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Manteca Unified gets jump on teacher hiring
Sierra High Vice Principal Anne Marie Shaw conducts a teacher interview during last months job fair. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

Manteca Unified is the leader of the pack when it comes to teacher salaries and total compensation for San Joaquin County.
It is one of the reasons district leadership credits for its ability to offer tentative job offers for 32 teachers during last month’s job fair that drew 150 teacher candidates.
The new hires will fill teacher openings at the elementary and high school levels as well as special education.
Landing special education teachers is especially tough due to the demand and shortage. Securing qualified teachers in general is challenging given the growing teacher shortage that is only expected to get worse as college students opting for courses that would lead them to a teaching career has decreased  75 percent over the past 10 years.  A survey by the California school Boards Association of 200 of the 1,000 school districts in the state showed 75 percent were struggling to fill teaching vacancies.
Manteca Unified at the start of the current school year was able to hire 97 new teachers and credentialed specialists before the first school bell rang. The only position the district was still working on filling was a music teacher when classes started.
The decision to step up hiring efforts a full seven months before the start of the 2017-2018 school years was done so Manteca Unified wouldn’t have to fight for limited candidates over the summer. The district determined its hiring needs based on retirements and growth. Those offered contracts are being worked into the mix of the district’s substitute teacher pool for the balance of the current school year.
The district is currently seeking teachers with specific credentials to reach biology, ag welding, special education, physical education, and business.
Over the years the school board position the district to be as attractive as possible to not just the brightest and most promising newcomers to the profession but experienced veterans as well.
They have done that by:
uOffering the highest compensation of all districts within San Joaquin County and all but one district in Stanislaus County.
uAllowing teachers with almost 21 years of experience to move to Manteca Unified without losing their step on salary schedules. That made it possible for almost two thirds of the teachers the district hired this year to begin with the 10 to 14 years of experience.
uPromoting the same community draws that are bringing people from the Bay Area to Manteca — affordable housing, family friendly living, close proximity to the Bay Area, Sierra and other draws.
uA commitment to excellence anchored by the holistic Going Digital approach to the classrooms.
The way the district has approached introducing tech tools into classrooms can’t be emphasized enough.
Educators say it has given Manteca Unified a step or two up on the ladder in getting the attention of newly minted college graduates that are plugged into tech. At the same time it draws veteran teachers that see it as a big plus as well.
 Last month’s job fair also drew 200 people interested in 159 classified positions. The district is currently in need of yard duty workers, paraprofessionals and bilingual paraprofessionals.