HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – The Hartford school district is making a strong push to hire bilingual educators who can lead the student population to success. You could say they’re getting creative, or merely thinking outside the box, but the Hartford school district has recruited out of Connecticut.

The district is welcoming more than a dozen bilingual educators from Puerto Rico as part of a program called “Paso a Paso,” which means step by step.

The city’s superintendent says it’s important for multiple reasons.

“One because yes, we can add to the number of teachers that we need, but also because we really are focused on diversifying our staff and we know that a diverse staff, all of our students benefit,” said Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez, Hartford Superintendent. “Not just students that have a Latino, Hispanic heritage or background.”

“I love the program,” said Patricia Vera, an educator from the Paso A Paso program. “At first it was a bit scary because I’ve never been to Hartford, but they were so welcoming, so well-prepared.”

According to Dr. Madeline Negro, Chief of Academics in Hartford, 55% of the students in the district are Latino or Hispanic, with many of them of Puerto Rican descent.

The program is funded by the Travelers Foundation.