Newark Board of Education Welcomes Over 600 New Teachers

Over 600 new teachers were hired by the District in preparation for this school year.

At the new teacher orientation held last week, Superintendent León said, “Our schools can’t run without you and our children won’t learn without you. We are excited that you are here and we want you to know that we are dedicated to making sure you know and feel how important you are every day. I know you could have selected any school district in New Jersey and we are so honored that you selected Newark.”

The state of New Jersey and the country have been facing a national teacher shortage since the start of the pandemic, and the realities of the struggle in Newark have been no different. The Newark Public Schools has been strategic in its recruitment initiatives by addressing some of the reasons why teachers started leaving the classroom in the first place. The initial strategy regarding recruitment is retention of the irreplaceable teachers. Professional development opportunities, curriculum writing, and empowering teacher voice to influence recommendations of policy making decisions.

In addition, the Newark Board of Education is now one of the highest-paying districts in New Jersey with both recruitment and retention incentives. We know that while this may greatly influence one teacher’s decision over another school district, we also know that national research shows that salary is not the only factor in teacher recruitment or retention.

Superintendent León has also implemented several district-wide initiatives to help attract and retain teachers. Several partnerships with stellar educator preparation programs, such as Montclair State University and Rutgers University-Newark, help us grow the teacher pipeline for hard-to-staff teaching positions such as Bilingual, ESL, and special education teachers.

The creation of additional pathways in our schools to assist non-instructional staff members in getting their teaching certification has been one of the most rewarding and inspiring recruitment initiatives. The NBOE-RUN Pathway to Teaching was established with Rutgers University-Newark to assist current NBOE employees who have a Bachelor's or a post-secondary degree and are interested in becoming teachers. All of these efforts, coupled with the leadership of Governor Murphy, State Senator Ruiz, and Commissioner McMillan-Allen through the implementation of Chapter 224 and Chapter 408 have resulted in these positive intended results.

“We aren’t done filling teacher vacancies but we’ve welcomed over one thousand teachers over the last 3 years, which proves what we already know to be true: Newark Public Schools is the place to be. I’m excited to see the positive imprint these new teachers will leave on our students,” said Board President Dawn Haynes.

Finally, one long-term recruitment strategy is to grow our own teachers from the current student population. This is embodied in the high school redesign strategy in the district’s historic ten-year strategic plan, The Next Decade: 2020-30. The Red Hawks Rising Teacher Academy at East Side School and University High School is a dual enrollment program at Montclair State University where students earn college credits in teaching while they are still in high school. The American Federation of Teachers is the professional organization which provides technical assistance, supports, and a stipend to incent the completion rates of students. Upon successful completion of the program, students are presented with a teaching contract at their high school graduation to work in Newark, executable upon graduation from college. This program has been recognized by Secretary of Education Cardona as a national model for collaboration between a local school district, university partner, and a professional organization in creating a teacher preparation program.

The district hopes to continue filling vacancies. In the meantime, all teachers are gearing up for the first day of classes on September 6th.

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