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St. Louis Public Schools, Archdiocese working to recruit teachers amid staffing shortages

The Archdiocese of St. Louis currently has 200 openings for educators, and St. Louis Public Schools has more than 100.

ST. LOUIS — Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of St. Louis and St. Louis Public schools have both felt the toll of the nationwide teacher shortage.

The Archdiocese currently has 200 openings for educators—25 more than what is normally available approaching summer.

"We are dealing with what other school systems are dealing with (and) with other professions are dealing with," said Todd Sweda, senior director of the Archdiocese's Office of Catholic Education and Formation.

Of those 200 vacancies, Sweda added that 128 of them are classroom teachers and others could include specific aide roles in other areas.

The Archdiocese is using a number of tools to attract and retain educators: social media, open interview opportunities and working directly with pastors and principals who do their own networking.

"The big thing has been getting the word out that there's some opportunities for people," Sweda said.

The Archdiocese has had retired teachers return to serve temporarily.

Last July, the Archdiocese started a strategic plan to look at how it can best conduct evangelization within their churches, personnel and schools, but Sweda made clear the vacancies would in no way impact that process.

There is also a need for teachers in St. Louis Public Schools.

Officials said there was a 7% vacancy rate, which equates to about 108 unfilled positions.

The district recently reached an agreement with the American Federation of Teachers Local 420 for a 8% pay raise for teachers and other employees.

“We're hoping that that is going to make a difference. On top of that, we’ve got a number of programs in place to help substitute teachers transition into being full-time teachers of record. We've also got programs in place where we have teachers who are mentoring younger teachers," said district spokesperson George Sells.

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