Hiring Practices and Successful Employment


Stage 4 - Hiring Practices and Successful Employment

Promising Practices

Promising Practice: Employee referral programs

Current employees know the culture and expectations of the district, the school and the position for which the district is hiring, making them uniquely qualified to recommend candidates who would be valuable contributors. Schools and districts can utilize existing staff members as recruiters by encouraging them to forward the contact information of potential hires to human resources managers.

Research/Evidence Shows: Recommended Actions:

Teachers of color are likely to know other qualified candidates of color through social networks and can forward contact information to the human resources department.

  • Encourage staff to refer potential teacher candidates to human resources.
  • Offer a referral bonus if the referred candidate is hired.
  • Set a target goal for a desired number of referrals and share it with staff; provide periodic updates on the progress towards the goal.
  • Follow up with referred candidates as quickly as possible.

Referral Rewards Yield Big Results

Denver Public Schools Employee Referral Program


Spotlight: KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) NYC’s and Uncommon Schools’ employee referral programs (MA, NJ, NY)
Description Many school districts offer referral bonuses for referring a candidate who is ultimately hired. The only requirement is to forward the contact information of the person being referred and the recruitment team does the rest, including contacting every referral.
Scope of Reach KIPP Schools and Uncommon Schools
Timeframe Ongoing
Budget / Sources of funds KIPP NYC currently offers $1,000 per successful hire to the referring individual. In the first year of the program, however, KIPP started with smaller rewards, such as a $100 gift card per successful hire, plus a $100 gift card to the employee who referred the most candidates. Uncommon Schools offers $1,000 for referrals for immediate hire and $500 for all other referrals.
Actor(s) Implementing KIPP NYC Recruitment Team and Uncommon Schools
  • KIPP NYC: The program has enabled KIPP NYC to quickly fill vacancies with qualified candidates. In 2016, there were 280 referrals for 63 teaching positions. Ultimately, 33 referred candidates were hired to fill 52% of the open teaching positions.
  • Uncommon Schools: Employee referrals account for a larger percentage of new hires than any other recruitment strategy.

Promising Practice: Hire as early as possible

Research/Evidence Shows: Recommended Actions:

The most qualified teaching candidates receive and accept job offers early in the hiring season. Therefore, districts should consider posting teaching vacancies, interviewing and extending offers as early in the hiring season (February/March) as possible.

A study done by the Indiana Department of Education found that 60% of teachers hired from March to May were “highly effective” compared to 40% of those hired later in the hiring season. (NO LONGER AVAILABLE)

  • Post and fill teaching vacancies for the next school year early in the calendar year.

Connecticut REAP

Promising Practice: Teacher residency programs

Residency programs place teacher candidates in the classroom after short, intensive summer training programs. Candidates continue to take prep classes and complete certification requirements part-time while teaching full-time.

Research/Evidence Shows: Recommended Actions:

Potential educators of color can face high financial costs when obtaining a degree and certification, especially if they are unable to simultaneously work full time.

  • Design residency program curricula to prepare educators to teach in high need schools.
  • Utilize the Durational Shortage Area Permit (DSAP) for eligible candidates to be a teacher of record while enrolled in a teacher preparation program.
  • Highlight the benefits of participating in a teacher residency program (such as Teach for America) and earn a salary while enrolled.

NYC Teaching Fellows

Teach For America Connecticut

Relay GSE

Spotlight: New York City Teaching Fellowship (NYCTF) (NY)
Description Regarded as one of the most prestigious alternate route to certification programs, NYCTF fellows receive an intensive summer training course, including a $2,500 stipend, and are placed in NYC public schools to teach in high-needs subject areas while earning master’s degrees at one of the fellowship’s partner universities. Fellows who join the NYCTF Bronx Cohort are hired early and receive reduced tuition, networking, support, and opportunities for loan assistance programs such as AmeriCorps.
Scope of Reach Open to Bachelor’s degree candidates who are not certified to teach in any state and have not completed an educator preparation program (EPP).
Timeframe 2000 - present
Budget / Sources of funds NYCTF received $35 million from the New York State Department of Education, which has received two federal grants to subsidize the program at partner universities. The school district pays two-thirds the cost of licensure via master’s degree ($8,000) and the candidate pays the other one-third ($4,000) through a payroll deduction.
Actor(s) Implementing Collaboration between The New Teacher Project (TNTP) and the NYC Department of Education; fellows earn master’s degrees at partner universities throughout New York City.
  • The cohort of fellows in summer 2016 included 66% candidates of color.
  • To date, over 18,000 fellows have been trained.
  • One in five NYC math, science, and special education teachers are New York City Teaching Fellows.
  • More than 9,000 fellows teach high-needs subjects in New York City classrooms.
  • 619 former fellows are currently principals, assistant principals, or other instructional administrators.

