Ensuring a Happy and Healthy Community

0
196

For over 100 years, Brownsville ISD has served the students and community of Brownsville and surrounding areas of the RGV. The district not only prides itself in providing quality education to students, but caring for employees as well. With more than 6,000 employees that serve over 38,000 students, Brownsville ISD is the largest employer of the RGV. The district’s HR department works diligently to recruit and retain teachers and staff.

“We want employees to think of human resources as more than just the people who process applications, but the people who build capacity and care for our employees. We want employees to know we are ready to serve and provide them with information to make their workplace a better place,” said Dr. Anysia Treviño, deputy superintendent of curriculum and instruction & human resources. “In addition, we provide a plethora of professional development at all levels. We pride ourselves in that.”

Brownsville ISD conducted over 600 professional development sessions from June to November of 2022. Teachers are given the opportunity to participate online or face-to-face when receiving such professional development.

Every teacher is required to accumulate 150 hours of professional development every five years. These professional development sessions range in topics from classroom management, to introducing a new textbook, to a specially-designed workshop to help new teachers know what to expect in their first year(s). Experienced teachers receive professional development on technology, blended learning, differentiating instruction, and more.

New teachers are also offered professional development training on the Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (T-TESS).

“We give them one full day — six hours of professional development — on what administrators look for and how they’re going to be evaluated,” Dr. Treviño explained.

In the T-TESS professional development training, new teachers learn how they will be evaluated by this system geared toward supporting their professional growth. The training focuses on best practices for delivery of instruction, classroom management, lesson planning, and use of resources.

In addition to formal training, the HR department personally follows up with all of its new teachers.

“Every new teacher gets a visit from an HR specialist just to say, ‘How are you? Do you need anything?’” Dr. Treviño said. “This is not only helpful for the teachers, but it’s enjoyable for HR. It reminds us of why we do what we do and provides us with insight on how we can continue to recruit and retain staff.”

The HR department also provides mentors for new teachers by pairing them with a veteran teacher. Mentors are sent to a training to refresh themselves on what new teachers will need help with. Mentor teachers can help novice teachers. Classroom management, time management, differentiating instruction, handling upset parents, inputting grades, submitting lesson plans, what to expect in a 10-minute walkthrough and how to contact a special education diagnostician are but a few examples of how mentors support their mentees.

New teachers are also recognized in unique ways at Brownsville ISD. Through the rookie of the year award, given in conjunction with the teacher of the year award, new teachers have the opportunity to be showcased, Dr. Treviño explained.

The newest teachers who are not yet district employees — the clinical teachers — are treated to a special luncheon to thank them for their hard work and are encouraged to apply within the district. Brownsville ISD is always looking for the best teachers who want to make a difference in the lives of students.

“We take very good care of our employees when they’re in need or they have a medical condition,” said Carmelita Rodriguez, assistant superintendent of human resources.

Employees can turn to the HR department for help and services in mental health, medical care, family leave, long-term or intermittent leave, introduction of new technology, evaluation of compensation plans, job descriptions, employee handbook changes, and counseling.

“I love working in HR because, at the end of the day, it’s serving the people who are going to serve the students,” said Dr. Treviño, as she explained the ripple effect of happy employees making happy students, which makes happy parents and a happy community.

Ensuring a happy and healthy community is at the heart of what the HR department at Brownsville ISD is all about.

Jillian Cameron