Atlanta metro school teacher vacancies not as bad as expected

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Margaret Ciccarelli, director of legislative services for the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, said it was too early to say whether the COVID-19 pandemic was affecting teacher vacations, including early retirements.

“The teacher shortage existed before the pandemic, but we don’t know if it was made worse by the pandemic,” she said.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 270,000 primary and secondary teachers are expected to leave the field each year between 2016 and 2026.

Governor Brian Kemp signed education bills in May to increase the number of educators in Georgia, including an alternative certification path for veterans, teacher mentoring, new college training requirements and efforts to attract more minority students into the profession.

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Kemp also lobbied for increases of $ 5,000 for teachers, of which $ 3,000 was paid. Ciccarelli said the remaining $ 2,000 to teachers will be critical to “attracting talent and keeping talent serving children in Georgia public schools.”

Michelle Jones, acting head of human resources at DeKalb, said that to temporarily fill vacancies the district relies on long-term substitute teachers, retirees who work part-time, teachers approved to work during the day. prolonged and other measures.

“We have a plan to work with each school to provide support to our students where there are vacancies,” she said. “Our goal remains to recruit, develop and retain our staff throughout the year.

Gwinnett County Public Schools offered hiring incentives for teachers in fields such as math, science, and special education and awarded a $ 5,000 bonus to educators who signed a contract to two years after June 7. At the end of July, there were only 37 vacant teaching positions out of around 12,000 certified positions, said Monica Batiste, associate superintendent of human resources and talent management.

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Batiste also said the number of vacancies in the district was not far from previous years. She said 42 teachers have resigned this year, compared to about 55 educators who left the district around the same time last year.

“It gives us an optimistic outlook on what this year will look like,” she said..

Cobb County Schools, which have about 7,300 regular and special education teachers, said about 98% of their teachers signed contracts last spring to return for the new year.

Atlanta Public Schools is around 17 vacancies for certified teachers and “feels quite confident” that there will be less than 10 vacancies when classes resume on Wednesday, said Skye Duckett, director of human resources. The district has about 3,100 teachers in total.

The APS implemented salary increases and bonuses and provided “generous” remote work and COVID-19 leave protocols for educators, Duckett said. The district has also been helped by the lack of significant teacher turnover.

“Working honestly to retain our teachers is the best recruiting strategy we have,” said Duckett.


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