Get the Administrator’s Edge on Indiana’s Teacher Shortage 

Get the Administrator's Edge on Indiana’s Teacher Shortage - Featured Image

According to an article by NPR, which cited data from the National Center for Education Statistics, 45% of schools nationwide reported at least one teacher vacancy when the survey was conducted in October 2022. The vast majority of the hardest-to-fill positions were in math and science. The report also disclosed that the more economically disadvantaged and high-minority schools were more likely to report vacancies. 

In an article in the Terre Haute Tribune Star, a private consulting firm, Equitable Education Solutions, surveyed Indiana schools in September 2022, in which the findings were very consistent with the national data. Of the traditional public school superintendents who responded (176 of the 291) 95% reported they were contending with a teacher shortage issue. Not unlike the federal data, math and science positions were especially problematic for Indiana schools to fill. Of the respondents, 65% were from small rural school corporations. 

While utilizing Indiana Online isn’t intended to be a permanent solution to the current situation, it can bridge the gap in these challenging times. As a partner of Indiana schools, we have created two programs that can be utilized to allow students to take courses online using the school’s licensed teacher (FlexED-C) or an Indiana Online licensed teacher (FlexED-T). The FlexED-T program in particular has all of the components to fill the need for both a teacher and curriculum. Our courses are designed to meet the Indiana Standards, are developed or reviewed by Indiana-certified teachers, and meet the Core 40 and Academic Honors requirements.

During the May 18, 2023 Indiana Online Administrator’s Edge webinar, our guest speakers, Nate McKeand, Principal of Triton Jr./Sr High School, and Laura Robbins, Counselor of South Newton High School, addressed teacher shortages and how they resolved them in the 2022-2023 school year utilizing their partnership with Indiana Online. These two schools are among the 20+ schools who used Indiana Online for the FlexED program this year. 

“Absent of having a physical teacher in the room we needed to make sure we had an option for our kids, so we decided to partner up with Indiana Online and I would say overall it has worked really good,” Mr. McKeand remarked about partnering with Indiana Online to fulfill their needs. Mr. McKeand provided some great tips and best practices that they have incorporated at the school to augment the learning experience for their students who were taking Chemistry and Integrated Chemistry and Physics using our FlexED-T program. They provided a monitor for the class to assist in ensuring students stayed engaged in the work. They also had a retired Chemistry teacher who would come in to provide the students with hands-on lab experiences to support what they were learning from their Indiana Online teacher and course content. He mentioned some lessons learned are that they needed to set expectations for the students immediately from the beginning of the semester as well as involve parents by informing them of these expectations. Speaking on the responsiveness of the Indiana Online teachers and staff, he said, “I always felt like I could reach out to someone and get an answer in a timely manner”. 

Ms. Robbins, whose school used the FlexED-T program for AP Language and Literature, also brought in an outside resource, a retired English teacher, to assist in supporting students by providing seminars for the students on occasion.  Ms. Robbins said, “I think Indiana Online did a great job of reaching out to the parents and to the students.” While South Newton believes they have found a face-to-face teacher for these courses for next year, she indicated that they may be facing a similar situation in 2023-24 for algebra and is happy to have Indiana Online as a backup plan. ”It’s a great backup plan if you need that, and I think the curriculum was really good,” she stated.

Indiana Online, a department of the Central Indiana Educational Service Center (CIESC), is one of the largest online supplemental course providers in the state, offering a wide variety of full-time, year-round, and summer courses online. If you are a school administrator struggling with filling vacant teaching positions, please contact Mary Brabson, Outreach Specialist, at 317-608-0532 or mbrabson@indianaonline.org and she will be happy to meet with you to further explore how Indiana Online can provide assistance. You can also check out our website for information on our programs and course offerings.  

References: 

Turner, Cory.Cohen, Nicole. “6 things to know about U.S. teacher shortages and how to solve

them.” NPR, 23 March 2023.What to know about teacher shortages and what schools can do about them : NPRLoughlin, Sue. “Teacher shortage continues in Indiana.” Tribune Star, Terre Haute, CNHI, LLC, 3 January 2023.Teacher shortage continues in Indiana | Local News |tribstar.com

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  • Ally Swensen

    Allynn “Ally” is the Marketing and Partnerships Coordinator with Indiana Online. Ally oversees marketing initiatives to further the growth and development of Indiana Online as well as project management of other internal initiatives. Ally has 20+ years experience in various roles in online learning.

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