With few new teachers, DeKalb Schools tackles special ed shortage

Schools across the county had students on the prestigious list.

Combined ShapeCaption
Schools across the county had students on the prestigious list.

According to the Human Capital Management monthly report, it did so while hiring just a handful of new special education teachers.

District officials have not provided specific numbers for how the vacancies were handled.

A July report given to the DeKalb County Board of Education by interim Chief Human Capital Management Officer Linda Woodard said the district had approximately 170 special education teacher vacancies. During the board's Sept. 9 meeting, 92 remained.

In that time, just five new special education teachers were hired.

District officials said in a statement that  their strategy to fill special education classrooms saw some district employees promoted to teaching roles and some general assignment teachers reassigned to fill gaps, among other things.

Special education teachers are responsible for some of the most vulnerable of learners and must meet certain federal and state requirements. The job often requires much more paperwork to show students are taught according to Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) built to teach students at their respective paces.

But burnout happens more often, leading to higher-than-average turnover and teachers shifting to other areas of instruction, or leaving the field altogether.