EDUCATION + SCHOOLS

Amid nationwide teacher shortage, Weber School District turns its focus to retention

May 16, 2023, 11:00 AM

weber county school district office pictured, the district says its not facing teacher shortage...

The Weber County School District Education Center is pictured in Washington Terrace on Friday, Oct. 9, 2020. (Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — A nationwide teacher shortage has some schools scrambling to fill positions, but Weber School District says it’s doing just fine. Instead, the district focuses on how to keep the teachers they already have, to avoid a shortage in the future.

WSD Community Relations Specialist Lane Findlay said the school district has been lucky not to have a major teacher shortage, but they still actively try to recruit.

“It’s not a crisis for us. We’re very fortunate.”

Instead of scrambling to fill spots, Findlay said WSD is working on teacher retention as a way to combat any future shortages.

Findlay pointed toward a 2018 study from The Consortium for Policy Research in Education that found that 44% of new teachers leave the field within five years of starting.

In response to that statistic, Findlay said, “We’re making sure that we have plenty of resources poured we have a very robust mentoring program for new teachers, making sure that they have all the help and support they need.”

But as far as hiring new teachers, WSD does have an incentive program — but doesn’t go as far as paying for college like other states are doing, as reported by The Washington Post.

Findlay said people can get hired by the school and then work toward getting their teaching certificate

The biggest shortage in Utah schools is for support staff. In 2022, school districts in Utah entered the school year with staff shortages for bus drivers, lunch staff and custodians.

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Amid nationwide teacher shortage, Weber School District turns its focus to retention