Statewide teacher shortage impacting local districts

EAST SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — An ongoing cycle of teacher shortages is putting some school districts across the state in a tough spot.

Some school districts are scrambling to find enough teachers to ensure every classroom is covered. Something East Syracuse-Minoa is mindful of, with the district staying up to date with its recruitment efforts.

“It has become more challenging in recent years,” said Dr. Donna DeSiato, superintendent of East Syracuse-Minoa Central School District.

A challenge to fill and secure open positions, with New York State’s United Teachers Union reporting teacher education programs have declined 53% since 2009. State officials are estimating more than 180,000 new teachers will be needed in the next 10 years.

“In the teaching ranks alone, we have at least 10 to 15 or more positions right now that we know are open anywhere from pre-k through 12,” said Dr. DeSiato.

Key areas of need are math, science and special education. East Syracuse-Minoa expects that number to grow over the next several months.

“Computer science is also an area. We happen to also have career and technical education programs. So that’s a really very highly-specialized field, so we’re very mindful whenever one of those openings occurs,” said Dr. DeSiato.

The districts say more recently, it’s seen some of the impacts move into areas such as elementary grades or special areas requiring additional degrees, like a school psychologist.

“We used to have literally hundreds and hundreds of applications. Now we may have 40 or 50 applications to where we used to have hundreds in the area of elementary education. But in the areas of math, science, school psychologist, special education teachers, we may have a handful of applications. And we’re competing with all the area districts for those particular candidates,” said Dr. DeSiato.

COVID-19 plays a major role, but also retirement and just not enough people wanting to into the education field.

“I think we are in a period of time in which people are able to make choices, so we’re constantly recruiting for all of those areas as well,” said Dr. DeSiato.

The district says at this point, it’s confident that all open positions will be filled before the new school year starts in the fall.

“I can say that because I think we also work hard with regard to being a school district that has a very clear plan. We have a predictability, and I think that’s what people are looking for,” Dr. DeSiato said. “I came into this profession to be able to do what I love doing, which is teaching and learning, and I also want to be in a system that’s going to be planning for a future that has a sustainability. So we’re working hard at that so that we can communicate to those who will recruit that are being recruited that this is a place that you’ll want to work and you’ll want to stay so that hopefully you can make an impact here. And we trust that those that we recruit here will make an impact.”

Hoping to ease the burden and fill the ranks.

Click here to find out what positions are available.

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