This week EDTRAININGCENTER has the pleasure of attending the American Association of School Personnel Administrator’s Annual Conference in Baltimore. And it’s given us pause as we think about the often overlooked people whom we are so eager to to meet, get to know, and support.
Let’s face it, Human Resources or Human Capital Management does not suffer from an image of excessive excitement. In movies and television the most exciting things HR professionals are shown handling are sexual harassment claims. While Sales is flashy and competitive, and rings of the high school sports team, and Marketing is always doing something creative like those “art kids” from back in the day, pinpointing the kids who would end up being our future HR directors is probably less obvious, because many of us just don’t appreciate the job that they do.
Perhaps it was the School “Safeties” who ushered their younger compatriots safely from point A to point B and made sure that rules of safety were followed. Perhaps it was the “Yearbook kids” who observed classmates and captured their essence in catchy “most likely” predictions. Perhaps it was the kids who sat down with the new kids and introduced themselves, offering to help the newbies get to know the school.
Because great HR professionals handle all of these responsibilities, and though Human Capital Management is arguably a critical position in any profession, there is none we can think of more critical than K12.
Teachers, Teachers, Teachers
Today’s HR professionals have the huge responsibility of finding, recruiting, hiring, supporting, and ultimately, building the entire teacher pool of the school district. It is their efforts that will determine who is “right” to teach our children – to guide their growth and foster their dreams.
That responsibility is changing faster today than at any time in the profession’s history. Legislation around topics such as safety and civil rights has grown at both the federal and state level. Technology has introduced an ever-shifting landscape of skills and risks to navigate. Evaluation requirements for teachers have gone from informal to extremely formal and at times, legally constrained. And at the very same time, K12 is facing the largest teacher recruitment crisis ever.
The Boomers, who make up the most experienced teachers in our schools today are retiring – in droves. And newly-minted college graduates with Education degrees have dropped drastically. In 2014 an HR professional in Clark County reported that the percentage of their recruits that were new graduates with Education degrees had dropped from 21% to 2%. Why the sudden drop? Some say that the pressures on teachers in the media over the past five to ten years has driven students to choose different majors that seem more stable and well-respected. Some point to the increased scrutiny on educational degree programs in colleges, some of which have been closed down or have been required to “raise the bar” on those they accept into their programs, resulting in lowered numbers of graduates. Regardless of the cause, it couldn’t come at a tougher time for HR professionals in K12.
As one HR professional told us, right now the job of recruitment is, “Like filling a bucket with a hole in it.” This means that today’s HR professional has to look harder to find the right person, has to accept and “train up” job-changers with no formal Education background, and has to work hard to keep the people that they find!
Oh, and EVERYONE ELSE TOO!
In addition to all of the teachers, the HR professionals in K12 also have to handle the recruitment of the wide variety of supportive personnel who make schools run, from nurses to counselors, school safety officers to bus drivers, maintenance to IT… They do it all.
Thank your HR Team
That is why we are dedicated to AASPA and its mission. And that is why K12 vendors like EDTRAININGCENTER are eagerly arriving at this year’s conference with the solutions that will streamline processes, reduce recruiting pain, provide much-needed data, and build capacity through ongoing training.
Because all of us can agree that there’s nothing more important to a student’s success than a great school…and what makes schools great is not the building or the location…it’s the people inside.
So the next time that you go to a parent-teacher conference and think to yourself, “Thank goodness for Mr. Barnes, he soooooooo gets my son,” you should also thank goodness for Mr. Barnes HR Director, who worked hard to find him and place him in your son’s classroom.