There might be 10 months left until the start of next school year, but the Dallas ISD Human Capital Management department is already hard at work recruiting effective teachers for next August.
Last week, HCM staff kicked off their effort to recruit bilingual teachers from outside the United States with a trip to Puerto Rico. More than 100 people signed up for interview slots in Puerto Rico, and HCM staff selected 26 candidates to move forward in the recruitment process.
Dallas ISD recruiters are scheduled to travel to Spain and Mexico later in the school year.
“There is a critical bilingual teacher shortage in Texas, so we have to be innovative in recruiting for Dallas ISD to get the teachers our students deserve and need,” said Priscilla Vega, the Dallas ISD recruitment and selection coordinator who is in charge of overseas recruitment. “Our focus is in identifying passionate and dedicated teachers who will come to our district, be effective in raising student achievement, and move students from where they are to where they need to be.”
While a recruiting trip outside of the country might sound glamorous, Vega said the trips actually require a lot of work. Generally, the recruiters will hold interviews every day from 9 a.m.–7 p.m. In the evenings, the recruiters usually hold information sessions at the local universities. At the end of the trip, which is typically on Sunday evenings, the recruiters meet with the teacher candidates and talk with them about Dallas as a city and teaching in the district.
Vega said that research shows that when a non-English speaking student is effectively taught in their native language, that knowledge transfers to English as they learn the language. She added that students also benefit when a teacher from outside of the country brings their home culture into the classroom.
“The teachers can talk to students about their country’s history, what they eat, and what they do for fun,” Vega said. “It’s a great opportunity for our kids to learn about the huge world that is outside their door.”