No teacher shortage here

Published 3:19 am Monday, July 23, 2007

By By Lisa Tindell – news reporter
Escambia County School official Mona Simmons spent the better part of last year criss-crossing the state to visit future education graduates.
That kind of aggressive recruiting is now a necessity as colleges graduate fewer teachers and more schools compete to fill positions, she said.
Both Escambia County and Brewton City schools have hired or have plans to hire all of the teachers needed for the coming year, but the process was challenging, officials said.
With fewer students graduating from area education colleges, the pool of candidates has been smaller, Smith said.
Smith said four teacher positions at Brewton Elementary were lost this year and will not be replaced due to the lack of growth in the system.
Escambia County Schools have officially placed 32 teachers, Assistant Superintendent Randall Little said.
Other counties may not be so lucky. According to reports in the Mobile Press-Register, Mobile County has experienced a teacher shortage this year, while Baldwin County has looked to other countries to fill teaching positions.
The recruiting team was designed to avoid those problems, Little said.
Simmons said the recruiting efforts of the Escambia County system have racked up more than 70 contacts for the county, but future recruiting efforts may be difficult.
Simmons said one reason for the drop in graduating teachers is the requirement that graduates pass the Praxis 2 test before receiving their degrees.
Finding qualified teachers is only part of the job. Potential teachers for any community should be attracted to the area in need of their services and that is one of the purposes of the recruiting team.
Little said the presentation made by the recruiting team is a typical chamber of commerce type presentation.
Little said the recruiting team pushes the standard of living in Escambia County, which seems to be important to those entering the teaching profession.
Little said the team has made some in-roads at college campuses across the state and has created some interest in the Escambia County and Brewton area.
Simmons said Escambia County has been lucky this year in filling needed positions but could face a difficult future.
Smith agreed with Simmons by saying the future of education may have some big hurdles to jump.
Escambia County Schools will hold a new employee workshop on July 30 and 31 with a teachers institute planed for Aug. 6. The 32 new teachers for the county will face their students for the first time as classes begin on Aug. 9.
Brewton City Schools will conduct a new teacher workshop on Aug 2 and 3.
Teachers will begin their school year Aug. 6, with students returning to class Aug. 9.

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