Invest in Your People to Reduce Teacher Turnover

Why time spent growing your teachers can help save your district $$$.


What’s that they say about an ounce of prevention vs. a pound of cure? Or plugging the hole in your bucket before trying to fill it?

There’s a reason for these sage proverbs: avoiding a problem — like teacher turnover — is better than having to fix it.

Q: What’s better than being able to fill all of your open teaching positions for the year quickly and easily?

A: Reducing the number of vacancies in the first place by making sure your teachers are engaged and continually growing in practice.

 

How much is teacher turnover costing your district?

Find out below

 
 

1. How Many Teachers?

How many teachers work in your school or district? Enter your numbers in the fields below.

How many teachers leave your school or district each year? If you don’t know, enter your best estimate.

2. Cost of Hiring

How much do you spend on recruiting per teaching position? (Advertising on job boards, flyers, attending/traveling to job fairs, etc.)

How much do you spend on processing and onboarding each new teacher?

How much is your signing bonus for new teachers? If there is no signing bonus, enter zero.

 

Your Results

Your school system’s retention rate is:

Every year, turnover costs your school system:

How Much Could You Save?

If you increased your retention rate by…
1%  you would save   every year.
3%  you would save   every year.
5%  you would save   every year.
10%  you would save   every year.
 
*Auto-filled figures are based on estimates from the National Commission on Teaching & America’s Future
 

With more than half of teachers leaving the profession in their first five years and a diminishing number of teachers entering the profession at all, education leaders across the US are grappling with an urgent question: Once you’ve recruited the best, what can you do to retain that talent?

As students face intense challenges — increasing cases of anxiety and depression, threats to safety at school, and more — teachers are tasked with supporting their students through it all. As students with disabilities are increasingly given the opportunity to participate in general education classrooms, teachers have a wider range of levels and abilities to consider as they plan lessons.

This increasing pressure on teachers is compounded by tight district budgets. Schools already spend, on average, about 80–85% of their budgets on salaries and benefits. As an administrator, that means that as you look to retain your best talent, especially for positions in special education, math, and science, you have to get intentional and creative.

 

The good news: You can take steps to reduce turnover, improve instruction, and impact student achievement at the same time.

In a 2012 study i, 68% of teachers said that supportive leadership is “absolutely essential” to teacher retention. Other important factors included professional development that is relevant to personal and school goals, time for teachers to collaborate, and evaluations based on multiple measures.

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Here’s how several districts are providing that supportive leadership at every stage of teachers’ careers.

START AT THE BEGINNING: HIRING & ONBOARDING

 
How do the hiring and onboarding processes contribute to teacher quality and student achievement?

"It all starts with human capital. If you select the right people, and if you have a strong process in place to select those people and to onboard them and mentor and support them along the way, then it’s much easier to put a personalized professional learning culture in place and trust your people to not only do some self-directed learning, but to teach within the organization."
 
 
 

THROUGHOUT A TEACHER’S CAREER: ONGOING SUPPORT

 
Teacher burnout is real. What causes it? And what can administrators do to help teachers combat the emotional exhaustion they feel?

"Teacher burnout, it’s like a slow leak. You see it happening, but how do you support these teachers to make sure they get rejuvenated, and that every summer it’s not, ‘Am I going to retire this year? Am I going to leave this year?'"
 
 
 

UNDERNEATH IT ALL: CULTURE

 
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.’ The story of how one school district set out to give teachers more voice and increase teacher retention.

"To anyone who says, ‘This won’t work,’ I would say you’re wrong. Because every one of us likes to be listened to and to feel like, ‘I am part of something bigger than myself.'"
 
 
 

Resources for Continuous Improvement

Looking for ideas to help you engage, grow and retain your teachers and staff? Our Resources for Continuous Improvement page is overflowing with eBooks, case studies and interactive content to support you in your work.

 

Dive In  

 
i Primary Sources: 2012: America's Teachers on the Teaching Profession. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.scholastic.com/primarysources/pdfs/Gates2012_full.pdf