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$30,000 Recruiting Tool Will Help Hire, Retain Great Staff: Valley View Officials

The Valley View School District 365U school board will vote whether to use a $30,000 recruiting program that screens teacher applicants through an online questionnaire and phone interview.

Valley View’s Executive Director of Human Resources Sharon Hawks normally has to sort through 300 applications when hiring for a new teaching position. 

To find quality candidates, the school board will vote March 25 whether to purchase “Ventures for Excellence,” a hiring and selection recruiting tool.

The program will cost $31,026 for a three-year agreement. The money would be taken out of the human resources budget. Each administrator would also be required to use $1,200 from their professional growth monies to pay for their training within the next three years. 

Hawks said she spoke with Human Resources Directors from two other districts who use this system.

If the program is “implemented correctly, consistently and with fidelity, this program can be a tremendous asset in hiring and retaining great certified staff,” Hawks wrote in a board document. 

How it works

After competing an application, every applicant will be required to complete an online questionnaire, also known as the "style profile builder." The applicant is asked a series of 32 questions, which present real-life professional scenarios. 

The program looks for answers that are “student-centered” and “exceptional,” Hawks told the board. Those applicants then move on to a phone screening. That screening is based on, “a select group of questions that relate to the characteristics of an excellent teacher with specific parameters for the appropriate answer.”

Each administrator that conducts these phone interviews is required to participate in a four-day training, where he or she learns to listen for “evidence of excellence” in applicant answers. 

If an applicant makes it through the phone screening phase, he or she will be invited to a face-to-face building interview. 

“This process allows us to move forward with hiring certified staff that have the characteristics of an ‘Excellent’ teacher,” Hawks wrote in a board document.

By the face-to-face interview, candidates are "willing to invest in students, committed, able to communicate, personable, compassionate and motivated to learn and teach, can generate alternatives as needed, possess a positive attitude and have the knowledge of what components are necessary for good lesson plans and design and can put their knowledge into action."

Next steps

The Valley View school board will vote to purchase or not purchase the tool on March 25. If approved, the district will begin using the questionnaire during April or May. Staff will be trained for the phone interviews in the fall. 

