Sunday, May 28, 2017

BPS: About Hiring Teachers

During a recent interview with BPS Superintendent Travis Miller, I asked about the hiring process for teachers. He said to come with him because he was about to go pick a couple of ripe ones.

I followed him outside to the hiring-plot.

Organized in straight and weed free rows, he pointed to labels for Reading, Riting, and Rithmetic instructors. I asked about other rows because I was too far away to read the labels. They were for 
History and Science teachers, along with other subjects.

Attached to a vine, two teachers were gently thumped to make sure they weren’t hollow, but solid with maturity…

Then I awoke from my dream where I’d written a Golden Book about a school administrator’s wish list.

On a more serious and awesome note, educating Bayard’s school-aged children is the top priority at BPS. Thus, their well-honed teacher-hiring process weeds out any broad-leaf impostors whose lofty claims include shady references instead of pure sunlight.

To appreciate the process, stroll with me through the interwoven intricacies of hiring a teacher at BPS.

To reach the greatest number of qualified applicants, BPS uses a variety of teacher recruitment sources:

·        BPS employees may know qualified teachers looking for a new school, so staff is emailed about upcoming teacher openings at BPS.
·        BPS posts job openings on the Bayard Public Schools Website, along with posts on Twitter and Facebook, which covers Nebraska and neighboring states.
·        BPS emails Nebraska Workforce Development about classroom openings.
·        BPS advertises in the Bayard Transcript, Star Herald, and, occasionally, the Omaha World Herald.
·        BPS posts on the Nebraska Department of Education’s “Teach in Nebraska” website.
·        BPS posts at all Nebraska colleges and some in Colorado, Wyoming, and South Dakota.   

The school use emails and social media as much as possible to help cut postage costs.

An applicant submits a packet that includes a letter of application, current resume, three letters of recommendation, transcripts from each college/university they attended, copy of their teacher’s certificate, completed application form, and a signed consent form.

After reviewing the application packages, next are in depth interviews and background checks for selected candidates.

The packet reviews and interviews are conducted by Superintendent Miller and Principle Perlinski, for BHS, and Superintendent Miller and Principle McLaughlin, for BGS. The interview consists of 30-40 questions.

The respective BPS Principals take the lead in the hiring process.  

The interviews stress building relationships with staff, students, and parents and following school procedures.  The interviewers look for intangibles, what activities the applicant would want to sponsor, their career goals, and being involved in the community.

The goal is to make the applicant feel comfortable in the BPS environment and make BPS an attractive place to start their career, along with presenting Bayard as an inviting place to raise their family. This is the first step to encouraging tenure.

To ease tension, the interviews are kept as humane as possible. (Bright lights are no longer used.)

The credentials needed to teach at BPS helps applicants realize the responsibility they accept if they sign a contract, and it allows Bayard Schools to attract, train, and retain above average personal.    

Over the past few years, states have increased the minimum standards for students to have a ‘teaching’ major. For a teacher’s degree, most colleges now require students take special math, reading, and writing courses. 

This puts pressure on both new teachers and schools, as both now expect more from the other. For the applicant and school it means interviews and decision making takes on added responsibility.

Hiring teachers is no different than most other activities, there are winners and losers. Someone will hear “you’re hired,” while someone will hear “not at this time.” Because situations change, and just because someone wasn’t hired for an opening now, it doesn’t mean they won’t qualify for an opening at BPS at a later date.

To help alleviate a sometimes uncomfortable situation, and keep doors swinging both ways, BPS gives each “not at this time” applicant a little packet that contains a bottle of water, should they get thirsty driving home, an orange with black print Bayard Public School pen, and a Chimney Rock pin that hopefully elicits pleasant memories of Western Nebraska.

Neat idea…   

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