Volusia schools looks to hire 700 instructors, support roles ahead of next year

Click Orlando | By Molly Reed | May 25, 2023

Classroom behavioral issues still a concern for many

DELAND, Fla. – It’s the last week of school for many Central Florida students, but it’s also the time in which school districts start ramping up efforts to fill vacancies before the next school year.

The national teacher shortage still hitting most districts hard. In fact, the latest numbers from Volusia County schools show over 700 vacancies going into next school year.

Elizabeth Albert with the teacher’s union said that number could also grow even higher over the summer if more staff retire or leave.

“We don’t have a problem with recruitment in Volusia County,” said Albert, President of Volusia United Educators.

She said the problem is retention. The district reported 351 instructional vacancies it needs to fill by next school year — on top of 372 support roles.

Besides retiring, the top reasons that those who are leaving gave were personal reasons: either leaving the district or field altogether, family, health or job dissatisfaction.

“Working in public schools is becoming harder and harder every single day,” Albert said.

She said teachers are facing more challenges with curriculum and mandates that are unfunded from the state, such as certifications they must pay out of pocket.

Plus, she said behavioral issues with students are at an all-time high.

“What would have been a challenging behavior say four, five years ago is something you would hope to deal with anymore,” Albert said.

The district is working to improve its Student Code of Conduct. At its board meeting Tuesday night, it presented that some offenses such as bringing drugs on campus will result in higher penalties.

Albert said that’s a good starting point but won’t fix the problem.

“What I would have liked to have seen was some very specific language centered on violence and disruption. That has got to be priority number one,” she said. “If someone is coming into that environment and they’ve decided that they’re going to be disruptive and limit or impede the learning ability of everybody else in the classroom, then they need to be removed.”

The district said it has also worked this Spring to create programs it’s about to launch to help support teachers and hopefully keep them around longer.

“As we’re bringing on more people and hiring more people all of the time, a lot of those people come from various worlds. They’re not all necessarily all from a traditional teacher education program path,” Recruitment and Retention Coordinator Tiffany Fueller said.

Fueller said they are starting a mentorship program and redoing their New Teacher Academy so that those who were just hired have a better grasp on how to handle the classroom now.

“It’s job-embedded support with on-the-job training. They’re seeing what the work looks like and seeing demonstration and showcase classrooms to know how to do the work they’re being trained to do,” she said.

The district is holding two job fairs next week:

  • Tuesday, May 30 at Daytona State College in Deltona, 2351 Providence Blvd. from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Wednesday, May 31 at Horizon Elementary School in Port Orange, 4751 Hidden Lake Drive from 4 – 7 p.m.
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