The Philadelphia School District plans to bring in 1,000 new teachers for the 2017-18 school year – and it launched a 12-week, $160,000 hiring campaign to reach that goal.
The district has reportedly deployed radio, TV, billboard and digital ads aimed at attracting a new force of teachers. The ads are spread out across the city and suburbs in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
By bringing in 1,000 new teachers, the district could more effectively fill vacancies, which have plagued schools in the past. Around this time last year, the school district announced a similar goal of hiring 800 teachers. Uri Monson, the district’s chief financial officer, said in November that the district had hired at least 1,000 teachers throughout the year. He called the hires “an incredible accomplishment for any business or school district of our size.”
The district, which employs about 9,000 teachers, has a 90 percent annual teacher retention rate, according to the Philadelphia Public School Notebook. So that means it needs to fill about 900 to 1,000 positions each year.
The district is reportedly on the lookout for instructors to teach kindergarten through third grade, bilingual Spanish and other foreign language classes, special education, music and secondary math and science. Officials are also hiring counselors and nurses – and they’re on the lookout for more teachers of color. About half the district’s teachers are white women, according to the Notebook.
New teachers with little to no experience are typically offered a starting salary of $45,360.
Meanwhile, one district teacher raised $5,000 to launch an ad of his own earlier this month – a billboard off I-95 near the Girard Avenue exit in Fishtown, which reads “Welcome to Philadelphia, where we don’t value our public school children.”
According to 6ABC, the billboard was erected by George Bezanis, a Central High School teacher who is part of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers union, which has gone more than three years without a contract with the district. Unionized teachers have not received raises in the last five years.
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