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Teacher Recruitment Strategies to Try

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The U.S. has many teacher shortage areas. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education provides a list of teacher shortage areas by state. This is based on the Code of Federal Regulations methodology that determines if a state has an adequate supply of teachers by subject matter, specific grade, geographic area or discipline qualification.

School administrators can refer to the annually updated list to find the teacher shortage area by state. For example, Wisconsin has teacher shortages in the following areas:

  • Career and technology education
  • Math
  • Special education
  • Music
  • ESL/Bilingual education
  • Reading
  • Foreign languages
  • Sciences
  • Library media

Many factors prompt the shortages — one of which is the wave of Baby Boomer retirements. Moreover, teachers laid off during the Great Recession of 2008 have transitioned into other careers.

Effective Teacher Recruitment Strategies

How is an administrator supposed to recruit enough teachers for all of the shortage areas? San Luis Obispo County Schools Superintendent Jim Brescia had this problem in his state of California.

It compelled him to search for solutions and compile them in a report titled “Teacher Recruitment in California: An Analysis of Effective Strategies.” While the focus is on California, many of the state’s strategies can be applied across the U.S. The report specifically asserts that there is not a single strategy that is highly effective for all grade levels in the entire state. What works for one district may not produce the same results for another.

The suggestions in the report target the district level. However, a few of them can be done at the local level. Or administrators and school leaders may be able to channel their ideas for a district-wide implementation.

Here are three teacher recruitment strategies to try.

1. Use administrators, school leaders and teachers as recruiters.

Staff members are not always aware of staffing needs at the school and district levels. Every employee can be an ambassador and act as a salesperson. Employees sharing their positive experience constitutes a valuable recruitment tool.

2. Build relationships with universities, credentialing programs and local organizations.

Recruiting students in teacher preparation programs for internships gives them a great opportunity to get a feel for what it is like to work for the school. If they have a good experience, they may want to take a permanent position with the district.

3. Create supports for new and current teachers.

Administrators can help teachers adapt to their roles and give them the tools to succeed by setting up a mentorship and coaching program. Experienced teachers can mentor or coach new and less experienced teachers. Another valuable tool is professional development. Teachers may not be aware of all that is available to them. Administrators can keep teachers informed on professional development opportunities.

Work With the District to Implement an Effective Recruitment Program

A district with a stellar staffing reputation helps every school. Administrators who want to effect change across the district can share studies and reports with their district contacts. They could propose setting up a committee to devise a plan for recruiting and retaining highly qualified staff at the district and local levels.

Recruitment is a team effort, not a one-person job. Administrators can assign teachers who want more of a challenge and a leadership role to implement it for their school. This will not only give qualified teachers the opportunity to shine in a leadership role but also make them feel valued.

Learn more about the University of Wisconsin-Superior online Master of Science in Education — Educational Administration program.


Veritas: Teacher Recruitment in California: An Analysis of Effective Strategies

U.S. Department of Education: Teacher Shortage Areas

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