General Retention Information
The resource Keeping Quality Teachers: The Art of Retaining
General and Special Education Teachers (U.S. Office of Special
Education Programs, 2004) provides a framework for actions that
are known to support retention of quality teachers. Many of these
general tools can apply to the retention of qualified
school-based SLPs. These include:
Building a Framework
Improving Working Conditions
- Supporting the capabilities and value of teachers
- Including teacher decision-making practices regarding both
instruction and school governance issues
- Enforcing student discipline policies
- Incorporating professional development opportunities
- Striving for teaching assignments aligned with
certification and background
- Providing extra compensation for difficult and
The Role of the Administrator in Teacher Retention
Research indicates that administrative leadership is the most
important factor in determining the climate of a school, and
there are specific leader activities that allow all teachers to
feel supported in their work. A management style grounded in
respect for all in the school environment, along with strong
communication and interpersonal skills and effective
organizational strategies, encourages all teachers to feel
supported and gain a commitment to the school and to their
Induction and Mentoring Programs That Work
Successful induction programs include mentoring or coaching
that is individualized to the needs of the teacher, the
classroom, and the subject level assignment. They provide
continuing assistance and ongoing guidance by an expert in the
field, support development of knowledge and skills, provide
opportunities for reflection, acculturate the new teacher into
the profession and the school, provide opportunities for new
teachers to observe and analyze good teaching, and include
assessment of the program's value to new teachers and its
impact on student learning (Berry et al., 2002; Odell, 1989, as
cited in Fidelar & Haselkorn, 1999). Teacher induction
programs have emerged as having great success in helping to
retain teachers in the classroom (Brownell, Bishop, &
The National Education Association (NEA) publishes a
guidebook, Meeting the Challenges of Recruitment & Retention,
containing a compendium of effective, innovative, and promising
initiatives, strategies, and programs, as well as resources from
which to draw, to meet the challenges posed in recruiting and
retaining qualified teachers. Many of the initiatives and
strategies can be applied to recruitment and retention of
speech-language pathologists, as well. The publication contains
three major sections, 1) policies, strategies, and initiatives 2)
recruitment partnership grants, and 3) recruiting and retaining
describes recruitment strategies that included development of a
comprehensive recruitment plan, marketing/outreach campaigns,
improved hiring processes, nontraditional routes, and financial
incentives. Retention strategies included adequate preparation
for teachers, nurturing strategies for new teachers, improved
working environments, and additional financial incentives.
lists five teacher partnership grants awarded to state and local
affiliate partnerships for developing, sustaining, and supporting
innovative projects for recruiting and retaining teachers in high
need areas. This section provides an overview of each state's
project, strategies and objective for the project,
accomplishments, and names and contact information for project
of the publication acknowledges that the student body has become
increasingly more diverse while the teaching force has not.
Resources I this section include description of early outreach
programs, scholarship/grant programs, advanced degree programs,
and paraeducator-to-teacher programs including contacts (NEA,
2003). A MetLife Survey of the American Teacher finds a clear
correlation between quality school relationships and an increased
rate of retention among teachers. Teachers stating that they were
likely to leave the profession were also more likely to express
dissatisfaction with their relationships with parents, the
principal, and their students (MetLife, 2005). In another study
by the Center for Teacher Quality, which looked specifically at
high schools, a similar correlation between better-quality
working conditions and decreased teacher turnover was found.
Student achievement was also reported to improve with better
working conditions. (Center For Teaching Quality, 2007).
The New Teacher Center (NTC) www.newteachercenter.org is a
national resource focused on teacher and administrator induction.
The NTC reports a demonstrable record of achievement, with
long-term new teacher retention rates as high as 95%, compared
with a nationwide dropout rate of nearly 50%.
The NTC rests its foundation on the Santa Cruz New Teacher
Project (SCNTP), established in 1988, as a systematic,
mentor-based teacher induction model. The NTC's induction
model helps novice educators maintain a strategic focus on
student learning and classroom instruction with the guidance of
highly trained and supported mentors. The NTC works with new and
veteran educators, researchers, and policy makers to support the
development of strong induction models. This is accomplished by
providing resources and programs that address effective mentoring
and supervision practices, issues of equity, use of student data
to improve instruction, and strategies for meeting the needs of
English language learners.
Induction services are provided to every beginning teacher in
the Santa Cruz region through the University of California at
Santa Cruz. The program has expanded to include other districts
across the nation. SCNTP rigorously selects and trains mentors to
support new teachers during their first 2 years in the Santa Cruz
school district. Mentors also administer assessments to new
teachers to evaluate their work.
Kitty Dixon from the NTC reports that 94% of teachers who have
been mentored over the last 10 years through the SCNTP are still
in education 7 years later. Of those, 88% continue to teach in
K-12 classrooms. The Toledo (OH) Plan is a cooperative project
between the Toledo school district and the Toledo Federation of
Teachers. New teachers are considered interns, and they are
supported by mentors and reviewed as to their effectiveness at
the end of their first year. A board of review, composed of
administrators and teacher leaders, examines the progress of each
teacher and decides whether to renew his or her contract. The
Toledo Plan also identifies poorly performing veteran teachers
and provides them mentored support.
