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WCSD Seeks Teacher Assistants Amid Special Education Shortages

Exterior of the Washoe County School District Administration Building
Andrew Mendez
A press gathering was held at the Washoe County School District Administration Building on Feb. 5.

The Washoe County School District has a shortage of teacher aides and assistants in special education programs. The district is looking to fill 100 open positions.

Emily Ellison is the chief human resources officer for the district. She said a teacher aide is meant to provide classroom support, as opposed to teacher assistants, who will have more interaction and instruction with students.

According to Ellison, the district is seeing a shortage due to heavy competition for qualified employees.

“Unemployment in this area is very low, [which] means that our citizens are working, they are gainfully employed," Ellison said. "But at the same time, that creates a lot of competition for our workforce, and there are a lot of available opportunities.”

Jen Van Tress is the area superintendent for special education and explains how new hires will receive on-the-job training.

“They’re working directly with the classroom teachers," Van Tress said. "They are providing that expertise, and that guidance, to help train and support the paraprofessional.”

The district held a recruitment fair last week for the positions. Some require a high school diploma, while others require at least 48 college credits.

Andrew Mendez is a bilingual student reporter with Noticiero Móvil at the Reynolds School of Journalism

Molly Concialdi is a mentor for the Reno Youth Radio program and a student at the Reynolds School of Journalism.

Molly Concialdi is a freshman at the University of Nevada, Reno. Molly studied video production all throughout high school and gained her first public radio experience with KUNR’s Reno Youth Radio internship as a high school student at the Academy of Arts, Careers and Technology (AACT).
Andrew Méndez is a former bilingual student reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
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