How to Find Staffing for K-12 Education

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Due to a confluence of various issues, America is facing an unprecedented shortage of qualified teachers. Between 2020 and 2022, around 300,000 public school educators and staff left their job, and many more are considering leaving or retiring early. Public and private schools around the country are struggling with K-12 staffing, with an estimated 30-50,000 empty public school teaching jobs alone that need to be filled.

If you’re an administrator or looking to hire teachers, it’s a tough time finding workers who are not only qualified, but passionate about the students and able to make the connections that make education so invaluable to society. Many districts have waived or lowered requirements for teachers, and are still having trouble finding candidates.

Potential Solutions

In education, it’s all about finding the solution to a problem. Let’s look at some of the ways that administrative hiring staff can find workers to fill open positions quickly and effectively. 

Educational Staffing Agencies

This is a tried and true method that many other fields have used successfully for decades. With the rise in teacher shortages, it’s something that many districts and administrators have opened up to.

Staffing agencies provide many benefits for those who are looking to hire workers. Some of these include:

  • More candidates to choose from
  • Higher quality candidates 
  • Reduced overhead costs 
  • Ability to fill short-term positions
  • Easier to find specialized staff (SLPs, school nurses, etc.)
  • Less training time and fewer risks
  • The agency handles onboarding and payroll issues
  • The employer can get a feel for the worker before hiring full time

It’s easy to see why many fields, from nursing to education and more, are utilizing the services of staffing agencies. It’s the quickest and easiest way to fill positions quickly, and it saves time, money, and effort for those in charge of hiring workers. In addition, it provides a much wider pool of candidates to choose from, giving you more options and specialized workers who have the qualifications you need.

When you go through a staffing agency, they take on a lot of the responsibility that is usually delegated to the school, such as working out contracts, ensuring certifications are up to date, recruiting and interviewing, and dealing with any issues the employee may have. If you need staff now, there are really no better options available short of traditional advertising and recruitment, which doesn’t guarantee workers in the same way an agency can.

School-to-Teacher Pipeline

Many districts have realized that they have a pool of candidates already available to them in the form of students, and they can grow and develop teachers from within the very walls of their classrooms. Many districts have utilized this program successfully, but it has some downsides as well. 

The main detraction from this strategy is that it is a long-term plan. It can take years or even longer to turn a student candidate into a qualified and licensed teacher. Also, the candidate might just use the program as a stepping stone, and leave when they can or if they get a better offer. 

However, this is a viable strategy that produces teachers that are familiar with the environment and culture, as well as being a strong investment into your community. The first step is to identify students who have an interest in being teachers and work to make the process of transitioning from a student to an employee easier. 

Other Staffing Strategies

Beyond these two methods, there are not very many options available. It’s smart to advertise on social media, as many younger candidates rely on these networks to find jobs. Utilize every means of advertising you can, whether it’s websites or social media to cast your net wider and find more candidates.

Another way you can find workers is by offering higher pay, although this has obvious downsides for the district. Additionally, to recruit younger staff, always make sure your application and hiring process is paperless, streamlined, and efficient, as this will help you onboard people more effectively. 

It’s a tough time to be in charge of hiring in education. Staffing has gotten so bad that some districts are even resorting to bringing in the National Guard to teach students and work in classrooms.

Don’t let it get to this point, as no one really wants to be taught by someone wearing a military uniform, and students and staff commonly report that this causes apprehension and a negative effect on their classroom experience. With the proper tools and effort, it’s possible to find workers that will successfully integrate into your classrooms and stay there. 

Treat your staff well, show them real appreciation, and pay a competitive wage, and you will be able to keep workers with you longer, leading to a more positive school culture and more reliable staff. However, when you’re in need a staffing agency is the most effective, economical, and practical solution to staffing issues in education. 

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