0
Votes

International Exposure

Visiting Faculty Show Students the World

While Loudoun County Personnel Services boasted about an increase in minority hires, some School Board members are skeptical about the numbers.

On Tuesday, Sept. 26, Paul H. Webb, director of Personnel Services, walked School Board members through 2006-2007 hiring and staffing statistics. This year, Loudoun County Public Schools hired 7,040 full-time employees and 3,517 part-time employees. Sixteen percent of those hired are minorities, a 5 percent increase from last year and a 10 percent increase from 2004-2005.

However, Personnel Services counted Visiting International Faculty (VIF) members as part of minority hires.

The VIF program is a cultural exchange program that allows foreign teachers to work in an American school for up to three years. This year, Loudoun County Public Schools hired 92 international faculty members, up from 72 in 2005-2006.

School Board member Joseph Guzman (Sugarland Run) was skeptical about the decision to include VIF in the minority new hires statistic.

VIF teachers are only eligible to work for Loudoun County Public Schools a maximum of three years, Guzman said.

Superintendent Edgar B. Hatrick said that Guzman shouldn't "diminish" VIF in the classroom.

Guzman responded that he was not diminishing the role of VIF in the classroom, but didn't want to send the public "mixed messages" or a "false impression."

He said he was concerned because VIF won't be able to go on to administrative positions.

"We don't have any guarantees that anyone we hire is going to stay another year," Hatrick said.

THE VISITING INTERNATIONAL Faculty program brings teachers from around the world to the United States to share their culture in American classrooms. The teachers represent 18 countries, including Argentina, Canada, India, Japan, New Zealand, Philippines, South Africa, Spain and the United Kingdom.

The teachers are eligible to work in American schools for up to three years on a temporary work visa and are allowed to bring their family. Teachers work and live in the communities they teach in, and are expected to return to their country to share their experiences with their home school.

"We hope to have VIF teachers in every school," Webb said.

IN ADDITION TO the VIF program, Loudoun County Public Schools hired 690 teachers from around the country. To recruit the best teachers, staff visited 52 sites nationwide, conducted 635 on-site interviews and distributed 1,936 compact disc applications.

As a result, Loudoun County Public Schools hired teachers from 33 states, including California, Colorado, Tennessee, Texas and North Carolina, as well as Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

On the home front, the schools hired 48 Loudoun County Public School graduates.