back to school

‘We Need You': San Diego Parents, Faculty Prepare for Back-to-School Amid Teacher Shortage

NBC Universal, Inc.

Many San Diego families are getting ready to go back to school. The San Diego County Office of Education held a resource fair Sunday at San Diego State University to help parents prepare for the school year. The event was also an opportunity for school districts to attract new teachers.

“We need you. We need teachers,” said LeShae Sharp-Collins, Community Engagement Specialist with the San Diego County of Education.

Sharp-Collins helped bring districts and other local groups together for the resource fair on Sunday. Booths were set up where parents can learn about things such as school choice and affordable childcare. Districts were also trying to recruit teachers and other school employees. People who are considering a career in education were being helped through the process.

“I’m thinking of doing something along the lines of teaching so that’s why I came here to see what I could do. They can guide me,” said Nazia Mahmoud, a San Diego woman.

Mahmoud attended the fair with her friend Asma Salat. The women have more time on their hands now that their children are older. They think it’s a perfect time to learn new skills and give back to the community.

“Go to college again, and maybe study more and maybe one day become a teacher. Let’s hope for it,” said Salat.

In San Diego County, the ongoing teacher shortage was made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. The shortage is statewide. A January report by the Learning Policy Institute found that some of California's largest districts had 10% of vacancies that were unfilled at the start of the school year.

“We’re looking for people across the district, both classified teaching and non-teaching positions,” said Meg Jacobson, Assistant Superintendent at La Mesa-Spring Valley Schools.

“We’re seeing a shortage, especially with our classified staff. For example, classroom aides are who we are looking for support in the classroom,” Jacobson added.

Requirements for school jobs vary depending on the position. Some don't require a bachelor’s degree. The County Office of Education is trying to guide people toward the needed training as school districts work to fill their vacant jobs.

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