BOWIE — With a teacher shortage impacting the entire state, Bowie schools have opted for a creative approach to filling vacancies.
The district is working with the USA Employment program to bring in teachers from out of the country. Teachers from the Philippines had their first day last Wednesday for Bowie schools.
The Range News spoke with Bowie Superintendent Wendy Conger to see how the new teachers’ first day had gone and if there were any other changes on the horizon.
Conger said the teachers work with USA Employment company, which helps teachers retain J-1 visas. Through the program, the teachers may stay employed in accredited schools for up to three years.
“We were unable to fill three positions this year. In the face of the growing shortage of teachers, it makes it really difficult to fill positions, especially in rural schools like Bowie. I was able to fill the positions with highly qualified teachers through this program,” Conger said.
“The cultural component gives the teachers and the students the opportunity to share . . . and engage more broadly with others. Other school districts such as Catalina Foothills in Tucson and Rio Rico in the Santa Cruz Valley were having success with USA Employment, so I decided to follow their footsteps.
“We need to be on the forefront of new ideas. We have seen an increase in enrollment, especially in the preschool and the primary grades,” Conger said. “Of course, Bowie Schools is excited to work with all of our children.”