The Staffing Shortage
The staff shortage is the greatest threat to our schools. Nothing else matters if we do not have enough qualified adults supporting our kids. We can do many things big and small. It will take both UCSD and the community to keep Urbandale competitive with other school districts. We need to be creative and go beyond the necessity of competitive compensation and benefit packages.
• Leadership: We need district level and building administration in classrooms. It will not solve the problem, but it made it more palatable to miss my lunch and planning last school year when I saw DMPS administrators subbing in my building. Knowing they had skin in the game, and they were having to adjust their schedule and responsibilities as much as I was, went a long way.
• Partnerships: We need to partner with local colleges and universities. We need to increase opportunities for practicum and student teaching experiences in our district. Connections are formed between student teachers and the buildings they are placed. Because of those relationships, new teachers often apply for positions in those districts. We can also partner to provide discounted tuition and fees for teacher improvement and required continuing education. Other districts are already doing this.
• Community: Our local businesses can play a role. Perhaps a discount card for UCSD employees. What are your ideas? What can we all do? If we want to have an edge over other school districts, it is going to take a team effort. We need to be creative.