Iowa’s K-12 school year is only about half-way over, but many districts around the state have begun the process of hiring for the 2017-2018 academic year. Des Moines Public Schools, the state’s largest district, says it plans to hire more than 100 teachers based on anticipated retirements and resignations.
More than 10 percent of the new hires will be special education teachers. These instructors are particularly difficult to find, due to the various certifications within this area of teaching.
"I could be a Strat I, which allows me to serve mild and moderate students. Or I could be a Strat II teacher and be serving ID, which is intellectual disabilities. Or I could be a Strat II, BD which is more behavioral needs," says Tiffany O'Hara, DMPS's director of human resources for certified staff. "So that’s what makes it even a little more challenging."
Other areas that will likely welcome several new hires include secondary science and math departments, and English language learning. More than 100 languages are spoken within the DMPS student body, which O'Hara says is reflective of a diversifying community.
"That’s not unusual if you look around at the states that are around us. And that’s been a trend for 10 years," she says. "It’s just Iowa is starting to see some things that they haven’t seen necessary as predominately has they have before."