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How to Move On Following a March 15 Notice

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The ACSA Member Assistance & Legal Support Team (MALST), under the direction of Member Support Program Director Joanne Godfrey, provides assistance to 750-800 members each year. Approximately 200-250 of these members call because they have either received a March 15 notice of reassignment, demotion or termination, or they resigned rather than receive the notice. In the past 24 years, MALST has assisted over 4,000 members who have felt the emotional effects of a March 15 notice.

Advocates John Almond, Janet Morey, Sharon Dezutti, Joe Jones, Bill Tschida, Gary Rutherford and Lloyd Wamhof offer some tips for members to consider after receiving a March 15 notice.

1. If an administrator has been told that he/she will be reassigned to the classroom, then the options are to either prepare for the reassignment or begin applying for positions outside of the district. If the administrator decides to seek positions in another district, then the next step is to update his/her résumé, letters of recommendation and a cover letter of introduction. While all of these elements are extremely important, the letter of introduction may be the most important of the documents that you prepare, since you want it to spark interest in screening your application.

2. In addition, make certain that your letter of introduction includes your experiences related to the job duties for which you are applying and is matched with the district’s vision and goals. Use keywords and phrases from the job description. Focus on what sets you apart from other candidates in the district’s top priorities.

3. Your résumé should not be too long. We recommend that it be limited to two or possibly three pages if you have extensive and relevant background or experiences. Important points in a lengthy résumé may go unnoticed by the individual who is reviewing the applications. Consider including your professional development experiences that will enhance your résumé.

4. Some administrators may have accepted the reassignment to the classroom as a safety net until they were offered another position outside the current district. Just as a tip, if you are one of these administrators and have been a site level administrator for three years, you are guaranteed three years seniority as a classroom teacher. If you are an administrator who has never taught in the district nor been a site level administrator in the district and are past your probationary period of three years, you may have rights to a classroom position (without having been a site level administrator in the district).

5. One of the considerations of moving to another district might also be whether you have earned any retirement incentives from your current district, such as health benefit coverage to age 65 if you retire from the district. Such benefits may outweigh a decision to seek employment outside the district.

6. The emotional stress of having received a March 15 notice sometimes makes it difficult to plan for your future. Being angry is a natural emotion, however, don’t let it get in the way of making good decisions. As an example, making negative comments on social media about your supervisor or the district will not serve you well in a job search. As we are all aware, social media can be a double-edged sword. As you are applying for other positions, the new district, in addition to reviewing your paperwork, is most likely going to utilize social media to complete their background check.

7. Utilize your network contacts. Networking, in person and online, is essential to your success in finding a new position. Knowing people who want to help you uncover job leads usually results in greater job opportunities for you.

8. Prepare for all job interviews. Research the district’s website to understand priorities and the culture. Before you receive a call for your first interview, develop responses to common interview questions. Interviewing for any position is anxiety inducing, so it is important that you practice. Find a friend, network contact or interview coach who can work with you in a mock interview setting. The more prepared and confident you are with the interview process, the more likely you are to be successful.

9. Finally, just know as you go through a difficult process of sorting out your emotions and applying for other positions, the ACSA Member Assistance & Legal Support Team is available to assist you. This service is available to all regular members. Please fill out the request form at www.acsa.org/legalsupport.

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