RPS 205 leaders work to fill remote-only teaching positions

Increased demand for remote instruction means RPS 205 needs to fill more remote-only teaching jobs
Published: Aug. 17, 2020 at 5:20 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - As the first day of school looms there still aren’t enough teachers to fully fill the need for remote only instruction. The district had 165 general education and bilingual elementary classrooms that needed remote-only teachers. District leaders filled 115 of those positions with teachers who applied, and teachers who verbally committed to building principals that they would make the switch to remote-only teaching.

“We have such robust, and such a large number of families who opted for remote only instruction,” says RPS 205 Superintendent Ehren Jarrett. “We should also have a large number of teachers who can have that opportunity as well.”

Initially district leaders thought there would be a higher demand for in-person instruction. Survey results would prove to be different. Fifty one percent of families chose remote options, leading to that increased demand for remote teachers.

“We don’t have any more students and so we’re going to have to use our teacher staff both in person and remote,” says RPS 205 Human Resources director Matt Zediker.

RPS 205 surplussed 32 ‘English as a second language’ teachers to meet the demand, and continue to work with the bilingual department to match ESL students with certified ESL teachers.

The district is also working with partners to secure substitutes for the year in all buildings.

“We do have, and are assigning one permanent sub per elementary building and early childhood to help with logistics [and the] flow of everything that goes on in the day. But also, teachers are going to miss. And we want to make sure we can cover those classes.”

A handful of RPS 205 teachers retired this year due to COVID-19 concerns.

“We’re not seeing a mass of resignations or retirements up to this point. Certainly there is some anxiety I think from teachers in terms of returning to the classroom [and] ensuring that it’s safe.”

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