KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools has dozens of jobs open right now.
If you have wanted a career in the classroom working with children but educational requirements have held you back, the district may have jobs and a path to the classroom for you.
Paraprofessional Jasmine Wayne loves watching the students she works with grow.
“I go into classrooms and collaborate with teachers and work in small groups,” she said. “I really enjoy just working more intimately with my students, and just seeing how much of an impact I’ve made in their lives.”
Paraprofessionals are an important part of the classroom.
“They are foundational to our success,” said Liz Meitl, alternative certification program advisor for KCKPS. “Our ability to work one on one with students and in small groups is everything to both the student’s success and to or teachers’ well-being. We need those people in the classroom.”
Meitl said college credit hours are no longer a requirement to become a paraprofessional, instructional aide or ESL aide in the district. Now, with a high school diploma, you can qualify after taking an assessment.
“It tests hard skills, soft skills, and we pay for people to take the test,” she said. “Paraprofessionals and ESL aides typically work about 32 hours per week but they are eligible for full-time benefits.”
Paraprofessionals can earn between $14.00 and $17.24 per hour working between six-and-a-half and eight hours per day, depending on the building's schedules and needs.
Instructional and ESL aides can earn between $14.71 and $17.46 per hour with hours varying and typically working seven-and-a-half hours per day.
Wayne is working toward becoming a teacher and said getting to be in classrooms as a paraprofessional has been a crucial experience.
“Some teachers have been here for thirty years and it’s just awesome to be able to watch them teach and learn from them and be able to grow also professionally,” she said.
Right now, the district has about 50 teaching jobs open.
If you are interested in changing careers and becoming a teacher, you don’t need a degree in education or a teaching certificate to join the district’s Teaching Fellows program. With certain degrees and expertise, you could be a student teacher over the summer and be teaching in your own classroom by fall while you continue your education.
The program comes with a $2,000 stipend.
“People who have backgrounds in math, science, English, social studies, people who have engineering backgrounds, carpentry backgrounds,” Meitl explained. “We have all these amazing students who need to learn from all kinds of amazing people so we've figured out ways to take people with expertise in content areas or industry areas, and help them earn their master's degree or their teacher certification in a whole variety of ways.”
The district has dozen other hiring needs with more than 50 jobs open in nutritional services. They also need about 30 bus drivers and 100 substitute teachers. Substitutes, the district says, can earn between $150 to $200 per day.