Sunday, August 14, 2016

Amid teacher shortage, Fresno Unified recruits educators from Starbucks to Mexico | Fresno Bee

Amid teacher shortage, Fresno Unified recruits educators from Starbucks to Mexico | Fresno Bee:

Amid teacher shortage, Fresno Unified recruits educators from Starbucks to Mexico


More than 300 new teachers will join the Fresno Unified School District this year, some who have been recruited while waiting tables or bagging groceries, others who have been recruited from as far as Mexico.
As of Aug. 8 – one week before Monday’s start of the school year – nearly 50 Fresno Unified classrooms were still without a teacher, in part due to California’s teacher shortage. Fresno Unified is now recruiting far and wide, tapping into programs that allow alternative teaching certifications and admittedly getting creative.
“We’ve recruited from the dog park, from The Cheesecake Factory and Starbucks. Wherever we go, we recruit constantly,” said Cyndy Quintana, human relations administrator for the district. “There is a teacher shortage, but Fresno Unified is alive and well and being creative. Everyday is an interview.”

Crossing borders

In the past year, Quintana has traveled up and down the state and flown to New York, Texas and New Mexico in search of teachers to bring to Fresno Unified – California’s fourth-largest school district. And she has good selling points: You can afford to live here on a teacher’s salary, unlike educators struggling to make ends meet in the Bay Area. Yosemite National Park is within a reasonable drive, she tells them. And a beach isn’t too far away, either.
Quintana has become a walking, talking billboard for the city of Fresno, and is willing to do what it takes to fill classrooms. This summer, she had three teachers from Mexico living in her home to help them get on their feet. She recently traveled to Mexico to recruit and came back with five new teachers – the first time the district has tapped that country for educators in 20 years.
The teachers were hired as part of a California Department of Education program that helps districts find qualified candidates from other countries and fronts the costs to sponsor them, while also assisting incoming teachers with their work visas and other paperwork.
Lucero Escareno, 28, is from Coahuila, Mexico, and taught there for six years. She starts at Sunset Elementary School this week, a bilingual school in Fresno, and sees her own learning experiences during her first trip to the United States as a connection with her future students.
“I think it’s going to be a real challenge. As you can see, I’m struggling right now with my English, so maybe those students are also struggling,” she said. “I’m here to help them andAmid teacher shortage, Fresno Unified recruits educators from Starbucks to Mexico | Fresno Bee:



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