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Superintendent Message (Feb. 6, 2017)

Immigration information and Master Teachers Program

Feb. 6, 2017

Dear SAISD Staff,

We are hearing concerns around students’ immigration status in light of federal action, and we appreciate the advocacy taking place around this across the country. We have compiled a Q&A that we think will help answer questions students and their families may have. We will be identifying additional resources to add to the page. Above all, we want every SAISD student to feel safe and secure in our schools so they can focus on learning.

In previous emails, I have highlighted our major initiative to roll out master-teacher-led classrooms across the District next year. I want to share that we will host information sessions for SAISD educators interested in applying for the Master Teachers Program, which involves recruiting 250+ amazing teachers from within and outside of the District who have demonstrated that they can achieve high levels of student success.

We know many of our teachers internally fit that description, and we hope they will apply for these positions for the 2017-18 school year. We will let you know soon when the information sessions will be held.

The Master Teachers Program serves more than one purpose. While it is designed to get students back on track academically, we believe it also is a powerful attraction and retention tool because it provides incentives for highly skilled educators to work with students who have the greatest need.

It provides recognition for your ability to raise student achievement, and an opportunity to bring your talents and ideas to this critical endeavor. It also will provide an additional development pathway for interested educators, as over time we seek to grow the number of these positions. 

We see the program as a way to keep more of our teaching talent. We also see it as a tool to recruit and retain new talent.

A balance of experience levels among our teachers is important, and we seek out all levels. Annually, we hire 500 teachers to fill vacancies. Competition is fierce, fueled by a shortage across the state. There are only around 2,100 education graduates coming out of local and nearby large university teaching-preparation programs each year – though Bexar County school districts hire on average 3,100 teachers each year. Our HR department starts recruiting early in the year to secure teacher talent well in advance of the coming school year, and we are very proud of the teachers we have brought in.

Retaining our talent is also a challenge.  We know that many of our teachers live outside of the District and eventually some opt to find work closer to home in other districts.

We have to do a better job of keeping our teachers here, and showing them how much we appreciate them. The Master Teacher Program is part of a larger strategy to address this, and we hope it will be successful in attracting a long list of both internal and external candidates.