Weare School District seeks to hire paraprofessionals

  • Weare Middle School spanish teacher Catherine Chasse uses a variety of backdrops and cards to engage her students as she gets ready for her first virtual class on Friday, February 19, 2021.

Monitor staff
Published: 8/7/2022 6:21:49 PM
Modified: 8/7/2022 6:18:32 PM

With the first day of school less than a month away, the Weare School District is holding a paraprofessional job hiring fair Aug. 17, which administrators hope will garner the candidates they need to fill open positions in time.

Conditional offers will be made on the spot at the fair, for open positions at both Center Woods Elementary School and Weare Middle School, according to the notice that the district sent out on Tuesday. Necessary qualifications include a high school diploma or G.E.D., knowledge of the learning process and strong interpersonal skills.

School districts around the region are having a hard time filling paraeducator positions this summer, as many say there is a shortage of candidates.

“We’ve advertised, we’ve sent fliers home thinking maybe parents are thinking about that next step from being a stay-at-home parent to working in a school,” said Jessica Potter, principal at Center Woods Elementary School. “We’re getting very few people. I think it’s because there’s just a lot more openings than there are people who can work in them. That’s been the challenge.”

Potter’s school had eight open paraeducator positions at the start of the summer – half the paraeducator staff – and they are still seeking to fill five of them.

In Concord, the school district is still seeking candidates to fill 34 special education and instructional aide positions, human resources director Michele Garon said at a Concord School Board meeting Aug. 1.

“It sounds like a large number, but in comparison to other districts we just recently surveyed, we’re average or below average for the amount of positions that they’re looking to fill,” Garon told board members.

The job fair isn’t the first strategy the Weare School District has tried. Last year at this time, the district implemented a $500 hiring incentive for new paraeducators. They also provided an incentive for returning paraeducators, to show appreciation and encourage retention among veteran staff members.

Other school districts have also been turning to job fairs and signing bonuses this year, to attract candidates for the 2022-2023 school year. The Merrimack School District is holding a career fair at Merrimack High School Aug. 16, for candidates interested in teacher or support staff positions.

Manchester School District held a job fair in May, with signing bonuses for paraprofessionals. Nashua School District held a job fair in April and offered signing bonuses for new hires. Elsewhere in the state, the Rochester School District and the Jaffrey-Rindge Cooperative School District have also held job fairs this summer.

Potter said she hopes Weare's upcoming job fair will attract people who may be interested but unfamiliar with what a paraeducator role entails, as they’ll be able to learn more at the event.

“They’ll go, they’ll talk to us, they’ll understand more about what the role is,” Potter said. “They can apply, and if they need to know right away, hopefully we can do that right on the spot.”

Weare School District’s paraprofessional job hiring fair will take place at Weare Middle School on Aug. 17 from 5-7 p.m.

Eileen O

Eileen O'Grady is a Report for America corps member covering education for the Concord Monitor since spring 2020. O’Grady is the former managing editor of Scope magazine at Northeastern University in Boston, where she reported on social justice issues, community activism, local politics and the COVID-19 pandemic. She is a native Vermonter and worked as a reporter covering local politics for the Shelburne News and the Citizen. Her work has also appeared in The Boston Globe, U.S. News & World Report, The Bay State Banner, and VTDigger. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northeastern University and a bachelor’s degree in politics and French from Mount Holyoke College, where she served as news editor for the Mount Holyoke News from 2017-2018.

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