Langley School District buses. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance)

Langley schools hire 118 new teachers over summer

The district is adding teachers as fast as it can to fill empty positions.

Langley has added more than 100 teachers since the last school year wrapped up in June, according to a school district spokesperson.

New teacher postings were sent out in April, as the first wave of graduates were leaving teaching programs at B.C. universities.

“Since then we’ve hired 118 teachers for vacancies,” said Ken Hoff at the Langley School District.

The numbers are still going up, as interviews were still being held for various teaching positions on the days before the Labour Day long weekend.

The hiring spree should help the district deal with an issue it had last year – unfilled positions.

In the 2017/18 school year, there were a number of classrooms and other teaching positions with no one hired to fill them when the year began.

When a position isn’t filled, substitute teachers or administrators like vice-principals and principals have to fill in.

“That’s been a challenge,” Hoff admitted.

Some of the most difficult areas to hire for remain those that require special training, such as French immersion teachers or high school science teachers.

“It’s just been an all-out effort to hire,” said Hoff.

Last year many districts had issues finding enough teachers, after the B.C. Federation of Teachers (BCTF) won a long-running case at the Supreme Court of Canada. That resulted in smaller class sizes and a need to hire thousands of teachers across B.C.

The district is now waiting on enrolment numbers, which won’t be known until early in the year as students and parents show up to register.

“It’s gone up, certainly in the last few years,” said Hoff.

Last year there were 20,360 students in the Langley School District. Enrolment is expected to be up slightly this year.

Along with a rising enrolment has come an increased need for portables.

There are six new portables this year, and some others have been moved between schools to keep up with the demand.

One of the school construction projects expected to reduce the need for portables is the construction of the new R.E. Mountain Secondary school. The old secondary school will become a middle school once the new high school opens its doors in September of 2019.

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