Hoping to avoid teacher shortages and the educational disruptions they cause, the Quakertown Community School District recently approved new positions for what it’s calling “floater teachers.”
“We’re going to have a teacher shortage,” the district’s superintendent, Bill Harner, told the school board recently. “It’s time to “start thinking strategically about the future.”
Harner had previously reported that the number of teachers who completed their teacher certification requirements dropped by two-thirds between 2010 and 2020.
The so-called floating teachers would become members of the Quakertown Community Education Association, the teachers’ union, and have a contract and benefits like the traditional teachers.
Floater teachers, however, would be assigned to various classes each day, depending on the openings in their assigned school building and on the district’s needs, according to Gary Weckselblatt, the district’s communications director.
Floater teachers, Harner said, “will be the first line of defense for substitutes.”
“We have the revenue. You can see the trends. You can look at how well we’ve been budgeting. Go after these December graduates. Go after the best of the best,” the superintendent told the board.
Long-term substitutes who are not contracted may apply for the new positions, as well as certified teachers outside the district, Harner said. The plan will add nine certified teachers to the district’s staff, five at the elementary school, and four for the middle and high school.
“We’re trying to be creative,” said the superintendent.