MNPS continues to fill over 100 open positions as first day of school nears

Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 5:55 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Monday is Metro Nashville students’ first day of school. This weekend, the final preparations are being done, including still trying to fill more than 100 open teacher positions.

Teachers like Jessica Milburn welcomed students back to Tom Joy Elementary School Friday afternoon to meet their teachers before classes began. She said building a connection with students and their families starting on day one is key to a good year.

“We are inviting a lot more parents and volunteers into the building this year just because of some COVID guidelines that have been dropped, so I think that will be a bit of a change,” Milburn said. “The building is going to be a little more open to parents and volunteers and people from the community, so we will get to see and interact a little bit more that way.”

Milburn saw several of her students on Friday, including Silvia Rodriguez and her sister Deisy. They were going into the third grade and were two of many students to get free haircuts and backpacks ahead of the first day.

“I’m excited to play around, have new friends and also teach myself how to learn in third grade,” Silvia said. “I just want to see who my teacher is.”

Having every student succeed in the classroom is the goal of Principal Sandra Moorman. She said there would be several changes at Tom Joy and across Metro Schools this year, including new safety plans and technology.

“Parents should be expecting a lot of things as far as technology is available,” Moorman said. “We want our students to be in the digital world because that’s what it’s going to take for them to be career oriented.”

Principal Moorman said her school is fully staffed despite some challenges finding enough qualified teachers this summer. However, other Metro Schools are still working to fill 125 open full-time teaching positions out of around 4,800 classroom teaching positions throughout the district.

Many candidates are still in the hiring process, according to Metro Schools, and principals will continue efforts to hire through the start of the year. If enough people can’t be hired before the first day of school, classrooms will be covered with administrators or substitutes.

Jennifer Hodge and her son, Joseph, hope to transition smoothly into the first grade. However, she is happy to have so many familiar faces returning to their school to make the return to the classroom easier.

“We were a little nervous,” Jennifer said. “We done a lot of work over the summer, and we’ve come a long way, so I am pretty confident in going back.”

Metro Schools is also short, with around 72 school bus drivers going into the school year. A spokesperson said they’ve seen more applicants after increasing bus driver pay but will have to adjust schedules and routes due to the shortage.

Parents can find this website information about bus route times and bus stop locations before the first day.

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