HOUSTON — Wednesday is another big day for parents and kids across the Houston area, with 17 districts heading back to class. Hundreds of thousands of kids returned to school Wednesday.
Aldine ISD is one of them and they hosted a welcome back rally. Students at Teague Middle School were welcomed back, with a huge sign, cheering, music, dancing and balloons.
“The energy is amazing. I feel like these kids will really feel welcomed,” Laketha Tolbert, a cheerleader at Nimitz High School.
Teague Middle School Principal Gerald Schattle is a former student. He is now a school leader who greeted parents, kids, and teachers before class began.
“Good morning! We’re here and game-time ready,” he said.
As Aldine ISD went back to school, it was an exciting time, but it was also a challenging one. More than 250 teaching positions remained open. Schattle said they’re even having a private job fair to get more applicants.
“If you’re interested in teaching at Teague Middle School, we have a few vacancies," he said. "We are trying to get the right people.”
Some former students got current students pumped about the new school year.
“I remember on my first day, here I was so nervous," Tolbert said. So, I feel like to come back to a school I went to and show love is great.”
Talk about a great way to welcome this school community back.
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District leaders reached out to 500 retired teachers, hoping they’ll help with the staffing shortage. The district said the elementary schools are almost fully staffed. However, they still need English teachers at their high schools.
“When you consider we have 84 campuses, you have to put those kinds of things in perspective," Superintendent Dr. Latonya M. Goffney said. So, we're really excited and really pleased with the progress our HR department is making as well as our campus leadership.”
Teacher staffing is a nationwide problem and pay is part of it. According to the National Education Association, the national average for teacher salary is just over $66,000, but Texas falls below that number. When it comes to pay and inflation, they said teachers are actually making about $2,100 less than they did 10 years ago.