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More teachers needed in South Bend and Elkhart

Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 5:47 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) -The pandemic is at least partially to blame for a whole lot of teacher vacancies.

“We have a pandemic, a very aggressive work market right now with a lot of just openings that are available, not only in our district but in our surrounding areas,” Kamika Valmond says. She is the Human Resources Director for the South Bend Community School Corporation.

Last year was a strange year for students across the country and right here in Michiana. Now going into this school year, Elkhart Community Schools and South Bend Community Schools have a lot of open teaching jobs.

“And the fact that everyone is just coming out of a pandemic and a lot of uncertainty out there is leaving us in a place where there is just a lot of vacancies right now,” Valmond adds.

So how many vacancies are we talking about? Well between South Bend and Elkhart it is well over 100. So where are these teachers going? Here is what I heard from the South Bend School Corporation.

https://sb.tedk12.com/hire/index.aspx

“Some, with the pandemic again, the uncertainty that some people have in just their personal lives, and trying to figure out what is next step for them and their families,” Valmond says. “Also just your normal attrition that happens within school districts.”

Elkhart Community Schools has 73 teacher openings as of last check.

https://www.applitrack.com/ElkhartIN/onlineapp/default.aspx?Category=Teacher

In South Bend, they say the pay is what will help teachers say.

“We are now very competitive in our teacher’s salaries that we have across our neighboring districts,” Valmond says.

Elkhart Schools had a referendum that failed back in May and that would have increased teacher salaries.

https://www.wndu.com/2021/05/06/elkhart-teachers-react-to-referendum-not-passing/

If you are looking for a teaching spot, Elkhart and South Bend have plenty of jobs, and teaching our youth is important work.

“When my students, as a mother, go through with teachers, they build relationships. They make an impact in their lives. So to know that I could be on the other end and providing that support for those teachers to make an impact on our childrens’ lives, is nothing more rewarding.”

Here is the full statement from Elkhart Community Schools:

For the past several years, school districts across the state have faced shortages in teaching staff, and Elkhart Community Schools is no exception. During any given year, Elkhart Community Schools anticipates filling 90-100 educator vacancies due to retirement, leaves of absences, and resignations. While we have found many outstanding candidates for our teaching positions as we start the new school year, we are faced with a teacher shortage. The reasons vary for a teacher shortage, especially in the wake of the pandemic and low levels of unemployment outside the field of education. While many teachers are leaving the profession entirely, we also find a hesitancy from some staff to return to a physical classroom, and we have early retirements. We are also challenged with a lower starting pay for new teachers, which was a driver for the recent referendum that was turned down by voters last May.

More than ever, we need teachers who are passionate about educating students and making a difference in the lives of children and families. We need educators and support staff who will inspire, teach, and lead our students to academic excellence and position them for success in life. We encourage anyone who is committed to improving the lives of our students and community to apply via our website for one of our open positions; whether it is a teacher position or a support position, we have a place for anyone who is truly committed to our mission. Open positions can be found by visiting: elkhart.k12.in.us and by clicking on “Employment” at the top of the page.-Elkhart Community Schools Superintendent, Dr. Steve Thalheimer

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