COLORADO SPRINGS – Just a couple of months ago, teachers were in high demand at the Harrison School District.
The high number of job openings were also due in part to a new school-based budgeting system, which allowed schools to create new specialized positions to meet students’ needs.
“Suddenly a lot of job postings were coming up and we had turnover, too – everybody does. But I think what exacerbated it this year – or, turns out to be a positive – we were able to add more positions,” said John Rogerson, who handles academic support at the D2 School District.
The positions ranged from literary coaches to math teachers and, combined with the teacher openings, the district decided they needed to ramp up their recruitment efforts.
“We had held job fairs, we also did […] a lot of work on social media to outreach to people,” added Rogerson.
The result? 200 new hires.
But before they stepped into the classroom on Thursday, teachers had to attend a three-week course.
“The summer institute program where we train teachers all of our new teachers on the harrison way so learning how to write lesson plans, learning the curriculum,” said Wendy Birhanzel, CEO for the D2 School District.
The training is helping teachers, both new and experienced, feel more at ease.
“A lot of them expressing that they felt prepared for today,” said Rogerson.
“They didn’t feel like ‘oh, I’m not ready for it because just having them there, that first day is like a blast of cold air in their face if they haven’t been prepped.”
“They hit the ground running from day one,” added Birhanzel.
The key component the district is trying to drive home: support* for their educators.
The hope is this leads to higher retention rates.
“They like to feel that they are supported and that’s one of the things we really emphasize,” remarked Rogerson.
“Upping the retention rate is the ultimate goal by supporting teachers.”
The Harrison School District confirmed they are also still looking for a superintendent after Dr. Andre Spencer resigned back in May.
They’re hoping for an update on that by the end of the semester.