DPI Surveying School Districts on How They’ve Responded to Teacher Shortages

On April 20 the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) sent an email to each school district administrator in the state with a link to an electronic survey asking for information about the extent to which each district has experienced a shortage of qualified educators and what steps the district has taken to address such shortages.

In particular, this survey will gather information on the licensure areas that were difficult to staff in your district for the 2015-16 school year, and the methods your district used to fill the hard-to-staff positions. Additionally, the survey will ask for some quick responses to what your district is doing to attract, prepare, recruit, and retain teachers, pupil services professionals, and administrators.

The DPI is asking for one survey response from each district. The survey will be open from April 19, 2016, until May 2, 2016. Your district can save its answers and come back to the survey as often as needed during that window period.

Once the surveys have been collected, the DPI will aggregate the data by CESA district and plans to host half-day sessions in May in each CESA district to share review the data with school board members and administrators. You are encouraged to attend these sessions to see how your district compares with other districts in your CESA. Watch for updates on the location and dates for these sessions.

While the DPI has data on the supply side (e.g., the number of licenses and permits it issues, including requests for emergency licensure), it lacks reliable data about what is actually happening in districts, particularly how those that have not requested emergency licensure, are coping with shortages. For example, the DPI cannot say whether districts are coping with shortages by combining classes to increase class size, or dropping course offerings.

Filling out this survey by May 2, 2016 will help all districts in the state and the DPI to get a better handle on educator shortage issues. We encourage your district to cooperate.

The survey is one of the steps the DPI, working with the Professional Standards Council (PSC), an appointed advisory group to the state superintendent, is taking to get a better handle on both the supply of and the demand for teachers in our state.

The DPI and the PSC have jointly developed a Talent Development Framework to assess what is being done to attract, prepare, recruit, support and retain teachers, pupil services personnel and administrators in our state. This effort will involve gathering data from school districts, teacher preparation programs and educators.

Once districts have been surveyed, teacher preparation programs will be similarly surveyed to assess what the candidate pool coming into their programs (the supply) is looking like. The number and quality of candidates coming into these programs will impact the number and quality coming out. Once all the data is collected and analyzed, the DPI will develop a statewide strategic plan to address Wisconsin’s needs related to educator shortages.

We will be reporting on the DPI’s efforts as things develop. Please watch for updates.