How a nonprofit is helping staff shortages at Houston-area schools

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- School districts across Texas are experiencing staff shortages, but a Houston nonprofit is working to help with that.

iEducate offers college students the opportunity to work alongside teachers at underserved schools. The program has grown rapidly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The Houston Independent School District currently has 231 unfilled teaching jobs. Meanwhile, Alief ISD is down 41 bus drivers.

"Even before the pandemic, teachers were stretched thin," said Dadrian Allen. "I think with the pandemic, it's like, now on top of lesson planning, on top of 1,000 kids, I also have to worry about not getting sick, and if I do get sick, I can't be here."

Allen, 19, said he hopes to become a teacher one day. But until then, the sophomore in college is working with iEducate as a co-teacher.

"We help teachers by cutting that class in half," Allen said. "So, now that you're not trying to cater to 30 to 35 students, it's better for you, it's better for them."

iEducate has college students working at districts in Houston, Alief and Aldine.

"It makes it easier for a teacher to look at a wide spectrum of learning levels and figure out how best to differentiate their lessons," said Arun Gir, the CEO of the program.

The group is hoping to hire 50 to 100 more college students this month. To apply, visit the iEducate website.

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