HANCOCK, Mich. (WJMN) — Hancock Public Schools is looking for teachers.
The district adjacent to Houghton in the Upper Peninsula has put out a nationwide call to staff its summer classes.
“We’ve talked to our teachers and some of them need a break. And we get that. We still need to move forward and that’s why we came up with going outside the area to find teachers who are interested in coming into the area,” Superintendent Steve Patchin said.
He is look for educators with experience in teaching elementary through high school.
“We need to reimagine what summer looks like,” Patchin said. “That’s why we’re doing these morning sessions Monday through Thursday. Parents are telling them if they get out on the beach or out in the wild for the second half of the day, if they still get a three-day weekend to be at camp, they are OK with that.”
Teachers will be paid around $35 per hour plus a $1,000 stipend, and they’ll have place to stay using the dorms at Finlandia University.
“I thought, ‘Why don’t we just use those rooms for the teachers who are interested in coming up,'” Patchin said. “I mean, who wouldn’t want to come to the U.P.?”
The last day of the regular school year is Friday, June 11. The summer program runs June 21 to August 12.
The summer program is about helping students either make up credits, get ahead or just to make sure they aren’t falling behind. But Patchin said there’s also more to it.
“We’re rolling into a whole different summer where it’s not just the academics, but it’s a social-emotional piece,” Patchin said. “The worst thing to happen to these kids was bouncing them in and out of school, whether it be quarantining or when they shut us down for two weeks in September and October.”
One of the goal is to reverse the feelings of isolation and to help students feel connected.
“When you bring fresh ideas in, sometimes you get a reenergizing,” Patchin said. “It’s almost like a chemical reaction, like percolating.”
Numerous applicants from lower Michigan, Connecticut, Ohio and Minnesota, Arkansas, and even a couple from Florida have already reached out, he said. Calls and emails have been coming in every day.
Patchin said some teachers might just come for the summer, but hopefully, the program can be used to help recruit permanent staff members.
“We’ve got to find creative ways, especially in a small community, to attract these teachers up,” he said. “What better way to try the place out before you come here? Honestly, I want people to come and try this place out. If they don’t end up in my school, there’s six districts within 50 miles and hopefully it will benefit somebody else.”