Prince George’s, other school districts are still searching for teachers

WASHINGTON — From national conventions to local recruitment fairs, regional school systems have been on the hunt for teachers, especially in those hard-to-fill subject areas such as foreign languages and special education.

In Prince George’s County, Maryland, which was hit with accusations of grade fixing in order to boost graduation rates, school CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell said recruitment has not been hurt.

When officials go to national conventions in search of new talent, he said, attendees are impressed with the school system’s offerings.

“When our folks go places, people listen to the things that we’re doing here,” Maxwell said. “The immersion programs that we have, the two international high schools that we have, the academy of health sciences that we have, the three science and tech magnets that we have” are all a draw for teacher talent, he said.

There are vacancies in subject areas that prove difficult to fill.

“Special education is always one of them,” he said.

Filling foreign language slots is tough as well.

“English language learner teachers are sometimes difficult to find,” Maxwell said. “Across the country, there’s a large, growing population of English language learners.”

That means school systems are competing from the same pool of talent to fill those jobs.

On Wednesday, with 100 vacancies to fill, Prince George’s County held a job fair for prospective teachers. By the day’s end, they’d filled 50 of those positions, and Maxwell expected the remaining 50 vacant slots to shrink by the time school starts Sept. 6.

By comparison, in Loudoun County, Virginia, 800 teachers have been hired, with about 30 vacancies remaining, according to Wayde Byard, communications officer for Loudoun County Public Schools.

Montgomery County, Maryland, has hired 860 new teachers for the coming academic year, said Gboyinde Onijala of the county’s Public Education Department.

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