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While teacher shortage issue is a statewide problem, northern schools have more openings

Delaware Public Media

All three counties in Delaware face teacher shortages, but one in particular is being hit harder.

Most of New Castle County’s school districts have some schools dealing with teacher shortages. The Deptartment of Education’s website lists Red Clay and Christina as having 10 schools with openings; Colonial has four, while Brandywine only has one.

DOE was already preparing for teacher shortages to hit the state, but COVID made accelerated the issue.

One way the state is combating the problem is House Bill 178. That passed in 2021, codifying funding for year-long teacher residency programs.

And the Department of Education’s Ann Hlabangana-Clay says those programs are a critical recruiting tool.

"Those residents of course receive a stipend during their training while committing to teaching in Delaware for at least three years after receiving their credential,” said Hlabangana-Clay. “The bill provided a million dollars in annual funding which is sustainable to support year-long residencies and is administered by the Delaware Department of Education."

Hlabangana-Clay adds that this year over $2 million was committed to residencies because of the need for teachers

The DOE also has recruitment events planned to help recruit more teachers including one at a Delaware State Univ. football game November 12.

But the issue goes beyond just finding qualified teachers to hire. Finding ones that specialize in certain areas is also a hurdle.

Hlabangana-Clay says there are many subjects where the holes are bigger.

"Bilingual teacher, teachers of the English Learners, world language teachers, middle level and secondary math, science, and English. Looking at our Special Education all areas for that," said Hlabangana-Clay.

She adds in pathways programs, they’re looking for business education, agriscience, family consumer science, and the immersion program.

The full list of schools and subjects in need can be found at DOE’s website.

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.