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More than 400 at teacher fair

March 06, 2009|By HEATHER KEELS

HAGERSTOWN -- A Washington County Public Schools teacher recruitment fair Friday at Rockland Woods Elementary School attracted more than 400 applicants from the region and as far as Chicago, New York and the Carolinas.

Applicants said one of the features that attracted them to the county was its extensive teacher mentoring program. The county has eight full-time mentors who work with each newly hired teacher to provide orientation, coaching and support.

"I just think that's great that they would give their teachers so much care that they would have someone whose whole job is mentoring," said Veronica Berry, 28, of Altoona, Pa., who finished school in December and is seeking a job teaching fourth or fifth grade.

Washington County's human resources supervisor, Nicole Paylor, said she has no trouble selling the school system to potential applicants.

"It's so easy to talk about Washington County because there are so many good things going on," she said.

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This is the second year the county has held a teacher recruitment fair, Paylor said. The fair provides an opportunity to meet applicants while showcasing new schools like Rockland Woods, she said.

The fair was held from 2 to 5 p.m., after schools had dismissed early for a professional development day.

School system staff conducted screening interviews with pre-registered applicants in one large room with 24 interview tables while walk-in applicants browsed informational tables around the walls. The county stopped accepting registration for interviews after 370 applicants signed up, Paylor said.

Washington County expects to hire 50 to 100 new teachers for next year, Paylor said.

Critical needs areas include special education, world languages, math and sciences, she said.

More screening interviews for elementary school teachers will be held beginning in April, and secondary applicants will be screened as openings occur, she said.

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