ODESSA, TX (KWES) - On Thursday afternoon, Ector County ISD officials interviewed and hired a brand-new teacher for the district. Now, they are hoping more follow suit.
"We have somebody in the classroom on that first day of school," said Robin Fawcett, Human Resources Director for Secondary Schools at Ector County ISD.
Fawcett and others have been hustling and bustling trying to get the teacher vacancies down to a more manageable number.
"We will be hiring one, to five, to eight people a day until school starts," said Fawcett.
Fawcett said there are around 150 teacher openings with many needed in the elementary bilingual and secondary math and English. The district has been putting in the work to find teachers even before the end of last year.
"Between September and March, we were hiring people before the last three months of school," said Fawcett.
District officials even tried going to Chihuahua, Mexico, with the help of the Odessa Hispanic Chamber of Commerce but didn't hit goal they wanted.
"The problem was with the Visa process. Our Visa process changed in the middle of our visit so not as many teachers could get on here," said Fawcett.
Fawcett added the district has been seeing success with their Alternative Certification Program, which takes people who have a Bachelor's Degree and who want to go into the profession so they'll take a test in area they studied.
For instance, if a person had a business degree but wanted to teach that person would take a test that focused on the math, English, science and social studies classes on their transcript. If the person passed the test, then the person would be qualified to teach on probationary period for one year while preparing for another test to get a teaching certificate.
"Over half of our applicants are from the Alternative Certified Programs. People are choosing not to major in education they're choosing to go to the alternative certification route," said Fawcett.
Fawcett believes many factors lead a teacher to not take a job with the district or even leave. So it's up to everyone to work together to make sure they stay.
"That's the responsibility of not just the campuses and the district but also of the community of Odessa," said Fawcett.
Fawcett tells us there have been 10 secondary teacher hiring's so far, bringing the total need down from 83 to around 73.