Not enough teachers to fill classrooms is a problem that’s sweeping the nation. The Bakersfield City School District is experiencing the same issue, however, the district is hoping to solve the problem by thinking outside the box.
The plan is to find educators using a different pool of candidates, those that don’t have teaching credentials.
“There is a national shortage of teachers and of course we feel it here in the valley,” said Diane Cox, assistant superintendent of Human Resources.
The Bakersfield City School District hired 149 new teachers for this school year. Out of those newly hired, half of them are still working toward completing their certifications.
“We provide support for them so they can grow and obtain their credential,” said Cox.
The new teachers are current students attending a local university.
The first-time educators that are recruited are placed in a classroom with a provisional permit.
To be eligible, they must have completed their Bachelor’s Degree and passed the CBEST, a state mandated exam.
“Working and getting an income and also getting real classroom experience I can apply to what I am learning in my credential program, that’s a great thing,” said Lashya Morgan, new teacher at Stella Hills.
Teachers begin their salary schedule with the number of units that they have completed.
“They get the complete benefit package all of our teachers are on,” said Cox.
With these teachers in the mix, the district is able to maintain manageable class sizes and a positive school environment
“They are excited, passionate and they are younger, so they’re thrilled to be in the classroom and offer what they can to the community,” said Cox.
Educators we talked to say a non-credentialed teacher in the classroom is better for the students than having a non-regular teacher like a substitute.
According to the district, most teachers that are hired without credentials eventually become certified and remain with the district.