Philadelphia school district hires 900 teachers

The Philadelphia School District wants to hire 900 teachers for the 2022-23 school year.

The number of new hires — about a tenth of the current teacher workforce — would represent roughly the same number the district needs to hire each year to replace those who quit and retire. And though it’s heading into a new hiring season with some classrooms in the district still without a teacher, district talent manager Larisa Shambaugh said it would be wrong to focus on mid-term quits. ‘year.

“We have 9,100 teachers, the vast, vast majority of whom stayed during this time,” Shambaugh said at a press conference kicking off the campaign on Thursday.

The campaign, titled “Teach Today, Change Tomorrow,” comes amid a challenging year for educators around the world, the third to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and at the same time the district continues to struggle. against mid-year resignations. The number of Philadelphia teachers who resigned between mid-December and February 15 rose 200%, to 169, from the same period last year, and 93% from the same period in 2019-2020, the last before the pandemic.

Shambaugh said the district started the school year 98 percent staffed and is now about 96.5 percent staffed. Although it hired about 150 teachers from December to March, attrition means there are still vacancies.

Jenifer Felix, a teacher at Kensington Health Sciences, said the “really tough” year is all the more reason for those passionate about teaching children in Philadelphia to join the district.

The school system “needs people who truly believe in the potential of our children — the specific children we teach,” said Felix, who was a teacher for 23 years and a district teacher for six years.

“In Philadelphia, I found different programs and new ideas, a community of teachers who loved teaching and learning,” Felix said.

One of the ways the district hopes to strengthen its teacher pipeline is to create pathways that allow paraprofessionals to become teachers. The school board just agreed to spend $2.5 million on two-year programs that will provide paraprofessionals with free tuition at Cheyney University, La Salle University, Drexel University, or College Unbound.

Christopher Rocks, a former special education assistant in the district, used an existing teacher’s residence with Temple University to make the jump to teacher. He is a resident at Mayfair Elementary this year and will soon become a certified special education teacher.

“I decided to get into education because I want to help students in our beautiful city overcome their social, emotional and educational challenges,” Rocks said. Residency eased the way, he said.

The average teacher salary in the district is around $82,000; his starting salary will increase to $50,000 in the fall.

All teachers will receive a $1,000 bonus in the fall, and some will be eligible for $5,000 retention bonuses — spread over two years — if they stay through June 2024.

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