Aug 21, 2023 - Education

Richmond-area teacher shortages have slightly improved

Illustration of a handwriting alphabet above the chalkboard spells out "Hiring."

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

All school districts in metro Richmond are headed back to class this week, and while teacher shortages persist, schools are in better staffing shape than they were this time last year.

Why it matters: Last year was considered one the worst years on record for teacher shortages across the country, and there's some indication that the situation has improved. Slightly.

What's happening: Chesterfield is over 99% staffed this year, per NBC12, and Henrico is at 97%, the Henrico Citizen reported.

  • Richmond didn't respond to a request for figures, but the city had a lower teacher vacancy rate last year than the two counties, according to the most recent data from the Department of Education.
  • Any gaps this week will be filled by substitutes, recent retirees and through bigger class sizes.

Yes, but: The districts are still collectively in need of hundreds of teachers.

Zoom in: As of last week, Henrico is down around 100 teachers, the Henrico Citizen reported, and Chesterfield under 200, per NBC12.

The districts credited aggressive recruiting and working with teacher aides to get them provisional teaching licenses.

Chesterfield, the region's largest school district, worked with Participate Learning, a North Carolina-based educational consulting group, to bring in 30 teachers from nine different countries, NBC12 reported.

The intrigue: School may already be underway, but all of the districts are still actively hiring teachers.

What they're saying: "We continue to recruit teachers and staff through avenues such as our job fairs, college and university visits, and the support of career-switchers and instructional aides who may be seeking a teaching license," Henrico superintendent Amy Cashwell told the Henrico Citizen.

The bottom line: The situation may have improved some, but the Richmond area still needs teachers.


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