HISD faces teacher shortage amid COVID-19; seeking to hire 275 teachers

As administrators prepare for the start of the new school year, the Houston Independent School District said it still needs to hire roughly 275 teachers.

As of Wednesday night, the district had more than 360 certified teacher jobs posted online. However, Janie Ruiz, HISD’s general manager of talent acquisition, said some of those jobs are in the process of being filled.

She said the district had 487 openings around this time last year.

“People are staying put, and we’re not seeing the turnover we’ve had in years past. So that’s definitely something good for us,” Ruiz said.

But Zeph Capo, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, said the number of openings could soon rise as the deadline approaches for teachers to resign. He said vacancies normally increase around that time.

“I expect them to go up even more because of the COVID-19 related issues this year,” Capo said.

And that’s not the only hurdle for the district.

“One of the biggest challenges that we face, and every other district in our area has faced, is the inability to go out and actually meet candidates where we’ve done that in the past,” Ruiz said.

She said the district has turned to social media and virtual interviews to help fill the open positions.

HISD is hosting a virtual teacher job fair on July 15 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Candidates need to apply beforehand at TeachHISD.org.

Teachers who plan to resign before the new school year must notify the district by Friday night.

Also, on July 15, HISD said it will announce its reopening plan, and issued the following statement:

With safety at the forefront of our decisions, we are finalizing the reopening plan for the 2020-2021 school year.

We continue to review the guidance provided by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) for reopening schools and listening to the voices of our stakeholders, including students, parents, educators, staff, and health officials.

As we continue to navigate the ongoing pandemic, we remain committed to two primary goals — providing a high-quality education for all students and ensuring the safety of both our students and staff.

We will continue to provide rigorous, TEKS-based, online instruction through HISD @ H.O.M.E. as well as face-to-face instruction based on parent selection for what is best for their children.  We respect our parent’s ability to choose an option of remote learning or face-to-face and will be sending out a brief survey asking parents to select a method of instruction to assist the planning at the campus level.

Our ultimate goal is to provide families with options so they can choose what works best — and what they feel is safest — for their children.

Our reopening plan for the upcoming school year will be announced on July 15.