Caddo takes initiative to address teacher shortage

“If it’s what you want to do, you really need to get on course for it because the children need us”
Published: Aug. 7, 2023 at 10:38 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — ArkLaTex school districts face a teacher shortage just like their counterparts elsewhere in the country.

As Caddo gets ready to resume classes, it’s telling prospective teachers that “big dreams start here, taking flight” for students and staffers.

“I want others who are seeking to become teachers to know that big dreams do really start here,” said Chaundra Elias, a first-year teacher at Turner Elementary/Middle. “If it’s what you want to do, you really need to get on course for it because the children need us.”

According to the New York Times, a survey Education Week conducted this summer shows that almost three-fourths of principals and school district officials say the number of applications received was not enough to fill the open positions.

“There is a teacher shortage on the national level,” said Renee Ellis, Caddo Parish district recruiter. “We have really taken a step forward and really put implementations in place to impact the educational realm.”

Caddo school officials didn’t provide a specific number of vacant positions but did say they always are taking applications. “We are continuously filling any vacancies that we have, and there are very few,” Ellis said.

Like other school districts, Caddo implemented initiatives to combat the teacher shortage.

“We’ve developed, over the years, the Caddo Teaching Academy, where we actually certify our own teachers who are degreed,” Ellis explained. “And we walk them through a two-year path. And they’re able to get positions that are really lined up with their degree.”

Click here to learn more about Caddo Teaching Academy

Elias, the first-year teacher, said that she’s “matriculated through being a substitute teacher, being a PEL professional, being a secretary now to this part that I really wanted to do which was to teach children.”