CHARLESTON COUNTY- S.C. (WCBD)- The Charleston County School District (CCSD) is chipping away at its teacher vacancies as the first day of school is five days away.
On Thursday August 11, the district had two vacancies filled in the morning bringing the number down to 35.
“Our recruitment team has been working hard with principals for months now to get to this point. Actually, I’m very thrilled about where we are,” said William Briggman, the Chief Human Resources Officer for CCSD.
The openings are mostly for math, science and special education positions. CCSD wants to have under 30 openings by the first day of school.
Teachers like Jody Stallings think that the work in progress is concerning.
“If you think about middle school teachers we average about 100 students. So you could be talking about 350 or 400 students that that impacts,” said Stallings. “If you’re talking about special education teachers those tend to be students who are the most vulnerable in terms of needing attention. It’s a big deal.”
The reason for the openings is a teacher shortage due to what Stallings thinks is low pay, poor disciplined students and a scripted curriculum.
“It’s basically a lot of dump down mentality to teachers rather than trying to serve and support the teachers,” said Stallings.
“An issue for us that all districts are facing not just in South Carolina, but nationally, is a teacher shortage,” said Briggman. “Many folks want to live in Charleston so we have that going for us. But, it continues to be an issue with the number of teacher candidates that are looking for jobs, especially this time of year.”
Briggman says that the district has not seen as many young people decide to be teachers and experienced educators are leaving the business.
“We’re seeing fewer young people coming out of our high schools majoring in education. We’ve seen some of our more experienced teachers decide to retire,” said Briggman.
As CCSD works to bring down the number of vacancies there are plans in place to make sure students get the instruction they need.
“We have central office staff that are certified in particular areas so if we need to deploy folks as we recruit we will,” said Briggman. “We have coaches, academic coaches and other positions.”
Retired teachers and substitutes can be brought in to teach for a daily rate as well. classrooms that are smaller in size can be merged based on enrollment numbers as well.
Stallings thinks that the best option is spreading out qualified professionals throughout the schools.
“If we can get them into the class where they can actually put their educational bona fides to good use I think most teachers would be in favor of that,” said Stallings.