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ACPS on a recruitment drive in the face of staffing shortage

Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) is going through what it’s calling a “challenging recruitment year”.

In a memo to the School Board for their meeting on Thursday (Feb. 3), Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr., said ACPS is stepping up the number of career fairs to try and drive up recruitment.

“ACPS is currently scheduled to attend 18 career fairs between February 2022 and April 2022,” Hutchings wrote. “This reflects a 40% increase in events from the prior year, demonstrating our commitment to establishing connections with potential applicants across Virginia and around the world. To commit applicants to ACPS early in the hiring season, HR will provide early offers to particularly strong candidates.”

Hutchings said ACPS will continue publishing newsletters, email announcements and informal sessions with staff to keep in touch with applicants. He also said ACPS is making an effort to strengthen its ties with historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

“In a challenging recruitment year, ACPS will continue to commit to creative, dynamic, and diversity-focused recruitment strategies and events to bring in top talent to our schools,” Hutchings wrote. “To do so, the human resources division is committed to strengthening existing university and professional organization partnerships and to greatly increase the number of partners to create direct pipelines to our applicant pool. We are actively seeking partnerships with HBCUs and LatinX organizations.”

The shift comes as ACPS reckons with a decline in new teachers that started before the pandemic but has gotten worse over the last couple years. Last fall, ACPS reported having a shortage of classroom monitorsbus monitors and substitute teachers.

“Given the global narrative around education and declining education program enrollment, the ACPS Recruitment Team is finalizing a recruitment plan that increases connections with partners and universities, commits applicants to ACPS earlier, and collaborates more strategically with school leaders as thought partners to dramatically reduce vacancy rates at the start and during school year 2022-2023.”

Melanie Kay-Wyatt, acting chief of human resources for ACPS, said the schools average approximately 100 staff absences and vacancies per day:

ACPS continues our recruitment efforts to support our school communities in staffing areas such as substitute teachers, transportation positions and support staff. ACPS can average approximately 100 staff absences and vacancies per day. ACPS is exploring new recruitment efforts by engaging with our current pool of substitutes and communicating with our volunteer community to engage their interest in supporting our schools. We have also modified our orientation program to allow for increased access to training. We hope that these personal connections will help increase our pool of candidates.

Kay-Wyatt said prospective ACPS educators and staff can apply online.

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