ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A teaching shortage has been seen across the country and in our region.
At the start of summer, RCSD saw a vacancy of roughly 350 teachers.
Now, the district says they’ve filled those positions. However, not every new teacher may be fully certified.
District leaders have said those who aren’t completely certified are in the process of doing so. Camille Simmons, one of the board of education’s commissioners, says the district has a plan in place to ensure every classroom is covered.
“We’re not just pulling in the bodies, but we’re following up to make sure there’s a plan for certification. I do expect administration will be sharing those plans in the coming weeks,” Simmons said.
In an effort to gauge staffing levels, the Rochester Teachers Association is conducting a weekly study for all city schools. From the first week, the union’s president says 18 schools responded with a little more than two dozen unfilled teaching positions in 13 of the schools.
Simmons says she is optimistic based on the progress RCSD made in recruitment this summer.
She also says the district should be held accountable.
“The nuance or concern is, of course, that certification. If I’m trying to learn how to read, if literacy is something important to me, I want to make sure a teacher that is qualified to teach me in literacy and is certified to do so is in position,” Simmons said.
Some RCSD teachers News 8 has spoken to in the past have said they’ve had to take on extra responsibility, including more classes, over the lack of staff.
Simmons says she wants to eliminate that potential burden, ensuring all students receive the best education possible.
“We want to make sure that, first and foremost, our students are coming to a school environment that is safe and also a school environment in which they can learn. Having this follow-up plan and knowing the foresight to have a plan in place keeps me excited and optimistic about what the outcome can be,” Simmons said.
News 8 has reached out to the district asking for more on its future plans with existing staff as well as new hires and was told by a spokesperson the district is gathering that information.
In the meantime, the Rochester Teachers Association plans to continue its weekly study of staffing for at least the next few months.