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CPS kicks recruiting into high gear this summer as the number of new teachers in Ohio declines

Teaching candidate shares resume with CPS staff
Zack Carreon
A teaching candidate shares a resume with CPS staff.

Cincinnati Public Schools Chief of Human Resources and Talent Katrina Riley says recruiting season for the district is year-round, but the summer is an especially critical time for hiring new teachers.

On Tuesday, CPS held a job fair at Hartwell Elementary School to give potential candidates a chance to meet district staff from all grade levels, sit down for an interview, and maybe even get hired on the spot.

The job fair is one of one many recruiting events the district is hosting over the summer to fill vacant positions for next school year.

"This is really a prime time for us," Riley said. "We're looking at people who are recent college grads, people who may be leaving other districts who are looking for a change, who want a more supportive environment."

CPS has many positions available, but filling them can be a challenge as Ohio and the rest of the country deals with a teacher shortage.

RELATED: What we know about teacher shortages and how to address them

A report by the Ohio Department of Education released in April shows that across the state, existing teachers are leaving the education field, and the number of newly credentialed teachers is steadily declining.

ODE says in the past year, 43,000 people in Ohio with active teaching credentials were not employed in public schools, and districts in southwest and southeast Ohio are feeling the effects of the shortage the most.

According to the department's report, urban and rural districts in southwest Ohio have some of the highest student-to-teacher ratios in the state.

Riley says CPS is looking to change that, but finding teachers and convincing them to work in the district can be difficult when many other schools in the area are facing the same problems. This hurdle has turned teacher recruitment into a competitive sport and leads districts like CPS to turn to different methods to fill positions.

"We're all basically fishing from the same pond," Riley said. "However, actually identifying those challenges has been a great thing for us. Being able to understand trends nationally will allow us to be able to be proactive and put plans in place to kind of counter some of those challenges."

As competition increases, CPS has looked internally for solutions and has begun guiding existing part-time staff and substitutes toward full-time positions while offering training to new people interested in entering the teaching field so they can receive their license.

RELATED: CPS wants more Black teachers in the classroom by next school year

ODE says flexible staffing policies put in place a few years ago during the pandemic have increased the number of courses taught by teachers without proper certification, especially in urban districts.

In the meantime, CPS will be hosting hiring events all summer to identify quality candidates — events like "Walk-In Wednesday," where people can come into the district's main office for an interview and possibly receive an offer the same day.

CPS is also planning to hold a few more virtual job fairs this summer to recruit teachers from across the country who can't meet in person.

The first day of school at CPS is Aug. 17.

Zack Carreon is Education reporter for WVXU, covering local school districts and higher education in the Tri-State area.