Supporting and Retaining High Quality Educators


Stage 5 - Supporting and Retaining High Quality Educators

Promising Practices

Promising Practice: Develop Effective Induction and Mentorship Programs

Research shows the importance of having a systematic plan in place for new teacher induction and mentoring. Districts with quality induction programs increase their teacher retention rates and effectiveness as well as improve overall student outcomes. Studies across the country reveal that the newest teachers are often assigned lower performing classes and receive little to no professional support, particularly in their first year. However, teachers assigned to a trained mentor in the same field, provided with common planning time with their mentor, and given time to collaborate with other teachers are more likely to remain in the field after the first year than those without access to induction programs.
Research/Evidence Shows: Recommended Actions:
New teacher induction and mentoring programs in districts across the country have shown reduced turnover rates for new teachers of color. Nationally, more than three-quarters of teachers of color are employed in predominantly urban districts with high percentages of low-income students. These schools face not only high rates of teacher attrition and absences, but are also twice as likely to employ first year teachers.
  • Identify highly successful teacher-mentors and recruit them into a mentorship program.
  • Prioritize in-person teacher coaching over online modules.
  • Maintain a talent pool of master teachers to serve as coaches, mentors, and district facilitators.
Teacher Education and Mentoring (TEAM) Program Flowing Wells, AZ Teacher Induction for Success

Louisiana FIRST (Framework for Inducting, Retaining and Supporting Teachers)

Prince George's County, MD, Professional Educator Induction Program


Spotlight: Connecticut's Teacher Education and Mentoring (TEAM) Program (CT)
Description The TEAM Program is a two year induction program for new Connecticut teachers. The program includes mentorship and professional development support. TEAM is a professional growth model that incorporates the Connecticut Standards for Professional Learning. It provides beginning teachers with multiple opportunities to reflect on their practice, analyze student data and outcomes, and identify areas for growth and improvement for their individual professional learning. It is designed around five professional growth modules in order to provide a framework for the support of beginning teachers. Depending on the beginning teacher’s endorsement and assignment, they are required to complete up to five modules which are focused on the following domains of the Common Core of Teaching (CCT): classroom environment, planning, instruction, assessment and professional responsibility.” Mentors and beginning teachers work together to identify a need/opportunity for professional learning based on the teacher’s own self-assessment, using the CCT Performance Profiles, feedback from observations conducted by the mentor and/or an evaluator, student data, and established student learning goals.
Scope of Reach All teachers who work under an initial educator certificate or an interim initial educator certificate and are employed in either a full- or part-time position in a fully contracted position or as a long-term substitute in a full 10-month assignment are required by CT general statute to participate in TEAM.
Timeframe 2010 - Present
Budget / Sources of funds State of Connecticut
Actor(s) Implementing State via District Facilitators

Since the program’s inception, 21,000 teachers have completed TEAM.

Spotlight: Framework for Inducting, Retaining, and Supporting Teachers (FIRST) program (LA)
Description FIRST begins with a structured, four-day training session for all new Louisiana teachers in early August taught by curriculum coordinators. At each school site new teachers are paired with mentor teachers who offer guidance and assistance during the first two years of teaching. Districts select their most effective teachers to observe and provide feedback to colleagues, conduct demonstration lessons, assist teachers in setting up classroom management plans, and lend their expertise to new teachers. Curriculum coordinators and instructional facilitators continue to work closely with new teachers throughout their second and third years.
Scope of Reach All new teachers in the district may participate.
Timeframe 1996 - Present
Budget / Sources of funds State of Louisiana
Actor(s) Implementing School parishes
Results Lafourche Parish Public Schools retained 46 of 47 teachers during the 2001-2002 school year. Of 279 teachers hired in the district in the previous four years, only 11 left teaching. Louisiana adopted the FIRST program as a statewide model for all school districts.

Spotlight: Professional Educator Induction Program (MD)
Description New teachers in Prince George’s County, Maryland are assigned to demonstration classrooms specific to their grade levels, content areas, or specialty areas, along with three days of structured training. Throughout the two-year induction period new teachers work with an assigned mentor and may enroll in a voluntary teacher-coaching program. New teachers may also have "buddy systems" set up at individual schools. Other resources include State-proven Workshops-Modulated Experiences (SAW-ME) courses, online professional development programs.
Scope of Reach All new teachers to the district may participate.
Timeframe 1998 - Present
Budget / Sources of funds Prince George’s County Public Schools
Actor(s) Implementing Prince George’s County Public Schools
Results Results from the Maryland State Department of Education show reduced attrition rate for new teachers; the overall program was met with eager support and enthusiasm from administrators, mentor teachers, classroom teachers, students, parents, community members and induction participants.

