Hartford Public Schools recruits teachers from Puerto Rico

Reaction to CT primary results
Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 6:45 PM EDT
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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Teachers continue to be in high demand.

With classes resuming in a few weeks, Hartford Public Schools is recruiting educators from Puerto Rico to help with the ongoing teacher shortage.

It’s called the Step by Step program, or in Spanish Paso a Paso.

15 new bilingual teachers from Puerto Rico are coming to Hartford to enrich students who can relate to them.

“I do it for the students. I do it for a better world a better country. I know what these kids have and the potential and to see that in them I just want to explode,” said Patricia Vera, a bilingual teacher. “I don’t tell them they are the future; I tell them they are the present.

Vera is one of the teachers who are part of the Step by Step program, whose goal is to place more bilingual teachers in the classrooms.

“How does it feel to be a solution to an ongoing problem with the teacher shortage/” Eyewitness News asked.

“It’s a bit burdening because I feel like I have a big position to fill but I am glad to put my hand in to help the cause,” said Vera.

While addressing the teacher crisis, the program’s purpose is too also further cultivate the growing multicultural community in Hartford.

“It’s more than just someone who looks like them and speaks the same language its someone who has similar experiences. We have some students who are learning English as second languages to actually be learning and talking to someone who has gone through the struggle of learning a second language is super important,” said Anthony Davila, Principal of the Dwight Bellizzi Dual Language Academy.

These educators who have travelled over 1600 miles to be here say they are ready for this upcoming school year and share that this program will not only enrich the students but them as well.

“What are hoping to gain in this multicultural environment?” asked Eyewitness News.

“Well first of all personal growth and second I am looking forward to learning from new students in a new environment new staff so a lot of expectations for this new challenge,” said Marcos Valentin, a bilingual teacher.

With the first day of school just around the corner, these new teachers will continue to get the necessary training before then.

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