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Old 04-14-2014, 06:37 PM
 
5 posts, read 8,606 times
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Hello everyone,

I was wondering if anyone can give any advice on securing a teaching job? A little background - I have been a teacher in my current large, Eastern city for 8 years. I have mostly taught 1st grade, but have experience with other grades as well. Because of my lifelong desire to live in west, preferably Wyoming, I have been taking steps to move there for over a year. I have actually already secured a Wyoming elementary teacher's license! The last major hurdle is now finding a job I want to move this summer and start working the 2014-2015 school year.

I have done a lot of research, and have applied to jobs in Cody, Sheridan, and Lander. So far...crickets. While I wait for an answer, I'm wondering are there are other school districts I'm overlooking? The type of town I'm looking to move to would be smallish (but not too small), decent proximity to mountains, having a "downtown" area (even if it's just one street). I'm looking for a place that, when one drives through it, one thinks "gee, this is a nice/cute little town." Ideally, I'm looking for cold, snowy winters and warm(ish), sunny summers. I'm very much looking forward to leaving the humidity and overcast-ness of my current city behind Does anyone have suggestions for other cities/towns I should look into? I don't care much about nightlife or shopping or anything like that. When I have free time, ideally I would be out hiking or photographing wildlife. As for the schools themselves, I do not have kids of my own, and while obviously I would prefer to work in a well run school, I've had enough experience in urban schools to not be too put out by pretty much any working condition. I've considered Riverton, but even though there's been a lot written about it, I still don't really have a sense of what it's "like." Is it a nice place to live? For a single woman in her 30s? I don't want to move just to move, I want to move to a place I will really love (and why I've so far settled on Cody, Sheridan or Lander - exactly the type of places I'm looking for)

Ideally, I would love to visit each and every town I'm considering, but unfortunately that takes extra time and money I don't have. That being said, of course I'm more than willing to fly out for an interview for a school that was seriously interested in me. I'm worried that my across the country address is keeping me off any short-lists. Has anyone else secured a teaching job out there from out of state? Was it very difficult?

Sorry for length of this post, but I'm just anxious to find as much info as I can and find a job if at all possible. My current principal knows of my desire to relocate (and has written me a reference letter), but she'd also very much like for me to stay, and I'd like to give her a definitive answer as soon as possible.

Thanks very much for any advice anyone can give!

ps, yes, I already check Wyoming School Boards Association
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Old 04-14-2014, 07:15 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
9,727 posts, read 20,020,306 times
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Buffalo is "a nice/cute little town" about 35 miles south of Sheridan and has great access to the Bighorn Mountains, as Hwy 16 is a steady climb into them from main street west. I'd rate it right up there with the others you mentioned, although somewhat smaller -- just under 5,000. It has a charming historic downtown and is a friendly community.

I live in Gillette, home to one of the fastest growing school districts in the state. It's a larger town than the others you mentioned, slightly over 30,000, but it has a small community attitude and is very welcoming to new residents. It's an hour or more from any mountains, but its advantage is that you have a choice of tall mountains (Bighorns) an hour west or old mountains (Black Hills) an hour or more to the east. I like the choice, because I can head west to the Bighorns if it's hot or east to the Black Hills if it's cool. I've lived at the foot of mountains and rarely visited them during the week anyway, so being within an hour or so for weekends suits me fine. I think you'd increase your chances of being hired greatly by adding Gillette to your possibilities, but it's not easy to be hired anywhere in Wyoming. The state has excellent school districts and pays its teachers well, so many teachers apply. On the other hand, many parts of the state are showing good growth, and I read recently that many of Gillette's teachers will be retiring in the next few years, so they should be hiring.

Georgiainwyo is a regular on this board and can be a big help to you. She lives in Cody but has also taught in the Gillette schools. I'm sure she'll be along before long. Good luck to you.
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Old 04-15-2014, 11:41 AM
 
5 posts, read 8,606 times
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Thanks so much for the recommendations for Buffalo and Gillette. Somehow, I had overlooked both in my searching. You're right, Gillette is a little bigger than what I'm ideally looking for, but a welcoming, friendly attitude is more important than actual population number. I do like the idea of having the choice of the Bighorns or Black Hills, and by looking at a map, looks like Thunder Basin Grassland isn't too far away either, which is cool. I just like the idea of being close to nature, which I know you can get in most of Wyoming. Question though - does Gillette have a walkable, downtown area or is it more like the suburbs (at least here) where there is no central area and you just have to drive to various shopping centers/strip malls?

