Kentucky Department of Education launches website to help address teacher shortage

BOWLING GREEN Ky.-While the Kentucky schools face a statewide teacher shortage, the Kentucky Department of Education has stepped up.

An online program called, Go Teach Kentucky, shows future teachers information about the profession. The website offers resources for those in high school, college or those wanting to switch into teaching. Assistant Superintendent of the Barren County Schools Courtni Crews said the school system has been seeing fewer applicants per position, and Go Teach Kentucky is just what the schools need.

“We’re really concerned about the lack of students that are choosing to go into teaching as their professional career,” she said.

“The fact that Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis has set up this plan has given hope to those in the school system.

“I really appreciate that initiative that he’s taken on the state level. I think all of us need to do our part on a local level. We’re our own best advocate,” Crews said.

Western Kentucky University education professor Dr. Gary Houchens is also a member of the Kentucky Board of Education, and he emphasized that being short on teachers is a problem that exists outside of Kentucky as well.

“We’ve seen states across the country for a number of years facing shortages in key teaching areas, especially hard-to-staff areas such as special education, and sometimes secondary sciences like chemistry and physics,” Houchens said.

While the website will be a useful tool  in finding more Kentucky teachers, it takes the current teachers to join in as well.

“We’ve got to do a better job at retaining the high-quality teachers that we’ve got. I think that the recruitment is one piece of that two-pronged strategy that includes retention, holding on to the great teachers that we have and making sure they have the resources and support to do their jobs well,” Houchens said.