Putting Education Reform To The Test

The Earlier Schools Hire, The Better Teachers They Get

Sarah Gonzalez / StateImpact Florida

JP Taravela High Principal Shawn Cerra with the school's guidance director, Jody Gaver.

When JP Taravela High school went into the summer break, there were 16 teacher vacancies — three resigned or relocated, 13 retired.

Over the summer, five more teachers resigned, according to the school’s principal Shawn Cerra.

“I lost four out of the five to the virtual world,” he said.

The Broward County teachers left the school to become Florida Virtual School teachers.

“They showed the respect that we look for by letting me know they were going into the interview or when they filled out an application,” he said. “So I had an idea that some were interested in leaving, but I really didn’t know for sure until late July, early August.

“So I guess that’s when [FLVS] was doing their hiring — in the middle to late July.”

Cerra had just two weeks to find and hire five new teachers.

The district placed a couple of surplus teachers at his school.

“Which is fine, we’re happy to have them,” Cerra said.

Why the Applicant Pool Shrinks

Doug Peden is with the American Association for Employment in Education (AAEE) — It tracks teacher supply and demand across the country.

He says the applicant pool becomes smaller and smaller in the final days of the summer break.

“We know from the work we’ve done, the earlier you hire the better candidate you get.”

Peden says the best teachers usually have no problem finding a job in the communities they live in.

And the distance unemployed teachers are willing to move shrinks the closer you get to the start of the school year.

“Is someone going to move from Washington state to Florida if they have two weeks and there’s a job? The answer is probably, no,” Peden says.

“They’re not going to do that kind of a move that close to the year.”

Broward County schools held an end-of-the-summer teacher job fair in an effort to fill teacher vacancies.

That’s where JP Taravela’s principal found his new debate teacher at the last minute.

You can read about how the first-year-teacher, John Price, had one week to plan his curriculum for the entire school year here. 



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