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Inaugural event set

IMPERIAL COUNTY TEACHER CAREER FAIR:

April 12, 2001|By DORA DEPAOLI, Staff Writer

IMPERIAL — The inaugural Imperial County Teacher Career Fair will be from 4 to 7 p.m. April 26 at the Plaza de la Cultura at the Imperial Valley Expo.

There is no charge to attend and reservations are not necessary.

Teachers and those thinking about becoming teachers will have a chance to learn about employment opportunities in education in Imperial County. Representatives from all local school districts will be available to discuss their needs for teachers for the 2001-2002 school year. It is estimated Imperial County will need 190 new teachers. Teacher vacancies are anticipated at every grade level.

Celia Ramirez, executive director of the Southern California Teacher Recruitment Center in San Diego, invites all teachers and prospective teachers to the event.

"I think this is a really good event because it allows local districts to be in one place to share information about job opportunities and also encourage people to become teachers. They will have booths or tables with information pertaining to their district," Ramirez said.

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Staff representing Imperial Valley College, alternative and special education programs and court and community schools will answer questions and hand out materials.

"It's a win-win situation for everyone," Ramirez said. "Many school districts don't have the personnel or resources for in-house recruitment efforts beyond job postings and teachers have the sometimes arduous task of going district to district to apply for positions."

Denise Smith, county Office of Education director of human resources, said attracting fully credentialed teachers in Imperial County has been difficult.

"Currently Imperial County has 233 district emergency permits and 43 district waivers of credential requirements," Smith said. "The county Office of Education has 25 emergency permits and five waivers."

The county office serves alternative education schools, which are for students who have been expelled from district schools. The county office also is in charge of teaching the severely handicapped at the Imperial Valley Center for Exceptional Children.

In the near future the county Office of Education will be hiring a full-time recruiter. Interested persons are invited to go on-line at http://www.icoe.k12.ca.us, Smith said or call 312-6156. Calls are also welcomed at the San Diego County Office of Education at 1-800-560-5060, ext. 5358, or on-line at socaltrc@sdcoe.k12.ca.us.

Ramirez will be hosting job fairs in San Diego and Orange County as well. Working with the center as a consultant is Larry Marquand, a retired educator and graduate of Holtville High School.

According to Rudy Castruita, San Diego County superintendent of schools, the Southern Regional Teacher Recruitment Center will work with 85 school districts in the three counties. The five other regional centers announced by Gov. Gray Davis will be in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Alameda, Tulare and San Bernardino counties. Davis announced grants totaling $8.8 million to fund the centers. They will attempt to recruit 300,000 new teachers over the next 10 years.

There are more than 5.9 million students enrolled in K-12 schools in the state. The students are served by 268,000 teachers and half are age 50 or older and will soon be retiring.

"The center will specifically target teacher candidates for schools identified as low-achieving by the Public Schools Accountability Act of 1999," Ramirez said. "In addition, priority will be given to schools with high percentages of teachers working with emergency credentials and to districts with high enrollments of ethnic minorities.

"There are monetary and housing incentives in low-performing school districts," Ramirez said. "There might be reduced interest rates for housing."

Ramirez said the center's staff, with offices in Mission Valley, will provide information on Davis' teacher recruiting incentives, including signing bonuses to work in low-achieving schools, loan forgiveness programs and scholarships for college students agreeing to work in low-achieving schools.

Those attending the fair will also learn about internships and credentials necessary for various positions as well as teacher incentives.

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