Camden is so ‘desperate’ for teachers that it is looking internationally to fill critical ESL and bilingual roles | Education
Melanie Burney The Philadelphia Investigator
Struggling to fill vacancies, the Camden School District plans to look overseas to hire teachers for its bilingual and ESL classes for the 2022-23 school year.
“We need to do something different,” Superintendent Katrina McCombs said. “Yes, we are desperate.”
Like school districts nationwide, Camden has experienced a teacher shortage compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, with positions ranging from bus drivers to substitute teachers hard to fill. Camden has been unable to fill 28 of approximately 700 teaching positions this year, McCombs said, including three bilingual positions and one ESL position, she said.
In a district where 53% of its 6,800 students are Latino and 14% are English language learners, the school board last month approved a pilot program to begin exploring international recruitment.
Program details are still being worked out and specific countries have not been determined, McCombs said, but the district would help applicants with their applications and temporary visas to work in the United States and cover costs and application fees, approximately $2,500 per person. New employees would be responsible for their transportation and accommodation costs.
People also read…
The district plans to collect names of potential candidates and hopefully recruit for the next school year, she said.
PLEASANTVILLE — The school district has become more diverse in recent years, and a new report…
“Our goal is to make sure the process is transparent so that we can bring in these teachers as soon as possible,” McCombs said. “You never know who may want to come to this country and teach.”
Camden hopes to eventually be able to fill more vacancies, but priority goes to the four bilingual and ESL positions, where a certified teacher is required. The district might also consider hiring paraprofessionals or support staff, who should earn teacher certifications later, she said.
Keith Benson, chairman of the district union, the Camden Education Association, said he supported overseas search only for those four positions. The union has offered to help the district recruit from local colleges, he said.
“I’ve heard about the need for years,” Benson said. “We have to give these students what they need.”
McCombs said the district has managed the shortage by getting substitute teachers when possible or having teachers cover two classes. In K-2 grades, where there are co-teachers in each class, the district has, if necessary, removed one of the teachers to cover another class, she said.
“It’s almost like you have to rob Peter to pay Paul,” she said. “It doesn’t come without cost.”
ATLANTIC CITY – Calling the allegations against him frivolous, Atlantic City Municipal Utilities…
McCombs said the district has “doubled” in recruiting in recent years, attending more college job fairs and advertising online. “It still doesn’t fill our vacancies.”
In addition to bilingual and ESL education, New Jersey has reported teacher shortages in science, math, special education, world languages, and career and technical education. The pandemic has only made the situation worse.
The Millville School District in Cumberland County moved to early layoff for its high schools and colleges for the month of February because it did not have enough teachers to cover classrooms.
“The teacher shortage is very real, and it’s not going away any time soon,” said Catherine Michener, assistant professor in Rowan University’s Faculty of Education and coordinator of its bilingual and ESL certification program. first cycle. “We are not training enough teachers.”
This isn’t the first time Camden has taken a different approach to recruiting teachers.
During the civil rights movement in the 1960s, Camden recruited black teachers from historically black colleges, particularly in the South. Among the recruits was legendary former Camden High basketball coach Clarence Turner, who played for Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina.
ATLANTIC CITY — City Council voted 4-3 to remove Municipal Utilities Authority Chairman John…
Former school board member Theo Spencer, who graduated from Camden High in 1994, said the majority of his teachers come from area HBCUs — Cheyney University, Lincoln University or Delaware State University.
“It was just a pipeline,” Spencer said.
In 1970, Camden officials traveled to Puerto Rico to recruit teachers. Ivy Rios, then 21, spoke with the district at a hotel in San Juan and welcomed the opportunity to come to Camden.
“I saw the ad, so I applied,” she said. “It was something different to try.”
Rios said nine other teachers had been hired with her to come to Camden. Most didn’t speak English very well, struggled to manage students, and eventually left the district, she said. Camden has also recruited teachers from Mexico, Costa Rica and Cuba, she said.
Rios, however, enjoyed the kids and stayed. She taught ESL and Spanish to elementary and middle school students for five years, then became an administrator and expanded the bilingual and ESL programs. She eventually joined the state Department of Education and retired to Puerto Rico in 2000.
WILDWOOD — The city’s public school district retains the Warriors name, along with the im…
She said she thought some teachers there would be interested in moving to Camden, where the pay is better. But she said the district needed to make it clear what they would face here: individualized educational expectations, state requirements, a longer school year.
“They have to understand that it will be completely different from what they are used to,” she said. “I think it’s a great experiment for people to try if they’re brave enough.”
“Yes, we are desperate.”
Superintendent of Camden