Fairfax Co. begins hiring for next school year, with focus on STEM, Title I schools

Welcome to the School Zone, WTOP’s weekly feature about the latest topics and trends in education across the D.C. region.

DC-area school systems begin hiring for next school year 

What it is: Though it’s only a month into the second half of the current school year, school systems across the D.C. region have already started hiring for the 2023-24 academic year.

In Fairfax County, Virginia, the state’s largest school system is kicking of its efforts with its first official job fair. The event is slated for Saturday, with an in-person fair scheduled from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and a virtual job fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

What it means: Dean Brooks, a Fairfax County Public Schools recruitment administrator, said the school system hires between 1,800 and 2,400 teachers every year. The county employs 16,000 teachers, he said.

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Title I schools — those with large shares of students from low-income families — are the focus of Saturday’s job event.

Vacancies for high school classes in STEM subjects are considered what Brooks called “high-needs areas or critical shortage areas.” Special education teachers also fall under that category, he said.

Regional snapshot: Complicating recruitment efforts across the country, Brooks said, is the fact that fewer people are going to school to become teachers. Still, he said the county has partnerships and events with George Mason University, Hampton University and the University of Virginia, among others.

Candidates from places like California, Hawaii and Oregon are scheduled to attend the virtual portion of the job fair, Brooks said. The county also recruits in places like Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico.

Montgomery County, Maryland, Public Schools detailed some of its hiring trends at a school board meeting this week. The county has on average the highest paid teachers in the state, chief operating officer Brian Hull said.

This school year, 1,006 teachers were hired as of mid-October — 47% of them were first-year teachers. Forty-four percent of new hires are coming from the D.C. region, the school system said.

Talking points: Brooks, with Fairfax County, said, “It is a very competitive time. And we’ve worked really hard in our school division, as others [have], to try to meet the needs of the growing demand and needs for teachers within our school division.”

Tomas Rivera-Figueroa, Montgomery County’s supervisor of teacher recruitment, said, “We want to recruit candidates who reflect our community.”

By the numbers
Some data that caught WTOP’s attention this week.

Arlington overdoses: There have been four juvenile overdoses in Arlington, Virginia, so far this year, compared to eight in 2022, according to county police data. After a student’s apparent overdose at Wakefield High School, Arlington Public Schools said it’s reviewing camera placement and considering ways to increase the availability of naloxone

What Scott’s Reading

  • The pandemic missing: The kids who didn’t go back to school [WTOP]
  • Va. family sues fraternity for $28M over pledge’s hazing death [WTOP]
  • Fairfax County after-school program connects teenagers, young kids through music, art [WTOP]
  • Parents at school where boy, 6, shot teacher prepare to sue [WTOP]
  • For D.C. teacher Bill Webb, school picture day went on for years [Washington Post]
  • APS transitioning to new grading style but many parents are giving it poor marks [ARLNow]
  • Anti-trans threats prompt Bells Mill ES to take PTA meeting online, launch investigation [MoCo360]

Field Trip
Here’s a fun thought ahead of the weekend.

Themed party: We’re headed to a friend’s birthday party, with a creative theme: inappropriate wedding attire. What would you wear?

Scott Gelman

Scott Gelman is a digital editor and writer for WTOP. A South Florida native, Scott graduated from the University of Maryland in 2019. During his time in College Park, he worked for The Diamondback, the school’s student newspaper.

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