UPDATE: Officials on Tuesday said they're changing plans regarding this proposal. READ THE UPDATE HERE
DECATUR — District administrators held a meeting on Monday with support staff to reassign them to teach in classrooms, a response to an ongoing educator shortage.
The district has been unable to fill more than 70 positions in its schools, Superintendent Paul Fregeau said in a statement.
He announced plans to reassign instructional specialists, who work throughout the district mentoring and modeling effective strategies for teachers; reading recovery specialists, who provide extra help in reading for individual students; and some alternative education staff, who work at Harris School. Employees in these categories are typically certified teachers with advanced training. In all, 14 teachers are being reassigned, targeting the buildings most in need: Hope Academy, Stephen Decatur Middle School and Franklin School.
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Fregeau cited the nationwide teacher shortage, plus a shortage of substitutes, as driving the "difficult decision" to place those staff members back into classroom positions. They will be placed in the buildings with the highest numbers of unfilled positions, he said.
"This move is a last resort, but we know that we need to take drastic steps to ensure we're meeting the needs of our students," Fregeau said in a statement. "District leadership values the work done by our support staff who will be reassigned. But we know that they will make a difference in our schools that have the greatest need."
The reassignments will take effect on Jan. 22, he said.
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Contact Valerie Wells at (217) 421-7982. Follow her on Twitter: @modgirlreporter