91 open positions for Providence schools, two weeks out from first day of school

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — With exactly two weeks until the first day of school, there are about 91 classroom vacancies in the Providence School District.

The district’s chief communications officer, Nicholas Domings, told ABC 6 News that about 95% of their classroom positions are filled for the school year.

According to Maribeth Calabro, president of the Providence Teacher’s Union, teachers aren’t leaving the business, they’re going to other districts.

She said most cases are due to lack of respect, not lack of money.

“They feel demoralized and disrespected and devalued as educators in Providence,” Calabro said.

Calabro said much of the disrespect has been felt during the state take over following the John Hopkins report in 2019.

While teachers took accountability for the reports findings, Calabro said the state has put too much blame on the teachers.

“To be consistently and constantly disrespected by the commissioner and other folks in terms of lack of qualifications a lot of those things pile on to teachers they don’t feel valued so they’re going to leave and go where they will feel valued,” Calabro said.

In response, the district is offering the following incentives:

For hiring

  • Sign-on bonuses of up to $10,000 for qualified candidates
  • $25,000 in loan forgiveness for up to 25 teachers of color thanks to funding from the Rhode Island Foundation
  • A new employee referral program, where current PPSD employees can get $500 if they refer someone who gets hired
  • Open interviews weekly to support principals with filling their open classrooms

For retention

  • Up to $8,000 for teachers to get ESL certified
  • The district created “The Superintendent’s Teacher Cabinet,” which will meet at least monthly to give teachers more of a voice in the district
  • A Johnson and Wales partnership where PPSD staff can get 50% off their Master’s degree, and $15,000 off their doctorate
  • Teacher ambassadors in each school to help early career teachers
  • A 2-week teacher academy for new teachers

The district also sent ABC 6 the following, “The Providence Public School District is committed to creating a culture and environment where educators feel valued, respected, and able to grow professionally so that retention numbers increase to pre-pandemic levels.”

Categories: News, Providence, Rhode Island