Why Teach in Bethel CT Public School District?
The Bethel Public School System offers excellent opportunities for both new and experienced teachers. It is a system that fosters growth in its professionals and empowers them to challenge themselves and to take risks in the classroom. Bethel hosts a young, energetic staff committed to providing students with a rigorous and comprehensive education.
The Bethel Community
The small New England town of Bethel named by the Hartford Courant as “The Quintessential Connecticut Town” is located in the Housatonic Valley of northern Fairfield County. Bethel lies sixty miles northeast of New York City and fifty miles southwest of Hartford. Its neighboring towns are Redding, Danbury, Brookfield, and Newtown. Bethel is a town of more than 18,000 people spread over 17 square miles. The educational campus is located only a mile from downtown Bethel, which is popular for its quaint shops, restaurants, and movie-theater. Bethel merchants continuously provide support for our schools.
Campus and Facilities
Bethel has a truly unique professional campus setting in that all five of our schools are located on a beautiful 140-acre park that is the focal point for many town activities. Athletic fields, tennis and bocce courts, playgrounds, a skate park, and walking trails attract the community to the park. Beautiful athletic fields allow fans to support the BHS Wildcats and the BMS Tigers. The proximity of the schools allows staff and parents to conveniently move from one facility to another. In the past several years, the Town of Bethel has invested in upgrading the facilities. Major renovations have recently been completed at both Berry School (PreK-3) and Bethel High School. The school campus is both quiet and safe with the Bethel Police Department located only a quarter mile away. A school resource officer and a DARE officer are permanently assigned to the schools.
Bethel teachers work in a professional, supportive atmosphere that is marked by collegiality. As part of a professional learning community in their discipline or grade level, they share student work, discuss curriculum, and collect and analyze data. In addition, teachers have the opportunity to participate in vertical teams. The Bethel School System sets aside five days each year for professional development. While there is a system wide committee that plans the programs, teachers in each building have a voice in suggesting topics or identifying areas of need. Bethel has recently adopted a teacher observation / evaluation process that is based on Charlotte Danielson’s Enhancing Professional Practice: A Framework for Teaching. In this model teachers are empowered to identify areas of focus for observations and to discuss their lessons in both pre and post conferences. Throughout the system there are leadership opportunities available for those teachers who wish to pursue them.
Teacher Support Programs
In the Bethel schools there is a collegial atmosphere where colleagues work together. Beginning teachers are provided with a mentor who answers questions, provides feedback in decision- making, and offers continuous support. They also participate in a three day induction program to familiarize them with district programming and practices. In addition, building administrators meet regularly with new teachers to support teaching and learning. Support is also provided to teachers new to Bethel, but not new to the profession. Our teacher evaluation plan is strong and still evolving, as teachers and administrators work together to create a process that promotes student achievement and guides professional growth.
Our starting salaries are competitive in our area and District Reference Group (DRG) within the state of Connecticut. There are financial increases for those who move from one degree status to another on the salary schedule. Additionally, the Bethel Public Schools have a partnership with Western Connecticut State University that allows teachers to receive a discount for any university course taken. This saves our teachers money as they work toward advanced degrees. The Board of Education also offers subsidies to teachers who wish to pursue National Teacher Certification. Benefits are comprehensive and provide high quality medical care as well as life insurance and disability protection. A retirement package supplements the state system. For negotiation of contracts, teachers are represented by the Bethel Education Association (affiliated with the National Education Association.) In Connecticut the law outlines a binding arbitration process to settle any labor and management issues.
Beginning in Kindergarten our students receive technology instruction on a regular basis and have access to computer labs at every school. All teachers have a computer in the classroom. Schools have smartboards, senteos and vernier probes to aid with instruction. Bethel offers professional development programs to train teachers in the most current trends in technology. Each school has teachers who are specially trained as “Tech Champions” to provide additional assistance. We use Moodle as a communication tool between staff, students and parents. We also utilize Power School to maintain student records on a district wide level. Our award winning television studio offers programs on a wide variety of school related issues and events. Because technology is important to the Bethel Public Schools’ mission, we have partnered with Apple to offer Mac computers at a reduced rate to staff members for their personal use.
We are proud of our BHS Wildcats and BMS Tigers and support our teams in anyway possible. The middle and high schools field teams in most sports. Coaching stipends recognize and reward the time and expertise needed to serve our students. Bethel has a history of athletic success, and our veteran coaches welcome the chance to work with new teachers who are interested in coaching. The secondary level offers stipends for the sponsorship of a wide variety of performance, activity, and club opportunities for students. These include: Principal’s Advisory, Student Council, various National Honor Societies, the band, choir, chamber singers, theatre organizations, NJROTC, DECA, Renaissance club, UNITED club, Mirage literary magazine, school newspaper, Mock Trial, Math club, Japanese club, Chinese club, Friendship club, etc. There is a wealth of opportunities for new teachers to get involved in extra curricular activities.
Claims to Fame
Bethel High School -
- Accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges
- Graduating seniors receive over 2 million dollars per year in scholarships
Bethel Middle School -
- Named a Spotlight School by the New England League of Middle Schools
- Holds a collaborative Science Fair with WCSU allowing our young scientists to have their research critiqued by students and faculty from the university
Bethel Public Schools
- Named one of the top 100 communities for music education in the United States
- Host an Award winning Bethel Ed TV studio (recognized for excellence by CABE)
- Earned Connecticut Board of Education Excellence in Leadership Award
- Earned Best Educational Website in Connecticut by the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education
- Named a distinguished unit with academic honors by the department of the Navy
- Has several candidates nominated to attend service academies each year.