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CCSD FACES CRITICAL TEACHER SHORTAGE

Students, staff make temporary adjustments as needed
To+ensure+coverage+in+the+classroom%2C+teachers+use+software+like+SmartFind+to+assign+a+relief+teacher+in+the+case+they+are+absent.+The+current+scarcity+of+qualified+teachers+has+posed+a+significant+challenge+to+secure+the+necessary+replacements.+%E2%80%9CTheres+a+pretty+high+demand+%5Bfor+substitutes%5D+right+now+in+the+valley.+I+enjoy+it+very+much+because+it+gives+me+a+lot+of+working+opportunities%2C%E2%80%9D+substitute+teacher+Dylan+Drachler+said.+%E2%80%9CWhen+administrators+contact+me+it+has+been+a+little+more+fast+paced%2C+saying+they+need+help+that+day%2C+but+I+try+to+look+a+few+days+out+in+advance+and+get+jobs+that+way.%E2%80%9D
Ayma Malik
To ensure coverage in the classroom, teachers use software like SmartFind to assign a relief teacher in the case they are absent. The current scarcity of qualified teachers has posed a significant challenge to secure the necessary replacements. “There’s a pretty high demand [for substitutes] right now in the valley. I enjoy it very much because it gives me a lot of working opportunities,” substitute teacher Dylan Drachler said. “When administrators contact me it has been a little more fast paced, saying they need help that day, but I try to look a few days out in advance and get jobs that way.”

Nevada currently faces a staggering teacher shortage, with only 44 teachers available per 1k students enrolled, placing the state at the bottom of national rankings. With an insufficient number of teachers, administrators and additional staff have put their own priorities on the back burner for student success.

“We are asking our teachers, counselors, and administration to cover these teaching spots [in classrooms] if there is no one else, which then cuts into school supervision,” Assistant Principal Donna Besser said. “For example, if one of the admin is in a classroom then they’re not out at lunchtime watching the kids and so on. It is a trickle-down effect.”

Clark County School District’s educator turnover rate has spiked from 9 percent last year to 12 percent this year. The leading cause for the lack of teaching interest is typically blamed on low salaries and poor working environments. 

“Historically, teachers are not well respected nor are they well paid,” Principal Donna Levy said. “It’s really hard to attract a teacher to teach when they can go into private industry and make a lot more money.”

For example, on Sept. 12, the lack of teachers present and lack of substitutes to cover those positions ultimately led to school closures that day. 

“We did not have enough substitutes to have the school running,” Levy said. “It would have been unsafe for [students] to be on campus. The district decides that when you get to a certain percentage of teachers vs. no teachers that it’s unsafe, and so they asked [students] to stay home.”

SWCTA has found a temporary solution to address these unfulfilled classrooms where currently employed teachers substitute other classrooms during their prep periods.

“I’ve covered a lot of classes but most recently for Mr. LaPorte, in agreement that I would do him the favor if I could still work on my own stuff,” English teacher Maritza De La Fuente said. “But normally, that’s not always the case. We’re kind of ‘voluntold’ that we have to cover. I get texted at five in the morning or called the moment I’m walking in. It definitely takes away from grading and planning time.”

Students follow instruction from their teacher on Canvas, saving their questions and concerns regarding the lesson for another day.

“I had the fashion teacher as my substitute once for yearbook, and instead of having him come to our classroom, we had to go to his because he had too much work that he needed to complete that couldn’t be done in another room,” junior Eloisa Velelo said. “I think it’s really unfortunate that the school couldn’t have found anyone else to fill in because these teachers have a prep period for a reason. If they’re spending their prep time having to sub for another class, it seems counter-intuitive.”

Administration has made adjustments to their own schedules in order to fill the positions as best they can.

“We were attempting this year to have PLC [Professional Learning Community] time for our teachers where the teachers can get together to plan lessons, look at test scores, plan for upcoming assignments and those kinds of things,” Besser said. “We were planning to schedule them full days where they worked together and put subs in their classrooms, but we had to pull that out. We managed to get one quarter of that in, but last quarter we had to cancel mid-way through because we just didn’t have enough people to cover classes, so it is affecting us.”

Rather than obtaining the average four-year bachelor’s degree, there are alternative certification routes such as the elementary ARL program or a Single-subject Teaching Degree that have become widely adopted as a way for teachers to join the field more efficiently.

“I’ve been a district administrator, school principal, and taught adult education classes in college. I’ve seen a lot of teachers get their proper training, then they do their student teaching, and after all of that they realize they don’t want to do this for their career,” Teaching and Training teacher Vincent Thur said. “I think it’s better to start them young to let somebody know if they really want to do this before they pay all this money.”

Despite efforts made by current teachers, many students are still not interested in joining the profession. 

“The workplace environment definitely isn’t always positive in schools,” junior Sophia Lehnerd said. “Taking Teaching and Training has actually pushed me in a direction where I realized I won’t enjoy teaching as my career, but I’m glad I figured that out before spending many years in training and a lot of money.”

Regardless of the financial incentives offered by CCSD, the turnover rate for teachers is still higher than ever.

“It is frustrating and sad that we don’t have enough people to fill our roles and that teachers are leaving the profession because it is such an important job and the work is necessary,” Levy said. “There is not a single human in this country that has not interfaced with a teacher — it is just what we do. If you go to see your doctor, your doctor was taught by a teacher. If you see an attorney, your attorney was taught by a teacher.” 

 

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  • M

    MkDec 5, 2023 at

    Oh, you mean Clark Co. SD,
    THE CCSD, Carson City SD is doing pretty good. Not sure about Chuchill Co.

    Reply
  • D

    DOROTHYDec 5, 2023 at

    The teachers r working without a contract. Why doesn’t the union and CCSD use the money to pay teachers what they deserve. Many teachers r not paid for their Education and experience while others are bc of a broken system. Yet the union and CCSD can not agree on teacher contract and pay increases. It’s been half a year without a contract .Why is the union doing nothing. Without teachers how do we help our children, our community and our future.

    Reply