Promising Practice: Cultivate candidates with supplementary supports through hiring process

It is important for districts to provide a variety of recruitment strategies and support programs that can be tailored to each potential teacher candidate during the hiring process. Such supports may include relocation assistance, housing credit, and a connection to local affinity groups.

Research/Evidence Shows: Recommended Actions:

Connecting teachers of color to resources and local affinity groups can help to build relationships with other educators.

  • Develop knowledge of and relationships with local service providers and affinity groups.
  • Create a support plan for teacher candidates to include social and community networks as well as faith-based organizations.

Connecticut Housing and Finance Authority Mortgage Assistance Programs for Teachers

Workplace Support and Diversity in the Market for Public School Teachers

Hiring and Retaining Teachers of Color

Promising Practice: Create “hand-offs” from local EPPs to district hiring staff

Develop a relationship with educator preparation programs (EPPs) geographically located in the district to provide formal and informal pathways. These might include guaranteed interviews, internship placements that lead to full-time jobs for successful EPP students, and extra supports through the application process.

Research/Evidence Shows: Recommended Actions:

Graduating students of color are in high demand across the country; it is ideal to keep Connecticut-trained teachers in Connecticut classrooms.

  • Invest time in creating structured agreements between school districts and EPPs for job interviews and/or offers to candidates in existing Grow Your Own and Pathways to Teaching programs.

Partnering on Prep: A Toolkit for Building Strong District-Teacher Preparation Program Partnerships

CEEDAR Center: CT Resources

Transforming Educator Preparation: Lessons Learned from Leading States (CT)

Promising Practice: Recruitment Bonuses

Teacher salaries in high-poverty districts are on average lower than those in low-poverty districts. To counteract this imbalance, districts can offer a one-time hiring bonus to teachers who choose to teach in hard-to-staff schools as well as those who are certified to teach in shortage areas.

Research/Evidence Shows: Recommended Actions:

The promise of a higher salary can make teaching in a high-poverty district more attractive to teachers of color.

  • Incentivize candidates to choose hard-to-staff schools within high-poverty districts, especially where those districts are surrounded by higher paying, low-poverty districts.

How are Districts and States Using Pay to Staff High-Need Schools and Subjects?

Promising Practice: Track how many new employees are hired from each recruitment channel

Tracking and disaggregating data by race, ethnicity, and languages spoken can help human resources departments determine which recruitment strategies produce the greatest diversity benefit in order to plan for the next recruitment cycle. States with similar education contexts to Connecticut (such as Oregon and Colorado) have included tracking such data in their strategic plans to increase the number of teachers of color hired.

Research/Evidence Shows: Recommended Actions:

If human resources departments know which hiring strategies historically yield the most racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse candidates, they can focus energies on enhancing those strategies. This can ultimately help HR Departments strategically utilize limited resources.

  • Keep accurate data on each applicant.
  • Utilize data management and analysis skills to track yields from different recruitment strategies.
  • Use data collection from one year to inform recruitment practices for future years.

EdSight: CT State Department of Education Data Portal

CT PA 18-34 (Section 7) Developing and Implementing a Minority Teacher Recruitment Plan

National Center for Education Statistics

Promising Practice: Enhance staff capacity of HR to increase one-to-one relationship building with applicants

Staff human resources departments so that they have the capacity to assign each applicant a team member to support them through the application process. The HR staff member can also connect the applicant with other resources offered to new hires.

Research/Evidence Shows: Recommended Actions:

Relationship building is an asset in recruiting teacher candidates, particularly those who are highly sought by other states and districts.

  • Design HR job positions so that team members are assigned a cohort of applicants to help them navigate the hiring process.
  • Develop an application process that facilitates learning about candidates and connecting them with the appropriate resources to ensure a smooth transition (housing support, connection to affinity groups, etc.).

TEACHSTRONG Policy Proposal Principle1: Identify and Recruit More Teacher Candidates with a Deliberate Emphasis on Diversifying the Workforce

Strategies for Recruiting and Retaining a Diverse, High-Quality Workforce

Promising Practice: Diversify sources and processes for finding teacher candidates

Human resources practices in education tend to rely on traditional approaches such as job fairs. However, in an effort to create opportunities for potential teachers to develop a relationship with schools and districts, consider creating multiple pathways through which candidates can become connected to the hiring process.

Research/Evidence Shows: Recommended Actions:

Human resources departments can increase the number of touch points for initial contacts they receive for quality applicants by tapping into the networks of teacher candidates.

  • Empower multiple stakeholders to think of themselves as “recruiters” for schools and districts.
  • Track and analyze data on which touch points are most successful in order to best allocate resources in future years.
  • Expand the use of sources such as employee networks, social media platforms, university career services, local affinity groups, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and international partnerships.

