HR Extras

Teacher shortage areas released

Teacher shortage areas are submitted annually by the Texas Education Agency and approved by the United States Department of Education.
The approved shortage areas give administrators the ability to recruit and retain qualified teachers and to help reward teachers for their hard work using the loan forgiveness opportunities. District staff can certify that a teacher has met the minimum qualifications required for certain loan forgiveness programs.
Shortage Area 2016–17 2015–16 2014–15 2013–14 2012–13
Bilingual/English as a Second Language X X X X X
Career and Technical Education X X X    
Computer Science X X X X  
Languages Other Than English (Foreign Language)       X X
English as a Second Language   X X    
Technology Applications X        
Mathematics X X X X X
Science X X X X X
Special Education X X X X X

Poll results for issuing teaching permits for noncore CTE courses

HR Services conducted a short survey in May 2016 to find out if school districts plan to use the local teaching permits option (Texas Education Code §21.055) to hire teachers for “noncore academic career and technical education (CTE) courses.” As background, the Texas Legislature passed H.B. 2205 in its most recent session, amending the law to allow school boards to issue a teaching permit without approval by the commissioner of education.
Among 256 responding public Texas school districts, 64 percent (165 districts) do not plan to use the permit option for 2016‒17. For districts that do plan to hire noncore teachers, health science, welding, and cosmetology were the most commonly reported noncore CTE areas. Most districts plan to accept any combination of subject-matter expertise such as work experience, formal training and education, or relevant industry credential.
More than half of districts (54 percent) will not require additional continuing education for the individuals outside of state-required classroom management training. Other districts indicated that local staff professional development or teacher training will be required.

“Take 5” to motivate your team

Human motivation is quite possibly one of the most intriguing, and puzzling, areas of the social sciences. Wikipedia’s contributors aptly describe motivation as being a cycle in which thoughts influence behaviors, behaviors drive performance, performance affects thoughts, and the cycle begins again. Each stage of the cycle is composed of many dimensions including attitudes, beliefs, intentions, effort, and withdrawal, which can all affect the motivation that an individual experiences. That being said, despite the explosion of research over the last two decades focusing on the presumptive generational differences that would lead us to believe that people born just a few years apart are really completely different animals, several common motivational factors seem to be at play for most, if not all, of the generations currently in the workforce.

Autonomy—Employees enjoy systems that allow them some leeway when it comes to what, how, when, where, and with whom they do things.

Transparency—Very similar to another key motivator, trust, transparency helps employees connect their job to the company’s goals.

Appreciation—Recognition of achievements doesn’t have to be financial to be impactful. Saying “thank you” or “good job” when the situation warrants it goes a long way.

Sympathetic help for personal problems—Being sincere and making time for your team members is crucial to true leadership. Don’t forget to follow up for updates if appropriate.

Feedback—Whether positive or a “teachable moment,” at the individual level, employees generally value any type of feedback over none at all. In the case of the latter, a secondary group benefit is that teams know who isn’t pulling their weight. Working to solve the problem will ultimately benefit all.

Hiring is up, but are graduates prepared?

This year’s college graduates have something to look forward to this year that graduates for the last decade have not—more jobs. 

A recent national survey conducted by CareerBuilder shows that 66% of employers plan to hire from the new graduate pool, with more than half of these employers planning to offer jobs before the graduates even walk across the stage. The improving economy and rising number of retirements are cited as two reasons the outlook may be better for this year’s graduating class. 

However, some employers expressed that new college grads aren’t always prepared to enter the workforce, with 24% of respondents indicating that academic institutions are not adequately preparing college grads for the workplace—a drastic 21% increase from last year’s responses.

Survey respondents indicate that the shortcomings of academic preparation include interpersonal/people skills, problem-solving skills, lack of skills in leadership, teamwork and written and oral communication. The results of a Futurestep survey found that most executives indicated that the top two qualities they desire in new graduates are the ability to learn from experiences and apply those learnings and business acumen followed closely by drive and cultural fit. 

So, who’s getting hired? The CareerBuilder survey identified the most in-demand majors.