Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID)
Special Education and Vocational Rehabilitation Services

                         Keeping Quality Teachers
The Art of Retaining General and Special Education Teachers

Bringing It Together

      Educators recognize the need to ensure a quality teaching force if students are to gain the knowledge and skills that will enable them to be successful in school and in life. Section One of this document, Making the Case for Teacher Retention, highlighted the crucial role of quality teachers in promoting the academic success of all students. It provided research findings linking high student academic achievement with quality, experienced teachers. Subsequent sections identified three key strategies for building a framework that school leaders can use to help them retain teachers in their profession and in their school: Improving Working Conditions; The Role of the Administrator in Teacher Retention; and Induction and Mentoring Programs that Work.

     Promoting Linkages: Partnerships Between Schools and Higher Education, shows how school leaders can promote partnerships that provide needed instructional support for new teachers and enhance professional growth and development opportunities for all school staff. Educators are increasingly recognizing that schools alone cannot be responsible for retaining quality teachers, and that collaborative partnerships with parents, institutions of higher education, community members and agencies, and community-based organizations can support and enhance schools’ efforts to provide quality teachers to meet the needs of the diversity of today’s students.

     In focusing attention on retaining quality teachers, school leaders can draw upon a wealth of resources, both within the school and in the community that can provide support in any teacher retention initiative. The following five areas of inquiry provide a straightforward framework for action for initiating or enhancing a teacher retention initiative at the school district or school building level.

  • Where Do We Start?
  • Who Should We Involve?
  • What Do We Want to Do?
  • How Do We Do It?
  • Where Do We Go From Here?

      Each of the five areas of inquiry is further developed with a key question and action steps that can be taken to create a blueprint for teacher retention. The use of this framework enables school leaders and administrators to enter the process at any point in time, dependent on the status and needs for a teacher retention plan at the local level. The appendices listed at the end of this section provide resources that support planning and implementation.

Where Do We Start?

      School leaders who recognize the critical role that quality teachers play in high academic performance provide the impetus and leadership for establishing a teacher retention initiative (Danielson, 2002). A recurring or persistent exodus of teachers from a school or from a district often signals the need to examine conditions that may be contributing to why teachers are leaving.

     If a school or district believes a teacher retention problem exists, a self-assessment with three action steps can form the basis for initiating a teacher retention effort, and examining factors at the very beginning of the process. Depending upon where a problem exists, a team of key personnel with substantial involvement of teachers can be assembled at the school or district level, or at both levels, to explore reasons why teachers are leaving. Because the major focus of the educational environment and schools is the retention of quality teachers to promote student achievement, any self-assessment or discussion regarding teacher retention should begin by examining teacher retention data. Ultimately, improvements in teacher retention should result in increased or enhanced results in student achievement.

1.     Analyze data to identify the problem.

     Analyzing data on retention of quality teachers is the first step in identifying whether a teacher retention problem exists. Data on teacher retention and attrition should be reviewed and analyzed as part of the problem identification process to determine whether a high number or proportion of quality teachers are leaving the school or district. The data could include, but not be limited to, the number and percentage of teachers leaving a school or district disaggregated by type of certification or license; exit interview and survey data specifying reasons why teachers left their positions; survey or focus group data on teachers remaining in their positions to identify reasons why they are staying, and whether they may be considering leaving and why; and any other data that could pinpoint problems that affect retention of quality teachers (Ingersoll, 2001). Particular shortage areas that have been documented nationwide, such as special education, mathematics and science, may warrant specific consideration.

     As a next step, analyzing student achievement data can identify the impact on students when teacher attrition may be an issue. Schools have a wide variety of data on student and school educational performance that can be used to assess student learning (Reeves, 2004). Report card grades, teachers’ periodic assessments of student performance, standardized test results, and SAT and PSAT scores are among the numerous ways schools can determine whether students are achieving learning standards. In New York State, for example, annual School Report Cards are developed for each district and all schools in each district, summarizing a wide range of student performance data as well as characteristics of the schools, communities, teachers and students. Disaggregated data can be used to determine achievement patterns for specific groups including students with disabilities.

     Using teacher retention data linked to data on student achievement, the school or district team can identify factors that contribute to high academic achievement while at the same time, identifying problems that are inhibiting attainment of education goals. Where academic achievement is clearly meeting or exceeding expectations, factors and conditions that are contributing to success including high retention rates of quality teachers should be identified and encouraged. Similarly, where student outcomes are below expectations, the team should analyze disaggregated data including teacher attrition rates to identify problems that need to be addressed if students are to achieve learning standards.

2.   Identify root causes of the problem.

     The problem identification process should use root cause analysis or a similar process that is based on review of data to analyze a problem (University of the State of New York, 2001). Searching for the root cause of a potential problem begins with a collection of hunches about the problem, and then proceeds through a review and analysis of appropriate data to identify the root cause(s). Categories of data should include teacher retention and attrition data; demographical data about the school, students and community; student learning data; perceptions of key stakeholders including students, staff, parents, community members and others; and school processes data such as curriculum, assessment and instructional data. A starting point to determine the root cause(s) of a teacher retention problem could be a review of current rates of teacher retention and where the school or district believes they should be. Using multiple sources of data, the root cause search yields information about the fundamental cause(s) of a problem. In the process, the building or district team members brainstorm hunches and ideas about the problem; consolidate ideas from all team members; investigate and analyze needed data; and ultimately arrive at consensus on the root cause(s) of the problem.

