Phs Without Physics Or Drafting Teacher

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Six months of searching, salary bonuses and visits to three job fairs did not produce the teachers Payson High School needs for advanced placement physics and drafting classes.

Which means some students left registration this week disappointed they could not take classes they wanted or needed as college prerequisites.

School records show 101 students had requested drafting classes and 16 signed up for AP physics.

High school students do not have the option of taking those classes at Gila Community College because they are not offered at the Payson campus.

Some correspondence classes, also known as "distance learning" are available, but PHS counselor Don Heizer is hesitant to recommend those to all students.

"In physics, you just don't have the hands-on lab experience," he said. "And some students just don't do well in a distance learning environment."

Payson High School principal Roy Sandoval had an inkling last March at a nationwide job fair that he would have a difficult time attracting certified and qualified drafting and AP physics teachers.

"Some schools were offering $5,000 signing bonuses and $49,000 starting salaries," he said.

"Finding teachers is now a market-driven competition on a national level."

PUSD's starting salary is about $31,000, but the school board has given administrators the go ahead to up the ante a few thousand dollars for science, math and special education teachers.

Even those bonuses were not enough to lure applicants away from urban districts where salaries are much higher than those in PUSD.

Sandoval had no teacher applicants for the AP physics position. Six applied for drafting.

"Of those six, just two took interviews," he said.

"One took another job elsewhere and one decided to stay where he was."

Both teachers who turned down the positions said it was for salary reasons.

Sandoval and assistant principals Tim Fruth and Dave Bradley continue to hold out hope they can possibly attract a retired engineer or professional to teach the classes on a part-time basis, possibly two hours a day.

The challenge of teaching the AP physics class is that it is a rigorous course that involves 200 days of curriculum in a 180-day school year.

At the end of the school year, students must pass a college-level physics test.

Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) is offered over the course of two years.

The first year curriculum involves basic design and creating two- and three-dimensional drawings on the computer. The second year, more advanced applications of design, technical drawings and designers' sketches are studied.

If qualified applicants turn up for the positions before school starts July 26, the PHS administration will make last-minute schedule changes to accommodate students wanting to take either drafting or AP physics.

Any qualified applicant interested in the teaching positions should call Sandoval, Fruth or Bradley at (928) 474-2233.

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