I know what you mean about there being a lot of competition for teaching jobs throughout the state. I initially was also looking into Idaho and Montana, but then I compared salaries I just hope it isn't the case that I'm not even being considered because I'm out of state. I guess the best I can do is keep my options open and keep on applying!

Thanks again for the info.
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Old 04-15-2014, 01:02 PM
 
1,872 posts, read 3,971,806 times
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I don't think it is unusual for districts to hire those from out of state. As a matter of fact, I just talked to a guy on here who is from Illinois and just secured a job at Big Horn County School District #1 in Cowley (east of Cody & Powell). You may also try Powell. I know they did have some openings, but not sure whether they are filled. I am in Meeteetse (live in Cody) and was offered a position in Powell, which I will start in August. I know that Campbell County School District #1 (Gillette) hires quite a few folks from out of state every year. With the exponential growth it is seeing (as WyoNewk mentioned) they are always hiring there. Gillette does have that small town feel. There is definitely a downtown area that has some nice little stores. Gillette does not have a lot of shopping, restaurants, etc. for the size of the town. It has a Walmart, Kmart, Home Depot, Office Depot and few other stores, but not much for "big box". Gillette really does have a lot to offer and I know several single women and men who live there and like it. I think more than your address what you have to say in your cover letter is what makes you stand out from the crowd when applying in Wyoming. Mention things that make you different from the rest. Talk about your willingness to help with school events, etc. Research the town you are applying in and talk about something specific that draws you to the town. Without sounding overwhelming, just make yourself sound like the best choice! I wouldn't count out the very small towns in Wyoming, as it is always possible to live in a bit bigger town and commute, like I do from Cody to Meeteetse. I hope this helps you some! Please feel free to ask should you have any more specific questions.
Georgia

P.S. It is getting rather late in the spring to find a job for next fall. I know a lot of places have already filled positions, even if they are still listed on the WSBA website. You may want to start looking earlier next year if something doesn't pan out for you this year!
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Old 04-15-2014, 03:10 PM
 
5 posts, read 8,606 times
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Thanks for all the info. Gillette sounds better and better - I will definitely apply to any openings they have there. I have actually looked into Powell, but they don't seem to have any openings. I will keep checking. Same thing with Buffalo.

As for looking earlier - I've been checking the sites since December or January, but didn't see any openings at all until February/March. I applied as soon as I saw anything. At first I will admit I was being a bit choosy about towns, but I have definitely opened up my mind to some places I hadn't initially considered. Anyone have any experience or know anyone who has worked for Connections Academy, an online school that has an office in Cody?

I'm not opposed to working in a smaller town, but I am worried about how commuting would be in the winter. I'm not used to winter driving. Out here, everything closes down with an inch of snow, so I've never had to cope. I know I will adjust (and am looking forward to it), but it does make me a little wary of not living close to where I work.

Thanks for the tips, and I will keep on looking and applying!
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Old 04-15-2014, 11:24 PM
 
Location: Spots Wyoming
18,695 posts, read 40,121,342 times
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Sorry, I had to chuckle when you said Thunder Basin Grasslands and nature. The first thing I thought of was the only thing I've seen growing in Thunder Basin is "Caterpillars, Euclids, Terex's, etc..."


The inside joke on that is Thunder Basin is normally thought of in the same line with some of the largest Coal Mines in the country. Caterpillars, Euclids, and Terex's are the equipment used. Sorry, it just struck my funny bone.

Typical that you are seeing more listings in the larger towns, but are they proportional? In other words, 10% of Powel might be 2 openings, where 10% of Gillette might be 40 openings. If it's proportional, it tells me that the teachers that are there, stay there. It's not like they take positions in one place only to move later for something better, because all the openings are good.

