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Twin Falls School District struggles to find teachers, some educators might start with an associates degree

Posted at 5:59 PM, Aug 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-22 19:59:43-04

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Hiring shortages have affected most of the U.S. and the lack of teachers is leaving an impact on the Magic Valley.

The Twin Falls School District (TFSD) is currently 10 under the number of educators it needs, an issue displaced across the districts 16 schools. At the end of last school year, TFSD was looking to replace over 60 teachers before the start of the 2022-2023 school years.

“The shortage has really hit us hard,” said Superintendent Brady Dickinson. “We’re hiring a lot of teachers right now that are not traditionally trained through the emergency hiring process and then we provide on the job training.”

This emergency hiring lowers the threshold for certification. Beyond August 1, an Idaho State law allows schools to hire teachers with just an associates degree. The teacher is then required to complete a bachelors within a year of being hired in order to keep the position.

This opens the door to teachers missing a few credits to be brought on and trained in class while complete their teacher certification through a university. Eva Craner is the Public Relation director for TFSD and said the main issue for this teacher shortage is the imbalance of new teachers to ones retiring or moving away from teaching.

“That's where we have a deficit," Craner said. "We’re not getting as many new teachers coming into the profession as we’re getting leaving the profession nationwide. I mean you can look at any school district, any state. They are having the same challenges we are here in Twin Falls.”

Some parents may be concerned about teachers qualifying for a teaching job with just an associates but the TFSD goes through a tenuous process when hiring their staff and looks for the right fit to achieve student excellence.

“All the people involved in the hiring process are committed to student achievement and student success and so they’re not just going to grab the first warm body they can find. They are really working to make sure that that is a good fit and that while it maybe someone who maybe is not traditionally certified, it’s someone who can utilize the support in place to be an excellent teacher,” Craner said.

For those looking to learn more about TFSD or have interest in starting a teaching job, click here.