HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – The teacher shortage is a major issue for districts across the country. Districts across Hampton Roads are recruiting year-round to fill vacancies.

Becky Pringle is the president of the National Education Association (NEA). The association represents 3-million educators across the nation. “We here at the NEA are making sure educator’s voices are heard around the solutions to close that gap of 300,000 that we know exists,” said Pringle.  

The Tidewater region is also feeling the impact of the shallow pool of candidates. Officials from Hampton City Public Schools says recruiting teachers is a major undertaking, so they implemented pop-up hiring events. 

“Honestly, teacher recruitment is a year-round business,” said Robbin Ruth of Hampton City Public Schools. “We recruit for teachers twelve months out of the year.”

Before the start of class, Hampton was 94% staffed, with fewer than 100 vacancies.

York County had around 50 teacher and paraprofessional openings, Virginia Beach had about 65, and Portsmouth had more than 100 vacancies. 

Districts are finding way to decrease the impact on student learning. Many will use long-term substitutes. The substitutes attend district professional development sessions, and use the same approved state curriculum.

“They are also observed by Hampton City administrators to make sure their instruction is on par with other educators,” said Ruth.

Many districts are also offering hiring bonuses. 

Pringle wants parents and the community at large to step up and help support our public schools.  “We have to address the underfunding of our public schools,” said Pringle. “We need to increase education funding, and increase respect for educators.  We need to make sure everyone has the shared responsibility to ensure our students have what they need and deserve.” 

District vacancy numbers change daily, as hiring is on a rolling basis.