Less than 50 teacher po­si­tions re­main un­filled

Num­ber al­most half that at same time last year

Maryland Independent - - News - By JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU jan­fen­son-comeau@somd­news.com

Less than 50 teach­ing po­si­tions re­main to be filled al­most a month be­fore the start of school, ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion pro­vided by the Charles County Pub­lic Schools’ Hu­man Re­sources depart­ment.

Amy Holl­stein, deputy su­per­in­ten­dent, re­ported that 49 po­si­tion re­mained to be filled dur­ing Tues­day’s school board meet­ing, the first of the 2017-18 school year. At the same time last year, 94 po­si­tions were still un­filled.

Holl­stein said a Teacher Job Fair is sched­uled for Fri­day.

“Right now we are tr ying to fill our class­rooms and they are do­ing what­ever it takes to get qual­i­fied, com­pas­sion­ate teach­ers in all of our class­rooms who are ready to make a dif­fer­ence,” Holl­stein said of the HR depart­ment.

Hu­man re­sources spe­cial­ist Jeremy Camp­bell said tra­di­tion­ally, the school sys­tem has fo­cused its hir­ing ef­forts on the sum­mer but has moved to a year-round model to hire win­ter col­lege grad­u­ates to fill po­si­tions cur­rently held by long-term sub­sti­tute teach­ers.

“Hir­ing sea­son is no longer just a sea­son, it’s year­round,” Camp­bell said. “So we’ve changed our ap­proach a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ently as to how and when we hire.”

As a re­sult, the num­ber of teach­ers re­cruited in 2017 is 240, com­pared with 145 for this time last year.

“The key is to fol­low up,” Holl­stein said. “That per­sonal con­tact, that tele­phone call, it has to be done. We have to be the best, be­cause teach­ers have choices now. We are the ones woo­ing them, that is the thing that has changed.”

Holl­stein said the school sys­tem is also work­ing to im­prove the work­load on spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion teach­ers, al­ways an area of crit­i­cal need, and to ex­pand op­por­tu­ni­ties for high school stu­dents to be­gin teach­ing in­struc­tion through the Teacher Academy of Mary­land pro­gram.

“We need to get them into a real class­room, so hope­fully they will fall in love with the pro­fes­sion and come back to us,” Holl­stein said.

Su­per­in­ten­dent Kim­berly Hill and the school board also signed a new con­tract with the Ed­u­ca­tion As­so­ci­a­tion of Charles County, the lo­cal union for teach­ers and other cer­tifi­cated staff mem­bers. The con­tract was ap­proved by the school board and the EACC mem­ber­ship in June and in­cludes one STEP/level in­crease for qual­i­fied em­ploy­ees.

“Ne­go­ti­a­tions for salary are tough when there is a lim­ited amount of funds from the county com­mis­sion­ers with which to work, and I am sure that the board and the EACC will con­tinue to work col­lab­o­ra­tively and cre­atively so that our cer­tifi­cated em­ploy­ees will con­tinue to move to­wards re­coup­ing the two pay level in­creases they are miss­ing,” said EACC Pres­i­dent Linda McLaugh­lin, re­fer­ring to two “skipped” pay level in­creases in Fis­cal Years 2011 and 2015.

Holl­stein also an­nounced the tran­si­tion of the school sys­tem’s on­line data man­age­ment sys­tem, from Edine to Syn­ergy.

Holl­stein said Syn­ergy is “an all-en­com­pass­ing stu­dent in­for­ma­tion sys­tem”; staff have been trained on the new sys­tem, and it will soon be open to cus­to­dial par­ents, who must show iden­ti­fi­ca­tion to ac­cess the key that al­lows them to reg­is­ter, but par­ents with chil­dren in mul­ti­ple schools will only need to reg­is­ter once.

“This new sys­tem will pro­vide par­ents with three key ben­e­fits, in­clud­ing se­cure on­line ac­cess to their chil­dren’s grades, as­sign­ments and at­ten­dance, email and text alerts of ab­sences and grade av­er­age changes and a two-way com­mu­ni­ca­tions tool for par­ents and teach­ers,” Hill said.

Holl­stein said a new Su­per­in­ten­dent’s Rule re­quires teach­ers to in­put grades within two weeks, and prin­ci­pals will get an email no­ti­fi­ca­tion if a teacher has not ac­cessed the sys­tem within the past 10 days.

Michael Heim, as­sis­tant su­per­in­ten­dent of sup­port­ing ser­vices, also pro­vided an up­date on sum­mer con­struc­tion and main­te­nance pro­jects.

“The sum­mer’s a very busy time in sup­port­ing ser­vices,” Heim said. “The re­al­ity is, that’s one of the busiest times for us, be­cause we have the abil­ity to take ad­van­tage of build­ings be­ing mostly va­cant.”

Steven An­dritz, di­rec­tion of plan­ning and con­struc­tion, said Dr. Sa­muel Mudd staff have com­pleted mov­ing into the new tran­si­tion school, lo­cated on John Han­son Drive bete­ween J.P. Ryon Ele­men­tary and John Han­son Mid­dle schools.

The U-shaped tran­si­tion school has a full gym­na­sium/cafe­te­ria with a fully func­tion­ing kitchen and a new play­ground.

Ren­o­va­tions at Mudd are ex­pected to take two years. An­dritz said that when Mudd ren­o­va­tions are com­plete, Eva Turner Ele­men­tary School stu­dents and staff will move into the tran­si­tion school while ren­o­va­tions are com­pleted on their fa­cil­ity.

Other sum­mer pro­jects in­clude the be­gin­ning of con­struc­tion on the new Billings­ley Ele­men­tary School, set to open in the fall of 2018, resur­fac­ing the track at Henry Lackey High School, re­pairs to the West­lake High School ten­nis court, ramp re­pairs to por­ta­ble class­rooms at Berry Ele­men­tary School and ex­te­rior paint­ing at var­i­ous schools.

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