Teacher Shortage Has Clark County School District Calling All Heroes
Teachers have hands that mold the future. They are charged with the incredible responsibility to nurture, inspire, and educate their students. With the exception of family members, few people have as much of an impact on the future of our children than their teachers. The importance of their position has the Clark County School District searching for heroes to help end the teacher shortage that Las Vegas schools are facing.
The Problems with a Teacher Shortage
The problems facing schools that don’t have enough teachers to fill the needs of the students are not to be taken lightly. When there are no teachers to fill special education positions, students go without the care they need to be successful in an educational environment. Schools with a shortage of teachers may have larger class sizes. Larger class sizes mean less individualized attention for each student.
The teacher shortage has hit schools with a high percentage of students from low-income families the hardest. Many of these schools have resorted to hiring long-term substitute teachers to fill the gaps caused by the lack of interest qualified teachers have in filling these positions. While these substitutes are valuable and should be praised for their efforts, they can’t take the place of teachers who have the education and experience needed to manage a classroom.
Some schools are forced to ask teachers to take on subjects they are not trained to teach. For example, a teacher who is not specifically trained to teach math classes may need to teach them in order to fill a need within the school. This isn’t an ideal situation for the teacher or the student.
Why Are We Having a Shortage of Teachers?
Speculation about the teacher shortage has produced several possible reasons for the problem. Some sources conclude that more teachers are leaving the profession due to retirement or change in career. These positions are not being filled by new teachers because of a decline in the availability of qualified teachers. This decline in availability can be traced to a lack of interest in the teaching profession by students entering college.
One could speculate as to the reasons there is a lack of interest in teaching. Many people consider the pay for teachers to be inadequate. Others feel there is less respect for educational professionals in recent years. Whatever the reason for the decline in interest, measures are being taken on different levels to attract teachers.
Creating Solutions and Attracting Teachers
The United States Department of Education publishes a listing of teacher shortages for each state that meets their requirements for special funding. Up until the 2001-2002 school year, no special areas were submitted by the state of Nevada for approval. In contrast, this year’s approved list of special areas where help is needed is over thirty. Areas approved include Foreign Language, Elementary Education, Language Arts/English, History, Music, and Technology. Teachers with education and experience for special needs classes are in great demand. Areas in the special needs section include Autism, Early Childhood, Emotionally Handicapped, and Intellectual Disability.
Approved areas within the Teacher Shortage Area Nationwide Listing are open for teachers to receive a break when it comes to their student loans. Teachers may have their payments deferred or even cancelled for accepting a position in one of the high need areas within the state.
TEACH has specific guidelines set forth for new teachers who take advantage of their offer. A college student may can choose to participate in the TEACH program and accept a position in an area with students from low-income families. The teacher must agree to work four complete years within the first eight years of completing their studies that use the TEACH funds.
The Clark County School District has taken a proactive approach to dealing with the shortage of teachers. The Calling All Heroes campaign began early in 2015 and is meant to inspire teachers to see Las Vegas as a place they can call home while they make a difference in the lives of students who need them.
EVENTS —–>> The school district has two webinar events scheduled to give information to those interested in putting on their cape and joining the other heroes determined to make a difference in Clark County Schools. The first webinar is August 27th from 4 PM – 5 PM. The second webinar is on September 3rd from 10 AM – 11 AM. Those interested can register for the webinars by visiting the teachvegas.ccsd.net website. For more information, contact the Clark County School District Human Resources Department at 702-799-5252.
What Does This Mean for Residents of Las Vegas?
Las Vegas residents are some of the most strong and resourceful people in the state. Throughout history, residents have risen to the top when it comes to struggles and challenges. One of the reasons this is true is because of their commitment to progress in their lives and their communities. Strong communities build a strong city, and Las Vegas residents have much to be proud of when it comes to solving problems.
The teacher shortages are causing concern because of the importance we place on education. It’s this importance that has moved residents and The Clark County School Board to act aggressively when it comes to solving this problem and making things better for the students who attend schools in Las Vegas.
If you have a student in a school that’s been impacted by this shortage, one of the best things you can do is stay informed and be an advocate for your child. Having an understanding of the problem will give you an opportunity to encourage those who are acting as substitutes and react with patience when situations arise.
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