Good Reason Houston recognized the hard work and dedication of almost 50 international teachers working in Aldine Independent School District by hosting them at the Houston Rockets game on March 20. When asked to describe their teaching experience in Aldine ISD in one word, some of their answers included:
At Good Reason Houston, we work to ensure that every child in every neighborhood has access to a high-quality education. Part of our work includes supporting local districts as they solve problems and identify best practices. Aldine ISD’s strategy to recruit international teachers to fill teacher vacancies is an excellent example of a successful staffing solution.
Strategy for success
During the pandemic, Aldine ISD was facing a shortage of teachers with specific skill sets like bilingual and special education teachers. The district had to come up with an innovative solution to address the issue. As a result, Aldine ISD developed a teacher recruitment strategy that focused on recruiting international teachers.
The district researched different companies and met with immigration attorneys to understand the best way to bring in international teachers who are certified, screened and vetted in the process. So far, Aldine ISD has successfully recruited 60 international teachers, representing 12 countries, to work in the district. The exchange visas used for the initiative are done with the goal of having the teachers stay for three to five years, and Aldine ISD is working to ensure they enjoy their stay in the hopes of retaining them for the length of their visas.
Supporting international teachers
Dr. Lauren Petrea, Executive Director of Talent Acquisition at Aldine ISD, leads the program and has enlisted ambassadors – consisting of former principals, teachers, and administrators – to act as mentors for the new teachers. They help the teachers with adjusting to the new city and country, finding apartments, furniture, and cars.
Additionally, donations from the community have been collected to provide necessary items for the teachers’ homes. Dr. Petrea also hosts dinner at her house and invites the international teachers to social events to help them acclimate and make friends with other Houstonians.
Director of HR, Aldine ISD | Principal for 12 years in AISD
“My experience so far has been magnificent. They are like my family, I’ve really bonded with them.”
Aldine ISD has a 100% retention rate for these international teachers and is planning to bring in 40 more teachers for the next 2023-24 school year. The district’s goal is to have a diverse teacher workforce that represents the community’s demographics.
Aldine ISD’s international teacher recruitment strategy is a unique and innovative approach to addressing the teacher shortage in the district. The district’s efforts to support and retain their teachers has resulted in a diverse and skilled teacher workforce that has had a positive impact on the students and ensures that every child in their district has access to the education they need to succeed.