• Fri. Jul 1st, 2022

Dalton Board of Education considers incentives for new recruits

ByDebra J. Aguilar

Mar 11, 2022

March 11 – As members of the Dalton Board of Education consider next school year’s budget at their annual budget retreat on March 18, they will assess requests from the school system’s human resources department to entice new teachers to work for Dalton Public Schools.

“We will seek signing bonuses for hard-to-fill teaching positions” — special education, foreign languages, and high school math and science — in the fiscal year 2023 budget, Mendy Woods, chief human resources officer, said Monday. The request will be for signing bonuses of $1,500.

The 2023 fiscal year begins on July 1 of this year. The Dalton Board of Education typically votes on a final budget for the fiscal year each June.

Woods would also like to be able to offer moving expenses of an amount to be determined for those moving more than 100 miles, as “we haven’t had that many” who have recently moved such a distance, he said. she declared. Woods and others are still debating a figure “that would be right”.

“Maybe it would be $2,000,” but more research will be needed, Superintendent Tim Scott said. “I don’t know what it would be.”

Signing bonuses and paying moving expenses could ‘give us a little edge over competing with other school systems’, and that’s important because ‘there aren’t as many applicants as before’ , with fewer students enrolled in teaching schools at colleges and universities as well, Woods said. “We feel that” shortage.

“People generally don’t choose teaching as a profession” as much as they used to, with primary education now a “scarcity area for the first time”, according to school dean Sharon Hixon. education at Dalton State College. It is a “crisis for us”.

“It’s hard to find math and science teachers,” in particular, Hixon added. Often, students majoring in math or science are “pulled by bigger paychecks” into more lucrative fields than education.

Woods would also like school board members to consider stipends — an amount to be determined — for new mentor teachers, she said.

“We have a teacher mentorship program at each school, and it would be nice to give them a little extra” for their extra time and effort mentoring new teachers.

Woods and others in the school system continue to visit college and university career fairs and post job openings online, as well as on social media, she said. Dalton Public Schools also held a recruitment fair Saturday at Hammond Creek Middle School, which drew about 70 people and “was a good day overall.”

This summer, new teachers at Dalton Public Schools can benefit from a three-week camp where they will mentor students in the morning each day and then be mentored by experienced teachers in the afternoons, said Laura Orr, director of studies. The first week will be devoted to literacy, the second to mathematics and the third to “project-based experiences”.

This third week will benefit from Brookwood School’s location, with its easy access to Lakeshore Park, she said.

“They can go out there and make plans.”

Last summer, Dalton Public Schools offered a similar camp, but it was only for one week.

More than 40 teachers were involved with Cat Camp, many of whom had recently joined Dalton Public Schools, and those educators were paired with veterans, according to Orr. Each afternoon, educators reflected on the morning instruction session and planned lessons for the next morning, great practice for the school year that began in early August, as these teachers were “able to get to work “.

Last summer, third and fifth graders from Roan School and second and fourth graders from Park Creek School learned in small groups of about five students. Personal attention was therefore the hallmark of Cat Camp, according to Our. Based on the data results, students were identified as needing further development in math or literacy.

Dalton Public Schools also continues to emphasize early learning and literacy by offering 17 pre-kindergarten classes, “a lot for a district our size,” Orr said. That equates to “about half” of the students who will be in kindergarten at Dalton Public Schools the following year, and that’s “huge for early literacy.”

“There are districts three times our size that have fewer pre-K classes than us,” Scott said.

Scott Receives AwardScott recently received the 2022 Outstanding Leadership in School/Community Relations Award from the Georgia School Public Relations Association, according to Dalton Public Schools Chief of Staff Pat Holloway. This award recognizes an individual, other than those directly responsible for a public relations program, who has demonstrated leadership in using effective school-community relations to build support for the public education in his community.

Scott is a “true advocate for public education and community relations” who puts communication first, Holloway said. It “listens to and learns from the perceptions and concerns” that individuals may have through the creation of advisory councils of teachers, parents and students, and then works to address those concerns.