With looming first day, Detroit schools still not fully staffed

The first day of schools is looming for the Detroit Public Schools Community District, and the administration is still working hard to ensure the classrooms are fully staffed.

Dr. Nikolai Vitti, Superintendent Detroit Public Schools Community District, says they're still looking to fill about 300 openings. The district is holding a hiring fair on Thursday, August 31 -- and qualified applicants could get a job on the spot. You can get more information on that below.

Applications are being accepted for all teaching positions, but there is a critical need for teachers in the following areas:

  • Mathematics
  • Science/Integrated Science
  • English Language Arts
  • Special Education
  • Music Education
  • Spanish
  • K-5 Elementary

The district insists they're fully funded to pay all the teachers being hired.

Dr. Vitti joined us on Let It Rip Weekend to tell us more about the changes teachers and students will see in the Detroit Public Schools Community District. He says funding is going into school programming, and professional development for the teachers.

"We have been dramatically underfunding professional development of our teachers. Teachers won't stay if they don't feel the district is investing in them," he said.

He says they've also dramatically reduced the amount of testing required throughout the district. He says that was a common complaint from teachers, that students were overtested and the teachers didn't have time to really focus on the curriculum.

He says testing has been reduced by 70 percent to give teachers more flexibility.

You can hear more of the discussion from Dr. Vitti and other DPSCD officials here.

If classrooms still have vacancies by the first day of school, Tuesday, September 5, Dr. Vitti says most will be covered by full-time substitutes. This is what happened in a lot of classrooms last year, too. Dr. Vitti says substitutes can't become full-time teachers because they don't have the proper certification yet.

Some district-level staff have also been moved back into the classrooms to cover vacancies.

If you'd like to apply for a position, visit detroitk12.org/employment.

The hiring fair on Thursday, August 31 is from 5-7 p.m. at Benjamin Carson High School of Science and Medicine, 571 Mack Ave. Detroit, MI 48201. Retirees in special education, math and world languages are encouraged to apply.

Again, Dr. Vitti says applicants who are certified may get a job on the spot.