Of the areas that you have mentioned, I like Sheridan, District 1, 2, and 3. Buffalo. I live in District 1 of Sheridan and they are on a 4 day work week. I'm not sure about other towns and maybe Georgia can answer, are there a lot of districts that work a 4 day week?

A few years back, here in District 1, one of the highschools had their prom and the two senior boys flipped a coin to see who would dress as a girl for the prom. It was a big deal in the paper.
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Old 04-16-2014, 08:14 AM
 
1,872 posts, read 3,971,806 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElkHunter View Post
Sorry, I had to chuckle when you said Thunder Basin Grasslands and nature. The first thing I thought of was the only thing I've seen growing in Thunder Basin is "Caterpillars, Euclids, Terex's, etc..."


The inside joke on that is Thunder Basin is normally thought of in the same line with some of the largest Coal Mines in the country. Caterpillars, Euclids, and Terex's are the equipment used. Sorry, it just struck my funny bone.

Typical that you are seeing more listings in the larger towns, but are they proportional? In other words, 10% of Powel might be 2 openings, where 10% of Gillette might be 40 openings. If it's proportional, it tells me that the teachers that are there, stay there. It's not like they take positions in one place only to move later for something better, because all the openings are good.

Of the areas that you have mentioned, I like Sheridan, District 1, 2, and 3. Buffalo. I live in District 1 of Sheridan and they are on a 4 day work week. I'm not sure about other towns and maybe Georgia can answer, are there a lot of districts that work a 4 day week?

A few years back, here in District 1, one of the highschools had their prom and the two senior boys flipped a coin to see who would dress as a girl for the prom. It was a big deal in the paper.
Many of the small districts have 4 day school weeks. That does NOT mean 4 day work weeks for staff! Kids go to school M-Th, but the days are longer. This was instituted for a couple of reasons.....1) Most high school/junior high students are involved in Friday sports/activities. To help with less absences due to activities there is no school on Fridays. 2) It saves districts on busing costs. 3) various other reasons district by district. In our district teachers have 7 Fridays per school year "off work". These are spread out through the year. Some Fridays are all staff professional development days, which mean "no student contact". Staff development is done then rather than total days off for kids throughout the year or during "early outs". Other Fridays have the mornings dedicated to "Friday school", where kids who are either behind on work, on the down or failing list, or just want to come in for extra help are in school. There is also enrichment for the elementary kids on Friday mornings. Field trips are also planned for Friday mornings so as not to take away from classroom time. Teachers take turns with their flexible Fridays off so that there are always several teachers here & available. A lot of high school organization meetings are also held on Friday mornings. Having a lot of teachers here on Friday mornings helps when there are home games or activities on Friday afternoons as many stay to help out. So the whole concept of us "not working" Fridays is a misnomer! It is nice having the 7 Fridays off throughout the school year as staff can plan for things that need to be done during the week. This is especially helpful in small remote schools so folks can get to the bigger towns to take care of personal business, etc. It is very difficult to get "to town" during the week! As I mentioned, the 4 day school week is typical for the small districts. Some other districts have 4 1/2 day weeks, with Friday afternoons off. I am a fan of the 4 day school week for many reasons, but the one downfall I see is for struggling learners. Having 3 days off every week makes Mondays difficult. Retention over a weekend, let alone 3 days, is sometimes a struggle. So for those of us in special ed it would be nice in one sense to have school on Fridays. There is always a give & take for everything. But overall, I feel that a 4 day week for small rural schools is a good idea. Parents like it, too! Oh, speaking of that, as a side note....each district has to be "renewed", for lack of a better word, for a 4 or 4.5 day school week by the state every 3 years, I believe. Districts don't have to do this, but our district puts out a call for public comment before the decision is made by the board to continue or change the school week. Having community involvement in any decisions made by a district is so important. Here in Meeteetse, the great majority of folks like the 4 day week, so it looks like this trend will continue as long as it is approved by the state.
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Old 04-16-2014, 08:28 PM
 
