MUNCIE, Ind--Just one week before students are set to enter classrooms, Muncie Community Schools solidified their teaching roster with a broad stroke. On Wednesday, MCS hired 40 new staffers, 36 of whom are teachers.
“Actually right now as I sit here today we are in a better place than we were in the last two years,” said Superintendent Steven Baule.
Previously, more than 100 teachers had either quit or retired heading into this school year.
Baule says since April, the district added roughly 90 teachers to fill the positions. Currently, Baule says the district is only three hires away from being fully staffed.
“The teachers that we have coming in, whether they’re new teachers or veterans with 20-25 years of experience, they know what they’re coming into and they’re here because they want to work with our kids and want to make sure our kids get the best option they possibly can,” he said.
Despite acknowledging the necessity of the new hires, the head of the Muncie Teacher’s Association says she’s concerned that so many were hired so close to the start of classes.
“It is a complicated issue; it is a very complex issue. Teachers just don’t show up on the first day, get a bunch of kids and education happens. Teachers work all summer,” said Pat Kennedy.
Kennedy said only giving the newly-hired teachers a week to prepare for the school year is not nearly enough time. Particularly for 13 of the hires who are newly-certified.
“It’s not only going to be difficult on the brand new teachers, we have teachers who are returning to the school system where maybe it’s one teacher out of four and they have three new teammates in a grade level. How are they going to work together? When are they going to have time to work together?" she asked.
Superintendent Baule said he has nothing but confidence that the teachers will be prepared.
“Principals don’t give me candidates they feel aren’t ready to go in front of kids. I don’t hire people that I feel aren’t ready to go in front of kids. We have curriculum maps in place, our curriculum directors at the elementary and secondary level are very clear to make sure they have the supports they need. They meet with the principals and they make sure they’re ready for where they need to go,” he said.
Students return to Muncie Schools on Aug. 1.