Principal's Letter - Dec 4

Immersion Language Teacher Hiring Challenges Update:
As you may know, two of our Japanese Immersion classrooms have been a special area of effort for recruiting and hiring.  Because we are so fortunate to have such gifted instructional assistants in these two classrooms, one option we are pursuing is to encourage Tomoko Sensei and Yayoi Sensei to earn conditional teaching certificates.  This would mean that they could officially become the “teacher of record” for their classrooms.  This process may take some time.  If this does occur, SPS would pay their salaries as teachers and we would hire new Language Immersion IAs to replace them.  Unless we receive applications from qualified, certificated teachers, this may still represent our best option.

In the meantime, we are very fortunate to have terrific long-term substitutes in these classrooms.  Amanda Reichert in 3rd/4th grade is an experienced educator who has worked at JSIS and Hamilton International Middle School, and Kathryn Li in 1st grade Japanese immersion taught with us last year at McDonald International and speaks Japanese.  These two teachers are doing a terrific job of supporting Yayoi Sensei and Tomoko Sensei and helping our students learn and grow every day.  They are both committed to staying as long as their help is needed.

This week I met again with Dr. Aoki and SPS Human Resources leaders to review our recruiting efforts, and we continue to explore every option as we seek qualified teachers for our Japanese Immersion classrooms that have substitute teachers.  Dr. Aoki and our Human Resources Department are helping us tremendously in keeping our processes moving forward.  Recently we also learned some news that may change how we are able to advertise one of our Japanese Immersion positions.  Yumiko Sensei has decided to take another year, and not return to McDonald International for the 2015-16 school year. Although I am sad for us, I am very happy for Yumiko and her family.  Because of this change of plans, we may be able to alter one of our job advertisements from “long-term substitute” to “continuous contract” and we are hoping that this results in applicants with teaching certification.

Below is some additional information regarding some of our hiring options.

What does “conditional certification” mean?
A conditional certificate issued by Washington State authorizes a teacher candidate who does not yet have a full teaching certificate to be the teacher of record in a classroom. The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI is our department of education for Washington State) allows for this type of flexibility in hiring because it understands that real shortages or the opportunity to secure the services of talented individuals exists for school districts. There are rigorous criteria to be met and the application must be approved by the SPS School Board prior to submission to OSPI.

What is a "contingency contract"?
A contingency contract is a contract the district can offer to an individual prior to the regular hiring phases, usually in hard-to-fill positions. This type of contract shows the district’s commitment to allow a person to participate in the hiring phases as an internal candidate and to hire them for the upcoming year if they meet all the certification and background criteria.  We cannot offer a contract for a teacher who is filling in for someone on leave until their right to return period has expired. The expiration date is determined by FMLA laws and the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the teacher’s union. The CBA allows an employee’s position to be held for their return after the first year of leave. The right to return period can extend through their first year of leave. In some cases, the right to return period may extend into the second year of leave.  The District may be able to offer a contingency contract for the following year to a long-term substitute or other certificated staff person who is filling in for the staff person on leave once the position is released.  We should have a timeline soon as to when we may be able to advertise a position as possibly leading to a contingency contract (or maybe a regular “continuous” contract, see above) instead of a long-term substitute job.

Communication regarding McDonald International hiring challenges:
Our goal at McDonald International is to make sure we have the most effective teachers in every classroom.  SPS leaders have been very responsive and supportive and we continue to develop solutions for short-term and long-term hiring challenges.  I have collaborated with our PTA leadership team (your co-presidents and vice president, Dorothee Graham, Jennifer deMella, and Jane Yeh), to develop a unified message and we have shared it with district leaders.  SPS district leaders have told me that they’ve heard your messages and are working to solve our hiring challenges with all of the resources and options we have available.  I will continue to provide updates as we all work together to find solutions for this school year and future years.  The PTA leadership team and I are working on an updated FAQ page that will help answer your questions.

For more information, see the PTA website “Hot Topics” page.

Back to: McDonald Elementary News

Earnings total $2,317 from purchases through our blue Amazon button above! To earn an extra 3%, you can also purchase Amazon prepaid cards.

Hot Topics

Want to hear the latest? Check out our Hot Topics page.

Have an Idea?

submit it here


Website Design Bizango