School districts hiring at an all-time high
This year Portland metro area school districts scrambled to find enough educators to fill the more than 2,300 positions open in schools. In spring 2015, the PSU Graduate School of Education (GSE) produced 392* new licensure graduates who eagerly anticipated their first assignments. Many GSE cohort leaders reported 100 percent employment for their class. Some GSE graduates had multiple offers, and many were offered positions as early as May for the 2015–16 school year.
“All of my students who wanted them found jobs,” said cohort leader Barb Ruben, who teaches in the Secondary Dual Educator Program that generates middle/high school teachers. Ruben noted that one or two students planned to travel or focus on their families before landing their first jobs, so they were not yet searching.
While Oregon has high demand for teachers in special education and English as a second language, this year there were unprecedented openings in specialty areas that were previously cut in the recession. “This past year we saw huge surges in openings for physical education, music, media, art, counseling, and computer science/technology, so districts are again hiring in those areas,” said Jim Buck, from the Oregon School Personnel Association, who coordinates the largest hiring fair in the state. “The fact that we still had districts looking for sizable numbers of staff in August is an indication of the need for and dearth of candidates. Last year we had, by my estimate at the Oregon Professional Educator Fair, eight to ten times the number of job openings as were posted in 2014, and teacher shortages will increase in 2016 across the region.”
Lynda Pullen, an adviser for new teacher programs, said, “Several of our cohort groups are reporting 100 percent employment this year.” She said a key indicator of overall demand is English language arts positions, which typically have considerably more candidates than jobs.
“All 25 of my English language arts students got jobs,” said cohort leader Sue Lenski. “The first one got a job in March or April. It was quite a spring.”
By mid-October, area district hiring was in double and triple digits, and as of press time, some were still looking for candidates. This is a sampling of hires for fall 2015 in the greater Portland metro area:
- Beaverton School District hired 400 classroom teachers.
- Canby School District hired 62 teachers.
- Centennial School District hired 46 teachers this fall.
- David Douglas School District filled 101 positions.
- Gladstone School District hired 24, including a speech pathologist.
- Gresham-Barlow School District hired 61 teachers for fall 2015.
- Hillsboro School District hired 200 teachers.
- Lake Oswego School District hired 45 new teachers and counselors.
- North Clackamas School District hired 160 teachers for all levels and subjects.
- Oregon City School District hired 45 new teachers this fall.
- Parkrose School District hired 29 teachers this fall.
- Portland Public Schools hired 400 positions for fall 2015.
- Reynolds School District hired 80 teachers.
- Salem-Keizer School District hired 500 for fall 2015.
- Tigard-Tualatin School District hired 115 teachers.
- West Linn/Wilsonville School District hired 80 teachers.
- Woodburn School District filled 80 positions this year.
The GSE is the largest, most comprehensive school of education in the state, with more than 50 programs in education, counseling and adult education. The GSE holds four national accreditations.
The initial deadline to apply to the GSE education programs is February 1, 2016, for programs that begin in fall 2016. The GSE awards over 50 scholarships, and many programs are grant supported, with tuition remission that offsets the cost. For more information, visit pdx.edu/education.
*Recommended for licensure in 2014-15 (L. Todd)