Addressing the Educator Shortage from a Different Angle
By Don O'Callaghan published on Feb 28, 2024
min read
2 food service workers serving students at a school

Teachers get all the hype. As they should. Every day parents and caregivers – myself included—give our children over to them for instruction.

When it comes to school district hiring, they mostly also get all the attention too – after all, if your child’s classroom doesn’t have a teacher, how can they learn? In recent years though, more attention has been paid to the support staff that make districts work. But let’s face it -- if your child can’t get to school via a bus driver, how can they learn from a teacher? If a child isn’t fed by a food service provider during lunch, learning is difficult in the afternoon. And if a custodian doesn’t prepare a classroom, how safe is it to learn in? Among so other many jobs.

So, while teachers and administrators get the spotlight, they’re only really half of the equation for a school district hiring team. Teacher shortages have structural issues that are well documented, but what is less publicized are the ways in which the demands of “classified” hiring contribute to those shortages.

Though as a consultant my career has been mostly focused on supporting the “certificated” side of school district hiring, I have come to realize that if all we do is push for talent strategies that are focused on certificated staff, we are missing out on an important opportunity. Not only are “classified” staff critical to the functioning of our schools, but when we bring strategic initiatives to those work streams we are also freeing up more time for districts to focus on addressing teacher shortages.

The facts are that school systems across the country face consistently declining budgets: everyone has to do more with less. And it is also a fact that the same departments that are tasked with staffing teachers and administrators must also staff EVERY position that makes a school system run. If we can reduce churn at the classified level, while linking it with attempts to create a certificated pipeline, we can both redirect staffing energies to teacher recruitment and retention while also creating a more sustainable pipeline for GYO initiatives.

Why shouldn’t we think of our talent pipelines from food service worker to teacher to administrator to superintendent?

To learn more about how Torace can support this pipeline growth, schedule a quick 15-minute demo!

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classified staff
educator shortage
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