A crowd of wide-eyed learners enters Graded’s gates, excited for their first day of school. But here’s the catch… they aren’t students.
On July 24, Graded's 2023-24 cohort of new arrivals began their week of New Faculty/Administrator Orientation. The day began with a breakfast buffet and a welcome session led by Superintendent Richard Boerner. What followed was a jam-packed week of trainings, divisional meetings, Portuguese language and culture sessions, team-building activities, and social events.
But the process does not start here. It begins much, much earlier when selecting the right candidates to enrich the Graded community.
The Search for Talent
Every year, Graded welcomes new teachers and administrators from around the world. The candidates the school seeks, and ultimately hires, are bright, talented, and motivated team players. They exude confidence and enthusiasm and connect with students as well as their peers.
A typical Graded educator arrives with a depth of experience and often holds an advanced degree. The school looks for teachers with transferable skills and the ability to collaborate and synergize with others on a team.
When faculty positions open, Graded uses multiple platforms to search for the right candidates.
Initially, job postings appear on Graded’s website. Prospective teachers may apply directly via email. On average, the school receives 50 to 100 applications per opening. Those applicants who are not selected at a particular time become part of an internal database, which is referenced when new opportunities arise.
Graded also utilizes international education recruitment firms to conduct position searches. These placement agencies represent qualified applicants whom they have pre-interviewed and vetted.
Additionally, Graded hiring managers attend international recruitment fairs to network, interview candidates, and share information about the school.
“I don't only want to make a fit," said Superintendent Richard Boerner. “I am committed to finding candidates who advance the institution and build upon the strengths of the educators who are already here."
Arriving at Graded
New foreign hires receive special support well before the school year begins. From visa assistance to child-care resources and housing placement, Graded's Human Resources Department's expatriates team is present every step of the way.
Graded’s expatriates team begins communicating with incoming expats as early as January. The expat team processes all documentation necessary to begin work in Brazil. The team organizes airport pickups, prepares welcome baskets, arranges onboarding appointments, plans social events, and provides assistance and resources related to arriving and settling in a new country.
“We are here to eliminate initial day-to-day tasks, to ensure new employees have a smooth transition so they can focus on what is most important—giving the best education to our students,” said Expatriates Associate Manager Paula Nishino.
Newbies participate in deeper learning workshops throughout Orientation Week.
The Path to Becoming a Graded Educator
Incoming Graded faculty have diverse teaching backgrounds; many arrive with years of international school experience. But the learning never stops.
Since its establishment in 2019, the Graded Learning Lab has served as the school's hub for professional faculty learning. Deeper learning frameworks at Graded are based on research by Jal Mehta and Sarah Fine on the intersection of mastery, creativity, and identity. Graded faculty teaches students to "learn how to learn" by applying effective cognitive learning methodologies.
Throughout Orientation Week, Graded’s Teaching and Learning team led a series of workshops on how to implement deeper learning frameworks into individual teaching practices. Each session focused on one of our six deeper learning principles adopted by the school—prior knowledge and experience, mastery as process, conceptual organization of knowledge, transfer and authenticity, collaboration, and agency.
“Our goal is to connect our new educators’ strengths and talents with the culture of teaching and learning that we have developed at Graded,” said Chief Learning Officer Shannon Beckley. “They learn the specific language and approaches of our school.”
These professional learning workshops ensure that when new teachers meet the entire faculty during their second week, they are prepared to be full participants in all of the planning and preparation for the year.
“This onboarding sequence also promotes the development of relationships between our new faculty and other members of the Graded community,” said Ms. Beckley.
Graded's deeper learning coordinators continue to support teachers throughout the year, coaching them on the application of principles, research, and strategies in the classroom. As a result, newbies feel welcome and prepared to excel at their new school.
During the workshops, new faculty and administrators share their thoughts on deeper learning frameworks.
“As a new faculty member, I felt cared for and supported throughout the week,” said Middle School Humanities Teacher Liz Angney, who previously taught in Costa Rica and at US independent schools. “The deeper learning sessions struck a balance between theory and practice. Everything felt intentional, and I walked away from the week assured that good teaching and learning are the cornerstone of the Graded experience.”