Connecticut Troops to Teachers

Social Media Tops Print as News Source

Education Week, To Connect With Candidates, School Recruiters Hone Social Media Skills

Spotlight: Connecticut Troops to Teachers (CT)
Description A program for all service members and veterans to receive customized assistance in transitioning their leadership, core values, and acquired skills to a career in teaching. 
Scope of Reach Statewide
Timeframe 2018 - Present 
Budget / Sources of funds Grant from the US Department of Defense
Actor(s) Implementing The CSDE Talent Office 
  • The goal is to attract at least twenty service members per year to pursue a teacher education program.

Spotlight: Using social media as a recruitment tool (IN)
Description A district human resources director in Indianapolis saw a Facebook post from Butler University celebrating a graduating education major’s win for a prestigious future teacher award. The HR director commented on the Facebook post, “She needs to come interview with me at Washington Township.” The student, who had not yet started her job search because she had been told most schools weren’t hiring yet, followed up.
Scope of Reach According to a November 2015 Pew Research study, 35% of social media users utilize social media for employment opportunities. Twenty-one percent of users have applied for a position they found on social media.
Timeframe Current
Budget / Sources of funds N/A
Actor(s) Implementing Washington Township Schools Human Resources Department
  • The graduating senior was hired as a first-year teacher in Washington Township for the 2016 - 2017 school year.

Promising Practice: Address bias in hiring

Research has shown that White teaching candidates are hired much more often than candidates of color with the same qualifications. There is also a misconception that prioritizing diversity in the hiring process somehow equates to lowering the standards of hiring quality teachers. If the current teaching staff lacks diversity, hiring committees that make “social fit” a significant factor in decision making further reduce the likelihood that candidates of color will be chosen to advance in the educator pipeline.

Research/Evidence Shows: Recommended Actions:

Candidates of color are less likely to be overlooked in the hiring process if hiring committees are proactive in examining their own potential for racial bias.

  • Provide implicit bias and diversity training, particularly for staff who serve on hiring committees.
  • Include interview questions that relate to a candidates’ cultural competence.
  • Require hiring committees to provide written explanations for why they are or are not recommending each candidate for hire in an effort to uncover implicit bias.

CSDE Portal: Diversifying the Educator Workforce

D’Amico et al., Where are All the Black Teachers? Discrimination in the Teacher Labor Market

Unrealized Impact: The Case for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The Teacher Pipeline: Recruiting and Hiring Practices that Worsen the Teacher Shortage

Written in Black & White: Exploring Confirmation Bias in Racialized Perceptions of Writing Skills

Meta-analysis of Field Experiments Shows No Change in Racial Discrimination in Hiring Over Time

Harvard University's Implicit Association Test (free online self-assessment)

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack (Peggy McIntosh)

Promising Practice: Personal Educator Journeys

Elevating and understanding the voices, unique opportunities and challenges teachers of color face can assist districts in advocating for the best interests of students and teachers. Personal educator stories that describe the district, school, and position in terms of the added value each provides is one strategy for attracting teachers of color. Storytelling can help illustrate the positive impact that the ideal teacher candidate will have on the students with whom he or she will work.

Research/Evidence Shows: Recommended Actions:

Educators of color often cite moral and values-based reasons for wanting to teach. Testimonials indicate an interest in a teaching career as an opportunity to not only serve their communities but to act as change agents.

  • Highlight testimonials/experiences of current teachers in marketing materials.
  • Clearly articulate the mission and vision of the district/school with an emphasis on diversifying the educator workforce.
  • Utilize social media platforms to reach a wider audience.


Through Our Eyes: Perspectives and Reflections from Black Teachers


Spotlight: TEACH Connecticut (CT)
Description The TEACH Connecticut campaign is led by the Connecticut State Department of Education and aims to provide tools and services that raise the image of the teaching profession, reduce the number of vacancies in certification shortage areas, and improve the quality and the diversity of new teacher supply.
Scope of Reach TEACH Connecticut
Timeframe 2018 - present
Budget / Sources of funds Funded by Microsoft in partnership with Teach.org and the Buck Foundation. The CT State Department of Education maintains a management position and supports the work of the TEACH team.
Actor(s) Implementing Collaboration between the CSDE and TEACH.org
Results The website aims to:
  • Promote the teaching profession by highlighting the work of current teachers
  • Explicitly showcase the need for a more diverse educator workforce
  • Provide information about multiple pathways to becoming a teacher

As of March 2019, TEACH Connecticut has partnered with 15 educator preparation programs and 66 school districts. Most partners have descriptive profiles on the site for users to gain a deeper understanding of pathways to certification and the variety of educational communities available for teachers to serve Connecticut's students.

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