Location: Spots Wyoming
18,695 posts, read 40,121,342 times
Reputation: 2147483647
Quote:
Originally Posted by georgiainwyo View Post
Many of the small districts have 4 day school weeks. That does NOT mean 4 day work weeks for staff! Kids go to school M-Th, but the days are longer. This was instituted for a couple of reasons.....1) Most high school/junior high students are involved in Friday sports/activities. To help with less absences due to activities there is no school on Fridays. 2) It saves districts on busing costs. 3) various other reasons district by district. In our district teachers have 7 Fridays per school year "off work". These are spread out through the year. Some Fridays are all staff professional development days, which mean "no student contact". Staff development is done then rather than total days off for kids throughout the year or during "early outs". Other Fridays have the mornings dedicated to "Friday school", where kids who are either behind on work, on the down or failing list, or just want to come in for extra help are in school. There is also enrichment for the elementary kids on Friday mornings. Field trips are also planned for Friday mornings so as not to take away from classroom time. Teachers take turns with their flexible Fridays off so that there are always several teachers here & available. A lot of high school organization meetings are also held on Friday mornings. Having a lot of teachers here on Friday mornings helps when there are home games or activities on Friday afternoons as many stay to help out. So the whole concept of us "not working" Fridays is a misnomer! It is nice having the 7 Fridays off throughout the school year as staff can plan for things that need to be done during the week. This is especially helpful in small remote schools so folks can get to the bigger towns to take care of personal business, etc. It is very difficult to get "to town" during the week! As I mentioned, the 4 day school week is typical for the small districts. Some other districts have 4 1/2 day weeks, with Friday afternoons off. I am a fan of the 4 day school week for many reasons, but the one downfall I see is for struggling learners. Having 3 days off every week makes Mondays difficult. Retention over a weekend, let alone 3 days, is sometimes a struggle. So for those of us in special ed it would be nice in one sense to have school on Fridays. There is always a give & take for everything. But overall, I feel that a 4 day week for small rural schools is a good idea. Parents like it, too! Oh, speaking of that, as a side note....each district has to be "renewed", for lack of a better word, for a 4 or 4.5 day school week by the state every 3 years, I believe. Districts don't have to do this, but our district puts out a call for public comment before the decision is made by the board to continue or change the school week. Having community involvement in any decisions made by a district is so important. Here in Meeteetse, the great majority of folks like the 4 day week, so it looks like this trend will continue as long as it is approved by the state.
I don't doubt a word you posted, however, the middle school here, along with the elementary school, on Fridays, have ONE car in the parking lot. The custodian. Yes, there are games and other activities that take up Fridays, and even Saturdays and Sundays. But when I see an empty parking lot, every Friday, I'm thinking it's a 4 day work week. Extra Curricular activities are extra, even for students, not just teachers. But my point was, the school is open 4 days a week, so it DOES afford a better weekend schedule than the schools running 5 day work weeks.
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Old 04-17-2014, 08:49 AM
 
1,872 posts, read 3,971,806 times
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Originally Posted by ElkHunter View Post
I don't doubt a word you posted, however, the middle school here, along with the elementary school, on Fridays, have ONE car in the parking lot. The custodian. Yes, there are games and other activities that take up Fridays, and even Saturdays and Sundays. But when I see an empty parking lot, every Friday, I'm thinking it's a 4 day work week. Extra Curricular activities are extra, even for students, not just teachers. But my point was, the school is open 4 days a week, so it DOES afford a better weekend schedule than the schools running 5 day work weeks.
Thanks, EH. Your school must be different than the 4 days school week schools over in our area. There must be some other way that the staff gets their professional development in for the year there....whether it be extra days off for students during the school year making the start date earlier or end date later, or more days for staff before or after the school year. I like the way it is here as it gives students who need it an extra opportunity to work with teachers in a 1:1 or small group setting outside of the regular class time.
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Old 04-17-2014, 10:33 PM
 
Location: San Diego, CA
23 posts, read 25,044 times
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Sheesh, you guys just keep making me jealous that I didn't grow up and go to school in Wyoming! Your state's school system is one of the most enticing features of living there (seeing as anywhere I want to move, first priority is what's good for my son). Since I started researching Wyoming to help my parent's move there, seeing school ratings and hearing about positive community support for school activities is just... it's really nice to see.

Best of luck with the job search!
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