FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (DC News Now) — With less than two weeks until students are welcomed back, Virginia’s largest school division is working to fill the final teaching vacancies in its district.
Fairfax County Public Schools is rolling out a ‘teaching residency’ program, designed to attract different candidates.
On Thursday, the division hosted a job fair for the program with both in-person and virtual interviews.
The plan is for people with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, who have not become licensed teachers in the commonwealth, to work in the classroom while they work toward the license.
“We’re just simply giving them that opportunity and that head start,” said Assistant Superintendent of the Department of Human Resources Sherry Wilson.
Fairfax County Public Schools’ plan is to reimburse tuition for the programs these residents needed to become licensed and provide them with mentors to assist them with the teaching process for their first year.
“We want you to be assured that our goal is to put qualified individuals in front of our classrooms who have a love for children and a desire to teach,” Wilson said.
Wilson and FCPS believe many of the people they bring in will already have teaching experience, whether they’re coming from another state or another level of teaching.
“That’s the best opportunity that they can offer anyone who has been trying to get into the school system,” said Linda Kennebrew, a residency applicant.
Kinnebrew said she taught preschool for 30 years and briefly taught PE, then kindergarten after she finished her degree, at a private school. Now, she wants to work in a public school system and is hopeful this program can help her avoid the loopholes she’s faced trying to get into the field before.
“You don’t have to say, ‘Oh my God another door just shut in my face,'” she said. “This time the doors are open. It’s up to you to go through those doors.”
Fairfax County Public Schools open its doors to students on August 22 and have 98% of positions filled.