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High quality workforce equals student success | GUEST OPINION
The Human Resource Department is committed to provide excellent service and support to all employees. It is our goal to recruit, hire, motivate and retain a high quality, professional and diverse teaching and support staff.
Arlington Public Schools is fortunate to employee a very talented, experienced, caring and well-educated workforce, which is a critical component to student success. Arlington Public Schools employs 557 staff members, 302 who are certificated and 255 who are classified staff members. What do the terms “certificated” and “classified” mean? A “certificated” position requires a license from the state of Washington. Certificated employees are teachers, counselors, speech pathologists, principals, etc. All other positions are considered classified positions such as para-educators, clerical staff, instructional aides, custodians, transportation and food service staff. Districts often report staff as Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) staff. Since not all employees are full-time, using an FTE allows for a better way to compare and contrast staffing levels. Arlington employs 438.2 FTE staff members.
Arlington Public Schools’ certificated teachers are highly educated with 72.5 percent holding a Master’s Degree. We are privileged to have 25 teachers who have attained National Board Certification, which is a very high number for a district of our size. “National Board Certification signifies that a teacher or school counselor is accomplished, having met challenging professional standards as evidenced by performance-based assessments” at the national level. We are proud of those who have attained this recognition. We are proud to report, all of our teachers who teach core content are identified as being Highly Qualified as defined by the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
Along with hiring quality employees, comes supporting all employees by providing them with focused staff development. Research has proven that focused professional development is a key component to improving student achievement. Arlington Public Schools makes effective use of staff inservice days. Principals and Administrators organize professional development activities which are aligned with the District’s Strategic Plan to improve learning. Recently, we have focused on building effective Professional Learning Communities and developing a Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum within the District.
Maintaining a safe learning environment is essential for students and staff as we focus on improving in the classroom. The HR Department recently implemented an online program that delivers instruction, notifications and tracks all of our required staff trainings, such as HIV/bloodborne pathogens, harassment, personal safety, and more. We are able to do this more consistently and efficiently than in the past and staff are more prepared and informed.
Communication is another key component to our success as an effective workforce. The HR Department prides itself in the ability to listen to individual questions or concerns and promptly addresses each issue with respect, integrity and confidentiality to ensure a strong working relationship with all Arlington Public School employees.
The success of our students is dependent on the quality of workforce we are able to attract and retain. We are proud to have a very dedicated and highly trained workforce in Arlington.
Mike Johnson is the Executive Director of Human Resources at Arlington Public Schools and can be reached at 360-618-6236.