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Summer recruitment for teachers in our neighborhoods is underway

While school is out--- recruiting is happening to fill teacher vacancies in our neighborhoods.
Posted at 6:42 PM, Jun 07, 2024
  • While school is out--- recruiting is happening to fill teacher vacancies in our neighborhoods.
  • At Florida State University, the next generation of teachers in the classroom is being created.
  • Watch the video to see what experts say the future of teacher recruiting looks like.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

While school is out--- recruiting is happening to fill teacher vacancies in our neighborhoods.

It's not uncommon for there to be open positions after school ends, but we have a shrinking pipeline of teachers from which schools can choose.

At Florida State University, the next generation of teachers in the classroom is being created.

"We're both going into our senior years, and I hope to become a middle and high school teacher," Annette Zamsky, an FSU Social Education major said.

Zamsky and Ava Monastero are both enrolled at the Florida State University College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences.

"I'm also minoring in Italian, and I also hope to pursue becoming a high school history teacher," Monastero, an FSU Social Education major said.

Their paths here weren't a straight line.

"I actually applied as a marketing major, and I changed my mind at a complete 180 where I was like, you know what? No, I really want to do what I feel like my calling is, and that's teaching," Monastero said.

There's a nationwide teacher shortage with a shrinking pipeline—making graduates from education programs like FSU's highly sought after.

"I think what FSU brings to the table with the combined pathway, where you earn both the BS and the MS degree, the bachelor's and master's degree, in five years, you are getting so much content knowledge," Dr. Toby Park-Gaghan, FSU Interim Director for the School of Teacher Education said.

Having local graduates stay in this area, both while they get their degree and after, is needed.

"Programs such as our English education program have partnered with specific schools here in Leon County, where they repeatedly place students and allow students to rotate through those placements to get a variety of different experiences," Gaghan said.

While Leon County Schools website shows 55 open instructional positions as of June 7th, last August, we told you about LCS's partnership with Tallahassee State College to create a new pipeline of students from high school to community college.

The Leon Classroom Teacher's Association has been having meetings with LCS about upcoming staffing.

"One of the things that we've entered into the last two years is to try to get the hiring process to happen sooner," Scott Mazur, the Leon Classroom Teacher's Association President said. "So for example, the transfer period used to be at the very end of the school year. We've tried to move that transfer period up because what we understand, the district's concern and ours as well, is to properly staff schools before we come back to the beginning of the school year."

More than a decade ago—the moment we sit at now—going through a teacher shortage was predicted.

One of the predictors---college enrollments in teacher prep programs has dropped 45% in the past decade---according to the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education

In the most recent year of data available, enrollment has inched up—about 3%.

"75% or 80% of our candidates that we recruit are not education majors," LaKeisha Wells-Palmer, the Executive Director of Teach For America Florida Regions said.

One solution to the teacher shortages is investing in different pathways to the classrooms—like Teach for America.

Teach For America finds and trains students—known as corps members—who commit to schools with at least two years of teaching in under-resourced public schools.

"As a freshman, we start to build their capacity in growing students early on, building their capabilities as teachers," Wells-Palmer said. "So by the time they become seniors, they're like, look, I can do this teacher thing," Wells-Palmer said.

One of the ways they're reaching college students
on campuses like Florida State, Tallahassee State College, and Florida A&M is through its Ignite program that happening across the state.

Ignite Fellows come from all academic majors and are supported by veteran teachers and TFA. They receive dedicated training on how to be an effective tutor from Teach For America, as well as support tailored to your specific tutoring placement from your school-based veteran educator.

The experts ABC27 spoke with say innovation and meeting students where they are early will help fill classrooms.

This past year Florida created a $5 million grant programthat aims to create alternative pathways into teaching, but a multi-pronged approach is still likely needed.