Field Trip: Keeping Great Teachers

A large suburban school district. An 18% year-over-year teacher turnover rate. A superintendent who said, “We need to plug the hole in our bucket.” This is how one school district set out to give teachers more voice and increase teacher retention.

In this interview we speak with Dr. Jeannie Stone, Superintendent of Richardson ISD in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Dr. Stone talks about the factors that contributed to a the highest attrition rate of any district in their area — and what they did about it.

  • Conducting “stay interviews” with teachers to identify what their district was doing well in teachers’ eyes, and where they could grow
  • Action steps they took, such as early release days to free up time for teachers to plan and collaborate, and incorporating teacher voice in planning professional development
  • Incentivizing teachers to teach at high-need schools, transforming the culture in the process

“I have four completely transformed schools right now and we’re already seeing all kinds of data that’s showing that it’s going to work — and it is working.”

 

Resources

Stay Interview Questions
When the administration at Richardson ISD conducted the Stay Interviews, the interviews were simple and accessible for teachers, designed to get at what as truly on teachers’ minds. Here are the questions they asked teachers:

  1. How long have you worked on your campus? In the district?
  2. When you think about your job, what do you love most?
  3. How would you describe your campus to a prospective new hire?
  4. In what ways do you or don’t you feel supported in your professional growth?
  5. If you left RISD, what would you miss the most?
  6. If you had a magic wand, what would be the one thing you would change about your work, role or responsibilities?
  7. What would make RISD an even better place to work?
  8. What would lead you to look at opportunities outside of RISD?
  9. What types of recognitions and acknowledgement increase your loyalty and commitment to RISD?
  10. Is there anything else you would like to share?

Teacher Turnover Calculator
Wondering just how much teacher turnover costs your district? Our Teacher Turnover Calculator gives you an estimated dollar figure, taking into account recruiting and hiring costs, processing and onboarding, and signing bonuses — and looks at how much you could save by increasing your retention rate.