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'Skyrockets them into success': Central Texas school districts looking within to retain teachers

Price of gold hits all-time high
Posted at 6:26 PM, Mar 21, 2024

CENTRAL TEXAS — Schools are in a very critical time right now as they prepare for the upcoming school year.

Educators say traditionally, many teachers are deciding if they want to stay or leave the school they’re teaching in at the end of the school year.

Those decisions are due to multiply factors that could include retirement, a better opportunity or their spouse being relocated.

Schools across Central Texas are holding job fairs to fill those open positions but a new tactic is on the horizon.

Rapport Academy’s Superintendent Dr. Alexis Neumann says there is still a shortage of qualified teachers.

“We have got to be more creative in helping people come in to the classroom" she said.

One way is by getting students to come back to the classroom as teachers.

She says it’s not unique to have former students return but recently it’s something schools districts are targeting.

"Over the last few years, we’ve had more than 10 different alumni that have come back to work with the school," she added.

That's creating success because those new teachers are familiar with how the school district operates and their community around them.

“And skyrockets them in to success so much faster because they’re not having to learn culture, they’re just having to understand their content" she said.

Dr. Donna Ward, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources with Temple ISD, said those conversations are already happening with local colleges and universities to create easy transitions from high school to college for students and those programs could be ready not this upcoming school year but the next.

In some cases, creating something similar to what medical students experience in residencies, those real world experiences.

“Recruiting our own students to be employees in our district, I would say is our biggest asset right now.”

Dr. Ward says around 25 percent of their educators are previous students.

One of those successes is former student Marisol Cortez.

She is the German teacher at Scott Elementary in Temple.

“Once a Bearcat always a Bearcat" she said.

This is her community, her home and where her family are located.

“I couldn’t work anywhere else, like, when I became a teacher I knew I wanted to come back to Temple and work for my hometown."

I was one of these students one time in the classroom and so for me it’s really cool to come back and now I get to be the teacher to inspire the kids.”

Now if you’re a teacher looking for a job, schools in Temple ISD, Killeen ISD and Rappoprt Academy all wanna hear from you.

A few schools are hosting job fair's in the next few days.

Temple ISD will host their job fair at Temple High School on Saturday from 9 to 11 a.m.

Killeen ISD will also host a job fair at Harker Heights High School on Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to noon.