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In the States: A Virginia High School Uses Online Teaching Program Due to Shortage

The “In the States” feature by Kaitlyn Brennan is a weekly update to keep members informed on state-level activities impacting the education and educator preparation community.

Last week, local news media outlets reported that more than 600 students at Chancellor High School in Spotsylvania County, Virginia are taking math and English courses using the online platform, Edgenuity, as the district grapples with vacant teaching positions.

In an email sent to parents just before the end of the first week of classes for students, Principal Abe Jeffers outlined the problem: “At Chancellor, we have over 600 of our students taking math and English courses using the program due to three math vacancies and English vacancies.” Jeffers explained the school has filled one vacant English position and has an interview scheduled with another candidate. “… However, we have had no applicants to fill our three math positions, thus we’re forced to have our students use the teaching program Edgenuity, supervised by a substitute teacher, to learn math.”

Currently, all of the Chancellor’s Algebra II courses are being taught using the online platform with substitute supervision. According to Virginia Department of Education data, Chancellor High School was one of the 10 schools in Virginia with the most teacher vacancies last school year. Sixteen out of 85 teaching positions at the school went unfilled. As of July 24, three weeks before the start of the 2023-24 school year, Chancellor still had to fill 13 out of 94 teaching positions.

Last year, 15% of math positions across the district remained unfilled. Across the state of Virginia, 4% of all math teacher positions remained vacant throughout the entirety of the 2022-23 school year.