MCPS Travels to Puerto Rico to Recruit Bilingual Teachers

Iris Valentin, Features Managing Editor

MCPS representatives traveled to Puerto Rico in late January 2019 in an effort to hire more bilingual educators to teach in the school system to accommodate the growing bilingual population.

The recruiting effort began due to the county’s need for more bilingual teachers to meet all students’ needs.

“We really are starting to think about how we need to serve our students and leverage our resources,” MCPS Public Information Officer Derek Turner said in a Feb. 12 Bethesda Magazine article.

Recruited teachers play a key role in the school system’s two-way language immersion programs, where 50 percent of instruction is delivered in Spanish, and the other 50 percent in English. Currently more than 30 percent of MCPS students identify as Hispanic or Latino, according to the Bethesda Magazine article.

The school system made its first recruiting trip to Puerto Rico in 2018 after Hurricane Maria struck the island in 2017, killing more than 3,000 and leaving an estimated $91 billion in damage. Many people lost their jobs after the hurricane and this recruiting trip allowed for 10 teachers, all with at least one year of teaching experience, to start their new careers in MCPS.