by implementing Hire — the applicant tracking system from TalentEd.
“We have a lot more applicants than we did with our old system, which shows applicants are better able to find us,” Keith said.