It’s almost back-to-school for students, but RCAS still struggles to find qualified teachers

RAPID CITY, S.D. — School starts in Rapid City on August 30, and while the district is excited to have kids back in the building, they’re struggling to find enough qualified teachers for them.

This has been a struggle that has continued for years.

“I’m very concerned about where we’re going to be in the future, because teachers have really taken a hit – education in general over the last few years,” said RCAS Interim Superintendent and CEO Nicole Swigart.

In the Rapid City Area School District, there are more than 150 open positions alone — from paraprofessionals to bus drivers.

“I can’t think of one area that we don’t have open positions,” Swigart adds.

Swigart says they’re trying to get creative, including making step-by-step plans to get teachers certified on-the-job when they can.

Rcas Covid Protocols 7Qualified teachers are hard to come by, as districts compete with each other and with other professions for hires.

“Education right now is not a priority…becoming a teacher,” said Swigart. “I think we need to work really hard at re-energizing college students into what a great profession teaching is.”

State requirements are strict, and even more rigid when districts use federal funding. Swigart says it needs to be easier to get certified.

“I think we need to look at helping people who have degrees already explore how they can pick up their credits to become a teacher,” Swigart adds.

Until then, some classes — like Lakota immersion and some Career and Technical Education Programs — get cut.

CLICK HERE for more information on job openings at RCAS.

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