tb March 15, 2013 at 11:52 AM
More money!!!????? Seriously? ?????? We have good people who are already certified and losing their jobs!
my opinion March 15, 2013 at 12:57 PM
Picking good candidates.....isn't that what the administration is for? Oh yeah, they're a bunch of kids and couldn't pick a quality candidate if they came up and kicked them in the shins.
Lettuce March 15, 2013 at 03:43 PM
Just keep spending money you don't have, Valley View! Just like you always do. They won't use the program anyway. They hire whoever they want, regardless of their qualifications . . . you know, like fiends, family members and yes-men!
Candice Kramer March 15, 2013 at 04:43 PM
Shouldn't an Executive Director of Human Resources be qualified to do the sorting and choosing of good candidates? What will she being doing to earn her pay while the machines are doing her work? And in two years when the board decides "this isn't working", won't it have been a waste of money that could have been used to pay the good candidates we already have! Sounds like just another way to waste money.
Micky D March 15, 2013 at 04:52 PM
Start by hiring a high-quality Executive Director of Human Resources.
Bob Jamesly March 15, 2013 at 05:19 PM
B O O N D O G G L E !
sarah March 15, 2013 at 05:29 PM
why would you get rid of teachers that connect with the students? the students open up to teachers so the teachers can help them in a better way. other teachers in this district dont care if the student does good because it doesnt matter. you are firing a teacher that works so well with the kids because she connects with them.
Laura V March 15, 2013 at 06:15 PM
I ditto this - Shouldn't an Executive Director of Human Resources be qualified to do the sorting and choosing of good candidates?
Marie March 15, 2013 at 07:06 PM
Can you clarify the current screening/interview process? My understanding is that principals choose which applicants they want to interview and make the decision on hiring as well. Did she give an idea how many certified staff opening we have on average? If we're RIFing teachers because we have too many and not enough positions, how many opening to they anticipate to have each year for the next 3 years? This current year probably had more than average because of all-day kindergarten needing to be staffed.
Concerned March 15, 2013 at 07:12 PM
With the purchase of MAP, Odyssey, and now this proposal, VVSD is making some software sales people very happy! Only wish the dist. supported the teachers and staff half as well! Voters, learn about the candidates running for school board and let's make a change for the better, not just for the sake of change, which seems to be the motto of our dist these past 2 yrs!
Jimmy J March 15, 2013 at 08:17 PM
This gives me an idea. Why not replace the HR director with a software program and we might be able to justify some savings?
Concerned parent March 15, 2013 at 09:33 PM
I'm sorry, but a "software program" shouldn't be looking for personnel. People may know what type of answers and buzzwords to put on their questionnaires, but that doesn't make them good teachers necessarily. Yes, it may help identify some stronger candidates, but not all the time. There might be good teachers you miss out on because they don't use "all the right words". I would rather see the district keep teachers they already have if they're good or use the money towards other things the district needs. As a parent and teacher in another district, I am extremely disappointed in the lack of technology being used in the grammar schools. My kids' grammar school never had them do computer projects or learn how to use other programs on the computer. In the district I work in, the kids have done numerous projects and have learned many computer skills, starting in kindergarten. If Valley View is so into technology to help find candidates, then they should start by providing computer education in their schools!
VVSD Mom March 15, 2013 at 11:14 PM
I googled Ventures for Excellence, and had numerous hits on sample questions and answers, what is stopping a candidate from doing the same and getting a road-map through the interview process? I also came across someones study on Ventures for Excellence, the url is below: A correlation study of the ventures for excellence interview-rating system and first year teacher evaluations: http://udini.proquest.com/view/a-correlational-study-of-the-goid:305227451/
VVSD Mom March 15, 2013 at 11:21 PM
This is a serious question; are there any school district consultants? I really think it would be money well spent to have some "outside" professionals come in and take a look at operations from the top on down. That is worth $30K in my books.
VVSDneedsCHANGE March 16, 2013 at 01:00 AM
interesting how on the day we are voting on whether or not to accept VVSD's joke of "new" contract they decide to tell everyone they CAN afford to lavishly spend $30k on yet another software program. What about the teachers, teacher aides and secretaries that have been working without a contract this school year? What about all the cuts they are making for next year in each building? Not only will the class size go up but the amount of assistance for each student is going down since there won't be any aides to run the interventions. VVSD community members and parents PLEASE inform yourselves about all these upcoming cuts that HURT THE STUDENTS while the administration IS NOT TAKING ANY CUTS, INSTEAD THEY ARE SPENDING MONEY FOOLISHLY!!
mark1028 March 16, 2013 at 01:55 AM
Another waste of money by the superintendent and his school board. Wake up Romeoville-Bolingbrook! Get involved and get these people out of your school district as soon as possible. They are currently squeezing and torturing the only people who care about your children, the teachers.
Marie March 16, 2013 at 05:08 PM
Interesting article from Chicago Tribune http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-10-01/business/ct-biz-0924-cant-get-hired-20121001_1_applicants-employers-job
Annie H. March 17, 2013 at 04:33 AM
FYI-the total cost of this program is $93,000. It is a 3-year contract at $31,000 per year. $93,000!!! Wake up, VVSD parents and community members! This is OUR money they are trying to spend, OUR district they are affecting, OUR children's lives they are using as guinea pigs with all these new programs. The kids will suffer...and some already are.
Jackie Traynere March 17, 2013 at 12:02 PM
Elect new board members
Former teacher March 17, 2013 at 03:41 PM
Anyone can answer the questions with the right buzzwords and advance through the process. I've seen teachers who talk a great game but don't walk the talk. More money down the drain by an administration who wouldn't know quality if it came down from heaven...
Teacher March 17, 2013 at 04:24 PM
I tried to get into the VVSD as a teacher for 3 years. I had seven years of classroom experience prior to entering VVSD. I have a masters and a special education endorsement. I have had excellent evaluations by my peers and local school administration. I worked hard for my students. My students all progressed and parents were very happy with the results. My school administration tried to get me hired full-time for these three years, but the administration wouldn't budge. The "riffing" process in place would not allow me to be on a "call back" list year after year. I couldn't keep losing my job year after year, so, I went elsewhere this year. From what I've seen by the district administration, I think this is a joke.
Teacher March 17, 2013 at 04:39 PM
This system is not going to allow "outside consultants" to come in. It's solely a computer based system the VVSD Administration will use.
Teacher March 17, 2013 at 04:46 PM
They need to just listen to those principals and take them serious when they find a very qualified applicant. Administration accepts or declines.
Teacher March 17, 2013 at 04:47 PM
Exactly--these computer programs are programmed for "buzz words."
Marie March 17, 2013 at 04:49 PM
The vote on this will take place at the March 25th board meeting. Please go and voice your opinions there. Also, please vote in the upcoming board elections in April.
tom March 18, 2013 at 12:35 PM
Melissa, Can you check and see if it's $30,000 for all 3 years or if it's $30,000 EACH year?

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