FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – As Fort Wayne Community Schools begins the 2021-22 school year, staff are actively trying to fill dozens of open teacher positions throughout the district.
Talent Acquisition and Retention Manager Kody Tinnel says the district still needs to fill about 75 permanent positions, or about 4% of the total teacher workforce. Considering a stressful school year, more than 100 teachers retiring at the end of last year, and the workforce expanding with new programs like the FWCS virtual academy, Tinnel believes staffing is in decent shape.
“The fact that we are where we are with our teacher numbers, in spite of the pandemic, in spite of some of the changes in addition to teaching staffing, we’re pretty confident about where we are this school year,” Tinnel said.
The areas of greatest need are in math, science, special education. Along with those departments, Tinnel says FWCS is looking to hire around 100 substitute teachers, if not more.
As part of FWCS recruitment efforts, staff have reached out to recently retired teachers to gauge their interest in returning to the classroom. Tinnel says FWCS is offering incentives like flexible scheduling and a $2,500 per semester bonus to any teacher who is interested in coming out of retirement. So far, Tinnel’s team has talked with a few of these former teachers who have expressed interest.
With most full-time teaching positions filled, Tinnel believes there will not be any trickle-down effect on classroom sizes.
“If anything, you’ll probably see more qualified adults around,” Tinnel said. “We’ve also hired some additional teachers for class size reductions, to just make sure as we try to claw back from that learning loss that we have enough qualified teachers around for our students.”
FWCS is also looking to fill hundreds of support staff positions such as bus drivers, instructional assistants and nutritional service workers. Those who are interested in applying for an open teacher position can apply on the FWCS website.