CCSD struggling to find teachers for at-risk school

LAS VEGAS -- The Clark County School District is 600 teachers short with just two weeks to go until school starts.

The district has a lot of hiring to do, especially in schools where kids are having the most trouble.

Of the jobs that are still open, 80 percent are at at-risk schools. At-risk is a label given to schools with high minority populations with the most academically challenged students.

CCSD Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky says there are two reasons why it is hard to keep teachers in these environments.

"When you teach and I've been both an at-risk teacher and administrator in an at-risk school, it is a very different place and you deal with so many different issues outside of teaching just to reach those kids and sometimes it is burnout. Sometimes it is staying closer to home because teachers don't want to drive that distance everyday," Skorkowsky said.

Another challenge is money. The starting salary for elementary teachers is $36,000 annually.

"We have to find better ways to not only attract but retain teachers at at-risk schools," Skorkowsky said.

It is an obstacle for schools, already facing poverty, language barriers and poor parental involvement.

CCSD has two incentives.

Teachers, whether they are licensed or not, are paired with mentors.

CCSD's executive director of recruitment and development Meg Nigro says Zoom Schools and other programs help attract teachers to at-risk schools.

"All of our zoom elementary schools, they have a longer school year so they do get paid more as well as some of our turnaround schools," Nigro said.

After three weeks on the job, substitute teachers receive $150 daily, instead of $90 or $100 dollars daily.

Depending on the at-risk school, licensed teachers could make an extra $12,000 annually. However, Nigro says many substitutes, who have a college degree, are getting free training through the district to obtain a license.

CCSD only hopes they choose to say.

"The beauty is we'll be able to hire them into that position, provided everything goes well and we don't have to disrupt the classroom," Nigro said.

Skorkowsky says he is working with the education association to figure out the incentives to change that for the schools that need it the most.


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