Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
“If you want a supportive, tight-knit community, this is where it’s at,” said Catherine Hutchens, MacArthur Elementary School special education teacher. “It’s not every man for himself. It’s a team, it’s a support.
“I student-taught at Fort Leavenworth, but I also studenttaught at other schools, and at other schools it truly was, ‘This is your classroom, and these are your students,’” she said. “But while I was student teaching at (Fort Leavenworth), I was student teaching in a special education capacity. Every teacher was there by my side to ask the student teacher questions about how best to teach the students. They wanted that support.”
Hutchens is one of many teachers at Unified School District 207 who provided testimony for a video featured on the new “Fort Leavenworth Recruiting” app.
The app, which is available free from the Apple store, is intended to help USD 207 recruit teaching candidates for the district.
The creation of the app was led by Matt Dixon, USD 207 technology media specialist, after he was approached by Keith Mispagel, USD 207 superintendent.
“The idea for the recruiting app came from an interest in meeting the digital needs of today’s applicants. Much of everything our future new educators do now can be accessed on their smart phones,” Mispagel said. “Having a recruiting app gives us an opportunity to share many aspects of USD 207 in a short period of time.
“Lots of times at a standard college/university recruiting fair, a school district may get a maximum of 15 minutes to make an impression on a potential candidate and vice versa. Then, the prospective applicant goes on to visit between 10-20 other district recruiting tables in the same day, so it’s imperative to stand out and to provide as much information about the district as possible in a short time,” Mispagel said. “The app allows students to scan the QR code, download it and learn the answers to many of the questions they didn’t have time to ask. It has really been a positive.”
Dixon created the app with the help of Bill Hatfield, talent acquisition specialist, and Demarin Montgomery, director of human resources and treasurer.
“After a ton of drafts and brainstorming with … Hatfield, we began filming interviews and constructing the content for the app,” Dixon said. “The app probably took about three months to create.”
The app was created at no cost using Xcode, and the graphics, animations and video were created using Adobe Creative.
It includes video testimony from parents and staff, virtual tours of each of the four schools, open positions, recruiting events, information about the local area, information about what to expect in an interview, and some of the perks that come with working at USD 207.
“The idea was to easily give recruiting information to potential candidates in a new and creative way. There is only so much you can do with a handout or flyer,” Dixon said. “The Recruiting App allows us to show so much more of what Fort Leavenworth has to offer. We feel our school district is very special. We knew that if we could give a better glimpse into our community, it would be very appealing to teaching candidates.
“My hope for the app is that it shows how amazing this school district truly is,” he said. “We have amazing staff, resources, parent support and community. I want to attract the best possible teachers to be a part of it.”