Stopping teacher turnover in its tracks

How do you retain the best educators? Observation and feedback, says one school

turnover-teachersGetting new teachers into the classroom has been a major focus of districts across the country during the last 30 years, as turnover has increased, especially in historically underserved communities. School leaders at high need urban schools and elsewhere have resorted to signing bonuses, merit pay, and strong benefits in an attempt to lure teachers in. One public school in Arizona even advertises a four-day work week as a selling point to get them in the door.

Recruitment is important. However, the retention of high quality teachers is equally, if not more, crucial. More organizations are realizing the necessity of developing ways to support teachers to raise retention. Keeping effective teachers in classrooms, particularly in a high needs school, is becoming more of a focus for administrators. One way to achieve retention is through building a common mission and vision. Teachers want to be part of a high quality organization dedicated to a common goal for success.

Milwaukee College Prep, where I serve as COO, is a high achieving urban K-8 charter management organization with four campuses and 2,000 students. The campuses are located in the most poverty-stricken areas in Milwaukee. As a successful urban CMO, one of the most important questions often asked is, “How do you train and retain outstanding educators?” To which I often reply that giving teachers support through observations and feedback is perhaps the most vital piece. Teachers who are passionate about education pursue opportunities to perfect their skills. They appreciate feedback and specific action steps to guide self-improvement.

Next page: How feedback leads to retention

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