The Fort Dodge Community School District has hired more personnel and added new positions for the 2014-15 school year.
The district has nearly 300 staff members, in addition to more than 20 administrators, 25 secretaries and 25 maintenance staff.
"We have right around 500 employees," said Robert Hughes, FDCSD assistant superintendent.
This year, the district has added 18 new teachers, six new secretaries, two new paraeducators and six new professional support members.
"We're doing great. We have everyone needed in place," Hughes said. "We are still interviewing for paraeducators and specifically for (substitute teachers). We do have a couple of positions open and they can be found on our website or Teach Iowa."
In addition to reading literacy and PRIDE program assistant positions, some vacancies are waiting to be filled at Riverside Early Learning Center, Hughes said.
"We have a couple of spots we're filling there," he said. "The preschoolers have not yet begun their classes, but we've started our kindergarten through 12th grade and have everyone relatively in place."
There weren't many open positions to be filled this year, Hughes said.
"We had fewer retirements last year in the area of teaching. However, in the area of secretaries we've had multiple secretaries who either retired or moved to other positions," he said. "A little higher than normal on the amount of secretarial support we've hired this year."
Among the staff changes this year, the district has added two technology integrationist positions, and other positions, such as literacy coordinator, have been modified, with teachers doubly serving as instructional coaches.
A new hire, Melissa Donahe will serve as the district's at-risk coordinator for Butler Elementary and Fort Dodge Middle School's fifth grade.
"Butler has our largest population of elementary kids. We have 500 kids there with one principal. So she goes over and assists with some of the home-school connections, and does check-ins and check-outs with kids, so they have a safe, reliable person to have conversations with each morning," Hughes said. "She helps keep them on track, makes connections to teachers, and works on different strategies to better meet the students' needs."
After the lunch hour, Donahe goes to the middle school.
"Those kids that might have home situations or behavioral struggles, she's there to try to give them some other strategies to find replacement behaviors so they are as productive as possible," Hughes said.
The new hires are a result of rising enrollment, Hughes said.
"We are very fortunate in continuing to see the population increase a touch," he said. "We have gained the last two years, and we do believe we'll be at least in a similar situation or gaining a few."
He added, "It's wonderful to be adding staff and refining as we hire to best meet the needs of our kids."