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Best Practices Announced for Teaching Jobs in Pennsylvania

Posted on August 4, 2010

New recruiting practices will be in place once school officials begin hiring for teaching jobs in Pennsylvania.

As Allentown School District prepares for the start of another challenging school year, identified as Corrective Action II for the second year in a row, principals, academic officers and administrators have been working with new superintendent, Gerald L. Zahorchak, D.Ed., to significantly change the recruiting and hiring practices for a more objective, efficient and optimal selection process.

“There is a new three-part process for recruitment being developed,” says Dr. Zahorchak, “and it is designed to attract the brightest teacher prospects in a systematic manner that will create an inventory of qualified candidates. It is our intention to find the top seven candidates for every one opening, leaving no stone unturned in the process.”

Over the past few weeks, Allentown School District has been planning tenaciously, strategically identifying the ways to meet the human resource needs of the institution without major reductions to the work force, in response to the need to make up for over a $2 million budget shortfall. The District has not lost any positions while planning for this upcoming school year. “We are continuing to build resource models out five years with scenarios that reveal our vulnerabilities so that we can plan for them,” says Zahorchak. “We cannot afford to go backwards, especially since our district, according to the costing out study, still has miles to go to achieve adequate funding.”

The goal of the new recruiting program is to collect an inventory of qualified teachers in order to call them up as opportunities arise. “The Allentown School District Board of Directors has authorized me to put in the necessary upgrades and build a responsive system so that top-flight instruction is provided on a more consistent basis,” he says.

“Increasing the effectiveness of our recruiting process will enable us to put more talented teachers in our classrooms,” says Jeff Glazier, president, ASD Board of Directors. “It is an important step in increasing student achievement.”

“When looking at the educational success of children, there are few factors more critical than that of a highly effective, competent teacher,” says Sheridan Elementary Principal Michele Ryan, whose school has moved from 42/35% mathematics/reading proficiency in 2005 to 85/66% mathematics/reading proficiency in 2009. “Truly, teaching matters and makes a difference in the lives of our students. This process will provide our district the opportunity to place before our children, ‘the best of the best.’ The students in the Allentown School District deserve nothing less than excellence.”

An active recruitment process will support the selection process to attract more qualified minority candidates in order to generate a larger pool of diverse educational professionals who are certified. Such efforts require a district such as Allentown to reach outside the region, and this may include major metropolitan areas and stretch perhaps to distant states. Additionally, there are new residency certification programs pending that will create more flexible hiring practices of professionals who have had successful careers and want to enter into the public education field. Allentown School District is an advocate for these vast resource opportunities at the teaching level.

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