BLACKFOOT -- With recent concerns raised by Stalker Elementary parents after the hiring of a uncertified teacher, officials in the Blackfoot School District spoke out to clarify the process.
Hiring procedures used in the Blackfoot School District aim to have a level playing field for all applicants.
Superintendent Dr. Scott Crane said, “The process tries to be fair and consistent.”
"We try to hire the best qualified candidate who best meets the needs of the district and the school.
"We check into the education of the candidate, how he/she disciplines children and works in the classroom," Crane said. "We check references and the candidate's credentials."
Crane said he was unaware of the circumstances around the teacher hired at Stalker until the parents brought brought it to his attention.
He then investigated.
“For the sake of all the candidates at Stalker, I felt the need to revisit the hiring of the teacher.”
The teacher in question voluntarily stepped down from the position after meeting with Crane and principal Hal Silzly.
When hiring, Silzly said, "I follow the district's hiring procedures as outlined by the district office.
"We're excited to have four first grade teachers for next year," Silzly said. "The classroom size will be more manageable. Class size will be in the low 20s."
If interested in applying for a position in the Blackfoot School District, each applicant fills out an application that can be obtained through the district office and or online, said Administrative Assistant Margaret Contor. After the application is completed, it is submitted to the building principal who is the administrator.
The applications are reviewed by a committee.
“The district suggests the committee be composed of two teachers, an administrator and two parents,” Contor said.
A list of questions is supplied by the district office. Questions are chosen by the committee members. The same questions are asked each applicant.
Committee members then rate the candidates, Contor said. Once the determination has been made, the building principal makes phone calls to check references the individual has given.
Each reference is asked the same questions.
Two or three telephone reference checks are made on the candidate.
If there are no concerns, the principal calls the applicant to offer him/her the position, she said. If the candidate accepts, the candidates name is placed before the school board at the next school board meeting.
There are special circumstances when individuals are hired if he or she has not yet completed his/her teaching credential program.
If the individual is working to obtain teaching certification from one area to another, he/she submits a Teacher to New Certification application which includes the candidate's plan of study. Through this process, a person may be completing his/her teaching certification. This must be approved by the State Board of Education.
Another special circumstance is the Alternate Authorization-content specialist approval. This is used by an individual who is getting his/her teaching credential. One way to achieve this is through the American Board Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE) and has been recognized by the State of Idaho for about five years, Contor said.
ABCTE is used by people who have at least a bachelor’s degree and want to obtain a teaching certificate. The person submits his/her her college course work to the State Department of Education and it is approved by the State Board of Education.
A person without the necessary credentials can be hired if an emergency is declared by the school board.
Generally, an emergency is not declared until possibly August when school is about to begin, Contor said.
“One year, an emergency was declared when a math teacher needed to leave in the middle of the school year,” she said. “The math student intern was hired to fill that position.”