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October 2015

New Teachers and the Hiring Process

This month I worked with Dr. Jodiann Tenney, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, to provide our readers with a better understanding of our process for hiring new teachers and orienting them to our district. This year we had the opportunity to welcome several new teachers to our district who come to us with a variety of experiences. Some have taught more than ten years in other districts while our newest teachers come directly from their college or university. Whether experienced or new, these teachers come with high quality instructional practices and a desire to be highly successful with our students.

Hiring high-quality teachers is a critical component of our work. Therefore, we require that our successful candidates go through multiple interviews. Our building principals and district level administrators organize hiring committees consisting of teachers and other school personnel to interview all candidates who meet our initial paper screening requirements. Candidates who demonstrate strong skills and knowledge in the interview process are then moved on to a practical portion of the interview. These candidates are asked to present a lesson to students while the hiring committee observes. After the demonstration lesson, the hiring committee gets direct feedback from a critical group, the students. The hiring committee reviews all of the data they have collected from the first round of interviews, the demonstration lesson, and from calling all references. The team will then recommend at least one candidate to interview with the Superintendent. This interview allows for a final review of all written material, a chance to get to know the candidate, and determine his or her “fit” within the district. If a high-quality candidate is not found then we begin back at step one of the process.

Once we hire new teachers, it is critical that we take the time to orient them to our school district. We want every one of our new hires to be highly successful because their success means student success. Dr. Tenney holds an orientation process before the school year begins that provides our teachers with valuable information from using our grading system to understanding our philosophy of educating our students. Our new staff are also provided “buddies” within each of their buildings so that they have a helping hand through what can be a stressful transition. The orientation process will continue throughout the school year with regular meetings with building administration.

We are genuinely excited about the talented and engaged teachers who we have hired for the start of our school year. Whether new or experienced, our new teachers have already become contributing members of our school community as teachers, colleagues, athletic coaches, and club and class advisors. They join a talented staff of highly dedicated teachers who have the students’ success at the core of their work. Please visit our website at http://plymouth.k12.ct.us/newteachers to learn more about our new teachers and the wealth of experiences they bring to us.

In our next article, we will review the Common Core State Standards and the external assessment (Smarter Balanced Assessment) that attempts to measure our students’ mastery of those standards.

By Dr. Martin Semmel,

Superintendent of Schools

Plymouth, CT

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