Recruitment and Retention
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Attract Qualified Candidates 
Attracting qualified candidates requires both long-term planning and the ability to quickly mount a recruitment campaign for immediate needs.

When this is not working well, the consequences can be

  • No applicants; 
  • Applicants who are not a good fit;
  • Not enough applicants to have a real choice;
  • Settling for a candidate who is not a good match for your needs;
  • Late hires; and
  • Unfilled positions.

When this is working well, the consequences can be:

  • Enough qualified candidates apply so that you can select a candidate whose skills, knowledge, and disposition most closely match your school’s needs; 
  • A more diverse educator workforce; and
  • Applicants see the opening as an attractive opportunity.

Market Your District
Often school districts invest time and resources to develop a positive image in their community, among parents, and with students. They may have spent less time thinking about the image of their school district among potential job candidates or referrers of job candidates, such as personnel at educator preparation programs. An investment in marketing your school district as a good place to work can pay off in less effort required to recruit for individual positions and in more high-quality candidates applying. 

Assess Your Current Marketing Materials
Gather together brochures, your website information, newsletters, fact sheets, letters sent to educator preparation programs, job fair materials, and any other materials created to market or educate the public about your district. Read through the materials from the viewpoint of a potential job applicant.

  • Do you have basic marketing materials for your district?
  • What will readers learn about your district from the materials?
  • Are the strengths of the district clearly identified?
  • Will readers learn why it is a good place to work and teach?
  • Is there information that specifically targets potential job applicants?
  • Do materials indicate how readers can find out about teaching and working in the district and about specific job opportunities?

Put into place strategies for marketing your district as a good place to work and teach:

  • Make an inventory of your school district’s strengths as a place to work and teach; 
  • Make the most of your website for recruiting educators;
  • Explore how other school districts use their websites for recruitment; and
  • Develop marketing materials that specifically target potential job applicants.

Expand Outreach to Attract Potential Candidates
Expanding your outreach can increase the number of candidates who consider applying for your job openings.

  • Advertise in local and regional classified ads. Consider expanding your geographical recruitment circle by using the Education Career Fair Calendar
  • Contact the career placement offices for Arizona teacher preparation undergraduate and graduate programs;
  • Attend the Great Arizona Teach-In and work with other schools to host a job fair;
  • Post your openings on the Arizona Education Employment Board and other websites that offer educator job listings; and
  • Use college/university job boards or job-posting services. For therapy services use the Related Services Job Boards Guide.

Enlist Community Help in Your Recruitment Efforts
Efforts to enlist help from your local community can be effective at reaching potential candidates who are close to home.

  • Include community stakeholders on your recruitment team;
  • Make sure faculty and staff know about open positions and recruitment needs and encourage them to refer potential applicants;
  • Let parents, PTAs, PTOs, and service clubs know about your job openings;
  • Ask the Chamber of Commerce, Welcome Wagon, and realtors to disseminate your recruitment materials; and
  • Ask your local media to cover stories about your recruitment efforts and needs.

Define Your Ideal Candidate
Before you seek potential job applicants, taking time to define the desired characteristics and profile of the type of educator you seek will help guide your recruitment activities.

Craft a Recruitment Message
Your employment ad may be the first impression an applicant sees of your school as a potential employer. Often school job ads are dry lists of requirements with little information about why an applicant might want to work at the school and little that makes a particular job stand out. Print ads and Internet listings are often limited in size because of the cost or the policy of the site, leaving little room for a full job description.

  • Be sure to include links to your website where you can include a full job description;
  • Use your website to include other information about your school that helps potential job seekers envision themselves teaching in your school; and
  •  Include some information in your job ad that indicates what the applicant will gain by working at your school.

Strengthen Relationships with Institutions of Higher Education 
By strengthening your relationships with institutions of higher education (IHEs), particularly those that offer educator preparation programs, you can increase the likelihood that undergraduates, graduate students, and other advanced learners will learn about your district.

  • Introduce your district to representatives from IHEs through letters, phone calls, and personal meetings;
  • Explore opportunities for students from IHEs to visit your school;
  • Invite a representative from an IHE to participate on your recruitment and retention team;
  • Explore opportunities for collaborative projects between your school and IHEs; and
  • Become a field placement site for student teaching or practical internships.  

“Grow Your Own”  and Nontraditional Candidates
You can help to cultivate future educators among those with whom you already have links: your students and others in your community.

  • Encourage students in your schools to aspire to teaching as a career;
  • Consider becoming involved in the Educators Rising Arizona;
  • Consider those in your community and school who could enter teaching through alternative pathways such as:
    • Paraeducators, instructional  assistants, special education assistants, school clerks, cafeteria employees, security guards;
    • Parents or community residents who are active in the schools;
    • Members and leaders of the community who are active in education issues; and
    • Early retirees who are moving to your community.
  • Learn about alternative pathways to certification from the Arizona Department of Education; and
  • Explore nontraditional pathways to teaching programs: Teach For America and Troops to Teachers.  

Offer Incentives to Attract and Retain Educators
School districts around the country offer a wide variety of incentives to recruit and retain educators. Incentives range from community-based tokens of appreciation to state and federal initiatives. The following is a list of potential incentives: 

  • Financial aid, loan repayment, and forgiveness programs
  • Grants and awards to recognize and assist educators for special projects
  • Signing bonuses
  • Additional bonuses for hard-to-fill positions
  • Stipends for additional endorsements
  • Retention bonuses
  • Pay for performance and market-based incentives
  • Relocation assistance
  • Counseling on home buying
  • Housing subsidies, discounts, reduced down payments, and/or lower mortgage rates
  • Waiver for connection of utilities and/or cable
  • Waiver or reduction for security deposit for apartment
  • Tax breaks
  • Bonuses for National Board Certification
  • Stipends for additional responsibilities
  • Tuition reimbursement for an advanced degree
  • Salary advances
  • Induction with mentoring for new teachers
  • Free investment and retirement planning
  • All teachers assigned a laptop computer
  • Professional development incentive pay
  • Priority placement of children in child care centers  

Resources (Click on the links below.)

Teacher Intern Pathway to Certification
Easy Ways to Market Your School, Education World, 2004.  
Ferrer, Armina, New York City’s Successful Alternative Route for New Teachers White House Conference on Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers: An accounting of a principal’s experience supporting non-traditionally prepared teachers.  
Fletcher, Louise, Write Effective Online Job Postings,
Grants Alert
K–12 School Grants
Koenigsknecht, Scott M., Impressions Count, School Planning & Management, November 2005.  
Muller, Eve, Special Education-Related Personnel Preparation Program Partnerships: Collaborating for Success at the Local Level, Personnel Improvement Center, Practice Brief, Summer 2011. 
Muller, Eve, Using Social Media to Recruit and Retain Qualified Special Education Personnel, Personnel Improvement Center, Practice Brief, Winter 2011.
Teachers Count Grant Opportunities  
Teach For America
Teacher Next Door Housing Program
Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program
The ABC List: A Public Relations Tool That’s as Simple as A-B-C, Education World, 2005.  
Transition to Teaching Program
Troops to Teachers