Chatt. Co. Schools facing teacher shortage; national program could help

(Source: WTVM)
Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 11:04 PM EDT
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CHATTAHOOCHEE COUNTY, Ga. (WTVM) - Only a couple of days into the new school year, districts are still fighting an uphill battle against the coronavirus pandemic. But along with that, there is a nationwide teacher shortage.

“The shortage of teachers is absolutely apparent. And its really not just teachers - it is the entire support staff,” explained Chattahoochee County Superintendent Dr. Kristie Brooks.

Brooks says the school system is looking to fill several vacant positions.

Looking for the right candidate to teach children in a rural area is always hard, but add in a pandemic and a nationwide shortage of teachers - ”It is a difficult one to fill,” Brooks said.

A possible solution is Elevate K-12. It’s a Chicago-based instruction-technology company already being used in many districts across the nation.

In essence, it brings high-quality live streaming instruction into K-12 classrooms that solves shortage challenges, overuse of long-term substitutes, or low-quality teachers.

”When live teaching is done right, it can be extremely impactful. We have shown it in our data,” said Shaily Baranwal, CEO of Elevate K-12.

Baranwal started the program shortly after graduating college with a teaching degree. At that moment, she noticed that fewer and fewer people majoring in education.

”Every year, the percentage of students entering into teacher certification programs is dropping by 10%,” she explained.

Dr. Brooks says, while COVID certainly accelerated teacher hardships, other things like lack of relative pay and emotional barriers are also a contributing factor to teachers leaving the industry altogether.

“They aren’t just doing their job they are carrying the emotions of those connections with children and families and it is easy to get burned out,” Brooks said.

The most important positions that need to be filled in Chattahoochee County are special education teachers, substitute teachers, and bus drivers.

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