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Job fair for 21 school districts coming up Saturday

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ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - There is a big job fair for local school systems coming up Saturday at the Salem Civic Center.  21 school systems will be there and each has a little bit different teaching need.

"The National Center for Statistics is projecting student enrollment to increase over the next decade so we're starting to see what happens when you have fewer teachers coming out and more student need both in terms of student enrollment and the different class sizes," said Sandra Burks, Roanoke City School HR Executive Director.

Roanoke City is working to strengthen relationships with teacher prep programs doing things like participating in UVA's resume fair and being on a panel for juniors and seniors at Appalachian State.

Roanoke City also offers bonuses in hard to staff areas hoping to sway teachers.

-Math: $3,000 to $10,000

-Science: $3,000

-Special Education: $2,000

The Human Resources Director believes bonuses have made a difference while other school districts like Wythe and Roanoke Counties are trying to increase pay across the board.

"Probably the biggest challenge is when somebody sees another salary somewhere else especially if they're not tied to our area they are more apt to jump to other areas or other districts. The old saying the grass is always greener on the other side and it depends on what teachers are looking for," said Jim Bradshaw, Roanoke County Public Schools HR Director.

Martinsville has a Tuition Assistance Program that may pay up to 100% of qualifying in-state tuition costs while teachers work toward an approved advanced degree.  Montgomery County pays for teacher re-certification fees.

The job fair is Saturday, January 28 from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the Salem Civic Center. There is more information here: http://www.wvpec.org/job-fair---sub.html

We have highlighted some of the school districts you will see there and some of the unique options featured. Check with each school district to see what they offer:

Roanoke City Public Schools from Human Resources Executive Director Sandra Burks

The highest areas of need:

-Special Education

-Math and Science teachers in grades 6-12

-Foreign language - Particularly Spanish in part because they have increased the classes offered at elementary level but it is difficult to find qualified teachers

-Elementary teachers - this was a new problem area for the 2016-2017 school year. In the past they had 5-6 applications for every opening.

They have been offering bonuses for several years in hard to staff areas and to help teachers who may be on the fence about moving to the area make a final decision:

Math: $3,000 to $10,000

Science: $3,000

Special Education: $2,000

Reach out if you're interested in being a teacher. There is a lot of information they can help you sort through. February 18 is the Roanoke City Job Fair details are here. Pre-registration is required in order to attend.

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Roanoke County Public Schools from Human Resources Director Jim Bradshaw

-Anticipate the hardest to staff areas will be Special Education, High School Math, Career and Technical Education (CTE), Science and Foreign Languages

They have talked about offering bonuses but do not currently provide any. Bradshaw says they have taken the stance of keeping all pay competitive and increasing salaries across the board.

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Martinsville City Public Schools from Director of Human Resources Sarah Byrd:

Our five hardest to staff areas would be Special Education, English as a Second Language (ESL), Technology Education, high school math, and high school science teaching positions.

We are still working on incentives that we may be able to offer for next school year.  We are in the planning stages of our budgeting process so nothing has been finalized.

We offer salary supplements for teachers for master's through doctorate degrees.  We have a $1,500 salary supplement to National Board Certified Teachers.  We have a Tuition Assistance Program that may pay up to 100% of qualifying in-state tuition costs while teachers work toward an approved advanced degree.  All our schools are clean, modern facilities.  All schools are fully air-conditioned and have the latest in instructional technology.  There are SmartBoards in all classrooms, document cameras, laptop carts, student tablets, STEM Pipeline Pre-K - 12.

This year Martinsville is doing something new and holding their own job fair March 11th from 9 a.m. To Noon at Martinsville High School.

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Montgomery County Public Schools from Human Resources Director Annie Whitaker:

- While they don't have detailed information on specific needs for 2017-2018 they anticipate the hardest to staff areas will be Special Education, Mathematics, and Career and Technical Education

MCPS is working to recruit and retain teachers by continuing to provide an "excellent benefit package and by an enhanced focus on the benefits of living and working within Montgomery County and Southwest Virginia. In addition to offering a great benefits package to our employees, MCPS pays for teacher recertification fees."

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Wythe County Public Schools from Director of Human Resources Richie Thomas:

The hardest to staff areas are:

- Math: A full math certification to allows you teach everything

- Chemistry

- Special Education: general special education, can encompass speech and language, visual and hearing impaired. Something that is becoming more of a need is an Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Specialist. "We are seeing a lot of behavioral issues in elementary schools almost to the point of hiring a specialist to train teachers on how to work with students with behavior problems."

- Guidance Counselors

Wythe County doesn't have signing bonuses but they have talked about it in the past for math and science. Thomas says the teacher starting salary for someone just out of college with a degree is one of the highest in Region 7 at $38,450. If you have half of a Masters Degree, they do a supplement of $1,138 and an even higher supplement if they have full masters degree.

Thomas says they are not currently talking about any other ideas to recruit teachers because with a high starting salary they don't have many problems filling most positions.