ATHENS, WV (WVNS)–Teachers aren’t making their way into the classroom any time soon.

A teacher shortage across the nation is the reason.

Andrea Campbell, the Director of Teacher Education at Concord University talked about some numbers that stand out as shocking to her.

“The Department of Ed reported last year approximately 1,200 vacancies were filled with individuals without a teaching certificate or a teacher licensure and this year that number is projected to be over 1,500,” Campbell said.

Carla Warren, the Director of Educator Development and Support with the West Virginia Department of Education said this shortage has the possibility to hinder students’ learning.

“There are classrooms that do not have fully certified teachers in the classroom so when we’re shooting for that ideal to have fully certified fully prepared teachers in every classroom of course it can have an impact on the quality of the education,” Warren said.

Warren says West Virginia is the second state in the nation to participate in the Grow Your Own initiative.
An initiative aimed to give students a head start in their teaching careers.

Concord University is also taking part in the fast track program.

“When they’re in high school getting a lot of college credit already under their belt before they ever step foot on a college campus and then on the flip side it’s getting them back in the classroom as a teacher of record earlier where they’re receiving a salary, retirement benefits, and everything,” Campbell said.

Campbell said they want to help address and fix the staffing problem in schools with the help of high schoolers.

“There isn’t another more rewarding profession out there, you get a chance to really connect with our youth and make a difference in their life so it is extremely rewarding,” Campbell said.

High school students interested in the program can ask their teachers or reach out to Concord University directly.