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Schools in search of math and science teachers

Posted at 5:49 PM, Jul 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-19 18:49:49-04

TULSA -- School districts in Green Country are working to fill their open teacher positions with just a month left until the beginning of the school year.

"We have been trying to attract some teachers from as far away as Florida, so we are trying to expand our outreach," Coy Nesbitt, director of school talent services for Tulsa Public Schools, said. 

Back in mid-June, Tulsa Public Schools had 151 positions to fill, after already filling 188 this year. They are now down to just 91 open spots.

Broken Arrow Public Schools had 108 vacancies and now they are left with 50.

Union went from 65 openings in June to 27 as of this week. 

Jenks had 25 openings and now it is just 18. 

"The goal is to make sure we have a teacher in each of those classrooms before the first day of school," Nesbitt said.

Several of the districts said they are most in need of special education, science and math teachers. 

TPS prioritized those jobs earlier in the school year because they know they are hardest to fill. 

They have started recruiting lawyers and engineers to teach math and science. It is part of a new program this year. TPS is trying to make it easier for people to transition into teaching from other professions. 

"Core members will be trained in classroom management, instructional practices this summer," Nesbitt said. "They are about done with their training. That has really been a benefit for us." 

TPS is having a career expo on July 28. It will be at Carver Middle School, Memorial High School, Clinton West Elementary and East Central Junior High. 

People who show up will be able to meet the principals and interview for jobs on the spot. Nesbitt said they will offer jobs to people at the expo. He said it is their best recruiting tool. 

Colleges, like OSU and NSU, are trying to encourage students to pursue jobs as math, science and special education teachers. 

In 2014, OSU started the OSUTeach program. It allows math and science majors to try out teaching. They are given $125 after they finish two recruitment classes, so there is no financial commitment. 

NSU has a grant that helps recruit students into areas that schools are seeing a shortage in.

They said about 12-percent of their education college graduate as special education, math and science teachers. That does not include people who graduate in education and take the certification test in one of those areas. 

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