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Turlock Unified welcomes over 70 new teachers
new teachers
Irma Calvillo prepares her Medeiros Elementary School 5th grade classroom for the start of the new school year on Monday. Calvillo is one of 73 new teachers at the Turlock Unified School District. - photo by KRISTINA HACKER / The Journal

New school year jitters are common, not just for students who are returning to Turlock campuses on Monday, but also for teachers who are entering local classrooms for the first time.

Irma Calvillo is one of the 73 new teachers hired by the Turlock Unified School District for the 2018-19 academic year. She was busy decorating her Medeiros Elementary School 5th grade classroom on Wednesday in preparation for the start of school.

“I’ve always wanted to work in Turlock because I like the community,” said Calvillo, who taught for two years at a school in Modesto before coming to TUSD.

Teacher recruitment and retention has been an issue around the state over the past several years as enrollment in teacher training programs declined during the recession. But the state’s economic recovery and increased public school funding are driving demand for more qualified and trained teachers, particularly in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), special education and career technical education, according to the state department of education.

The nonprofit Learning Policy Institute surveyed more than 200 California districts and reported that 75 percent were experiencing teacher shortages, and the vast majority of districts said those shortages were getting worse.

New California teaching credentials have remained constant at 11,500 since 2013–14, while projected annual new hires have grown and now exceed 20,000.

Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources David Lattig said TUSD uses a number of teacher recruitment techniques including local education recruitment fairs, posting positions on statewide education employment website Edjoin, through county office support and work with Stanislaus State.

For a look at TUSD’s new teachers, check out upcoming issues of the Turlock Journal.