Equipping Educators for Growth: What Districts Can Do to Develop Their Teachers

Posted by Courtney Stevens on Jan 24, 2019 7:48:30 AM

Teachers in meeting

 

Creating opportunities for educators to grow in their roles can reduce teacher turnover and save districts hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.


How much is a good teacher worth? Hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, according to a 2011 study from researchers at Harvard University. The study showed that a student with a good fourth-grade teacher will make $25,000 more in their lifetime than a student with a poor or average fourth-grade teacher, or around $700,000 total for each new class of fourth-graders.


One talented teacher can make an outsize impact on a student’s life. Unfortunately, identifying, hiring, and retaining these teachers has become more challenging than ever: Department of Education data shows that 8 percent of teachers in the U.S. leave the profession each year, and findings from the Learning Policy Institute indicate that the average district spends over $200,000 annually recruiting and hiring new teachers.


According to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, teachers who leave the profession indicate that they do so in part because of a lack of shared decision-making and a scarcity of leadership opportunities. Because teaching is what researcher Charlotte Danielson calls a “flat” profession, or one in which there is limited opportunity for upward mobility, teachers who crave intellectual and career rigor often find themselves increasingly dissatisfied over time.


Fortunately, schools can recruit and retain talented teachers — and improve district-wide operations — by creating development opportunities for educators at every level. That means empowering teachers to grow professionally, develop new skills, expand their responsibilities, and collaborate with colleagues.


Let’s take a look at a few of the ways in which districts can foster a culture of educator engagement, and in turn, develop skilled and capable staff.


Facilitate Sustained, Aligned Professional Development


Like any professionals, educators want to feel that there are opportunities for personal and professional development in their chosen field; comprehensive PD opportunities for all staff can help foster new leaders and stronger staff all-around. Consider what kinds of support structures your district might develop in order to 1) encourage existing staff to develop the skills they need to lead their peers, and 2) create a robust talent pool within your district.


Flexible, aligned professional development resources offer educators the opportunity to acquire new skills that are relevant to their profession and to leadership positions in which they might be interested. Consider how your district can design and sustain a collaborative, personalized process of continuous professional improvement for teachers that tackles the instructional topics necessary to meet state standards, individual teacher growth goals, and district-wide initiatives.


Provide Incentives to Grow


Asking classroom teachers to develop new skills or mentor their peers often means increasing their workload and requiring that they participate in additional workshops and professional training. As such, it makes sense that districts should want to honor teachers’ time by rewarding them with stipends or salary increases. Unfortunately, when districts struggle to fund teacher leadership roles, they often try to go without them — but this can result in teacher turnover and end up being far more costly.


Luckily, there are several options in place for districts that aren’t sure how to fund teacher leaders. They may be able to use Title II-A funds, which are federal funds for the recruitment and training of new educators. If a district isn’t using these funds optimally, they can shift them toward the development of teacher leaders. Districts can also consider non-monetary awards, such as PD credit or increased planning time during school hours, to reward teacher leaders.


Support Continued Development


Hoonuit’s comprehensive professional development solutions allow educators at every level to choose the PD pathways that they find meaningful, helpful, and interesting, and to complete them on their own time. Further, the platform encourages real-time collaboration and offers instant feedback, creating a dynamic professional development environment that fosters teacher leaders and in turn, an improved student experience.


What’s more, Hoonuit’s human capital data analysis solution empowers district leaders to better understand, track, and analyze overall teacher performance. By helping stakeholders interpret key metrics related to leadership recruiting, deployment, evaluation, incentives, compensation, placement, and retention, our platform equips school and district leadership with the insights they need to become better human capital managers.


To find out how Hoonuit can transform your district’s approach to educator development and people management, click here.

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