WHYY: Philadelphia launches website aimed at attracting new teachers — and keeping them

Sara Hoover

An education nonprofit has launched a website to help recruit teachers — and retain them — in Philadelphia.

To help make it easier to find teaching jobs, the Philadelphia School Partnership created teachPHL.org, which has a job board for any teaching position in the city — whether it’s at a traditional public, charter, private or parochial school.

Potential teachers who want to work in the City of Brotherly Love will no longer have to go from one school website to the next to look for job postings.

During a Tuesday ceremony in the Mayor’s Reception Room in City Hall, Philadelphia School District Superintendent William Hite said he wants the city to be a destination for educators.

“How do we create the environment across all of the sectors that promote Philadelphia as a place for teachers?” he said.

Mark Gleason, executive director of the Philadelphia School Partnership, said his goal is to make the city more teacher-friendly.

“This a collective endeavor to attract the best possible teachers to our city and then to keep them here, working in schools, feeling supported, feeling challenged, feeling rewarded,” he said.

Teachers make up the city’s third largest workforce — about 18,000 jobs — after retail workers and nurses, said Gleason. The site also offers resources for current teachers, including professional development, events and educator perks, and discounts.

Laurada Byers, chair of the Philadelphia Charters for Excellence, said the new site will help the 86 charter schools that she represents recruit.

“So we’re really on the same footing as the [School District of Philadelphia] because, if somebody gets to the website, they’re going to find us,” she said.

Any school within the city can post a job listing on the site.

Mamie Doyle Mannella’s story embodies what the collaborators are trying to achieve.

The chief operating officer of Independence Mission Schools, a network of 15 independent Catholic elementary schools in predominantly low-income neighborhoods, arrived in the city 15 years ago to teach in Kensington.

“A decade and a half later, I never thought I would still be here,” she said. “But what happened to me is, I think, what happens to a lot of teachers. I fell in love with … the city, the neighborhoods, the students here. I fell in love with my spouse, and now I’m building a family here.”

Another partner is The Fellowship: Black Male Educators for Social Justice, an organization working to increase the number of black male educators in Philadelphia.

“We want to be able to provide a space where Philadelphia can be seen as a mecca for highly effective teachers, teachers who support their students,” said Vincent Cobb, Fellowship CEO.

With a goal of getting 1,000 black men teaching in the city’s public schools by 2025, the organization is halfway to its goal after three years. Black men make up 4 percent of the city district’s teachers, twice the national average.

“We are excited to be on this journey to help triple and quadruple that number,” Cobb said.

The Philadelphia School Partnership put up nearly $50,000 to develop and design the website and will maintain it.

Users can search by grade, subject, job type or school type.