Spotlight: The Flowing Wells Teacher Induction Program for Success (AZ)
Description New teachers in Arizona receive four days of intensive training in early August. Throughout the first year, staff development coordinators—master teachers who receive stipends and release time in order to work with the teachers they are mentoring—serve as mentors to all new teachers, observing each new teacher five times. During a teacher's second year, instructional coordinators mentor the new teachers. In their third and fourth years, teachers receive advanced training in instructional strategies, cooperative learning, higher-level thinking, and more.
Scope of Reach Newly-hired first-time teachers, with training that is specific to the stages of teacher growth, are eligible to participate.
Timeframe 1985 - Present
Budget / Sources of funds State of Arizona
Actor(s) Implementing Arizona school districts

Results from the Arizona Department of Education have shown a reduced attrition rate for new teachers, reduced anxiety for first-year teachers, increased student achievement and an overall increase in teachers’ willingness to participate in career-long staff development.

Promising Practice: Promote Collective Decision-Making and Individual Classroom Autonomy to Increase Retention

Teachers of color have indicated in exit surveys their primary reasons for leaving the profession are school-related factors, including a lack of collective faculty decision-making influence and the degree of individual classroom autonomy given to teachers. School districts can implement specific measures to increase both collective faculty decision-making as well as classroom autonomy.

Research/Evidence Shows: Recommended Actions:

Districts that allow teachers more classroom autonomy and increased opportunities for faculty input into school-wide decisions have much lower turnover levels than districts that manage how classes are taught and disregard teacher input. Re-evaluating and improving these issues could lead to increased retention of teachers of color.

  • Allow teachers meaningful and tangible influence.
  • Governing boards should understand and be open to implementing innovative ideas.
  • Faculty must be prepared for a reduced influence from school administration; leadership is second only to classroom instruction among all school-related factors that contribute to positive student outcomes.

Teacher Powered Schools

Hughes STEM High School, OH Instructional Leadership Team

Social Justice Humanitas Academy

Teach Plus: The Decade Plus Teaching Career


Spotlight: Hughes STEM High School (OH)
Description At Hughes STEM High School in Cincinnati, OH, with a 98% African American student population, teachers utilized an Instructional Leadership Team (ILT) provision in a collective bargaining agreement between the Cincinnati School Board and the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers to create a teacher-empowered school. Though Hughes operates with a district-approved principal, all decisions are made collectively by teachers in collaboration with the principal in order to preserve authority and autonomy for teachers. According to the ILT provision, the principal cannot veto decisions made by the teachers’ group.
Scope of Reach Individual school within the public school district
Timeframe 2009 - Present
Budget / Sources of funds The National Science Foundation provided a $3.5M grant to launch the school in 2009, which is now a part of the Ohio public school district.
Actor(s) Implementing Hughes STEM High School Teachers
Results Hughes STEM High School boasts a consistent 95%+ teacher retention rate (100% in some years). Parents are more involved and student achievement has increased since the school’s inception.

Spotlight: Social Justice Humanitas Academy (SJHA) (CA)
Description SJHA teachers define their own working conditions, including curricular requirements and leadership roles within the school. Part of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), SJHA is a teacher-powered pilot school serving 520 students in grades 9-12. The student body is 94% Latino with 87% qualifying for free or reduced lunch and 80% ELL. SJHA students face poverty, language barriers and other challenges, including gangs, drugs, violence, lack of resources, and low expectations within and outside their community.
Scope of Reach Individual school within public school district
Timeframe 2000 - Present
Budget / Sources of funds Los Angeles Unified School District
Actor(s) Implementing Superintendent
Results SJHA boasts a 94% student graduation rate and has the highest student and teacher attendance rate in the district. In 2015 the school was named a National Community School of Excellence.

Promising Practice: Assume Hands-on Role in Sponsoring Teachers of Color

Leadership at the building level is an essential component of teacher retention. Research shows that the most effective principals foster a school culture that encourages professional collaboration and continuous improvement. Toward that end, principals should provide sponsorship for teachers of color by giving regular, positive feedback; extending offers to participate on hiring committees; recognizing accomplishments publicly and frequently; offering leadership responsibilities or opportunities to lead projects; and spending time talking to and understanding the needs of individual teachers of color in their buildings.

Research/Evidence Shows: Recommended Actions:

Among people of color, sponsorship is particularly crucial in invigorating ambition and driving engagement. 53% of African American teachers with a sponsor are satisfied with their rate of advancement, compared with 35% of those without such advocacy. Sponsorship is also a key retention tool—teachers of color with sponsors are less likely than those without sponsors to leave the profession within a year.

