Urban League helps recruit diverse staff for MMSD

Diversity among staff has become a priority for the Madison Metropolitan School District to meet the needs of their diverse student body.  The Urban League of Greater Madison hosted a recruitment event for Madison Metropolitan School District Feb. 19 to help fill open faculty positions and promote diversity within the district.

ULGM President and CEO, Kaleem CaireULGM President and CEO, Kaleem Caire“We need you badly in our schools,” said Kaleem Caire, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Madison (ULGM), to attendees.

 According to the school district’s Employment Manager June Glennon, “Staff who represent different cultures, life experiences and perspectives strengthens our ability to serve the needs of our diverse student body.”

 “We need people who embrace diversity, who are interested in connecting with all children,” she said. 

 The recruitment event was the second seminar for the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) in ULGM’s Featured Employer Job Seminar series. ULGM initiated the series in the summer of 2012 to “seed diversity with companies in the Madison area,” said Caire. 

 “We want to make sure that [Madison companies] are open to a diverse workforce,” he said.

 During the seminar, MMSD Human Resources personnel gave an in-depth explanation of the online application process and the positions available for hire. The school district hopes to fill a variety of certified positions such as elementary education, math, science, English, and physical education. 

 Glennon emphasized three specific shortage areas in MMSD: bilingual education, library media specialists, and special education. MMSD is looking to fill approximately 50 positions in bilingual education Spanish and English.

 “Children whose first language is Spanish is the fastest growing population of students in our district,” said Glennon. 

 MMSD is committed to a dual language immersion program and, said Glennon, “it is a wonderful way for both the English speaker and the Spanish speaker to become bilingual.”

 In July 2012, 200 people attended MMSD’s first seminar, which recruited for paraprofessionals and non-certified positions.  Approximately 40 people attended the Feb. 19 seminar for certified teaching positions. 

 “This is just the kickoff. We’re going to help them with recruitment all the way through June or July,” Caire said.

 ULGM’s community reach is extensive with constituents spanning the radius of a six-hour drive outside of Madison.  Participants in the Feb. 19 seminar came from all over Wisconsin: Stevens Point, Milwaukee, Oshkosh, Eau Claire and Green Bay.

 “Urban League has just been fantastic in helping us with this outreach to the community,” Glennon said.

Last year, Urban League hosted seminars every month. Starting in March, ULGM will host a seminar every other week and each seminar will improve from the last. Mark Richardson, vice president of strategic partnerships for the Urban League, explained that each seminar has developed from the previous seminar.

“Like anything you do the first time you have to keep going,” said Caire.

Attendees from left: Kristin Chang, Michael Seehafer, and Amy BeckettAttendees from left: Kristin Chang, Michael Seehafer, and Amy BeckettAt the most recent MMSD seminar, Human Resources personnel commenced with a game of Jeopardy. Intended to lighten the mood, the game also provided information about the district and application process. 

As their first job seminar experience, attendees Kristin Chang and Michael Seehafer agreed that the game made the seminar more comfortable.

“I was pleasantly surprised, everyone was really open and friendly,” said Chang.

MMSD’s Human Resources team helped teachers fill out online applications in the Urban League’s computer lab and were available for one-on-one interviews.

Caire commended attendees for their work in education thus far and, he said, “You will not be perfect, you will experience failure, that’s just learning.”