Teacher shortage areas continue to impact rural school districts

Updated: Jul. 24, 2018 at 5:48 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - A teacher shortage area is a specific region or subject without an adequate amount of elementary and secondary level teachers.

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According to recent data released by the Texas Education Agency, Mathematics, Special Education and ESL, or English as a second language, top the list among hardest to fill teacher shortage areas.

Andy Nies, River Road ISD's assistant superintendent, said teacher shortage areas continue to be felt the hardest within rural and smaller area school districts.

"Recently, we were trying to fill a position and all of the certified candidates coming out of that program were all going to the metroplex to teach because they wanted to go to the big city," said Nies.

He added that River Road ISD tries its best to compete with larger surrounding districts that may offer higher salaries.

"We try to do a lot of things just to make our faculty and staff feel appreciated and feel like they are part of a family," said Nies.

As a way to help teacher shortage areas, the TEA allows qualified districts the opportunity to reward teachers for their hard work with loan forgiveness programs.

"If they're in a program and they're trying to receive that loan forgiveness, we are going to do everything we can to help those individuals," said Nies.

Pampa Independent School District officials said despite how challenging it may be to hire quality teachers, it is the responsibility of each district to make sure all students have access to the best possible educational experience.

"We do feel it's our job to bring those people into our communities and into our districts to have an impact on kids," said Pampa ISD Associate Superintendent for HR Nathan Maxwell.

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