School districts search for future educators

Amanda Pollard

Despite proposed state budget cuts in education funding, the demand for credentialed teachers was apparent on Thursday as school district recruiters from across the West Coast attempted to fill staff vacancies at Sacramento State’s Educator Recruitment Fair.

Sac State Credential Analyst Elizabeth Christian attended the fair with the Teacher Preparation and Credentials office in order to inform students of the credential program at Sac State. Unlike other credential programs, 20 to 30 students stay together throughout their program at Sac State.

“Our students receive a lot of support from teachers and their fellow peers. I think that is what makes us different. For those students who need that constant support, our program is perfect,” Christian said.

Public school districts insisted that despite the budget cuts, they will still be hiring and said they were not experiencing any need for layoffs.

Abel Valdez, recruiter for Salinas Union High School District, was actively seeking single subject credentialed teachers for math, science and social studies. He also said the district had no anticipation of the budget crisis effecting their programs.

Assistant Superintendent for the Hanford Elementary School District Diane Williams attended the fair with her human resources department.

Williams said that the teachers they acquire from the Northern California area are highly qualified. The district had a variety of kindergarten to eighth grade teaching positions open and was actively recruiting. She noted that the district has never laid off teachers due to budget cuts and was only experiencing minor cutbacks on some programs.

“Categorical positions and grant funded programs have been cut,” Williams said. “When the money is gone there is no way to keep the program going, but the student’s need is still there.”

Williams said because of the proposed budget cuts, administrators will have to pick up the pieces.

“It means we all have to work a few more hours each day,” Williams said.

Human Resources Representative of Vancouver Public Schools Teresa Manthe concurred with Williams and said the teachers coming from the Northern California area were just what Vancouver schools need. Manthe said Vancouver would like a variety of teachers because of the experience they bring.

“If you take students from the same area and the same colleges, they all have the same outlook. We need a diversity in teachers so they can bring different things to the schools,” Manthe said.

Vancouver School District hires roughly 150 teachers a year and has a 91 percent retention rate, with only a small percentage of teachers leaving because of retirement or spouse mobility, Manthe said. Vancouver also has a diverse population of students; the district has one Spanish-immersion school and another in development, in addition to plans for a Mandarin and Chinese immersion school.

“Our students are from all over the world – why wouldn’t our teachers be?” Manthe said.

In addition to public school districts, Brighton Schools, a private district out of Folsom and Granite Bay, was looking to fill positions in preschool, pre-kindergarten and summer camp vacancies.

Students entering the credential program are often concerned about how they will afford to continue their education. This is where organizations such as Project Pipeline come in.

Project Pipeline, an intern program, helps students get their credential while finding them a paid position at a school district in the mean time. The program costs around $8,500 for three years and is taken out of the student’s salary. Project Pipeline contracts out with other districts in order to fill the positions they need.

Senior Recruiter for Project Pipeline Ravinder Dhaliwal said he encourages students to get a credential in a single subject area because that is what is in the highest demand. Dhaliwal finds that the students who major in a single subject area often go on to find jobs paying higher than teaching positions.

“Most CSUs credential 26,000 teachers a year,” Dhaliwals said. “About 65 percent to 70 percent of these teachers have earned multiple subject credentials and there is only a 67 percent success rate in the CSU system.”

Unlike the CSU system, Project Pipeline has a 94 percent success rate with its teachers and only does single subject credentials.

The Educator Recruitment Fair was sponsored by the Sac State Career Center and is an annual event.

Amanda Pollard can be reached at [email protected].