(Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner)

Stemming SFUSD’s teacher shortage

I wholeheartedly loved working as a teacher at George Washington Carver Elementary School in Hunters Point. Spending my days with curious young people and helping them learn about themselves and the world is a joy like no other.

I’m thrilled that others agree that being an educator is rewarding: for the third year in a row, our schools began the 2019-20 school year with 99 percent of classrooms staffed. This is a major shift from four years ago when SFUSD, along with many districts, opened schools with dozens of vacancies due to the state and national teacher shortage.

This change didn’t happen on a whim. It’s taken creative, innovative approaches to ensure a steady pipeline of diverse teachers committed to working in San Francisco public schools. We have redoubled our recruitment efforts to successfully combat the nationwide teacher shortage so that we could ensure students could meet their teachers on the first day of school.

Let me tell you about some of the new recruitment efforts we’ve implemented. (And who knows, maybe you’ll want to learn more about one of our teacher credential programs and begin the rewarding journey of becoming a teacher yourself!)

Many ways to become a teacher

Over the years, we have built numerous teacher pipeline programs in-house and in partnership with local universities, like University of San Francisco, Stanford and SF State, to support aspiring teachers to become credentialed. For instance, the SFUSD Pathway to Teaching Program — our first district-sponsored credentialing program — supports people in becoming credentialed teachers in special education, Spanish bilingual and multiple subjects.

Robust recruitment

We’ve focused on both online and in-person outreach to engage potential teachers and teacher candidates. We do this by publishing hundreds of job postings, engaging candidates on social media, connecting with teacher candidates at external recruitment events, and attending job fairs both in and outside the Bay Area. We also create opportunities for candidates to learn more about programs like Alternative Routes to Teaching and Multilingual Education Pathways, and hold events for candidates to interview for a position at a school.

Strategic staffing

Each school has a dedicated staffing analyst responsible for supporting administrators in navigating the hiring and selection process. They support with the full cycle of hiring, and make sure school administrators have high quality candidates to interview.

Teacher salaries

We know that the high cost of living in San Francisco makes it even more challenging to hire teachers, and that’s why we’ve prioritized giving raises. Since 2014, we have increased our base teacher salaries by 25 percent and our average teacher salary is now over $83,000.

At SFUSD, we take pride in hiring outstanding teachers to fulfill our mission of providing each and every student with the quality instruction and equitable support they need to thrive in the 21st century. In addition to a focus on opening schools with a teacher in every classroom, we also support our educators with one-on-one coaching, professional learning and capacity building to provide effective daily support.

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