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Waco ISD finds ways to battle teacher shortage

Posted at 6:31 PM, Sep 08, 2023

WACO, Texas — Central Texas schools along with schools across America are seeing a shortage of teachers.

Right now Waco ISD has 27 teacher vacancies, but they’ve come up with a couple ways to draw in some teachers.

The Future Educator Academy gives students hands on experience inside the classroom with South Waco students, but this program allows students to return to Waco ISD and start teaching.

Caryme Reyes is a sophomore at Waco High School. This is her second year to be a part of the Future Educator Academy.

“I think it’s really cool that we’re helping with the teacher shortage, and we’re helping make progress as educators,” Reyes said.

Her math teacher Trenton Futral said this program benefits the district and the students.

“Our students need more teachers who have walked the same hallways, that have walked the same streets they have and know who they are,” Futral said.

The academy is just one way the district is combating the teacher shortage. Dr. Daniel Lopez is with Waco ISD human resources. He said they are also offering competitive stipends for their difficult to fill positions, like Special Education and English.

“Those are really hard to find, and so you’re trying to lure in teachers from outside our area, so those needs we try to meet as much as possible with those stipends,” Lopez said.

The district also gives retention bonuses to returning teachers. Futral said several teachers get burnt out or just don't make it past two years of teaching. But with early integration and college prep, it sets the students up for success.

“Then they go get their certification for two more years and they do student teaching, when they hit the classroom, they have had so much more experience that the chances of them making it will be greater,” Futral said.

Reyes has found her passion, and she said her favorite part is connecting with students. One, a child who didn’t speak any English.

“That little kid, I mean when he saw me and I spoke to him in Spanish, his face was just like, so happy and that kind of made me feel like I’m doing something right. I’m making an impact on other people,” Reyes said.

Reyes said she is excited to start planning her future early, and start saving for retirement. If you’re interested in a position a Waco ISD, you can view applications on the district website.