After a slow start, some Indiana schools begin to hire adjunct teachers

Office building of the Metropolitan School District of Perry Township
Perry Township schools is among the districts that have moved forward with hiring adjunct teachers, whose teaching permits are issued by the school board rather than the state. (Courtesy of Metropolitan School District of Perry Township)

Indiana lawmakers cleared the way last year for school districts to issue their own permits and hire adjunct teachers for hard-to-fill teaching positions. 

After some hesitation, school districts have now begun to turn to adjunct teachers, who aren’t licensed by the state and instead need to have four years of relevant experience and pass a background check before stepping into the classroom. 

While the Indiana Department of Education did not provide data on how many adjunct teachers are working in Indiana schools, a statewide job board for teachers recently showed four districts and one charter school seeking adjuncts. 

There are 1,720 job listings for teachers statewide, down slightly from around 1,800 before the start of the 2022-23 school year.  

Earlier this month, the Perry Township school board approved a proposal to hire an adjunct teacher for the district’s Insurance Careers Pathway – a career and technical education course of study for high schoolers that allows students to enter the insurance field upon graduation.

The first of three classes in the insurance careers pathway was taught by the district’s business teachers, said Jane Pollard, the district’s assistant superintendent for career preparation.

But because Perry doesn’t have anyone on staff with the credentials to teach the next course and only one section will be offered at each high school, “it made sense to consider a licensed industry professional” for the role, Pollard said. 

The teacher will be authorized directly by the school board upon hire, and then teach one period at each of Perry’s two high schools, according to the district. Perry does not have any other adjunct teachers.

The neighboring Center Grove school district is also hiring an adjunct teacher for a Chinese language teaching position. But the district already has a candidate in mind — the current Chinese language teacher, who holds a Canadian teaching license and needed additional time to take the state teaching exam, said Stacy Conrad, the district’s executive director of communications.

“The high school is using the adjunct option to give her time to get licensed and still be able to continue to offer Chinese to students,” Conrad said in an email. 

Aleksandra Appleton covers Indiana education policy and writes about K-12 schools across the state. Contact her at aappleton@chalkbeat.org.

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