Alva Review-Courier -

By Jennifer Palmer
Oklahoma Watch 

Within teacher shortage, the pool of special education teachers dwindles


September 17, 2017

Ponca City Public Schools

Special education teacher Melissa Parks was hired to fill a vacancy in Ponca City Public Schools the day before classes began. The district scrambled to hire her, knowing her qualifications.

Special education teachers have become so scarce that districts face fierce competition to find and keep good candidates and sometimes leave open positions unfilled.

That's why late one night last month, Ponca City Public Schools Superintendent Shelley Arrott sprang into action when she heard the distinctive ding of her cell phone. The alert meant a job application had been submitted online to the district. She scrambled to arrange an interview the next morning for the applicant.

The district hired Melissa Parks, who is certified in special education, on the spot. And she has since received...

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