Teacher Hiring FAQs

Navigating the teacher hiring process can be daunting and made even more confusing by timelines that lay out when districts hire internally vs. externally and when you can actually be offered and accept a job. We’ll try to break it down for you here:

What are teacher pools and why do I need to apply to them? Teacher pools are groupings of candidates by subject area that HR uses to track who is eligible for teaching positions. It allows us to collect all candidate information in one place and communicate with candidates about events and important information. It also ensures that schools only see candidates who meet minimum qualifications.

When will the pools for 2019-20 be posted? We anticipate early December 2018.

I don’t have my certificate yet. Can I apply? Yes! If you are in a program with completion anticipated in spring or summer 2019, you can still apply. All offers of employment are contingent upon getting your certificate from OSPI. Failure to do so will mean the offer of employment is null and void, but you CAN apply if you believe you will be certified by the start of school.

What is an early or contingency contract? An early, or contingency contract is a contract extended by SPS to select candidates who show strong promise.  Those candidates with a contingency contract are eligible to interview before other external candidates, alongside internal candidates. For some high-need areas, SPS will offer binding contracts that guarantee a position to the contract holder.

When does SPS begin giving contracts? Typically around January, sometimes sooner in high-need subjects like Special Education and Math.

How do I get an interview with a school? SPS uses a pool process to initially vet all teacher candidates. When you apply to a pool, HR screens your application to make sure you meet minimum requirements before you are eligible to interview with schools. Once in a pool, candidates can then apply to individual positions at schools and be invited to interview. Candidates NOT in the pool for the subject area should not apply directly to schools until vetted and approved by HR. School hiring teams review applications and select the applicants they want to invite to interview.

Can I be asked to interview for a school I didn’t apply to? Yes. HR also uses the pools to refer candidates to schools if requested by the principal. You may decline the interview if you are not interested in the position (but we encourage you to seriously consider all interview requests!).

What is the timeline for hiring? Timeline specifics shift slightly each year, but generally we expect:

December 2018

  • Seattle Public Schools posts its teacher “pools” by subject area. Applicants submit an application (even before graduating!) so that once positions are posted, they are pre-screened and ready to go.
  • Interviews may occur for “early contracts” – contracts given to the most promising candidates – we call them Seattle Select Recruits – those candidates that we want to lock in and hire ASAP.  Seattle Select Recruits are eligible for the earliest external interviews with schools.

January/February 2019

  • Seattle Public Schools begins to host hiring fairs to conduct additional interviews for early contracts.

March – September 2019

  • Individual school postings start to go up and internal/external hiring begins based on the process below:
    • Phase 1a: Internal applicants given first consideration for positions (usually lasts 1-2 weeks) –  Eligible candidates can apply beginning March/April
    • Phase 1b: Early contract holders (Seattle Select Recruits) given consideration for positions along with internal applicants – April
    • Phase 2: Existing teachers needing placement and Seattle Select Recruits given consideration – April until most teachers placed (depends on subject area).
    • Phase 3: All applicants eligible to apply and be considered for positions. Some subject areas will be eligible for this phase sooner than others. This is dependent upon the number of displaced teachers the district has to find positions for. For example, we anticipate Special Education will be eligible for all candidates very early in the process due to demand – April to September.