MCPS addresses staffing issues two weeks before teachers report to classrooms

Heather Jauquet

School system 98% staffed

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Two weeks before teachers are expected to report back to schools for pre-service week, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Superintendent Dr. Monifa B. McKnight shared efforts and plans to recruit and fill open positions in MCPS.

The service employees union and the administrators union were represented at the meeting, while representation for the teachers union was noticeably absent. However, McKnight said that while Montgomery County Educator Association president Jennifer Martin was not available, she shared an interest in the topic of staffing and recruitment.  

Where is MCPS in the hiring process?

McKnight cites collaboration and creativity in addressing recruitment. For example, there are recruiters at community pop-up events, back-to-school events, the Montgomery County Fair, and recruiting at the universities.

“We are all on one team” —MCPS Superintendent, Dr. Monifa B. McKnight

In addition to the virtual job information session held on August 2, MCPS will hold an in-person job fair on August 10, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Gaithersburg High School, 101 Education Boulevard, Gaithersburg, MD 20877.

Daily Open houses continue at the MCPS Office of Human Resources 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. where staffing specialists will answer questions in-person.

By the numbers

At the time of the media briefing, McKnight said that MCPS is 98% staffed and “closer to 100% every day.”

“We want to be purposeful in who we hire” —MCPS Superintendent, Dr. Monifa B. McKnight
  • 246 full-time teacher openings and 89 teachers in the approval process.  
  • Seeking 157 more full-time teachers 
  • Seeking 59 part-time teachers
  • Seeking 50 bus drivers with 34 in the queue in the approval process
  • 450 professional support openings and 83 candidates in the approval process
  • Seeking 357 more support professionals
“We are all recruiters” —MCPS Superintendent, Dr. Monifa B. McKnight

Steps to retain teachers

McKnight acknowledges that MCPS is a “person-to-person business.” 

  • Competitive pay and salary. According to McKnight the average salary in Montgomery County is $62,000
  •  a 3.32% raise for teachers was on the table during negotiations this year
  • Providing wellness activities for teachers and staff, such as bringing in therapy dogs and providing food trucks
  • Providing a nurturing and supportive environment
  • Building community
  • Tuition compensation

Top areas of need

Mr. Travis Wiebe, Director of Human Capital Management, shared three areas of top need within the school system. First, the top priority is in special education, followed by elementary school teachers, and school psychologists.  

The Maryland State Department of Education has allowed MCPS to offer 25 retirees with no earnings limitations to entire retirees to come back to the classroom.

There are over 3,500 substitute teachers within MCPS. In addition to raising the pay, the school system is also working with MCEA and labor relations to offer a permanent substitute program to provide continuity and stability to schools still in need of teachers. Permanent substitutes are compensated at a higher rate of pay.

On the way to 100%?

McKnight shared that they will continue to recruit and staff until the first day of school and will not rest until the “school system is fully staff” while maintaining high expectations.

“We are ready”—MCPS Superintendent, Dr. Monifa B. McKnight

How do you think MCPS is doing in recruiting and retaining teachers for the 2022-2023 school year? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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Certified educator K-12 and Reading Specialist with a focus on the adolescent brain. I write about how educational decisions affect parents, students, and staff. As an educator and parent I also focus on community events for the whole family.

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