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District 518's staffing shortage persists, prompting teacher shifts

Interventionists have been moved into the classroom to fill staffing gaps in the district.

Prairie Elementary building
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WORTHINGTON — Neither Worthington Middle School nor the Intermediate school will have any interventionists next year unless people apply for open teaching positions, Superintendent John Landgaard told the District 518 Board of Education's Instructional Committee Monday.

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"We had to go to plan B to ensure we are covered in those classrooms," he said, noting that a few people who had applied for intervention positions were placed as classroom teachers instead.

Interventionists work with small groups of children to provide intensive, skill-based instruction in specific areas such as reading or math, based on periodic assessments. According to the District 518 website, students can exit the program after several weeks so new students can receive assistance.

At Prairie Elementary, one special education teacher, two English learner teachers and six paraprofessionals are needed.

The district is advertising for one fifth grade teacher at the Intermediate School, but could hire two in order to restore two interventionist positions. An additional interventionist is still needed at the Intermediate School, as well as one special education teacher and one English learner teacher.

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WMS is still seeking a counselor, and if two sixth grade teachers could be found, math interventionist positions would be restored there as well, Landgaard said. There's also a science position and two paraprofessionals, plus an additional empty interventionist slot.

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At Worthington Middle School, there's a phy ed position open, as well as a Spanish teacher and a special education teaching position, plus six paraprofessionals. And the Learning Center still needs a paraprofessional.

Even the Nobles County Integration Collaborative has two open spots and a long-term substitute is needed too.

"District-wide, we still need a psychologist," Landgaard added.

He referred to the "huge shortage" of school staffing and noted that every school is dealing with it right now.

The superintendent also warned that the bus company may be forced to implement busing zones again due to a lack of drivers, and had pointed criticism for legislators regarding increased licensing requirements for drivers.

"I don't understand what they're doing. They're making it harder and harder for us to do our jobs to get the kids to school," he said.

In other news Monday, the committee:

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  • Discussed having a public open house and ribbon-cutting for the new Intermediate School from 3:30 to 6 p.m. on Sept. 6.
  • Reviewed changes to student handbooks for each school, which will need to be approved at the next meeting of the full board.
  • Received an update on enrollment, which is currently at 3,300 students. Projected enrollment was 3,384, and Landgaard said it was likely to get closer to that number by the time school starts.
A 1999 graduate of Jackson County Central and a 2003 graduate of Augsburg College, Kari Lucin started writing for newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota in 2006. During her time as a reporter, she covered beats including education, watershed, county and agriculture, and frequently wrote about health and science. She has also served as an online content coordinator and an engagement specialist at various Forum Communications properties. She was a marketing assistant at Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville for two years, where she did design work in addition to writing and social media management.

Lucin is currently a community editor with the Globe of Worthington.

Email: klucin@dglobe.com
Phone: (507) 376-7319
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