Charleston Co. schools stepping up its teacher recruitment with new incentives

Published: Mar. 10, 2022 at 3:26 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 10, 2022 at 6:14 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Charleston County School District wants to “hop, skip and jumpstart” the careers of student teachers. The district is offering them a deal worth $2,500 if they agree to sign up to work when they’re done with their student teaching hours.

The generous offer is really an attempt to make up for the teacher pool that has dried up in recent years.

CCSD Chief Human Resources Officer Bill Briggman says he doesn’t know how many teacher positions will be open at the end of the year, but last year they had to fill between 500 and 600 teaching posts.

“I would say the last two years probably have been some of the toughest, most challenging years that I’ve seen for teacher recruitment,” Briggman said. “Every classroom position is a hard to fill position with what we’ve experienced going through COVID.”

The district has 102 student teachers right now and Briggman says the incentive program announced today is specifically designed to get those future teachers to stay in Charleston. However, the incentives are for any student teacher, not just those currently in the district.

The package includes:

  • $500 signing bonus
  • $400 to pay for Praxis Exams
  • $190 to cover the South Carolina State Department of Education certification fees
  • $1,000 bonus on the first day of classes
  • Four days of additional pay for training

Briggman says they’re doing what they can to remove the barriers new teachers face when jumping into the industry.

Student teachers are required to take Praxis test as prerequisite to a obtaining a teaching certificate, both of which cost money.

“A lot of times what we hear from our student teachers, you know, they’re college students, money’s tight,” Briggman said. “Sometimes the Praxis can be a barrier in general, so paying for the Praxis test, but also Praxis prep is really important to helping that young new teacher get ready to pass that much needed exam.”

The teacher shortage is a crisis districts across the state are dealing with. Briggman says CCSD is alone in offering a recruitment package like this and, while other districts will be competing for the same people, he is determined to be the district with the most attractive offer.

“I know our neighboring districts will be looking at them as well and I’m pretty competitive on this type of stuff and I like to win,” Briggman said. “I want to make sure that our vacancies filled and while we have candidates in our buildings every day for several months, I want to track them down and get them into our positions, get them into our schools.”

This is one of the many programs CCSD is utilizing to create a direct pipeline of students to teachers. Briggman says he has proposed keeping this incentive program for the next few years at a cost of $400,000-$500,000 per year.

According to Briggman, the money is coming directly from federal COVID relief money known as ESSER.

Student teachers have to apply for the program before April 29. For more information click here.

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