Superintendents join forces to promote job opportunities in all districts
School principals serving as crossing guards. Teachers driving school buses. Office staff working in cafeterias. Contingency staffing measures have played out in schools across the country as administrators use chess-like strategies to maintain critical coverage and keep schools open for in-person learning.
Districts were already experiencing personnel shortages before COVID-19, however—during the past two years—this concern has escalated significantly. With the recent “Great Resignation” and ongoing absences associated with the pandemic, school staffing has been stretched in every district—to the alarming extent where in-person instruction has been at risk at times.
There is widespread agreement that in-person learning is vitally important for the development and well-being of our community’s children, and school staff have been working tirelessly to maintain safe, in-person instruction. Yet this shortage of personnel can affect the ability to keep programs running.
Determined to maintain the strong progress that’s been made this academic year, school leaders from all twenty-two public school districts in the Monroe One and Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES region banded together to launch the “Step Up for Schools” campaign—a community-wide call-to-action with the goal of rebuilding the educational workforce. Reminiscent of “Rosie the Riveter” messaging, the coalition (coordinated by ACT for Education) asks the community to consider ways that they can “step up” and keep our schools strong.
With COVID-related disruptions taking place in nearly every economic sector, schools must compete with other industries for employees. However, schools also provide opportunities and advantages that other sectors may not have. Schools offer schedules that work well for families with young children, affording the same holidays and vacation times. In transportation departments, flexibility is a significant draw for self-employed business owners who are able to work between morning and afternoon bus runs. And for those who left healthcare and food service jobs feeling disillusioned and burned out, school employment provides meaningful work and the opportunity to positively impact the lives of our community’s children.
In every district, there are many opportunities for full-time employment, part-time work, or even volunteering: • Retired teachers and aides can quickly step in to fill critically needed substitute slots. • Health professionals can sign up as substitutes to ensure districts have the medical professionals necessary to maintain health and safety in every building. • Commercial Driver License (CDL) holders can help ensure students can get to and from school safely as bus drivers. • People with food service experience can work in our school’s kitchens and cafeterias to be sure students get the nutrition they need to learn and grow. • Substitute aides are always in demand and no professional experience is required.
To streamline the inquiry process, the coalition has created a centralized Step Up for Schools website “hub” that provides access to employment opportunities for all twenty-two districts. This one-stop portal allows candidates to review openings in every district and provides guidance for submitting online applications. To get connected to employment opportunities in all 22 local public school districts, visit https://actforeducation.org/step-up-for-schools.