HOUSTON — The new school year may be the last thing on students' minds right now but teachers start back in a little more than a month in both Houston and Cy-Fair ISDs which are two of Texas’s top three largest districts.
Both are working, like many others, to make sure classrooms are equipped with certified educators but HISD had about 950 vacancies with “teacher” in the title according to data on the district’s application site on Tuesday.
"It seems high to me,” Houston Federation of Teachers president Jackie Anderson said.
Anderson said having hundreds of openings during the summer isn’t unusual. But retirements, resignations and folks leaving the profession amid the pandemic may have taken a greater toll this year.
"That’s what has happened, it has driven that number up a little bit more than it was,” Anderson said.
Cy-Fair ISD reported 678 teacher vacancies as of Tuesday. But 138 teacher recommendations are being processed, which will drop the number to 540 if all are approved.
"The biggest challenge I think right now is just finding certified teachers," HISD talent acquisition senior manager Alejandro Gonzalez said during a previous interview with KHOU 11. "People that just want to come into the profession."
His office continuously participates in job fairs and other events.
HISD shared a post on social media pushing its alternative certification program, new starting teacher salary and stipends of up to $5,000.
Applications for the program are open on HISD's website.
The program is free for those who accept teaching positions in the district.
“HISD's strategic plan places world-class talent at the center of our work, and the vision of the strategic plan is attracting interest from many new and veteran educators,” said HISD Chief Talent Officer Jeremy Grant-Skinner.
Those are among the recent changes Anderson said she hopes will help with recruitment.
"I think that HISD’s going to be a better place to work probably than it has been in a long time,” Anderson said.
Cy-Fair ISD has a virtual job fair scheduled for July 12.
Many other districts in our area are also hosting events over the next few weeks.
Here's more information regarding teacher vacancies via Houston ISD and the answers to questions we asked:
- HISD has 950 certified teacher openings as of this morning in addition to more than 100 other teaching positions. Is that high, low, or average for this time of year? The number of teacher vacancies shown today is a bit higher, but not significantly different, than in previous years. We've attracted hundreds more candidates for teaching positions this year than last year. At the same time, HISD is not immune to the national impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on teachers and other educators.
- What's being done to try and fill the jobs between now and the first day of school? HISD's strategic plan places world-class talent at the center of our work, and the vision of the strategic plan is attracting interest from many new and veteran educators. We're beginning to implement the most competitive compensation increases of anyone around, based on the newly approved budget. In addition, we've offered a range of incentives to recruit and retain teachers, especially in our highest need content areas.
- HISD is offering $2,000 signing bonuses for all new teachers.
- HISD is offering $5,000 stipends for all special education teachers and bilingual education teachers.
- HISD is offering $5,000 stipends for some new teachers in critical shortage areas.
- HISD is offering a free Alternative Certification Program for candidates who want to change careers and become teachers.
- What happens if hundreds of jobs are not filled? HISD continues to have success hiring teachers and the district will evaluate its staffing needs as we approach the 2022-2023 school year.
Katy ISD said it has about 200 vacant teaching positions.
"The District continues to recruit and hire qualified individuals to fill vacancies throughout the summer," Katy ISD said in a statement.