Edmond Public Schools will host a Teachers’ Recruitment Reception tonight to help graduating education majors network in the Edmond, OK area.
This free event will take place at the district’s Administrative Center and is open to all education majors graduating in the spring or next fall. Light refreshments will be served at 6 p.m. and door prizes donated by local businesses will be gifted to winning attendees.
Shelley Dabney, the event planner for the Teachers’ Recruitment Reception, said the event is not designed to serve as an interview opportunity, but rather to facilitate recommendations and build relationships.
“The purpose of this event is to give attendees an opportunity to connect with, and gain knowledge from, elementary and secondary administrative professionals from Edmond Public Schools in a less-formal setting than one would expect from a job fair,” Dabney said. “It will give individuals the opportunity to network with elementary, middle and high school administrators during round-table discussions. In addition, they will hear from speakers who will share tips on successful resume writing and interview techniques.”
According to Dabney, Edmond Public Schools is a district where education professionals can find excellent community and administrative support, a strong mentor program, great parent involvement and one of the highest starting salaries in the state.
“This recruitment reception is one of the best opportunities for graduating seniors to learn why EPS has received recognition as one of Oklahoma’s Top Workplaces two years in a row,” Dabney said. “‘Start Here–Stay Here’ is the event slogan. We know those graduating in the education field from Oklahoma universities would agree that many have invested in them along the way and we’d like to encourage them to consider staying right here in Oklahoma to continue investing in Oklahoma’s future.”
According to Kelli Dudley, an education professor at Oklahoma Christian University, it is important for graduating education majors to attend these kinds of events in order to meet local administrators. She said it is an opportunity to share how well prepared they are to step into the classroom.
“Oklahoma Christian education majors have a plethora of opportunities and resources to help them quickly land a job,” Dudley said. “In fact, many of our students sign contracts before they even graduate. Due to OC’s School of Education’s excellent reputation, districts throughout the state contact our office seeking our graduates. These opportunities enable our candidates to obtain a job in the district that best meets their career ambitions.”
Dudley said there are resources for graduating seniors to find local jobs in education, but Oklahoma still struggles to retain qualified teachers. She said this is because the demand for classroom teachers exceeds the number of candidates completing teacher preparation programs.
“These receptions allow our OC candidates the opportunity to gain employment quickly; however, until the state supports education, the emergency teacher certification problem will continue to exist,” Dudley said. “The difficulty with getting qualified public teachers in Oklahoma has many facets. Class size, lack of autonomy in the classroom, lack of professional respect and the stress placed on test scores all contribute to the decline in the number of teachers leaving the profession.”
Darin Martin, Oklahoma Christian’s chair of the school of education, said there are over a thousand emergency certified teachers in Oklahoma because districts cannot find fully certified teachers.
“I can see why the districts are doing this—reaching out early—given the teacher shortage,” Martin said. “For example, as the next school year approaches, if they don’t have a third grade teacher and they can’t hire a fully certified teacher, then they have to scramble and they just have to do emergency certification just to have somebody in that classroom who has a bachelor’s degree with at least a 2.65 GPA.”
“When you think about over a thousand emergency certified teachers times at least 20 kids per student that is thousands of Oklahoma students who are with emergency certified teachers who have had maybe zero teaching experience,” Martin said. “I’m not saying all those emergency certified teachers are bad, but compared to the preparation that our candidates go through getting ready to teach, they would’ve had pretty much zero of that.”