One D.C. school lost more than a quarter of its teaching staff this year.

Dwight Harris, 16, an 11th-grader at Ballou High School, pictured outside the D.C. school. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

Dwight Harris, 16, an 11th-grader at Ballou High School, pictured outside the D.C. school. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

According to Alejandra Matos of the Washington Post, nearly 200 teachers have quit their jobs in D.C. Public Schools since the school year began, forcing principals to scramble to cover their classes with substitutes and depriving many students of quality instruction in critical subjects.

The vacancies hit hardest in schools that already face numerous academic challenges, according to data The Washington Post obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

At Ballou High School in Southeast Washington, more than a quarter of the faculty quit after starting work in August. Many of their classrooms now have long-term substitutes. Dwight Harris, 16, an 11th-grader, said his Algebra 2 class has been chaotic since his first teacher left in January.

“No one is teaching. It’s been like that for months now,” Harris said. “We don’t do anything, so I leave and go to my biology class or English class and go do other work.”

Most teachers wait until summer to call it quits, but in DCPS a rising number are leaving during the school year.

The mid-year resignation rate for DCPS was higher than for some other urban school systems The Post checked. In the D.C. system, 184 of about 4,000 teachers — nearly 5 percent — quit from September to mid-May. That was a 44 percent increase over the 128 teachers who left in the 2013-2014 school year.

In Denver Public Schools, which employs about 4,600 teachers, 115 teachers left in a comparable period this year. In Baltimore City Public Schools, with about 5,150 teachers, the total who quit was 145. In Seattle Public Schools, with about 4,000 teachers, 55 quit.

DCPS spokeswoman Michelle Lerner acknowledged it is a challenge to lose teachers mid-year. School officials try to fill vacancies as quickly as possible with a full-time teacher, but she said the best time to hire is in the summer.

“Having a high-quality teacher in front of every classroom is a huge priority for us,” she said.

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