Newark, NJ--Newark Public Schools recently launched “Teach Newark: Where Passion Meets Progress,” a recruitment campaign aimed at drawing talented public school teachers to the state’s largest district.

The campaign is part of a comprehensive recruitment effort by NPS to develop a large and high quality candidate pool to ensure all teacher vacancies are filled before the start of the school year.

The initiative builds on the district's previous recruitment efforts, with this year’s first application wave beginning last week and continuing through January 29.

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The campaign includes posting vacancies on more than 100 university career websites, a social media campaign targeting potential candidates and a candidate referral program that provides bonuses to employees who refer new educators to NPS in hard-to-staff subjects.

The initiative also expands on-campus college recruitment and career fairs and coordinates phone calls and emails with teacher candidates and prospects to ensure they remain actively engaged and ready-to-hire.

“We are excited to launch this Teach Newark Campaign because we believe that the Newark Public School district is one of the most exciting places to work in America,” Superintendent of Newark Public Schools Christopher Cerf said.

“Student results in Newark show that the arrow is unambiguously pointed up for our schools and students, and as we move to transition the district back to local control, we think it is more important than ever to find great educators and leaders who want to be a part of that progress,” Cerf said.

The Teach Newark website offers a set of online media and tools for potential educators to engage with, including videos and testimonials from Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, school administrators, educators and students from across the city that highlights the progress made in Newark’s schools.

The campaign comes on the heels of recent data released by the district that shows significant progress, with Newark students outperforming the majority of similar districts throughout the state in both reading and math.

In addition, Newark students outperformed students in all large districts throughout the U.S. in which students qualify for free or reduced price lunch.

Core standards such as a district-wide curriculum, improved student assessments, new evaluation standards for teachers, teacher retention and school choice have significantly helped in moving the district forward.

In addition, the implementation of reforms—such as citywide enrollment and the expansion of high quality schools—are also cited as two areas that have made a real difference for the district.

Newark’s high school graduation rate have also increased by nearly 20 percentage points in the past seven years, up from 58 percent in 2010 to 78 percent in 2017.

“When we look at the progress being made by Newark students, it starts with our educators,” Deputy Superintendent of NPS Robert Gregory said. “That is why a campaign like this is so important. Educators are not only essential to the success of our schools they are also the backbone of any thriving community. We are lucky to have many great teachers here in Newark Schools already, but we are doubling down with this effort because we know how important they are for our kids.”

NPS Chief Talent Officer Larisa Shambaugh said the recruitment initiative will help the district achieve long-term success.

“Both the city and the district are in an exciting time, and this recruitment effort allows us to show off the story of Newark to potential candidates,” Shambaugh said. “Every year, we hire about 250 educators to join our staff of nearly 2,700 teachers. This campaign is going to help us find those educators earlier and to make sure that our students have the best and brightest committed to working with them over the long haul to find success in life.”

Baraka credited collaborative efforts as key to the the district's progress.

“Newark Public Schools are winning,” Baraka said. “It’s all hands on deck. There are a lot of people collaborating to figure out the best way to provide pipelines to success for our children. It’s working.”

Elliot Street Elementary School Bina Ramesh noted the impact teachers can make in a city like Newark.

“You can’t go into the profession of teaching and not realize that you have a bigger impact than what takes place inside of your classroom,” she said. “I think that you should always go somewhere where you are valued and really needed. When I think about ‘Why Newark?’ it is because it is where I can grow as both an educator and as a person.”

The application period for the 2018-19 school year is currently open, with subsequent application periods to be offered throughout the spring.