Brochure helps recruit minority teachers Harford effort stresses the county's location

January 04, 1996|By Sherrie Ruhl | Sherrie Ruhl,SUN STAFF

Striving to double minority representation in its teaching ranks, the Harford County school system has produced a brochure touting local charms and the county's proximity to major cities.

"We think the brochure will show minority teachers that the county is not this completely rural, unsophisticated place," said Donald R. Morrison, a school system spokesman.

The color brochure, which includes pictures of minority teachers and minority students, also will dispel the image of the county as exclusively white, he said.

About 6 percent of Harford's 2,500 teachers and 12 percent of its 35,000 students are minorities -- black, Hispanic, Asian, native American or indigenous Alaskans -- Mr. Morrison said.

Mr. Morrison said minority teachers are especially scarce for students with disabilities and in technology, advanced math and sciences.

The recruiting season traditionally begins in February as officials from school systems across Maryland make the rounds of historically black colleges in search of minority prospects graduating in June.

"We have a very vigorous recruitment schedule," said Robyn Washington, a staff specialist for Baltimore's public schools. She said the city school system, which has produced a brochure for many years, relies on face-to-face visits to attract minority teachers.

F. Yvonne Blevins, supervisor of personnel for Harford schools, plans on visiting seven institutions next month, including Morgan State University in Baltimore. Her schedule includes an eight-hour drive to colleges in North Carolina.

Mrs. Blevins, who oversees recruitment, believes the brochure will help.

"We live in a very visual society and people like to have something in hand that shows what is available," she said.

The cover depicts a black girl and a white girl with their arms around each other. The brochure includes a map showing Harford's proximity to Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia and New York, as well as vacation spots at the beach and in the mountains.

Unlike the Harford and city school systems, Howard County's recruiting effort does not include a special brochure or an emphasis on visits to black colleges. Al Tucci, supervisor of human resources for Howard schools, said he finds student-teaching internships more productive than the "recruitment pilgrimage."

"Students really enjoy the opportunity to get field experience, to come into our classrooms and teach," he said.

"There is not a school in this county that is not badgering me regularly to increase its minority staff," Mr. Tucci said, "but we are extremely careful to make sure nonminority teachers don't feel they are not as valuable or second best."

In the Baltimore metropolitan area, according to the state's figures, minorities made up about 63 percent of the teachers in the city, 13 percent in Howard County, 9 percent in Baltimore County, 5 percent in Anne Arundel and a little more than 1 percent in Carroll.

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