How we turned around our new teacher retention

Demographics:

Gaston County Schools, located in North Carolina, is the 10th-largest district in the state. We have a very diverse, economically challenged population in our school system, with roughly 65 percent of our student population eligible for free and reduced lunch.

Biggest challenge:

Three years ago, when I started as executive director for high school instruction, our state of student achievement was average. That was not good enough for us. Like districts all over North Carolina, we were also facing teacher shortages. We typically see 40 new teachers in our high schools each year. These include teachers new to the practice as well as those new to our district.

We had pockets of excellence happening inside of classrooms, but only a handful of students benefiting from them. We aimed to have 100 percent of our classrooms doing great things for children. The challenge was how to get 700 teachers to buy into that.…Read More

How to retain great teachers: Start with leadership opportunities

Finding and retaining effective teachers is one of the surest ways to improve student outcomes, according to research published in the Elementary School Journal and the Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education. But tight budgets take obvious solutions, like increased compensation packages and aggressive recruitment campaigns, off the table. So what options remain that won’t break the district budget?

At Colonial (DE) School District, we’ve focused on offering our most effective teachers clear, cost-effective opportunities for various leadership roles and paths for advancement.

We recognize that not all great teachers want to become administrators. They may, however, make great leaders in other roles. Providing leadership opportunities and options for these educators allows us to build a leadership pipeline to meet a variety of needs.…Read More

Opinion: How to keep talented teachers from leaving

Imagine a profession whose influence on individual lives is more significant than that of nearly any other occupation, whose role in society is universally acknowledged to be among the most critical to the future, and whose practitioners are often described as “heroic,” “beloved,” and “admired,” says the Christian Science Monitor.  Now imagine that this profession cannot recruit and retain the best people because it is seen by many as a dead end, neither financially remunerative nor socially and creatively fulfilling. This destructive paradox describes the profession of teaching in the United States. Soon the education priorities for President Obama’s second administration will begin to take shape. They will no doubt include, as they did during his first term, recruiting and retaining strong teachers who can prepare young people for the contemporary workforce. They should also include renewing our national commitment to teaching as a profession of status and a life of consequence…

Click here for the full story

…Read More

Op-Ed: ‘Our schools have ignored the flight of great teachers’

Recently, many of the nation’s leading education experts gathered with classroom teachers to discuss the state of education in America at the annual Education Nation summit in New York, says TakePart.com. The conversation raised some valuable insights about the future of our schools and in particular, how to ensure we have great teachers in every classroom. As a 33-year veteran teacher, I still feel as passionate as ever about my profession. However, I have serious concerns about our nation’s ability to keep talented educators in the classroom after three years, let alone three decades. During my career, I’ve seen many great teachers leave the classroom while still in their prime. Most hadn’t grown tired of teaching. Instead, they left because they didn’t get the recognition they deserve from their schools or from the district. They left because they didn’t see opportunities to advance their careers. They left because they were being neglected…

Click here for the full story

…Read More

Culture change needed to attract, keep teachers in struggling schools

A new report released by The Education Trust emphasizes the need for policy and culture changes in the public education sector, and not just updated teacher evaluation systems, the Huffington Post reports.

“Making evaluations more meaningful is a critical step toward improving our schools. But being able to determine who our strongest teachers and principals are doesn’t mean that struggling students will magically get more of them,” Sarah Almy, director of teacher quality at The Education Trust and co-author of the report, said in a statement. “We have to be intentional about creating the kinds of supportive working environments in our high-poverty and low-performing schools that will make them more attractive to our strongest teachers.”

According to the report, teachers’ job satisfaction hinges more on the culture of the school — namely the quality of school leadership and staff cohesion — than it does on the demographics of the students or teacher salaries. Teachers who view their work environment in a positive light are more likely to evoke positive outcomes in their students……Read More

A state grooms its best students to be good teachers

When Mr. Williams means business, he is not kidding around. “He’s pretty quiet, pretty serious,” said Ashabur Rahman, a fifth grader at Glenn Elementary School who has him for math and science, reports the New York Times. John Williams III, 36, is not some jokey teacher. “At the start of the year, some kids said he was going to be the meanest teacher in the school,” said Trajen Womack. Chelsea Parra, heard the same: “A lot of people were saying it.”

Click here for the full story

…Read More