For the first time in the Rockford Public School district's history a massive amount of teachers are leaving the classroom for good.
The buzz around the district Tuesday will center on what information is in this publication. Inside what's known in the district as the “Communicator” will be 285 teacher vacancies.
Human Resource Director Jim Fehlhaber says, "In the third year of the teacher's current contract we offered an early retirement incentive so about 246 opted to retire."
Fehlhaber and his staff have been on the road recruiting at colleges in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, and Indiana. Normally the district only has to stay close to home to find fresh out of college applicants. The district needs about 100 elementary teachers and 185 middle and high school teachers. Bi-lingual and special education positions are the toughest to fill in our district.
Jim says, "We have close to 1,000 resumes so there's enough to fill our needs if we can make offers and get accepted."
Typically teachers with many years in the classroom are the first to be re-located. But this time around the playing field is different.
Jim stated, "In prior years, we wouldn't be able to place new teachers till the 3rd round or later. This year because there are so many vacancies we know there won't be teachers transferring to every vacancy. We anticipate hiring new teachers in 1st round."
There are three rounds to place teachers and each take about a month. Once the communicator comes out teachers have one week to apply, then the next two weeks principals conduct interviews and make offers. Rockford's largest employer won't really know if all their recruiting efforts have paid off until mid-summer.
A few other job postings will be forthcoming. The district's new alternative school at Wilson will need about 14 teachers to open the school.