GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — School districts across the Triad will tell you finding new teachers these days is like finding a needle in a haystack.
“We just don’t produce the number of teachers we really need in our schools. Folks are not choosing education as their career path, and that has always been a struggle for us,” said Allison Yates, director of staffing with Guilford County Schools.
There are 120 teacher vacancies in the Guilford County school district that need to be filled for the upcoming school year.
Now there will be 20,000 more reasons to apply.
“$20,000 is pretty significant when you think about a teacher’s salary. It’s life-changing,” Yates said.
Kindergarten through eighth grade teachers and high school math, English, and science teachers are all eligible for a $20,000 signing bonus.
They would need to have two consecutive years of student growth data and must agree to work three years in a low-performing school.
Haja Niang has three children enrolled in Bessemer Elementary School, one of the 25 high-priority schools.
“I’m so happy for this. That means better education for me and my family attending Bessemer, especially since we missed the whole school year with being online,” Niang said.
Kalisha McNair has been a teacher in the district for almost two decades. She believes the hefty signing bonus will fill vacancies quickly.
“I think it’s going to recruit a lot of people in. $20,000, that’s great,” McNair said.
She says the money is an incentive for teachers to come and stay in a profession they pour their hearts into.
“A lot of times at our low-performing schools it takes a lot of work to actually put into the children, so giving them that extra boost is going to push them even harder to grow our children,” McNair said.
The money is coming from the Elementary and Secondary Emergency Fund Relief.
Although this is a national campaign to recruit more teachers from all over, current teachers in the district are eligible for the bonuses as well if they meet the criteria.
Once the district fills vacancies in the 25 highest priority schools that would end the bonuses.