COVID-19 speeds Philadelphia school teacher hiring process; impact on turnover less certain

By KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio)  The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way the Philadelphia School District hires teachers. The question now is how many will they need for next year?

The school district is hiring teachers at a faster pace than last year, said Larisa Shambaugh, the district's chief talent officer.

"I think that's a real testament to our schools' ability to do a lot of this work online, do a lot of interviews remotely, hosting virtual job fairs. So quite a bit is happening even though our school doors aren't open,” Shambaugh said. 

Typically, she explained, teachers would be expected to conduct a sample class session in their application process. But since that’s not possible, teachers are being asked to do things like analyze student data online, respond to different case scenarios.

The district typically hires about 900 teachers each year — approximately 10% of its teaching corps. 

Shambaugh isn't sure whether the pandemic will cause more teachers to leave at the end of this year, or if more will stay.

"We can anticipate that due to the uncertainty, some individuals who may have taken another job or moved to a different state, done a more traditional turnover, are staying at higher numbers,” she said. 

Teachers’ union president Jerry Jordan didn't have any firm figures, but his hunch is that with the school budget anxiety that COVID-19 is creating, more teachers would want to hold onto their jobs.