The difficulties the superintendent of the year sees in this school year and forward : NPR

NPR’s Ailsa Chang speaks with Curtis Cain, the 2022 Nationwide Superintendent of the 12 months, in regards to the challenges within the present and incoming faculty 12 months.

We’re nearing the tip of what would be the third faculty 12 months disrupted by COVID. College students are experiencing vital psychological well being challenges, academics are going through extra behavioral issues within the classroom, and, outdoors of sophistication, mother and father and lawmakers have been combating over what can and can’t be taught.
And that’s the reason we wished to take a couple of minutes to verify in with Curtis Cain. He’s the superintendent of the Wentzville Faculty District in Missouri and was named the 2022 Nationwide Superintendent of the 12 months by the Faculty Superintendents Affiliation. Welcome.
CURTIS CAIN: Ailsa, hey. How are you?
CHANG: Good. I wished to ask you about one thing that you simply had mentioned while you accepted your award. You mentioned that, , March of 2020 was actually arduous, however that in some way 2022 is even worse. What did you imply by that while you mentioned that?
CAIN: In March of ’20, you did not know the place you have been going to truly discover rest room paper, proper?
CHANG: Yeah. Yeah.
CAIN: We’re nonetheless working our approach via provide chain and different challenges, however persons are simply in a unique place. And I might say socially and emotionally, and I feel mentally, of us are in a really, very totally different place, and I feel it is essential that we acknowledge that context. It doesn’t suggest we can’t work our approach via this as a nation. We may have full confidence that we are going to achieve this, however I feel it is very important acknowledge the context, in that it is a totally different set of circumstances that we’re all working our approach via at this explicit cut-off date.
CHANG: You already know, a number of faculty districts have been battling staffing shortages the final couple of years – whether or not we’re speaking about shortages of academics, bus drivers, custodians. Are you able to discuss how your district has been weathering via that?
CAIN: One of many challenges within the Wentzville Faculty District – let me provide you with an instance of what the previous few years has appeared like. Two years in the past, we opened a brand-new elementary faculty. This previous 12 months, we opened a brand-new highschool, and subsequent 12 months, the district shall be opening a brand-new center faculty.
CAIN: So dozens, in some instances lots of – over 100 workers members simply to workers these respective buildings.
CHANG: Proper. I imply, you’re the fastest-growing faculty district in Missouri, appropriate?
CAIN: We’ve got traditionally been the fastest-growing faculty district within the state since across the 12 months 2000.
CAIN: There have been 6,000 college students at that cut-off date, and there are actually over 17,300 college students within the Wentzville Faculty District. So while you begin including these layers of complexity to the equation, it turns into difficult, proper? We’re all coping with retirement, after which, clearly, you may have folks which might be selecting to maneuver elsewhere, work elsewhere. There are spousal strikes which might be impacting issues. There are a number of components which might be at play proper now.
CHANG: What number of open jobs do you may have proper now?
CAIN: Properly, we’re nearing the tip of the varsity 12 months, so we’re in a significantly better place than we sometimes could be.
CHANG: And what number of slots are we speaking which might be nonetheless open?
CAIN: I might say we’re speaking dozens at this cut-off date.
CHANG: Wow. That is rather a lot.
CAIN: It’s, and it creates a state of affairs the place we’ve academics which have mixed school rooms, taught over their very own plan durations, particularly as issues have been actually attempting to – or have been trickling up in the course of the omicron variant, proper? And so folks actually prolonged themselves to maintain classroom doorways open.
CHANG: Do you suppose the pandemic has intensified the challenges inherent in a number of these positions that you’re striving to fill – during which case, it might make the pipeline even more durable to workers going ahead into the following 12 months and the 12 months after?
CAIN: I’ll say this – I feel that, over the previous couple of years, of all of the factors of criticism which have, I feel, apprehensive me probably the most, it is that our academics do not care. What our academics do is – they’re in tight quarters, so to talk, with numerous college students. And what they finally need to do is be capable to go dwelling and expertise a set of circumstances and surroundings for their very own households, proper? That is what they’re taking a look at – not that they do not or that they now not care about their college students. They’re pouring out to our youngsters each day.
I feel what our youngsters are asking for seems totally different than it has prior to now, and so I feel it should be about us creating the holistic pupil – not simply academically – ensuring that college students are regulated, in a position to deal with themselves socially and emotionally as they’re matriculating their approach via our faculties as properly. I feel these are the components that we will should work via as a rustic. I – once more, I’ve full confidence we’re going to take action. We’re simply going to have to take action in another way transferring ahead.
CHANG: Curtis Cain is the superintendent of the Wentzville Faculty District in Missouri. He’s additionally the 2022 Nationwide Superintendent of the 12 months. Thanks a lot for talking with us.
CAIN: Thanks so very a lot – very humbled and really honored. Thanks a lot.

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