VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Beach City Public Schools says its student population is rising as the number of qualified teachers is going down.
That’s why administrators are leaning on a program that helps recruit high schoolers to become future teachers.
“Today we are reading this book,” Marissa Barrios said to her 3rd grade class.
Barrios is a teacher at Red Mill Elementary and has only been on the job three weeks. She’s no stranger to Virginia Beach classrooms. She graduated from Kellam High School.
“I wanted to be a teacher since I was 4, so I’ve always known it is my passion,” Barrios said.
In high school Barrios signed up for the Virginia Teachers for Tomorrow program, allowing her to experience the job.
“I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, I just didn’t know how I was going to get there, and Virginia Teachers for Tomorrow showed me what steps I needed to take,” Barrios said.
“I think it is a good program to where you can start off in high school and and see if this might be a good career path for you,” added Kempsville High teacher Taylor Guckert.
Guckert is also in her first year, and another Beach graduate
“I think it’s nice that Virginia Beach has retained so many of its own,” Guckert added.
Beach administrators have taken the program a step further. Every year, 40 future teachers are given promises that with a college degree, a job is waiting for them.
“As soon as I graduated from my undergrad I got contacted by Virginia Beach,” Guckert said. “I was like ‘oh this is real.'”
“We aren’t short teachers in Virginia Beach, but the pool of applicants is not as deep as it has been in years past,” said Virginia Beach Schools Director of Employment Services Bernard Platt.
School administrators say it’s hard finding teachers. Right now there are 39 teachers who have gone through the program and they hope there will soon be more.
“That’s wonderful, because the teachers started off here and came through our schools,” Platt added.