BOOK: Keeping Quality Teachers - The Art of Retaining General and Special Education Teachers
This user-friendly tool for retaining quality teachers — especially those in special education — contains a framework for action that can be used to create a plan at the school or district level, or to strengthen existing plans. Target audiences include state and local administrators for general and special education, including superintendents, curriculum coordinators, principals, special education coordinators, and leaders of personnel development and professional development. Contributors to this book include many NY IDEA Partners.
You can download a free pdf version near the bottom of this page nbsp;(5MB), or you can order printed copies of this book from this site http://www.wested.org/cs/we/view/rs/775
Keeping Quality Teachers — The Art of Retaining General and Special Education Teachers is a user-friendly product, developed with collaborating partners, that can be used flexibly with a variety of audiences. It includes a series of technical assistance resource materials that can assist any school building principal, school district administrator or larger educational administrative unit in developing effective retention plans for teachers in general, with an emphasis on special education teachers. It can support local school leaders in integrating retention planning into existing or developing improvement plans, and encouraging partnerships with institutions of higher education. The following sections are designed to provide resources for educational leaders to support teacher retention initiatives at the state and local levels.
Section One: Making the Case for Teacher Retention helps school districts understand why retention is such a compelling issue. It includes documentation of special education as a shortage area and research on reasons for attrition in both general and special education. It links quality teaching with high levels of student achievement and provides a rationale for why retaining quality teachers is less expensive than recruiting and training new teachers. Three strategies for building a framework for retaining quality teachers are introduced including: Improving Working Conditions; The Role of the Administrator in Teacher Retention; and Induction and Mentoring Programs that Work. The section concludes with a description and discussion about the importance of using appropriate data for any teacher retention initiative.
Section Two: Building a Framework — Improving Working Conditions draws on considerable research regarding why teachers leave schools to go to other teaching positions or leave the teaching profession altogether. Important working conditions for teachers including appropriate work assignments, sufficient curriculum guidelines, efficient discipline systems, sharing ideas and resources with colleagues and other conditions are identified and discussed. A companion self-assessment tool is provided to help school leaders and leadership teams determine the working conditions present in their schools that support teacher retention, as well as those factors that could be improved for ensuring higher retention of teachers over time.
Section Three: Building a Framework — The Role of the Administrator in Teacher Retention provides potential strategies for administrative support at the district and building levels to enhance retention of all teachers and special education professionals. It highlights the crucial role of the principal and school leaders in providing instructional leadership and fostering collegiality and collaborative relationships that cultivate a positive school climate where teachers are valued and feel supported in their work. Professional development resources that support effective teaching and learning are discussed to promote continued development of instructional leadership skills for school administrators.
Section Four: Building a Framework — Induction and Mentoring Programs that Work provides a series of model programs and practices that have proven helpful in supporting teachers in diverse school settings. Induction programs for new teachers are described for welcoming new professionals to their schools and helping them build their teaching skills through reflection and continued emphasis on improving their teaching practices. Mentoring programs for both new and veteran teachers are identified as ways to foster discussion among teachers about effective teaching practices, to enable teachers to share ideas among colleagues in a collaborative setting, and to learn from other teachers. Data highlighting the positive impact of induction and mentoring programs on teacher retention is included.
Section Five: Promoting Linkages — Partnerships Between Schools and Higher Education articulates the key role played by institutions of higher education in supporting recruitment and retention of quality teachers in local school districts. Information is presented about partnerships of teacher preparation programs in colleges and universities with school districts to support teacher retention. Models for partnerships and real-life examples of existing partnerships including Professional Development Schools highlight the types of efforts that can be reviewed for potential application within specific local school building and district settings. In addition, practical implications for the types of coursework that postsecondary school students need to be successful as teachers in today’s schools are identified and discussed.
Section Six: Bringing It Together provides potential strategies for states to use for statewide training to implement teacher retention initiatives in local school districts. Schools simply cannot do it alone. This section addresses key components within the three strategies proposed for recruitment and retention of quality teachers introduced in Section One. This section, developed in collaboration with a broad-based group of diverse stakeholders including state and local education agencies and institutions of higher education recommends ways to pilot teacher retention strategies at the local level; proposes potential partnerships that will support implementation of teacher retention strategies; and offers a design of a model evaluation that includes components that can be used by states and local school districts.
Each section has a series of resources and a list of references to support teacher retention efforts in states and local school districts.