FORT WAYNE, Indiana (WANE) – As community schools in Fort Wayne begin the 2021-22 school year, staff are actively trying to fill dozens of open teacher positions across the district.
Talent Acquisition and Retention Director Kody Tinnel says the district still needs to fill about 75 permanent positions, or about 4% of the total teacher workforce. Given a stressful school year, with over 100 teachers retiring at the end of last year and the increase in the workforce with new programs like the FWCS Virtual Academy, Tinnel thinks that the staff are in good shape.
“The fact that we are where we are with our number of teachers, despite the pandemic, despite some of the changes in addition to the teaching staff, we are quite confident about where we are this school year,” Tinnel said. .
The areas that need it most are math, science and special education. In addition to these departments, Tinnel says FWCS is looking to hire about 100 substitute teachers, if not more.
As part of the FWCS recruitment efforts, staff contacted recently retired teachers to assess their interest in returning to the classroom. Tinnel says FWCS offers incentives such as flexible hours and a $ 2,500 per semester bonus to any teacher interested in coming out of retirement. So far, the Tinnel team has spoken to a few of those former teachers who have expressed interest.
With most full-time teaching positions filled, Tinnel believes there will be no ripple effect on class size.
“If anything, you’ll probably see more qualified adults around,” Tinnel said. “We have also hired additional teachers to reduce class sizes, to make sure that we try to recover from this loss of learning that we have enough qualified teachers for our students. “
FWCS is also seeking to fill hundreds of support staff positions such as bus drivers, educational assistants and nutrition service workers. Those who are interested in applying for an open teaching position can apply on the FWCS website.