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Community-Based Recruiting for K-12 Schools: Strategies and Success Stories

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At a time when technology allows us to connect with people all around the world, it’s easy to forget the value of your local community relationships. This is especially true regarding recruitment, where face-to-face interactions can make a big difference in building connections and establishing trust. For K-12 schools looking to attract top talent, community-based recruiting is an effective strategy that leverages local networks and partnerships to build relationships with potential candidates. While technology can help widen your reach, it’s important not to neglect the power of building connections within your local community.

It’s time to think inside the box and reconsider the benefits of community-based recruiting! 

Think about it: by tapping into your local network, you can access a wider pool of candidates already invested in the community. These candidates may be more likely to stay in the area long-term, reducing turnover and increasing stability in the school. And by engaging with community members and partnering with local organizations, you can demonstrate your commitment to the community and build trust with potential candidates.

So what does community-based recruiting look like in practice? Let’s take a look at some successful examples from K-12 schools.

San Francisco Unified School District

One example comes from The San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) in California, which implemented a community-based recruiting program to address its staffing shortages. The program includes partnerships with community organizations such as the San Francisco YouthWorks.This reciprocal partnership places SF YouthWorks interns into SFUSD’s Pathway to Teaching Program. This intern program allows participants to work as full-time teachers while earning their credentials.

Through this internship program, the SFUSD increased its recruitment of bilingual and bicultural candidates, which is especially important given the diverse student population they serve. Additionally, the school was able to plug its students into internship programs in other organizations. Overall the community-based recruiting program helped the district to build stronger connections with the community and showcase the positive impact that educators can have on students’ lives.

Boston Public Schools

Another example can be seen in the Boston Public Schools (BPS) community-based program through Boston Teacher Residency (BTR). BTR trains individuals to become teachers by building strong partnerships with community organizations, colleges, and universities to identify and attract potential candidates. The program also engages with Boston Public Schools alumni and current teachers to build a network of individuals passionate about improving education outcomes in their communities.

Through its commitment to community-based recruiting, BTR has successfully recruited and trained over 700 teachers since its inception in 2002. The program has also been recognized for its effectiveness in recruiting teachers who reflect the diversity of Boston’s student population, including teachers of color, teachers from low-income backgrounds, and teachers who speak multiple languages.

So maybe those examples don’t apply to your school or district? Don’t fret! There are a range of other strategies that you can use to engage with the community and attract top talent. These include:

  • Show, Don’t Tell: Host fun and informative events that let potential candidates experience your school’s culture firsthand. Showcase the school and its environment through tours, interactive sessions, and demonstrations.
  • Build Your Own Network: Engage with your school’s alumni and former students to create a powerful network of potential candidates. Encourage them to spread the word and recruit new talent.
  • Create Win-Win Partnerships: Partner with local businesses or organizations to offer attractive incentives or benefits for employees who choose to work at your school. This can be a great way to create a mutually beneficial partnership.
  • Hands-On Learning: Offer internship or apprenticeship programs that provide students with hands-on experience in the education sector. This can be a fantastic way to identify talented individuals interested in a career in education.

Of course, community-based recruiting is not without its challenges. But we believe that the benefits far outweigh the effort. By teaming up with local organizations and engaging with community members, your school can attract top talent and create an environment where everyone feels welcome and supported. Remember that all good things take time – I believe it was Edward Hickson who said it best, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!

So, let’s wrap it up, shall we? Community-based recruiting can be a fantastic tool for K-12 schools, bringing in fresh faces from the local community and giving schools a chance to show their commitment to building a stronger community. By teaming up with local organizations and engaging with community members, schools can attract top talent and create an environment where everyone feels welcome and supported. So, let’s get out there and start building those connections – you never know who might be the perfect fit for your school.

Janelle Gates
Partnerships Manager at Teamtailor | Website | + posts

Janelle Gates, Partnerships Manager at Teamtailor, a leading applicant tracking system (ATS) that helps organizations streamline their recruitment processes with a focus on employer branding and candidate experience. Janelle is committed to helping schools attract and recruit the best talent. In her free time you can catch her exploring local state parks or paddle boarding.