JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As the state of Florida continues to grapple with a shortage of public school teachers, some local districts are partnering with local and national organizations to advance recruitment and retention efforts.
More than 5,300 teaching vacancies were posted as of January, according to the Florida Education Association.
In Duval County, an effort launched in 2021 seeks to recruit a more diverse crop of experienced teachers to more closely represent the community the district is tasked with educating.
According to research from the Jacksonville Public Education Fund, two-thirds of DCPS teachers identify as White, compared to only one-third of public school students in the district who identify as such.
The 1,000 by 2025 initiative would see the titular number of Black and/or Latino male teachers hired to the district by 2025 through developing a recruiting pipeline, marketing targeted communications, and conducting ongoing research and data tracking.
The executive director of Teach For America’s Florida chapter, LaKeisha Wells-Palmer, said the state and local district must also prioritize the wellness of teachers through access to affordable therapy, coaching, and other resources.
“Without this support, an already stressful job can become unsustainable, with stress leading to burnout, poor performance, and high turnover rates - all of which negatively impact student success,” the organization wrote in a press statement. “When wellness is prioritized, teachers are better equipped to sustain their own resilience and leadership, and research shows that students find it easier to focus and perform better academically.”