School District scrambles to hire new teachers

LAS VEGAS - The start of the school year is two weeks away, but the Clark County School District still must fill 650 teaching positions.

CCSD officials say the teacher shortage is happening across the country with fewer college graduates majoring in education.

The school district is interviewing potential educators. CCSD officials say they hope to hire at least 200 teachers by the first day of school.

Most of the job openings are at elementary and at-risk schools. CCSD representatives say the school district filled some of the openings through the Alternate Route to Licensure Program, which is a six-week program that streamlines the teacher licensure process for people who have bachelor's degrees.

CCSD Chief Human Resources Officer Staci Vesneske maintains these teachers are just as qualified as those who went through more extensive training.

"I think a great teacher is a great teacher, and we know that from seeing them in the classroom and observing them in the classroom," she said. "We have great teachers from all routes, from traditional routes, alternative routes to licensure, Teach for America, which is also an alternative route to licensure."

If the school district cannot fill the teacher positions, it will heavily rely on substitute teachers. The school district has 4,300 long-term and short-term substitutes.

Long-term substitutes are expected to develop lesson plans to provide consistency to students. School principals are expected to work closely with substitutes and monitor their lesson plans.

Substitute teachers are not licensed in Nevada, but CCSD will provide the instructors with additional training.

"There's nothing that beats a regular certified teacher in the classroom," said CCSD Chief Student Achievement Officer Mike Barton. "Our goal is to make sure that long-term subs, while not the ideal situation, that they're prepared, that they're ready, and that they're going to give us some consistency in those classes."

In addition to the full-time teacher positions, CCSD is looking to hire 200 more substitute teachers. The school district also has job openings in other areas, such as bus drivers and food service workers.

Learn more about CCSD job opportunities

Student enrollment in Clark County is growing. The county has 315,000 students, and enrollment is expected to grow by 3,000 students. CCSD representatives say the district will likely exceed that number.


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