Springfield Public Schools combats teacher shortage
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Springfield Public School leaders say 257 teachers decided to leave the district last spring. Administrators have been working all summer to fill those positions.
While teachers play a vital role in our children’s education, that is not the only position SPS leaders want to fill.
Last spring Springfield Public Schools saw a 30% increase in the number of teachers either retiring or resigning from the district. Since the end of the school year last year, the district has been working to fill all of these positions. Deputy Superintendent John Mulford says there are only a few positions left, but they should be filled by the end of the week.
“Where our need mainly lies at this point in time is in the support staff,” said Mulford. “So we still need to hire about an additional 10 to 15 minimum bus drivers. We have about 30 paraprofessional professional positions, which are classroom aides. And then we also have around 30 custodial positions we’re looking to fill.”
While the district was able to fill the teaching positions, several support staff positions are open that are just as important to a child’s education.
“Everyone who works in the district is an educator in some capacity, and they support each other,” said Mulford. “Bus drivers and the bus aides get our kids to and from school. They are essential in that regard. Many kids will not be able to attend school without that support. The food service workers provide breakfast and lunch each and every day. We have tight schedules at school to get through everything we need to get through. If we don’t have enough staff, that either limit what options we can provide for kids or limits our ability to get them through lunch and breakfast time in an efficient manner.”
Some of these positions require a college education, but SPS will train you on-site for others.
“Classroom aides are the teacher’s right hand,” said Mulford. “They’re there because they’re needed, whether it be serving special needs students or larger classroom that needs extra adult support. So there are many things they do to support the instruction directly. They provide individualized and small group tutoring at times.”
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