The Philadelphia School District recruits 900 teachers

The Philadelphia School District wants to employ 900 teachers for the 2022-23 school year.

The number of new workers – about one-tenth of the teachers’ current workforce – represented about the same number that the county must recruit each year to replace those who resign and retire. And although it’s heading into a new recruiting season with some county classes still without a teacher, Larissa Shambo, the county’s chief talent officer, said it would be wrong to focus on resigning in the middle of the year.

“We have 9,100 teachers, the vast majority of whom remained during this period,” Shambo said at a news conference starting the campaign on Thursday.

The campaign, called “Teach Today, a Year Tomorrow,” comes amid a difficult year for educators everywhere, the third to be affected by the COVID-19 epidemic, and at the same time the county continues to struggle with mid-year resignations. The number of teachers in Philadelphia who left between mid-December and February 15 increased by 200%, to 169, compared to the same period last school year, and 93% compared to the same period in 2019-20, the last before the epidemic.

Shambo said the county started the school year with 98% staffed and is now staffed with about 96.5%. Although it hired about 150 teachers from December to March, the erosion means there are still vacancies.

Jennifer Felix, a Kensington health science teacher, said this year’s ‘really hard’ is another reason for those eager to teach Philadelphia children to join the county.

The school system “needs people who truly believe in the potential of our children – the specific children we teach,” said Felix, who has been a teacher for 23 years and a district teacher for six years.

β€œIn Philadelphia, I found different programs and fresh ideas, a community of teachers who loved to teach and learn,” Felix said.

One way the county hopes to increase its teacher pipeline is through pathways that equip pre-professionals to become classroom teachers. The school board has just agreed to spend $ 2.5 million on two-year programs that will provide professionals with free tuition at Cheney University, Lasalle University, Drexel University or Unbound College.

Christopher Rox, a former district assistant in special education, used an existing teacher residency with Temple University to make the leap to teacher. He is a resident of Mayfair Elementary School this year, and will soon become a certified special education teacher.

β€œI decided to go to education because I want to help the students of our big city overcome their emotional and educational social challenges,” Rox said. Residency has parted ways, he said.

The average teacher salary in the county is about $ 82,000; Her starting teacher salary will rise to $ 50,000 in the fall.

All teachers will receive a $ 1,000 bonus in the fall, and some will be eligible for $ 5,000 retention bonuses – divided into two years – if they stay until June 2024.

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