Edmond Public Schools Hosts Annual Teacher Fair
A student listens to his teacher give a lecture and takes notes on his laptop. Edmond Public Schools is hosting the annual Teacher Fair to encourage those with teaching degrees to apply for jobs in Edmond. (Provided/Pixabay)
As the need for teachers in Oklahoma continues to grow, Edmond Pubic Schools is hosting their annual teacher job fair Feb. 20 and Feb. 22 at the the district’s administrative center.
The job fair is Feb. 20 Feb. 22 and is open from 4-6 p.m. in the Oklahoma A, B and C rooms of the center.
The first day focuses specifically on elementary education positions and Feb. 22 focuses on secondary school, which consists of middle school and high school education.
“The main goal is for our administrators to begin identifying possible applicants that could fill a critical need for the ’18-’19 school year,” said Randy Decker, Chief Human Resources Officer of the Edmond Public Schools district.
According to the Oklahoma State School Board Association there were 536 teaching position vacancies, 480 teaching positions eliminated entirely and 1,430 emergency certifications given in 2017.
There is no fee to attend the fair, but applicants are expected to dress professionally and bring as many resumes as they would like to hand out that day.
“We have 27 schools [at the fair], 17 elementary, so if somebody is interviewing for elementary they might want to bring 15 to 17 resumes to handout to interested principals there,” Decker said.
Want to teach in Edmond? We are holding a teacher job fair 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20 & Thursday, Feb. 22 at the district’s administrative headquarters, 1001 W. Danforth. https://t.co/MwEy2qipas pic.twitter.com/CYuF4fEL8M
— Edmond Schools (@EdmondSchools) January 31, 2018
Applicants should also be prepared to have an on the spot interview with principals, although Decker said not every applicant will get an interview that day due to a high number of applicants attending the fair, typically ranging in the hundreds.
Decker said tables will be set up for each school, and principals, HR representatives, curriculum and instruction staff will be available to talk about other positions such as special education and athletics.
“It’s an opportunity for an applicant to meet all of our principals in one building, as opposed to having to drive from school to school and introduce themselves,” Decker said. “Then our principals get the opportunity to meet all of those applicants at one time and begin to determine if there are some that they want to follow-up interview and potentially make a recommendation for.”
Other staff will be available for applicants at the fair who are needing information on alternative certification and emergency certification as well.
“The number of students in Oklahoma continues to grow. What’s not growing are the number of graduates coming out of the colleges,” Decker said. “In addition to that, many who do graduate are moving to other states where the salaries and compensation is higher.”
There are 694,816 students enrolled in Oklahoma K-12 public schools for the 2017-2018 school year, which is an increase of 53,145 in the last 10 years.
While Oklahoma’s student population is still rising, Oklahoma invests $1,600 less per student than the regional average, according to the Oklahoma State School Board Association
“That’s the biggest challenge that we are dealing with right now is competing with other states when our salaries are significantly lower,” Decker said. “There is a great need for highly qualified teachers, as we grow in students in this district we have got to match that with quality teachers who are ready to work.”
As of 2018, minimum starting pay for teachers with a bachelor’s degree and zero experience is $31,600, while a doctorate and 25 years of experience increases the salary to $46,000.
Part of a plan that was initiated by a group of business and civic leaders was meant to help with teacher pay.
The plan, called Step Up, would have raised $800 million by increasing taxes on tobacco, oil and natural gas production, making it possible to give Oklahoma teachers a raise of $5,000 a year.
The initial vote for the plan failed to pass the House on Feb. 12.