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IDOE addresses teacher shortage concerns; launches Phase Two of “Educator Marketplace” pipeline



Indianapolis, Indiana – This week marks the start of classes in a number of local school systems, but Indiana has more than 1,500 unfilled teaching positions.

According to the Indiana Department of Education, instructors in the STEM fields and special education professionals are in high demand. The superintendent of the Wayne Township MSD remarked that the district is all too familiar with this challenge.

“Those are two really high areas for us right now, and as I talk to superintendents across the state, we’re hearing the same thing,” Dr. Jeff Butts said.

According to the IDOE, it initiated two efforts over the past year to assist current teachers (who are licensed in Indiana) obtain additional certificates for nothing in order to help fill those positions.

“Those are called ISEAL, which is the Special Education Licensure Assistance Program, [and] ITELL, which is the English Language Learner Assistance Program,” Rebecca Estes, the IDOE’s Senior Director of Educator Talent, said.

Estes said that the department’s ISTEM Initiative had only recently been introduced. Another free program is available to aid students who want to enter the teaching profession but do not yet have a bachelor’s degree in education.

“If you are an individual with a bachelor[‘s] degree you could enter into the transition to teaching program as soon as next week and start beginning your pedagogy work, and a school corporation could feasibly hire you to start in several weeks,” Estes said.

Estes also noted that those bachelor’s degree holders who began their careers after a few weeks would spend around 9 to 11 months working under the supervision of senior teachers before receiving their full licenses.

This summer, a new tool was also given to schools to aid in the hiring process. Dr. Katie Jenner, the secretary of education, reported that the IDOE had begun Phase Two of its “Educator Marketplace.” Since then, 2,000 more candidates have registered their profiles.

“Schools now have access to candidates that they would have never known about, and then candidates now have access to positions that they would have never otherwise known that could be in their backyard,” Dr. Jenner said.

Approximately 6,000 educators have been hired through that initiative since Phase One of that endeavor was launched last year.

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