Missouri teacher recruiting, retention committee meeting kicks off

Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 3:44 AM CDT
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HANNIBAL (WGEM) - With the beginning of the school year only weeks away in some parts of Missouri, there are many K-12 public school teaching positions that still need to be filled.

A report from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education shows of the over 71,000 full-time teaching positions from the 2020-2021 school year, five percent were vacant or filled by unqualified individuals.

A state commission will meet today in Jefferson City to discuss and hear recommendations on how to recruit and retain teachers. Local educators said they’re glad to see officials exploring solutions.

Those in the Hannibal School District said they have two teaching positions that need to be filled.

Superintendent Susan Johnson said some of the solutions they’ve already implemented include a pay raise, and extra help getting for those working towards their teacher certificate.

She said, at the state level, most of the focus has been on pay but more attention should be paid to make the certification process easier.

“Traditionally, it takes a college education with a four year degree and I think that’s optimal,” she said. “But, you know, certification, we’ve had to think outside the box on that too with finding people through alternative routes of certification.”

Johnson said this includes trying to find people interested in teaching or who do it on the side.

Band director Debbie Higbee-Roberts said promoting teaching as a profession and encouraging people to enter the field would also be helpful.

She said she’s hoping the commission will listen to what teachers have to say.

“Make sure that they’re talking to educators who are actually in the trenches, doing the work on a daily basis because sometimes we forget to ask the people who are actually doing the jobs,” Higbee-Roberts said.

She said real-world experience can be useful in guiding the commission and ensuring that schools can have their needs met.

The commission will meet through Friday. It is open to the public.

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