Teacher Recruitment and Retention: Our February Focus


February 28, 2018


A teacher and students seated at a table

Many areas of the country, including the Northwest, are facing severe teacher shortages. In February we took a close look at how education stakeholders in our region are using promising practices and research-driven initiatives to solve this problem.

Creating Networks to Improve Teacher Recruitment and Retention

What can a district do—particularly one located in a remote, rural area—when there simply aren’t enough teacher candidates to fill open positions?

On our blog, Mike Siebersma writes about rural districts that are using collaborative leadership and educator networks to meet immediate staffing needs and create long-term solutions.

Siebersma shows how the Idaho Superintendent Network used a set of questions to guide the group’s collaborative thinking—and action—on teacher recruitment and retention challenges.

Identifying Gaps in Idaho’s Teaching Force

According to a new REL Northwest report that examines Idaho’s teacher shortage, more than 1 in 5 new Idaho teachers do not return to their school after their first year. The report and its findings are helping to shape statewide policy discussions on teacher recruitment and retention.

A new infographic helps break down the findings, which show that the state’s teacher workforce is becoming less experienced and that many schools (particularly high-poverty schools) are struggling to keep up with increasing enrollments of English learner students.

Education Week recently highlighted the work of the Idaho Educator Pipeline Alliance, a research-practice partnership between a wide-ranging group of Idaho education stakeholders and REL Northwest. The journal featured the partnership in two blog posts, one by REL Northwest researchers Havala Hanson and Jennifer Esswein, who describe the urgent conditions that led to the research-practice partnership’s formation, and another by Homedale School District Superintendent Rob Sauer, who writes about the challenges facing Idaho’s rural districts and how data and evidence are needed to create a common language for collaborators as they look for solutions.

Hiring and Retaining Great Teachers in a High-Poverty Environment

Pasco High School is a high-poverty school in Eastern Washington that has kept its teacher turnover rate below the state average for the past five years. In addition, the diversity of its workforce is nearly three times higher than the state average.

What is it about Pasco High that draws teachers to the school and makes them want to stay?

Read a Northwest Matters blog post
from Pasco Principal Raúl Sital on his approach to “hiring for character” and “creating a leadership culture.”

REL Northwest also created a special feature on Pasco’s hiring and retention practices including a video, infographics, and teacher interviews.

How a Teacher Mentoring Project in Alaska Is Getting Results

What difference can a teacher mentorship program make on encouraging teachers to stay on the job?

In a study of the Alaska Statewide Mentorship Program, our researchers and evaluators found that new teachers who were provided with experienced mentors were more likely than their peers to still be on the job after three years—and students in their classrooms were performing better in math and reading.

What can other states learn from Alaska's efforts? On our blog, Phyllis Ault writes about the strategies and lessons learned from this innovative program, which is helping new teachers succeed—and stay—in the profession.

Check back often in March 2018 as we feature programs and practices that help educators engage English learners with compelling, grade-appropriate language and content. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Subscribe to our Northwest Matters blog, and never miss a post.