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Superintendent Press Release February 3, 2023

Dear Cedar Bluffs Families,

 I took my first teaching job in Quinter, Kansas in 1996. My first principal job came just three year later in 1999 in Elba, Nebraska. I was not a very good teacher. I didn’t have the patience nor the mentality to overcome daily failure. I equated that when a child wasn’t learning in my classroom, then it was my failure. I think many of our staff still have this enduring quality and care just as deeply, but they have learned not to be so short sided. What a child doesn’t learn today, we can help them grow tomorrow. As one of my teachers told me this week, FAIL stands for First Attempt In Learning.  I have so much respect for our teachers, those in their first year to our most tenured and wisest teacher, who told me I couldn’t share their name but who will start their 45th year of teaching in the fall of 2023.

As you may know, Nebraska like all States are in the midst of a teacher shortage. Last year the Nebraska legislation passed bills aimed at teacher retention and recruitment. Again, this year there are several other bills proposing money for teachers even though they also have legislative bills to cut funding to public schools and bills that would put spending caps on public school expenditures. I really don’t think it is “just” about money for teachers. Teachers teach because they had a teacher who made a profound difference in their lives. Cedar Bluffs Public School motto of “kids first” reflects how our teachers put building positive relationships as one of our primary objectives. This week, NDE released the Teacher Vacancy Report. This report is from schools in Nebraska only and shows the endorsement areas with the largest number of unfilled positions in the State:

The State reported that there were a total of 768.70 positions unfilled with fully qualified personnel and 208.45 left vacant for the 2022-2023 school year. There were 196 schools in the State of Nebraska that started the school year off with unfilled positions. Cedar Bluffs filled all our positions but do have two teachers who are teaching out of their endorsed area. Our middle school math and middle school science are being taught by teachers who have K-8 endorsements, rather than Science and Math endorsements. The shortage in Special education is not a surprise since to be certified, teacher are required to add an additional endorsement and take additional college classes and training beyond what other teachers must acquire. Career educators like Skills and Technical teachers, Agriculture Education teachers and Vocational and STEM teacher are hard to find, because once they have enough skills to teach a Trade they are highly skilled and wanted by companies that can pay significantly higher wages for that skill. At Cedar Bluffs we are very fortunate for all our wonderful teachers! #Wildcat Pride!