Competition to Collaboration: Districts pool resources to attract new teachers

Published: May. 2, 2023 at 1:48 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Four local school districts will pool their resources and expertise to better education in and around the Capital City and attract new educators through a new initiative.

Auburn-Washburn Schools USD 437 says it and three other local districts have partnered with Educate Kansas to offer competitive resources and support to teachers and school staff members. This is the first collaboration to launch #Inspired2Teach, an initiative to inspire and hire educators.

“We know how important high-quality educators are to our students, families, and, ultimately, our community,” reports Cris Seidel, Director of Educate Kansas, the KSDE teacher recruitment and retention project. “Our mission is helping teachers find their best fit in Kansas and helping districts find highly qualified and motivated educators.”

Other districts in the initiative include Seaman Schools USD 345, Shawnee Heights Public Schools USD 450 and Topeka Public Schools USD 501.

“Teachers make a profound impact in the lives of students,” said Seidel. “But even now, many school districts are facing educator shortages. With approximately a half-million students across Kansas, it’s imperative we support schools and educators both. Where will those students be without high-quality educators?”

Dr. Scott McWilliams, USD 437 Superintendent, emphasized the importance of public educators.

“Having qualified and dedicated public education teachers is essential for meeting the future needs of all industries. Teachers provide students with a strong foundation of knowledge and skills that are essential for success in any field. In a world where technology is constantly evolving, and industries are rapidly changing, public education teachers serve as a critical link between education and the workforce.”

Officials said the partnership allows districts to pool resources and expertise toward a common goal to ensure students receive the best education possible.

Tiffanie Kinsch, USD 450 Communications Director, indicated that she believes the partnership will have a significant impact on the success of schools in the community.

“We are thrilled to announce our collaboration with Educate Kansas and our neighboring school districts in our ongoing efforts to enhance the recruitment and retention of highly qualified educators.”

USD 437 noted that Educate Kansas offers resources on its website, including open job listings, information to obtain a teaching license and real stories from educators who have positively impacted students.

“We recognize there are many challenges to becoming a teacher, and we want to make it as easy as possible for those interested in pursuing this rewarding career path,” said Seidel. “Our website is designed to streamline the process and provide support every step of the way.”

According to Auburn-Washburn, many districts already use the Educate Kansas platform to highlight unique assets of their communities through videos and visuals.

Brad Wilson, Seaman Schools Superintendent, said he sees the value in the partnership with districts that would otherwise be his competitors to attract best-fit hires.

“Seaman School District is committed to supporting our teachers and staff throughout their careers. Partnering with Educate Kansas allows us to broaden that support even before they join our team. With promotional materials and infographics from Educate Kansas, prospective teachers can get a feel for the unique elements of each district, helping them find the right fit— because when you join a school district, you join a family, and we want you to feel right at home.”

Dr. Tiffany Anderson, USD 501 Superintendent, noted that she believes an investment in educators is an investment in the future.

“Through our partnership with Educate Kansas, we are providing resources to educators as they enter a profession that will transform communities and improve the lives of future generations. Kansas leads the way in innovation and in educational excellence as a result of the many distinguished school communities like Topeka Public Schools who focus on serving the whole child by recruiting and supporting outstanding educators into such a noble profession.”

To learn more about each district, click HERE.