By Kristin Heidemann, Communications Director
Forest City Community School District
Central Rivers Area Education Agency Chief Administrator Sam Miller shared a thought-provoking message in September relating to the impact of teacher shortage in Iowa and across the country. He said, “Turning a blind eye to our growing shortage of teachers or dismissing it as another state or school district’s problem is only kicking the can down the road until eventually, we are all affected by the impact.”
As I read the message, I thought back to a conversation I had with our superintendent and business manager a year ago when they expressed concern about the growing trend of teacher shortage. They asked me about what we could do communications-wise to be proactive in our recruitment of teachers to our district. I admit that I initially had a similar reaction as Sam warned against, which was to question whether we even had an issue with teacher recruitment in our district. However, I quickly transitioned to thinking about the fact that we did not have targeted messages prepared to share with the audience of prospective teachers.
We decided that a good first step was to create a teacher recruitment packet for principals to share with candidates during the interview process.
To begin, our business manager took the lead in putting together talking points for our salary structure and benefits. I talked with current teachers and administrators, looked at the latest research, and carefully constructed answers to questions such as:
- What makes our district unique? What are our selling points?
- What is our culture like?
- What things do we do well, and don’t do well?
- What are teachers right out of college or experienced teachers looking for?
- What amenities are available in our community and surrounding communities?
From here, I went to work on writing and designing the pieces to place into the packet. Our teacher recruitment packet is complete and we are in the second year of using it. We have a version for administrator-level positions and are working on a support staff version as well. I take great pride in our district, and it was fun to write and share why others should choose to work here too!
Here are thumbnails of the items that we include in our “We are FC! Join Us! You’ll be Glad You Did!” teacher recruitment packet. The packet is housed in a district-branded folder with business card slots that was designed and printed by Central Rivers AEA. In addition to a couple of district overviews that tell our story, there is a benefits overview and the salary overview worksheet provides a way for principals to share specific compensation information. We also include a building-specific overview, a community guide that was created by the Forest City Chamber of Commerce, and a school year calendar.