STERLING — Carmen I. Ayala, state superintendent of education, will be on hand to welcome students aspiring to a career in education and will also present at a symposium April 29 at Sauk Valley Community College .

The symposium is the result of a partnership between the college and the 47 Regional Office of Education to address the teacher shortage, which is statewide but acutely felt in the north -western Illinois.

“The teacher shortage is getting a little scary, to be honest,” said Chanda McDonnell of ROE 47.

Eight in 10 school districts in Lee, Ogle and Whiteside counties said in a 2021 survey that they were having trouble filling teacher and substitute teacher positions — and most believe the problem will only to get worse.

The survey, which was conducted by the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendent of Schools, found that 18% of teaching positions posted at Sauk Valley schools were either unfilled or had been filled through a hire deemed ” less qualified.

Shortages are no longer felt by just one type of location, the survey showed. More than 80% of districts in urban centres, suburbs and rural communes all report difficulties in hiring.

The symposium is an opportunity for high school students considering a vocation in education to meet Ayala and other local administrators, investigate different career paths, and talk to retired teachers about personal and professional growth. that work brings.

Representatives from state colleges and universities will also be on hand to talk about their educational programs.

The immediate goal of the Education Pathways programs run by area high schools is to allow students to explore the teaching career path before college and see if it’s right for them.

But ultimately, McDonnell says, it’s to start a pipeline for qualified, certified teachers to return to their home areas to begin their careers.

“We hope they develop that feeling of coming back,” McDonnell said.

During the symposium, there will also be a ceremony for students from the region who have already obtained a mention in education on their high school diploma.

Area districts that have existing Pathways programs or are in the process of expanding them are Dixon Public Schools, Rock Falls High School, Morrison, River Bend in Fulton, Amboy, Sterling Public Schools, Ashton-Franklin Center, Prophetstown-Lyndon- Tampico, Forrestville Valley and the Regional Center for Change.

A career path and technical education grant from the Illinois State Board of Education pays for the event.

The CTE program was created by the state legislature in 2016 under the Post-Secondary Education and Workforce Readiness Act, more commonly known as the PWR Act. It requires schools to develop career-readiness pathways that, when completed, result in honors on graduate degrees.

In the academic pathway, there is an individualized learning plan that includes coursework, six hours of post-secondary credits, and college preparation in math and English. Students participate in 60 hours of work-paced learning. Schools should provide mentors who serve as guides for participating students. This includes job shadowing, job fairs and skills building to give them an edge in getting a job.

For more information on attending the symposium, contact McDonnell at 815-677-2457.

Organic Box

Carmen I. Ayala

State Superintendent of Education

Illinois State Board of Education

Named: 2019

Career: Superintendent at Berwyn North District 98. Also administrative positions at Plainfield District 202, Community Consolidated District 300, Aurora East District 131. Bilingual and bicultural teacher in Chicago public schools.

Education: BA Mundelein College, MA Dominican University, PhD Loyola University-Chicago.

In the News: Teacher of the Year Award presented to Spanish teacher Kimberly Radostits of Oregon High School.