APS: 155 teachers needed, mostly in special ed - Albuquerque Journal

APS: 155 teachers needed, mostly in special ed

As of Tuesday, Albuquerque Public Schools needs 155 teachers with the majority of the openings in special education.

Todd Torgerson, chief of Human Resources and Legal Support Services, reported the vacancy update to the Board of Education at a Policy and Instruction Committee Meeting on Wednesday.

Torgerson said 100 of those teacher openings are for special education.

The district typically has 120 to 170 special education teacher vacancies annually, according to presentations made to the board.

Recent research has shown that finding special education teachers is an issue across the state.

A New Mexico State University report, which used data as of Sept. 23, showed that state-wide there were 644 teachers vacancies and 23% or 151 openings were for special education teachers.

Torgerson said an additional factor in the vacancy problem is changes to class-size waivers, which used to allow the amount of students in the classroom to go above a certain threshold.

Sen. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, said those waivers expired and weren’t renewed by lawmakers.

The ripple effect, Torgerson said, is the need for more teachers.

To help combat the vacancy needs, Torgerson said that APS has put its own funds toward teacher support programs including Albuquerque Teacher Residency Partnership — a district, University of New Mexico and union Albuquerque Teachers Federation partnership— and Special Education Teacher Training, an APS, ATF and Central New Mexico Community College collaboration.

Both programs were highlighted at Wednesday’s meeting as ways APS is working to lower vacancy rates, ensure teachers stay in APS and to make sure high quality educators come through alternative licensure programs.

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