North Carolina has become the first state in the nation to
study teacher working conditions by surveying its teachers. In
2002 and 2004, teachers were asked questions about time,
facilities and resources, empowerment, leadership, and
professional development, and the impact these factors have on
whether teachers stay and students learn. North Carolina schools
and districts are using the information to make data-driven
decisions about improving teacher working conditions, and thereby
student achievement, through the creation and support of a
stable, high-quality teaching force in every school across the
state. The data gathered have been used to generate customized
reports for schools and districts about the status of working
conditions in their respective schools. More information can be
Whitaker (2000) found that beginning special education
teachers with mentors who they rated as effective were more
likely to remain in special education. These mentors had the
- They were special educators.
- They met with the new teacher frequently.
- They provided emotional support.
- They conveyed system information related to the teaching
environments and to special education.
- They informed the new teacher of materials and
In a report from the Alliance for Excellent Education (2004)
Tapping the Potential: Retaining and Developing High-Quality
Teachers," the following components of a successful induction program
This is defined as structured mentoring from carefully
selected teachers who (a) work in the same field or subject as
the new teachers, (b) are trained to coach the new teachers, and
(c) can help improve the quality of the teachers' practice.
Mentors guide and support the work of novice teachers by
observing them in the classroom, offering them feedback,
demonstrating effective teaching methods, assisting with lesson
plans, and helping teachers analyze student work and achievement
data to improve their instruction.
Common Planning Time
Regularly scheduled common planning time helps teachers
connect what and how they teach to improving student achievement
in a collaborative culture. These strategies may include how to
develop lesson plans, use student assessment data, and employ
collaborative models to increase student achievement.
Ongoing professional development.
These activities include regular seminars and meetings that
improve a teacher's skill to increase student learning.
Professional development should meet teachers' needs to
expand content knowledge, teach literacy and numeracy at the
secondary school level, address diverse learning needs, and
manage student behavior.
An external network of teachers.
Participation in a network of educators outside of the local
school provides teachers with a community of colleagues within
which to collaborate and receive support, keeping them from
Some new teachers may not be ideally suited for teaching.
Standards-based evaluation of all beginning teachers provides a
mechanism for determining whether new teachers should move
forward in the profession. To retain teachers and improve their
overall quality, comprehensive induction should be accompanied
by the following essential elements that create
high-functioning learning communities within schools:
- Strong principal leadership
- High-quality providers of the induction program with
dedicated staff resources
- Additional support for new teachers with little
- Incentives for teachers to participate in induction
- Alignment between induction, classroom needs, and
- An adequate and stable source of funding
According to a report from the American Association of School
Personnel Administrators, there are differences in priorities and
expectations that exist among the "Greatest
Generation," the Baby Boomers, Generation X, and the
Millennials-all of whom exist in the workforce. It is important
to consider the employee priorities and interests within
different age groups when considering how to retain personnel.
The Greatest Generation is motivated by security and lifelong
learning. They understand salary schedules, seniority,
organizational charts, and working one's way up through the
system. Baby Boomers desire money, fancy titles, and a fast track
to the top. Generation Xers appreciate work environment, place
family ahead of career, and are comfortable changing jobs and
careers. Millennials (born after 1981) desire harmony and
responsibility and want meaningful and interesting work. They
have a low value for company loyalty and place importance on work
life balance (American Association of School Personnel
Following the assertion that teachers who are well-prepared
and well-supported will turn out students who can achieve at
higher levels and meet state standards, Recruiting and Retaining
Teachers for Hard-to-Staff Schools (Berry & Hirsch, 2005)
describes what states can do to recruit and retain teachers in
hard to staff schools. A comprehensive recruitment/retention
policy includes good data systems that allow states to evaluate
and refine policies and programs to recruit, train, and retain
teachers. Financial incentives, working conditions, and better
preparation and support are important factors in retaining good
teachers. Multiple incentives are required to provide the most
powerful leverage in placing teachers in hard-to-staff schools.
Research supports the importance of salary and other financial
incentives. However, good leadership and decision-making
authority are reportedly more important than salary as factors in
leading teachers to leave schools. There are numerous examples of
success stories in states using the above listed incentives.
These states include Mississippi, New York, North and South
Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, and Arkansas.
Some examples of better preparation and support for teachers
are to provide quality professional development opportunities,
time to collaborate, and-for new teachers-support from mentors,
as well as specialized training.
Alternative routes to traditional teacher preparation have
been attempted in several states. Six characteristics have been
found to be common to successful alternative training programs.
These are (a) high standards and proper candidate screening; (b)
solid preservice instruction in pedagogy, subject, classroom
management, and child development; (c) good mentoring; (d) a
period of good teaching observation and assistance in the
classroom; (e) ongoing training, instruction, and reflection; and
(f) continuous monitoring, evaluation, and feedback.
Retention of new teachers can be addressed by providing
support through strong on the job training opportunities that
include (a) opportunities to observe and analyze good teaching,
(b) guidance by highly trained mentors, (c) reduced workloads to
provide more time for learning, and (d) assistance in meeting
School districts in Tennessee, Florida, and Alabama have
implemented successful incentives by combining bonuses and
professional support to attract teachers too hard to staff
schools. State policy makers are urged to create an array of
incentives and supports that provides a menu of choices to use
for recruitment and retention (Berry & Hirsch, 2005).