Many are wondering how school districts across the nation are responding to COVID-19. The American Association of School Personnel Administrators (AASPA) Benefit Survey on COVID-19 provides insights showing PK-12 HR administrators are taking care of business, taking care of their employees and moving forward with recruiting and hiring for the 2020-21 school year.
Pay & Compensation
Districts knew immediately they were going to need to adapt and they knew that taking care of their staff would be the first steps in what we now know to be a long list of priorities. Ultimately, the decision to take care of teachers and staff was made even before districts understood their next steps in educating their students.
- 96% of districts are paying all teachers regardless of category, hours or telecommuting opportunities.
- 41% of districts are compensating substitute teachers at their daily rate if they were currently long-term subs.
In addition, districts reported an overwhelming support for their food service, maintenance/facilities and support staff. Many have equipped their teachers and staff to work from home and are adjusting schedules to fit the needs of families.
Recruiting & Hiring
Prior to COVID-19, recruiting new teachers was challenging. The field of education has experienced a 23% decline in the number of people completing teacher-preparation programs. Retaining them has been even more difficult as a staggering number of new teachers continue to leave the occupation within the first five years. Yet, the education of students does not stop.
- 59% of participants are still actively recruiting teachers and support staff.
- 85% of all career fairs for the spring have been canceled.
While some districts have indicated a suspension on hiring most agree it is not a task that they can put off especially with the looming teacher shortage still upon us. Even though career fairs have been canceled, many are turning to virtual career fairs. While many districts have had mixed results with virtual career fairs in the past, there is a new understanding that virtual fairs are the new reality. Thanks to innovation in the areas of online applicant systems, online interview platforms and telephone interviews, districts are not without options.
When the decisions started coming down from the top about having to close school districts for an extended period of time, educators got to work. We are seeing innovation and creativity like we have never seen in education. A key goal of the American Association of School Personnel Administrators (AASPA) has always been and will remain, to help elevate the profession of human capital resources in education and assist school districts in recruitment and retention of high-quality talent for the education of students in PK-12.
This post was guest-authored by Kelly Coash-Johnson, Executive Director of the American Association of School Personnel Administrators (AASPA). AASPA's mission is to provide every member with services, resources, and information vital to successful school HR practices in the interest of students. Learn more about them at www.aaspa.org.