FALL RIVER — It is no secret that the “great resignation” has had a large impact on organizations’ abilities to hire good people. According to a Chalkbeat analysis from eight states — the most comprehensive accounting of recent teacher turnover to date — more teachers than usual have exited public school classrooms after the 2021-22 school year, which confirms longstanding fears that pandemic-era stresses have prompted an outflow of educators.
Challenges with recruiting teachers and other staff members are also found in Catholic schools. With many principals and veteran teachers reaching retirement age, the need is greater than ever to develop a pipeline of committed Catholic school teachers, principals, and other support staff to fill the gaps left by retirement. As a result, the Catholic Schools Office for the Diocese of Fall River has launched a Rediscover Catholic Schools campaign intentionally focusing on the recruitment of educators and support staff in all 19 Catholic schools across the diocese.
This comprehensive campaign covers all aspects of communications, from digital advertising on social media, to radio coverage on Cat Country 98.1 and Big 101.3. All 60 parishes in the Diocese of Fall River have received a notice to include in the weekly bulletins for the next three months with the intent of identifying potential candidates from church parishioners. Weekly E-blasts will be sent to a broad audience across the diocese as well as CSO personnel attending job fairs at local colleges. No option will be left untapped as many Catholic schools face openings previously never experienced.
More specifically, Catholic schools are having a difficult time recruiting math and science teachers for middle school grades. While most Catholic schools cannot match the salaries offered by public schools, there are benefits to working in a Catholic school. Primarily, the ability to practice one’s faith and help develop the faith of the next generation is unique to a Catholic school environment. Moreover, Catholic schools are known for more rigorous academics and stricter adherence to policies; thus, diminishing the behavioral issues found in public schools.
“When I moved from public school to Bishop Feehan, I was immediately struck by the profound sense of purpose,” said Sean Kane, principal of Bishop Feehan High School in Attleboro. “A sense of purpose comes from a core mission that is real. A Catholic school is a true community of values and also expectations, so there’s definitely a sense that we are all being pushed, and also supported, to be the best we can be, in every sense. That felt different, and exciting. Any school can talk about mission and identity, but a truly empowering and shared mission can be hard to achieve. I have found that working with like-minded people has been incredibly rewarding. Teachers can teach without distraction. Students want to learn. We feel like anything is possible if we put our minds to it. And all of us are incredibly engaged. That shows up everywhere in our teams, clubs, arts, Masses, service work — everywhere. It’s a pleasure to come to work every day.”
Dan Roy, Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Fall River said, “From a recruitment stand point, our Catholic schools have many wonderful opportunities for people to give of their time and talent. The beauty of working at our Catholic schools is that there is such a diverse background of professionals who bring different skills, experiences, and knowledge to our school communities. Some have retired from the public school sector and still have a desire to give to their community. Others are professionals who have changed careers and decided that teaching is their new vocation. What we continually hear is that there is a sense of community and faith-based purpose in educating students spiritually, academically, and emotionally that were not apparent in previous work experiences. This is what Catholic schools are so well-known for and what we continually strive to improve.”
All job listings are available at www.catholicschoolsalliance.org/job-opportunities.