LAS VEGAS -- Some of the youngest minds in Clark County will begin the upcoming year with a substitute teacher, instead of a licensed educator.
Clark County School District announced Friday it is still in need of 650 teachers despite being weeks away from the start of school. The district says the biggest need is at-risk elementary schools.
There are several reasons why the district is in this tight spot: enrollment has increased, there is a national teacher shortage and CCSD's starting salary of $36,000 isn't as competitive as other cities.
The district is trying to turn lemons into lemonade by giving substitutes extra support.
It is the last day of year-round school at Forbuss Elementary School, but it will soon be the first day of the only career Carol Zavala has ever wanted.
The education major is applying for a teacher's aide position until she finishes school
"I actually just came back from a mission trip in Central America and I was surrounded by so many amazing kids and it was just like so breathtaking and life changing," Zavala said.
CCSD needs hundreds more passionate people like Zavala.
It is currently hiring 650 teachers, 200 substitute teachers and 100 instructional aides. It expects to hire roughly 200 teachers before school starts.
Chief student achievement officer Mike Barton says that means more than 400 substitutes will fill Las Vegas valley classrooms.
"Everyone wants to have a certified teacher at the front of the classroom. We know that is the best. That is the ideal situation. However, we were in a predicament where we had the shortage," Barton said.
So, CCSD is trying to make sure substitutes are exposed to the same support as teachers.
"We're going to ensure that instructional coaches, who provide professional development, are not just providing it to our full-time teachers but if we have a long term substitute in a school, elementary in particular, that they are exposed to the professional development that is occurring across the district for all of our teachers," Barton said.
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