School Views: Making the most of fall break
Fall break is upon us which means our staff, teachers, and students are enjoying some well-deserved rest and relaxation.
We were hopeful at the beginning of the year that things would be back to normal, but as we settle into our first break of the year, we face a new dilemma: an unprecedented staffing shortage. This challenge is not unique to us and has hit most industries nationwide.
We are fortunate to have many terrific partnerships throughout Eagle County that help us provide educational opportunities for our youths, both in and out of the classroom. However, that hasn’t proven to be enough as we are seeing staffing shortages across most departments. From bus drivers to nurses, guest teachers to school counselors, we have openings all across our district.
The dedication and resolve of those currently working for Eagle County Schools is nothing short of spectacular. These devoted individuals are truly the ones powering our engine forward and they need assistance.
Nationally, fewer and fewer people have chosen to enter the education field in recent years. We’ve seen a precipitous drop in the number of teacher candidates we meet at recruiting events, both in and out of state. We’ve also struggled to retain nurses, which currently runs parallel to most other organizations in the medical profession in and beyond our valley.
We recently addressed these issues with the Board of Education, which supported our proposed staffing changes. These included increased rates of pay and incentives to existing and potential staff members. We’ve also continued recruiting across various channels in hopes of filling vacancies to alleviate some of the burdens our staff face.
School-based jobs provide an enticing schedule for many in our community with school holidays, summers and weekends off. We’re also proud to offer great health insurance and retirement benefits through Colorado’s Public Employees’ Retirement Association. But most importantly, the greatest and most fulfilling benefit of working for Eagle County School District is the opportunity to work with kids.
Many employers in Eagle County are in the same boat when it comes to attracting and retaining professional talent. The cost of living is high, and rentals go in hours, not days. Add to that the challenges the pandemic has presented and it’s an uphill climb for sure.
But we’re a mountain community, and uphill doesn’t scare us. We are committed to finding team members who are the right fit for our organization and our community.
Those of us who choose to make Eagle County our home already know there is no place we’d rather be. If you or someone who might be interested in shaping the leaders of tomorrow, now is the time to join Eagle County School District. Visit EagleSchools.net/careers and find the job you’re passionate about with us.
Adele Wilson is the chief human resources officer for Eagle County Schools. Email her at email@example.com.