NJDOE News

For More Information Contact the Public Information Office:
    Richard Vespucci
    Kathryn Forsyth, Director
    609-292-1126

For Release: May 23, 2008


Future Educators Conference

2008 Teacher Recruitment Campaign
Aims to be ‘A Step Ahead’

The New Jersey Department of Education’s recruitment unit is participating in a busy spring season of activities that is culminating today when 300 students from 40 school districts are expected to participate in the first-ever statewide conference to promote future educator organizations at the high school level.

The conference, will be held in the Brower Student Center at The College of New Jersey, Ewing, between 8:15 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. This event, along with special training for teachers who will advise the young teaching prospects, adds a new dimension to the unit’s traditional practice of extolling the challenges and rewards of working in New Jersey schools at a variety of job fairs and over NJHire, the state’s free, internet-based service designed to connect teacher candidates with prospective employers.

The unit, formed eight years ago to help ensure that New Jersey attracts and maintains a pool of talented teachers, this year has adopted the slogan, "A Step Ahead."

"Quality teachers who are dedicated to their students and their profession are key to the success of New Jersey’s public schools," said Commissioner of Education Lucille E. Davy. "Since 2000, our recruiting unit has contributed greatly to increasing enhancing the ability of our school districts to find candidates to meet their instructional needs at all grade levels, and in all content areas."

Commissioner Davy and Deputy Commissioner Willa Spicer will attend the conference, along with Assistant Commissioners Rochelle Hendricks and William King. The conference keynote address, "The Urban Calling: Saving America’s Most Important Schools," will be delivered by Tyler Blackmore, principal of Asbury Park High School. Another highlight of the conference will be a workshop conducted by Amanda Graham, national director of Phi Delta Kappa’s Future Educators Association, for New Jersey’s FEA advisors.

New Jersey public schools currently employ approximately 111,000 full-time classroom teachers. Overall student enrollment, which currently stands at 1.4 million, has been growing steadily in recent years, and shows no sign of diminishing. Predictions are that demands for teachers in New Jersey will continue to be high across-the-board. Specific areas of shortage, such as special education, bilingual, mathematics, science and world languages, continue to be in the greatest demand. National studies suggest that more than two million teachers may be needed over the next 10 years. Teacher shortages are most acute in urban schools, where more than 50 percent of new teachers leave within the first three years.

RESURGENCE OF FUTURE EDUCATORS

After years of little activity at the local level, interest has spiked recently to encourage young people to pursue careers in education. Known years ago under its former name, Future Teachers of America, Future Educator Associations (FEAs), under the direction of Phil Delta Kappa, provide a mechanism to help high schools inform their students about New Jersey’s need to attract more talented students to the profession, as well as practical advice about the steps they can take to make teaching their chosen profession.

Newfound interest in FEAs became clear when sign-ups for teachers interested in training to become advisors and existing advisors to FEA chapters resulted in a full house of more than 80 educators. The strong positive response to the workshop led to planning for what will be the first statewide conference of students participating in local FEA programs. As many as 300 student participants from 40 school districts are expected to converge on The College of New Jersey on May 23 for the conference, under the theme. "Recruiting Today’s Students to Become Tomorrow’s Teachers."

The conference will feature workshops on nearly three dozen topics with titles such as "The Joys and Challenges of Teaching," "Teaching English as a Second Language," "How to Become a Teacher," "This is Not Your Grandmother’s Math Class," and "Reflections on Teaching in a Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Environment."

For more information about FEA, contact Larry Fieber, Urban Recruitment Coordinator, The College of New Jersey, 609-771-3333.

TEACHER TRAINING

In January, The College of New Jersey invited educators to attend a statewide information session to consider taking part in a pilot project to train them to teach a high school course entitled Tomorrow’s Teachers, for high school juniors and seniors. Interest was high and the session quickly reached its maximum enrollment of 80 participants. Tomorrow’s Teachers, a course developed by the South Carolina Center for Education, Recruitment, Retention and Advancement is used in 23 states.

Teachers who complete the course, to be held on TCNJ’s campus from June 30 to July 2, will receive current knowledge about their profession, including information about critical areas of teacher shortages, so that they can improve their ability to advise and inspire students to aspire to a teaching career.

For more information, contact Larry Fieber at the phone number above

NJHIRE / RECRUITMENT ACTIVITIES

The recruitment unit continues to participate in career fairs and similar activities to attract teacher candidates to New Jersey schools. It recently participated in Project Search Careers for Teachers at the University of Delaware, the Burlington County Education Job Fair, the Central Jersey Program for the Recruitment of Diverse Educators annual job fair, and the Greater Philadelphia Teacher Job Fair.

This spring also marks the eighth anniversary of NJHire, a no-cost Web-site operated by the Department of Education to link teacher candidates with schools that are seeking to fill vacancies. Since its inception in May 2008, the site has posted more than 64,000 resumes of users and more than 3,027 school districts and recruiters have registered. More than 151,000 resumes have been posted on line.

Many school officials have used NJHire with great success.

"NJHire is an excellent clearing house for teacher resumes," said James W. Bruffy, human resources manager for the Galloway Public Schools. "I use it all the time to save money for the school district in tight budget times."

Scott Boring, an assistant principal in Monroe Township who also maintains his district’s NJHire positions, praised the service. "What I love about it is that we get immediate exposure that generates interest in the positions and plenty of resumes at a very reasonable cost." Boring said one of the drawbacks in the system is that it has generated phone calls from candidates despite the district’s request not to call.

"NJHire provides our school with a choice of many qualified applicants almost within hours of posting," said Benjamin M. Fox, principal of the Central Jersey Arts Charter School in Plainfield. "All of our staff openings for the past year have been filled exclusively with those who responded from our NJHire ads."

TROOPS TO TEACHERS

Troops to Teachers (TTT) is a federally funded program that provides assistance to military personnel who express an interest in teaching in New Jersey, especially in high-need areas. The program coordinator conducts presentations throughout military bases in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. The Spouses to Teachers (STT) program was launched in New Jersey last fall and is designed to assist the military spouses in their pursuit to become a K-12 school teacher.

See attachment, "Why Teach in New Jersey?"