Savannah-Chatham school board to vote on company to help hire international teachers

Savannah-Chatham school board to vote on company to help hire international teachers

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Area schools may be empty for summer break, but school districts around the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry are working around the clock to fill vacancies for the next school year.

Although the United States continues to see a shortage of teachers, an official with the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System said the district is in good shape for the next school year. The school system has around 70 teacher vacancies right now.

The district’s employment director, Heather Bilton, said that’s normal for a school system with around 3,000 teaching positions.

The HR department has been working since January to recruit qualified teachers for this upcoming school year. She said the district has turned to digital marketing which is attracting new teachers from around the country. The district begins Skype interviews early to find the best and most qualified applicants.

Bilton said they use various programs to attract new teachers like the district’s alternative pathways program, which finds applicants who’ve had other careers but have always dreamed of being teachers. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s initiative to raise teacher pay in Georgia has also been a good marketing tool for the school system.

School board members will also vote Wednesday to decide on whether to allow a company to find more international teachers.

The school district’s employment director says there are benefits to having international teachers inside Savannah-Chatham classrooms. The school system currently has more than 45 international teachers working for the district.

"We don’t want someone coming from another country and they’re just dropped off in Savannah. We make sure the company has great amounts of support and they’ve been in other districts and have provided that same support,” Bilton said.

Bilton said international teachers are often highly qualified to teach various math and science courses. She said they also bring culture to the classroom and teach students about different ways of life.

If the school board approves this new contract, the district will spend around $2 million hiring these new international teachers.

If you would like to learn more about teaching positions in Savannah, please click here.

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