Learning how to hire teachers

Training principals in how to recognize and hire good teachers is paying off in Baltimore with better teachers and higher retetion rates. Now Chicago is giving it a try, reports Teacher Quality Bulletin.

Principals are taught how to pick teachers that best fit their schools, how to create scenario questions that probe instruction and classroom management techniques and are encouraged to require candidates to teach a sample lesson as part of their interview.

Since implementing this same program this year, Baltimore has reported fewer early teaching vacancies in its lowest performing schools.

Principals are trained to keep in touch with new hires over the summer, when 5 to 7 percent change their minds and quit.

Baltimore is hiring many more “highly qualified” teachers. Strategies include: offering two weeks of paid orientation, 100% tuition reimbursement for critical subject areas, higher pay for new teachers who did their student teaching in city schools, laptop computers and $200 gift cards for classroom supplies.

Half of Baltimore’s new teachers come from alternative paths (not education school), the Bulletin observes. That’s true in many big cities.

About Joanne


  1. Given the huge differences in results between schools with statistically identical student populations, I’ve come to the tentative (and uninformed) conclusion that the success of a school (that doesn’t adopt hopelessly stupid curricula) is almost entirely a matter of management skills of the people running the school. I certainly see that this is true in my daughter’s school — the school is much more successful than the local public schools (with the same student population), and a big part of the magic is that they keep the parents from interfering in the classrooms, and if the parents are uncontrollable, they kick the family out of the school. The other part is they keep a very close eye on how well the students are doing, and if a teacher isn’t succeeding with kids, the teacher gets extra training, more supervision, and if necessary, the axe.