TPS Testing New Hiring Methods To Fill Teacher Gap

Monday, June 15th 2015, 7:10 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Tulsa Public Schools is using some new strategies to hire teachers and they say it's paying off.

Monday's school board meeting discussed the 42 teachers that are resigning. That's not an unusual number for this time of year, but it adds pressure to the already critical situation of not nearly enough teachers for classrooms.

Tulsa Public Schools hired a new teacher Monday, one with experience from another state who is moving back home for a position at a school still to be determined.

Hiring at the central office then offering up the hires to principals is just one strategy TPS uses to fill out the ranks of teachers.

The district has struggled over the last few years to put a permanent teacher in every classroom - instead relying on increased class sizes and long term subs to get by.

To build up the ranks, TPS is trying harder to advertise with signs in many schools and an active social media outreach.

"We stepped up the frequency, but we also stepped up the hiring and we're doing it much earlier," said TPS Teacher Recruiter, Bradley Eddy.

TPS would like to recruit three qualified candidates for every job; right now they have 311 candidates for 200 teaching positions.

To help fill the gap, TPS is hiring earlier than usual, using social media more to advertise, offering on-the-spot contracts at job fairs, calling up retired teachers to see if they want to come back and, for the first time, trying to fill positions before they open.

“One of the biggest things we've done this year that's going to help school like that, but all school too is to make some projections, not just hire for the allocations you have, but the allocations you may have,” Eddy said.

Though the state hasn't offered teachers a raise in almost a decade, TPS pays more than the minimum and doesn't think that's the main issue.

TPS is talking to people new to education and outside of education about opportunities in the district. You can learn more on their website.