North Texas school districts struggling to fill teacher vacancies

We are well into the school year, but North Texas school districts are still looking to fill hundreds of teacher vacancies.

Districts are offering some big incentives in hopes of attracting and retaining teachers.

From Dallas ISD to Fort Worth ISD and beyond. 

"Right now, we have 250 teaching vacancies," said FWISD Chief Talent Officer Raul Pena. "We have a high need across the district." 

Pena says the need for teachers has only increased since the pandemic began.

"We are experiencing unprecedented vacancies in all areas," he said. "Part of that was the pandemic that left fear and uncertainty in people's minds."

Both Dallas and Fort Worth ISDs are rolling out lots of incentives. 

Diana Castaneda, recruitment manager for Dallas ISD, says the need is urgent for this school year.

"The ongoing effort is to ensure no classroom goes without an educator. We are working with the substitute pipeline."

Dallas College is hoping to create a new pipeline.

"One of the reasons we chose to pursue education for a bachelor's degree is because there is such huge demand for high-quality early childhood educators," said Rob DeHaas, vice provost od Dallas College school of education.

Dallas is now the first two-year community college in the state to offer a four-year bachelor's degree in education. 

"Our region is short today 4,300 early childhood educators," DeHaas said. "That means children from birth to third grade don't have access to a high-quality teacher."

Dallas College expects 750 to 1,000 students to graduate each year with degrees in early childhood education helping to fill that critical gap.