PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. — Some school districts in the DMV are still making back-to-school plans, focused on keeping students safe. While there’s been a great deal of attention placed on masks, vaccination requirements and physical distancing, school administrators are also working to ensure their buildings are fully staffed.
In Prince George’s County, there’s still a need for hundreds of teachers.
“Critical needs for us are elementary educators, math, science and special educators,” Tiffany Doster, Senior Recruitment and Retention Advisor for Prince George’s County Public Schools explained.
With the pandemic pausing many year-round, traditional hiring events, the school system had to get creative.
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Interested applicants were able to attend a series of drive-thru events to submit their paperwork and meet school leaders.
“These individuals will receive VIP treatment, which means we’ll have a 48-hour turnaround in regard to determining their eligibility to teach our students,” Doster said. “We had that year of lost learning, we want to make sure we have the best in front of our students.”
Several potential candidates rolled through one of the drive-thru hiring events at Benjamin Tasker Middle School.
“I was home with my daughter all during the pandemic. I had to stay online with her all the time,” teaching candidate Vanessa Fox said. “I watched the teachers working and I was like, I’d like to do that. I taught before.”
The D.C. Public School system is trying to fill 100 vacant positions.
Prince William County Public Schools in Virginia is also hiring.
“Our Department of Human Resources has been busy staffing our schools in preparation for the 2021-22 School Year," a school spokesperson said. "As of August 2, we have hired 752 Certified Personnel (teachers, counselors, and librarians), and are continuing to recruit to fill our remaining 161 certified vacancies for our schools. This year we increased our personnel needs due to the need to staff two new schools."
Montgomery County Public Schools, the largest school system in Maryland, is working to fill 1,000 teaching positions.
Like Prince George’s County, the coordinator of future employment initiatives for Montgomery County Public Schools, TiffanyAnn Goodson said, a lot of their traditional employment pipeline and recruitment efforts were disrupted because of the pandemic.
"I don't think it's anything MCPS has done wrong," Goodson said I think nationally, education hasn't been branded as an attractive profession.”
Goodson said MCPS is using advertisements, social media and other avenues to get the word out about openings.
"I think it was really a refreshing approach as well. It brought us into the 21st century if you will, in terms of recruiting. It almost kind of took on a corporate philosophy as opposed to letting the system speak for itself and being more passive,” Goodson added.
With the rush to recruit, school leaders say this won't be a crash course for those hired. They're still looking for high-quality educators.
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