School District reviews teacher hiring, retainment practices

By Nick Blank nick@claytodayonline.com
Posted 4/6/22

FLEMING ISLAND – Superintendent David Broskie presented a teacher recruitment and retention plan to board members last week as well as an overview of recent employee developments.

Broskie said …

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School District reviews teacher hiring, retainment practices

Posted

FLEMING ISLAND – Superintendent David Broskie presented a teacher recruitment and retention plan to board members last week as well as an overview of recent employee developments.

Broskie said the district has needs in every position, so the plan has to be wide-ranging. The district has 5,000 employees and is not exempt from labor shortages impacting the country, which has been dubbed, “The Great Resignation.”

“The people that we have are critical to the mission of the district,” he said.

Broskie said the bus driver and custodian shortages are not ideal in the county but fare better than in other districts. He added that the district is fully-staffed with nurses for the first time in a long time.

“When you look at it, the shortage of labor dramatically affects the quality of what we do and therefore we should be actively dealing with the situation more so than any other year,” Broskie said.

Education resembles a bidding war since starting teacher salaries were mandated to begin at $47,500. The “competition” as Broskie phrased it, extends to support personnel, also.

Though the district only has nine teaching vacancies and is at 90% of its substitute teacher staffing levels, a challenge is staffing for future schools, like Spring Park Elementary School in Green Cove Springs. Broskie said other organizations use district staff to hire employees and assign them a school.

“We’ve always been proud to use school-based hiring,” he said. “You actually meet the principal you’ll work for.”

Broskie also presented about a dozen recruiting fairs the district would attend. Clay County has advantages compared to districts in other states, Board Member Ashley Gilhousen said.

“There’s probably an advantage to being a Floridian right now,” Gilhousen said.

She asked about how the district can approach graduating seniors about substitute teaching younger grades, perhaps at a school they attended.

“You have students who have a love and a connection to the school they’re substituting in,” Gilhousen said. “I think that makes all the difference in the quality of a substitute teacher you get.”

For retainment, Broskie said teachers need support to stay. He said younger employees view jobs as mobile and said the district hired 363 new teachers in 2020-2021 school year and 350 new teachers for the 2021-2022 school year. For both school years, first-year teachers formed more than a third of total teacher hires.

“What support you give those folks in their first year of teaching really matters,” Broskie said. School-level support comes from administrators and support coaches. Broskie recalled facing a class of eighth-graders in 1989 early in his career. The plan strengthens the onboarding of new teachers, support and early training.

“I remember being scared out of my mind in front of a group of students, nothing really prepares you,” he added. “… Why wouldn’t we train people with habits that will benefit our students?”

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