Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

City schools seek 53 employees before August


Recent UA graduates are prime candidates for 53 open positions within the Tuscaloosa City Schools that need to be filled soon.

Mike Daria, assistant superintendent of general administration, said the 53 teacher, administrator and support staff positions should mostly, if not completely, be filled by the first day of school on August 7.

“We are always looking for teachers in those high-need areas of math, science and special education,” Daria said. “Those are probably the three areas of priority, and that’s a need in a lot of school districts.”

Daria said he sees UA students as an asset to the city school system.

“We know that the quality of teachers coming out of The University of Alabama is really strong, so it is often that we will hire a good number of graduates from The University of Alabama for our classrooms,” Daria said.

John Edwards is a recent graduate of the University and a newly hired 10th-grade U.S. history teacher at Northridge High School. He said he is glad to stay in his home of Tuscaloosa, and he believes other University graduates would be pleased to be working in the system as well.

“Tuscaloosa City Schools offer University of Alabama graduates a great opportunity to make an impact,” Edwards said. “It is structured for success. Teachers are given the opportunity to develop professionally. The administration provides great leadership, and the facilities are conducive to learning. The most important opportunity graduates will be given is the opportunity to impact students in a positive manner.”

The College of Education at the University has a Memorandum of Understanding that maintains a strong relationship with Tuscaloosa City Schools and Tuscaloosa County Schools.

It has four objectives that include writing and developing grants that offer training and service opportunities, developing research infrastructure in order to facilitate research efforts and initiatives, identifying and developing mechanisms that result in helpful interventions in the school and maintaining an active channel for the development of mutual understandings and undertakings.

College of Education Dean Peter Hlebowisch, Tuscaloosa City Schools Superintendent Paul McKendrick and Tuscaloosa County Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Swinford have all signed The Memorandum of Understanding.

“It’s a relationship that works both ways in the sense that our classrooms gain from having The University of Alabama with us in projects and in support and certainly in teacher preparation,” Daria said. “And then we reciprocate by, in many cases, working with the College of Education and other departments in The University of Alabama with research and information that they are doing. It’s a positive relationship, and it’s one of mutual benefit the way we see it.”

Joyce Levey, former superintendent of Tuscaloosa City Schools, now works in the College of Education as an administrator in residence at the University to help maintain the relationship with Tuscaloosa City and County Schools.

“The city schools have been really gracious to open their doors and allow us to work with them,” Levey said. “We understand the privacy laws. We are only there to benefit the learning and knowledge of the students in the College of Education and the students in the city.”

Edwards said the University prepared him to become a teacher through multiple learning experiences in Tuscaloosa City School classrooms.

“The best way the University of Alabama prepared me for teaching is through observation and experience. As a student, I was required to put in large amounts of hours in multiple high school classrooms observing different teachers,” Edwards said. “I was fortunate to observe some of the best teachers around Tuscaloosa. After observing teachers, I was required to teach a certain amount of lessons on my own. After teaching a lesson, I was given feedback from a cooperating teacher. It was a great way to develop communication skills.”

Dean Hlebowisch from the University’s College of Education said he believes the partnership is beneficial to University students looking to learn from a real-world classroom experience.

“We want our interns to have an experience that’s wide-ranging and diverse by race, income, religious background, sexual orientation, so on and so forth. We want our students to have an exposure to the full-bodied diversity of our society, and we think Tuscaloosa schools can provide that for us,” Hlebowisch said.

Levey praised the school system for their hard work and high standards.

“The city schools have always been great in continually educating and working on new trends with the Common Core and Career College and Career Ready Standards so that teachers are prepared to work with children so anyone going out knows that they have a system that will continually professionally develop them and give them all the knowledge, the skills, the tools and the resources,” Levey said.

Daria said the challenge now is evolving teaching practices to fit modern students.

“We have a strong vision for the future. That vision is looking differently at the way we teach. The tradition methods of teaching don’t apply the same today,” Daria said. “Now, the basics of good teaching will remain through the test of time, but we are changing the way we deliver our educational program, and that’s a challenge for all of us in education. We are moving more toward a collaborative approach to learning, a project based approach to learning and engaging a new group of learners.”

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