This article was contributed by the Hollister School District.
Recent Hollister School District (HSD) employee recruitment efforts are working to address the need for special education staff in the district. Beginning in February, district administration developed a plan to assertively recruit new school psychologists, occupational therapists, nurses, board certified behavior analysts and special education teachers.
“Our district made the recruitment of highly qualified special education staff a priority,” Superintendent Diego Ochoa said. “In prior years, we relied heavily on the services of outside contractors and we chose to move away from that model. We knew that our educational programs would greatly improve if we could hire and train our own permanent staff. I’m most excited for our students, staff, and parents.”
The staff recruitment efforts began with a job recruitment event held at CSU, Monterey Bay (CSUMB). The district sent a team of staff outfitted with a “Top 10 Reasons” to work in Hollister flyer, promotional items and a television display of district highlights.
“We show up to these recruitment events prepared to sell our district and town to these prospective employees,” Assistant Superintendent Erika Sanchez said. “We are lucky to have principals, assistant principals, directors and even our superintendent attend these events to recruit staff. HSD often has the largest recruitment team and our display is always considered one of the nicest.”
The results from the CSUMB event were promising, as the district was able to secure four new bilingual school psychologist hires for the 2019-2020 school year.
The Hollister School District director subsequently sent recruitment teams to Fresno State, Sacramento State and the San Benito County Office of Education recruitment event.
Special Education Director Gwen Baquiran who attended these events said, “I’m very proud of the way our district took proactive steps to recruit new employees for our special education program. We have now hired a bilingual occupational therapist, board certified behavior analyst, and multiple special education teachers.”
The Hollister School District has recently made headlines due to systemic issues related to its special education program. Said Ochoa: “Strengthening the Special Education department in the Hollister School District is one of my top priorities. The goal from February through June was to recruit permanent staff and we’ve succeeded thus far. The focus will now shift to developing strong policies and procedures, establishing a new Parent of Children with Special Needs Advisory Committee, and improving the curriculum for special education programs throughout the district.”