TULSA — The Tulsa Public Schools district is headed into the 2020-21 school year with fewer educators and support staff than they’d hoped.
In addition to changing the regular classroom setting from in-person to distance learning, they are still looking for educators and support staff to hire before the semester starts on Aug. 31.
At last check, TPS spokesperson told 2 Works For You News that there are several openings in the district:
- 100 certified teacher openings
- 2 assistance school leader openings
- 25 open bus driver slots
- 6 special needs assistant bus driver open slots
- 30 vacant positions in the custodial department
For some departments, like Special Education, that’s usual, but COVID-19 has made them step up their planning to keep their shorting from affecting students.
Debbie Renz is the Executive Director of Exceptional Student Support in TPS. Renz said there are currently 30 open teacher positions and several teacher support positions open in her department.
“We have been working diligently with our talent acquisition staff to find educators,” Renz said. “Those are our hopes that we can fill those positions but in the event that we can not, we have consolidation plans that will still provide the same ratio.”
Renz said a collaborative effort is vital in facing the multiple hurdles the district and parents are facing for the virtual start of the new year.
“It can work, it definitely can work, it's just going to take a lot of collaboration and communication with parents,” Renz confidently affirmed. “There will be a lot of creative scheduling in a school day obviously.”
The Exceptional Student Support Department has 305 ESS Teachers ready to start the year along with 344 paraprofessionals.
“We could always use more educators, but we can definitely make it work with the staff we have now,” Renz said.
Renz said many of her colleagues and herself are encouraging those who have a talent for connecting with students to apply and not let COVID-19 concerns prevent an application from being turned in.
“Regardless of how a teacher wants to join us,” Renz said, “there are opportunities to connect with kids through distance learning so no one should be concerned about that.”
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