LOUISA, Va. (WWBT) – On Tuesday morning, around 5,000 students across Louisa County packed their backpacks and boarded their buses to return to class.
As students were dropped off in front of Louisa County Middle School, Superintendent Doug Straley was there to greet each student with a fist bump or high five.
“We’re going to reset, reconnect and revolutionize. That’s our theme for the year,” said Superintendent Straley. “Coming off of two years, pretty tough years during the pandemic, we’re excited about this year and really getting back to some sense of normalcy, and it’s exciting.”
As school divisions across central Virginia struggle to fill vacancies before the start of the school year, Superintendent Straley said their schools are opening fully staffed, which includes bus drivers and teachers.
“It’s a big deal,” Superintendent Straley said. “It’s certainly a crisis across our country with the teacher shortage, and we’re excited to say we’re fully staffed and ready to go on day one.”
This comes as areas in the Richmond area scramble to fill hundreds of open teaching jobs. Wed Aug. 1, Richmond Public Schools reported they were short 163 teachers and 80 other positions. In Chesterfield, there are more than 200 teaching positions school leaders need to fill. This is also a similar situation Henrico school leaders are facing.
Superintendent Straley credits the LCPS team for their work in filling several vacancies for the upcoming school year. In early winter, Straley said the team started strategizing ways to try and fill those several vacancies through various efforts.
“Recruiting fairs, social media and mailings and just reaching out and making sure the word is out there,” said Superintendent Straley.
All of these efforts lead to LCPS having teachers for every classroom.
“We have a great team,” said Superintendent Straley. “We call ourselves Team LCPS, and that’s in our entire community.”
On Tuesday morning, Superintendent Straley stopped by Louisa County High School to greet students and visited classrooms inside Thomas Jefferson Elementary School.
Throughout the years, Superintendent Straley has focused on recognizing the LCPS team by ensuring staff members and educators know their work is essential and appreciated.
“What we try to do here every day is appreciate people, make sure we know we appreciate everything they do,” he said. “The work that educators do is heroic work and heroic work ahead. We’re excited about making sure our team is full and appreciating them for everything they do.”
For students who are thinking about a career in education, Superintendent Straley said LCPS offers a couple of different options for students, including the Teachers for Tomorrow program.
“Students come from the high school and work in our Little Lions Learning Lab to ignite a passion for education and ignite a passion for helping others learn,” he said. “That’s one pathway we’re trying to get our students involved and then can bring them back here in our community to teach.”
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