Since its inception, Teacher Placement Day at Missouri State University-West Plains (MSU-WP) has given new and established teachers the opportunity to visit with area school administrators about open positions in their districts.
This year’s event on March 30 was no exception, organizers said, despite a decrease in the number of participants.
Officials with the Missouri State University Teacher Education Completion Program and the (MSU-WP) Career Development Department host the event each spring to give students who are in their final semester of an education program, as well as education program graduates, the opportunity to meet with administrators from area school districts and apply for open positions.
The event goes on
Initially, organizers decided to forego this year’s event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We changed our minds because area schools were contacting our office asking if it had been scheduled and if we knew of candidates to help fill their job openings,” explained Deanna Smith, Missouri State Outreach regional outreach administrator for the southeast region.
So, organizers pulled the event together on short notice, contacted area school district representatives asking them to participate, and announced the event through area media in the hopes of fulfilling the event’s mission once again.
“We decided holding it in the Student Recreation Center would be best to allow for social distancing,” Smith said. “Masking was required, as well.”
Representatives from 10 area school districts and Penmac Staffing in West Plains, which manages substitute teachers for some area schools, signed up to operate booths at the event, and 12 teachers checked in to see if they could find a position.
“Attendance was lower than normal, possibly due to the short notice and COVID-19, and we didn’t have as many students graduating from our program this semester,” Smith said. “Others have already received jobs.”
Grateful for the opportunities
Even so, those who attended were grateful for the opportunity to make connections that may lead to new jobs and filled positions, organizers said. Surveys showed administrators strongly support this event, feel it is definitely worthwhile to attend and are looking forward to next year, according to Sheila Barton, director of workforce development at MSU-WP.
“The Teacher Placement Day event is an excellent opportunity for elementary education students to interview for teaching positions with our local school districts,” said Dr. Diana Piccolo, associate professor, outreach coordinator and assistant department head at Missouri State University in Springfield. “It also is a way for administrators to interview students and determine if they would be a good fit for their schools.”
For more information about the Teacher Education Completion Program offered by Missouri State Outreach at MSU-WP, contact Smith at 417-255-7777 or DeannaSmith@MissouriState.edu.
For more information about Teacher Placement Day and how to participate in next year’s event, call (417) 255-7784 or email SheilaFBarton@MissouriState.edu.