  • Provide professional development for administrators to understand the value of retaining teachers of color and to discuss how to sponsor teachers of color in their buildings.
  • Develop clear leadership pathways for teachers of color (and all teachers).

The Irreplaceables (TNTP)

Center for Talent Innovation, Vaulting the Color Bar: How Sponsorship Levers Multicultural Professionals into Leadership

Promising Practice: Establish Affinity Groups to Reduce Voluntary Teacher Attrition

Teachers, like other professionals, welcome opportunities for bonding experiences with colleagues of their own culture. It is particularly important for communities to offer cultural or social supports in which pre-service students of color will eventually teach. Communities with affinity associations demonstrate their commitment to fostering inclusive environments. Communities without affinity associations or with traditionally small percentages of teachers of color often have difficulty attracting candidates of color.

Research/Evidence Shows: Recommended Actions:

Rural and suburban districts with traditionally low percentages of teachers of color can attract more diverse candidates by offering cultural supports within their communities. Such opportunities will not only attract teachers of color to the district and serve as effective retention tools, they can also provide leadership opportunities within the various affinity groups.

  • Dedicate central office support to the creation and maintenance of affinity groups.
  • Budget for events and programming.

Black Leaders and Administrators Consortium (BLAC)

Diversity Primer Chapter 10, Employee Network and Affinity Groups

Making Space

Spotlight: Black Leaders and Administrators Consortium (BLAC) (CT)
Description BLAC is an organization dedicated to the career advancement and recognition of Black administrators and leaders, as well aspiring administrators. Through professional development and networking opportunities we are creating a pool of talented and well prepared Black leaders.
Scope of Reach BLAC is committed to advancing the careers and contributions of Black leaders and preparing the next generation of leaders through professional development programming, leadership development, networking opportunities, and other professional growth activities. Our programs and initiatives connect, convene, and support Black leaders in their professional growth.
Timeframe 2018 - Present
Budget / Sources of funds Membership Dues
Actor(s) Implementing Dr. Terrell Hill, Assistant Superintendent, Windsor Public Schools
Results As a new organization, BLAC's mission is to promote and advocate for the career progression of Black leaders by providing training, mentoring, and networking opportunities. This, in turn, will increase the number of Black leaders, the social capital of Black leaders, and create a community through which Black leaders can share best practices.

CT Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (CALAS) (CT)
Description The mission of the CT Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (CALAS) is to foster quality and equitable public education for Latino Connecticut students as we seek to inspire, cultivate, develop, and support Hispanic/Latino educational leaders and talent. Acting with urgency, we are committed to supporting the professional growth of Hispanic/Latino talent through professional learning and networking opportunities.
Scope of Reach
  • Communicate our purpose and promote collaboration among all stakeholders who support quality and equitable education for Latino students.
  • Provide networking opportunities and share best educational practices for educating Latino students successfully in a global economy.
  • Develop pathways to increase leadership capacity among diverse educators and students.
  • Work cooperatively with other state and national administrative organizations to promote and advocate for quality public education
Timeframe 2015 - Present
Budget / Sources of funds Membership dues collected through a variety of individual, affiliate, and corporate partnerships.
Actor(s) Implementing CALAS is the state chapter of the national organization ALAS, and was founded by a group of school leaders from New Haven dedicated to expanding resources and opportunities for Hispanic/Latino educators. CALAS has partnered with Connecticut Association of Schools (CAS), as they seek to expand their membership and bring their mission to life in CT.
Results CALAS has sponsored networking events, educational forums and professional conferences to bring together Hispanic/Latino educators and increase leadership capacity among diverse educators and students. A scholarship is available to support an aspiring leader to pursue leadership opportunities.

Promising Practice: Inform Connecticut Stakeholders of Potential Impacts on Teachers of Color

Administrators and legislators need to be briefed on the effects any accountability policies, school closings, or reconstitution plans may have on teachers of color, who often work in schools targeted for such interventions. School closings, turnaround efforts, and reconstitutions of schools into charter schools are often implemented in poorer communities where a higher percentage of teachers of color are employed. Such efforts have resulted in involuntary dismissals, difficulty with rehire and, in some cases, early retirement among educators of color.

Research/Evidence Shows: Recommended Actions:

Policymakers must be cognizant of the potential effects accountability policies, school closings, and reconstitution plans may have on teachers of color and proactively devise innovative solutions to curb any disproportionate or adverse impacts.

  • Mandatory reviews of educator and student data for policymakers considering deconstruction of schools
  • Understanding of potential implications under the “Disparate Impact” legal doctrine, which looks at systems that produce different results for different racial groups

White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, Recruiting and Retaining Educators of Color

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