American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Urban and Rural Recruitment Strategies

Problems shared by large city school districts were addressed by the Urban Teacher Collaborative, which consists of Recruiting New Teachers, Inc.; the Council of the Great City Schools (57 members); and the Council of the Great City Colleges of Education (67 members). These groups work together to improve the quality, diversity, and cultural sensitivity of the nation's urban teacher workforce. In 1998-1999, the Urban Teacher Collaborative conducted surveys of districts to obtain information about immediate and anticipated demand for teachers, recruitment strategies, and targeted recruitment pools (Urban Teacher Collaborative, 2000).

The most frequently used recruitment strategies of 39 city districts that responded to the Urban Teacher Collaborative study were the following:

  • Special recruitment efforts at colleges and universities
  • Establish "grow your own" programs with universities to keep graduates within the community
  • Recruitment at Historically Black institutions and Hispanic serving institutions
  • International recruitment efforts
  • On-the-spot contracts offered by schools
  • Guidance and information about teacher credentialing
  • Job fairs to attract new teachers to school district
  • Providing teacher employment information via telephone hotline
  • Participating in online counseling and/or job-finding services of Web sites
  • Offering induction support programs
  • Offering school placement guarantees
  • Offering alternative teacher certification routes

The study proposed use of the following monetary incentives as recruitment and retention strategies:

  • Housing assistance, relocation benefits, moving expenses
  • Tuition assistance for graduate work
  • Incentives for national certification
  • Student loan forgiveness program
  • Monetary bonus for high-need subject area candidates
  • Bonus for high student achievement

In their study, Brownell et al. (2005) listed strategies and examples of ways that districts have recruited personnel in rural settings:

Use financial incentives to recruit teachers such as:

  • Salary bonus
  • Bonus or raise from National Board Certification
  • Housing assistance
  • Loan forgiveness/scholarships
  • State tax relief

Substantial increase in salary needed to keep teachers in hard-to-staff, low-performing schools; individuals are more likely to leave teaching if comparable salaried jobs outside teaching are available in the same geographic area. An example from Anaheim, California includes:

  • $2,500 signing bonus for fully certified work in low-performing schools
  • $2,000 for remaining a second year

"Grow your own"

"Location Specific Human Capital": Increase the likelihood that individuals will remain in a given community to work or in one that is similar. Developing a preparation program for local community residents may be most effective, particularly in rural areas.

Two Ways

  1. Alternative routes to certification-using distance education and nearby school sites
  2. High school programs

One study indicated that 85% of teachers in New York took their first jobs within 40 miles of where they attended high school (Boyd, Lankford, Hamilton, Loeb, & Wycoff, 2004)

South Carolina Teaching "Cadet" Program

High school "cadets" earn academic credit for participating in an intensive course that provides information on child development and teacher education. Currently, of the 20,000 cadets who have participated in the program thus far, 10% are in the South Carolina public schools (well worth the $130.00 per student investment).

Dewitt-Wallace Pathways Programs

A paraprofessional step-up program keeps those teachers in classrooms longer than short-term programs such as "Teach for America."

A 2007 Council of Great City Schools Research Brief on Recruiting and Retaining Effective Teachers in Urban Schools lists recommendations for retaining teachers in low-income, high minority urban districts:

  • Address the contextual factors driving teachers to leave their schools or the profession. Take into account both salary levels and working conditions.
  • Increase the intensity, breadth, and quality of mentoring and induction programs.
  • Support rigorous evaluation research of teacher retention strategies and programs.
  • Develop a working definition of high-quality teachers that better captures the contribution of teachers to student learning, and link teacher recruitment, hiring and incentive programs and policies to student achievement.

Reform human resources tracking systems and teacher assignment policies.

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