Delaware Opening Doors to Innovative Talent Management Strategies

March 8th, 2012

Category: Policy and Practice

The Delaware Department of Education is requesting proposals to develop and launch a statewide teacher recruitment and talent management portal – enabling districts and schools to have access to potential educator candidates at their fingertips.

The portal is part of Delaware’s Race to the Top initiative, signed off by every district in its plans for years two through four, in which the state hopes to:

  • have at least 1,000 applicants using the portal, with at least a 25 percent increase in the number of teacher applicants by 2013-2014;
  • develop functionality to allow applicants to fill out one application for multiple districts, minimizing time and maximizing potential to complete;
  • create customizable portals for the state and districts in order to utilize innovative hiring practices tailored to their needs;
  • coordinate efforts with external groups, such as; and
  • provide real-time data on talent management efforts to better equip districts and schools with actionable strategies around recruitment, selection, and hiring.

As a former teacher, I can vouch for the potential benefit this will have for all involved. I remember nearing the end of my two-year Teach For America commitment and staring at the byzantine teacher application process required by surrounding districts and contemplating the usefulness of spending an hour or two entering every conceivable piece of information (i.e. college transcripts, which can wait until after the interview and before the job offer). This reality, along with other district policies, such as intra-district transfer rules, is one of the primary reasons I ended up at KIPP – I was only required to submit my resume and cover letter directly to the principal with no bureaucracy and no red tape!

The idea of simplifying and centralizing educator talent management practices isn’t new – in fact, it is something Vision 2015 has advocated for previously and other states and organizations have implemented with success. While the benefits of a streamlined process for applicants are clear, I recognize that districts might be reluctant to participate given the enormous incentive to hold on to highly-quality candidates – which is particularly acute in hard-to-staff schools and subjects. This possible reluctance is no doubt magnified by our archaic funding system, which has traditionally left districts and schools scrambling late into the summer to find teachers, which only compounds the problem.

However, once launched, I would wager that it will work out better for all parties in the end. For starters, with increased access to opportunities for both applicants and districts, the probability of finding the right fit increases along with the likelihood of job satisfaction and retention, which will improve campus culture and decrease attrition costs. Second, access to a real-time dashboard will enable districts and schools to compare hiring practices amongst their peers, allowing them to share and implement best practices for recruiting top talent. And third, as we continue to roll out our DPAS II evaluation system, we will have access to a treasure trove of data that will be able to help us determine what programs are producing the talent, further refining districts’ ability to recruit and select the best and brightest.

While there are no doubt challenges ahead, I’m excited by the prospect of a statewide talent management portal in Delaware and its place within our larger education reform puzzle.

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Brett Turner



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