Quinlan Independent School District has adopted some policies to recruit teachers in its competition with larger school districts for hiring staff, offering higher wages, a casual dress code, Fridays off, and an immediate bonus.
Quinlan ISD is a small, rural district where 77% of the attending students are below the poverty line, located about an hour east of Dallas.
On the west side of the DFW area, there were 545 teacher openings for the school year 2022-2023. The east side reported 1,273 teacher openings. Due to surrounding districts offering plentiful job openings and higher pay, Quinlan ISD had to be innovative in recruiting and retaining staff.
“It can be a little cutthroat at times, being a rural district outside of the metroplex. I’ve been in education for 27 years, and I’ve never seen a teacher shortage like we’ve had,” said Courtney Painter, Quinlan ISD’s assistant superintendent of curriculum.
With more than 1,800 job postings competing for available applicants, Quinlan ISD marketed itself as “teacher friendly.”
One incentive implemented in Quinlan ISD was a casual dress code for teachers, which allows them to wear school spirit t-shirts and blue jeans.
Quinlan ISD middle school teacher Misty Mexia told CBS News she was looking forward to the new dress code.
“Oh, yes. Love the jeans,” she said. “We get to wear jeans and t-shirts every day, which as a science teacher, I love because we’re on the floor and doing all kinds of stuff.”
Mexia, a teacher for 16 years, has taught middle school science in Quinlan ISD for six years. She and another teacher, Christie Clements, are also excited that districts in Hunt County are following a Monday-through-Thursday classroom schedule this year.
“The biggest, most exciting [change] seems to be the four-day work week or four-day school week,” Clements said.
Rural school districts across Texas are transitioning towards a four-day school week, as reported by The Dallas Express, such as Mineral Wells, Chico, Devers, Athens, and Jasper.
Not many districts in big cities like Dallas and Houston are adopting the shorter school week, but most are increasing teacher pay, which many smaller school districts do not have the budget to do.
Other incentives Quinlan ISD offered were a daycare center for teachers’ children for only $18 daily. Teachers and staff were also given a $1,000 bonus on their first work day.
The district’s efforts have been successful, according to John Milton, deputy superintendent of Quinlan ISD.
“We still have a few openings, but when you look at the shortage we’re facing, we’ve positioned ourselves in a great way to be able to have quality teachers in our classrooms,” said Milton.
Data suggests that by 2025, Millennials will comprise 75% of the global workforce. Studies reported that creative and inclusive cultures and flexible schedules are highly sought-after by Millennials when seeking a job.
Teachers new and old may welcome a three-day weekend, but others wonder whether students’ academic performances will worsen or improve with less time in campus classrooms. No large-scale research studies have been conducted about the effects of a four-day school week on student outcomes, and results were mixed in state-specific studies.