See how Port Arthur ISD is reaching out to international teachers to enhance the educational experience – Port Arthur News

See how Port Arthur ISD is reaching out to international teachers to enhance the educational experience

Published 12:38 Friday, December 23, 2022

Leaders with the Port Arthur Independent School District continue their mission to work with international Spanish-speaking teachers to benefit students.

“To meet the need for Spanish teachers, PAISD contracted with Global Educational Concepts, which recruits internationally-certified teachers,” said Inspector Mark Porterie. “These teachers are part of the United States Department of State-approved international J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program.”

The District ratified a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nashville-based company recently. The company provides a guaranteed platform that helps provide certified international Spanish educators for the district.

Leaders deemed this necessary to urgently address the loss of student learning caused by the pandemic.

Exchange visitor placement and registration fees for five certified teachers total $37,500.

Porterie said many of the applicants interviewed were from Columbia, Honduras, Mexico and Spain, and teachers were assigned to Jefferson and Lincoln Middle School, Memorial High School and Woodrow Wilson Early College High School.

“This measure has helped combat the shortage of Spanish teachers in the district,” he said. “This innovative approach will save the district significant amounts of money for the 2023-2024 school year and allow students to explore multicultural experiences.”

GEC is responsible for a number of tasks when searching for teachers. The company provides customized search for qualified teachers, teacher screening, document verification and legal assistance through the visa process.

The superintendent said that a $7,500 fee per candidate ensures that pre-selected, highly qualified, certified subject-level teachers are selected for the district.

He said these teachers brought an international perspective to PAISD schools.

According to HR Exchange in collaboration with the Texas Association of School Boards, the pre-pandemic shortage of certified bilingual teachers has worsened over the years.

HR Exchange notes a University of Houston report showing Texas has struggled to fill bilingual teacher positions since the 1990s and foreign language and bilingual/English as a Second Language are consistently among the study areas with the highest percentage of substitute teachers.