Wednesday, March 07, 2001

Schools aim to recruit 450 teachers


Cincinnati district raises hiring standards

By Ben L. Kaufman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        In a tight national market, Cincinnati Public Schools expects to recruit 450 teachers for fall by raising, not lowering, standards, Supt. Steven Adamowski told a press conference on Tuesday.

        He said accomplished teachers will be drawn to schools that surround them with ever more qualified colleagues and a fast track that could pay the best of the brightest more than $60,000 in seven years, instead of in 20 years or more.

        Those who embrace his belief that teaching is the “last best hope” for thousands of children can have a “life-transforming” career, Dr. Adamowski promised.

        To carry this message, Cincinnati Public Schools is pursuing its first recruiting drive in at least a decade. Rather than wait for applications and hire teachers late in the summer, recruiters with blank contracts are going to job fairs, colleges and schools where student teachers are showing their potential.

        Dr. Adamowski said the easier task will be hiring the 150 K-3 teachers he promised when voters approved the latest levy in November. That will reduce those classes to 17-19 students from an average of 22 and a maximum of 30.

        The harder task will be replacing 300 of about 3,500 teachers he expects to lose in annual turnover. That's where recruiting comes in, as will $2,000 signing bonuses for math, science and special-education teachers.

        “The days of simply waiting around are over,” Dr. Adamowski said.

        If recruiting falls short, he said, permanent substitutes until be hired.

        He said those vacancies are Cincinnati's largest recent loss but things could be worse. The cuts represent 8.5 percent of the city's teachers, half of the turnover in similar urban districts.

        Dr. Adamowski and Denise Hewitt, a representative of the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers, said candidates will be expected to have at least these new, higher qualifications:

        • A degree from an accredited teacher-preparation program and an Ohio teaching license.

        • For recent graduates, at last a 3.0 average after their freshman year in college where 4.0 is an A.

        • A major, minor or area of concentration in any academic subject they apply to teach.

        Dr. Adamowski, Ms. Hewitt and school human resources director Deborah Heater said they'll give preference to graduates with in-class/urban internships and advanced degrees in subjects they hope to teach.

        Previously, candidates' four-year degrees did not have to come from a teachers college and a B average sufficed even when it fell short of a 3.0.

        They said these demands will play well with students who excelled in college. Coupled with pay starting at about $30,000 a year, Cincinnati should be competitive.

        Dr. Adamowski also spoke to the “acute need” for minority teachers. Black candidates will get special attention because African-Americans represent more than two-thirds of Cincinnati's students, while two-thirds of teachers are white.

       



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