With an eye toward building a teaching staff that is more reflective of its student body, the Schenectady City School District is hosting a teacher recruitment event aimed at reaching a local audience.
The recruitment event — the first local one since Larry Spring took over as district superintendent — will be held at Paige Elementary School on Tuesday from 4:30 to 7 p.m.
“We think it is important we try to get teachers in front of our kids that are like our kids,” Spring said.
Schenectady Teacher Recruitment Day
WHERE: Paige School, 104 Elliott Ave., Schenectady
WHEN: 4:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday
MORE INFO: Bring a resume and be ready to interview with Schenectady teachers and administrators
Prospective job applicants are encouraged to bring resumes with them to the event and be ready for short screening interviews used to decide whether someone would be a good fit for the district.
Spring also said the event was designed to be helpful for people who don’t have education degrees or teaching certifications yet but are interested in learning more about how to get “a foot in the door” of a teaching career.
While it is still early in the budgeting and hiring process, Spring said he expected the district would be looking to fill between 20 and 40 teacher positions for next year. The district still faces an uncertain budget picture, preparing for budget scenarios that could result in either cuts or extra spending.
But every year at least some positions open from retirements and the regular churn of a large employer, and Spring said the district is eager to fill those positions with qualified teachers who have a passion for teaching in an urban school district.
District officials are also weighing ways to get the most out of new hires. Since reducing class sizes across the board would require a major investment, for example, the district might consider hiring floating reading teachers that could effectively shrink the size of multiple classes during literacy blocs.
School officials would also like to break up some of the split grade level classes [a class of both third- and fourth-graders] that were created where odd student numbers made it hard to have single grade classes.
The district plans to maintain a diverse recruitment strategy that includes traditional job postings and application screening and a visit to another recruitment fair in New York City, Spring said.
“We look for candidates who are passionate about urban education, who are passionate about social justice, who believe schools can do better for kids who may be shortchanged in other parts of their life,” Spring said. “They should see their jobs in education as guardians of equity.”
Spring said that creating a teaching staff that looks like a majority-minority school district has its challenges, citing the dominantly white student populations of teacher preparatory schools. Moreover, he said, many students who grow in low-income school districts find it hard to connect to the education system and view teaching as a viable career path.
In the longer run, Spring sees Schenectady schools as playing a role in educating and creating a more diverse teaching population for the future, driving a message to its students that their schools want them to return as teachers one day.