3.   Examine reasons why the problem exists.

     A review of teacher retention data in conjunction with student achievement data enables a determination of potential reasons or hypotheses of why a problem exists. Research data and evaluative studies have consistently linked higher levels of student achievement with lower rates of teacher turnover, higher levels of teacher satisfaction with their school environment, and a positive learning community where teachers feel valued and supported. Analysis of achievement data and comparison of that data with characteristics of the teaching force across the district, across schools within the district, across grades within the schools, and across student populations within schools and grades should clarify the reasons why teacher retention is a major problem within any given school setting (University of the State of New York, 2001). At the district level, examination of teacher retention data such as the percentage of highly qualified teachers who teach in high performing schools and the percentage who teach in low performing schools, and the percentage of teachers who have taught for three or four plus years in their schools helps pinpoint areas of concern where teacher retention efforts may be needed.

     A growing body of research and evaluative studies outlined in earlier sections of this document has identified three major issues affecting the retention of quality teachers (Darling-Hammond, 2003). In examining reasons why a teacher problem exists and developing assumptions about the problem, the team should review and analyze these major issues as possible causes of why teachers are leaving. Emphasis on each or all of the three strategies is locally driven, based on the district’s or school’s initial self-assessment of which factors most strongly influence teacher retention. Factors may differ widely from urban to suburban to rural settings, based on the characteristics of the schools.

  • Working conditions are key factors in why teachers choose to stay or leave their teaching position in a school, or choose to leave the teaching profession altogether. In seeking reasons why teachers leave, surveys of the existing teaching staff, exit interviews of teachers who elect to leave, or other data collection efforts can help pinpoint working conditions that contribute to why quality teachers leave. Section Two of this document, Building a Framework: Improving Working Conditions, identifies a series of working conditions that research and evaluative studies have shown can act as either supports or deterrents to teacher retention. The research shows, for example, that providing building and district level support for teachers, establishing a safe school environment for staff and students, and providing professional development opportunities for teachers are among the working conditions known to have a positive impact on retention of quality teachers. Section Two contains a self-assessment instrument that can help teachers and school leaders determine factors supporting teacher retention in their school or district, and select strategies for enhancing those factors in the local setting.
  • Teachers consistently cite administrative support and effective instructional leadership as key factors that create supportive and positive school climates that value teaching and learning, and result in high student achievement. Administrators can set the tone for a collaborative learning community where teamwork and collegial support is the norm, and student learning is the highest priority. Section Three of this document, Building a Framework: The Role of the Administrator in Teacher Retention, identifies common themes in educational leadership with examples of how an administrator can support teacher retention and provides resources for achieving that goal.
  • A lack of induction programs for new teachers, and mentoring programs for both new and veteran teachers can result in teachers who leave their school or the profession because of a lack of needed support in their early critical years of teaching. New teachers develop their skills as they have opportunities to use them in classroom settings, and then reflect upon their success in positively affecting student achievement. When new teachers leave, review and analysis of reasons why they leave should be considered in defining root causes for teacher attrition.

     Section Four of this document, Building a Framework: Induction and Mentoring Programs that Work, provides a solid model for planning and implementing induction and mentoring programs. It describes why induction and mentoring programs are necessary for new teachers, the types of assistance and support new teachers need, and the ways that mentors can support new teachers. The appendices contain a series of resources including a coaching self-assessment instrument and chart outlining roles and responsibilities of key players in a mentoring program in the Hopkinton Public Schools in Massachusetts. It also includes models for induction and mentoring programs that can be considered for implementation in any school setting including urban, suburban and rural schools, and districts.

     As noted earlier in the discussion on data analysis, the school or district team can explore a number of potential sources of data on teacher retention and attrition to aid in developing and examining potential reasons why teachers leave. Exit interviews and surveys of teachers leaving the school or district; surveys of the perceptions of teachers in the schools and district about the school environment and conditions; and other sources of information can be used for this purpose.

Key Question: Have we set goals to retain quality teachers who promote academic success for our students?
Who Should We Involve?

     Consensus among members of the school or district team on the root cause(s) of a teacher retention problem and the reasons why a teacher retention problem exists sets the stage for moving from problem identification to problem solving. Building partnerships among key stakeholders offers a viable way of gaining valuable support for launching a teacher retention initiative. Partnerships are formed among individuals and groups who have a common vision and who believe that retention of quality teachers results in improved student outcomes. Schools, teachers, families and communities are an important part of every child’s life, and the people children see on a daily basis play a significant role in their growth and development.

      In many localities, school and community leaders recognize the close interrelationships of school, family and community, and how these components of a child’s life can support each other. The impetus for action for organizing a teacher retention initiative frequently occurs within the school community when individuals take leadership in seeking ways to ensure that teachers are supported and recognized for their tireless efforts in helping students achieve success. School partners such as school administrators, teachers, parents, school board members, and teacher unions, and community partners such as institutions of higher education can play key roles in implementing a teacher retention initiative.

1.               Involve key school partners. 

     A unifying theme that will be a powerful force for a teacher retention initiative is a common concern about the needs of students, and how quality teachers impact on student achievement. School leaders set the tone for cooperation by focusing on the needs of students, and by identifying teacher retention strategies that are known to be effective in retaining quality teachers. They promote expectations that all school environments will support quality teaching and learning (Glickman, 2002). They increase school board and public awareness of the critical link between teacher retention and success of students. They strive to open lines of communication within the school, and between the school and the community to foster school improvement and high academic achievement through retention of the best teachers. School leaders build partnerships around a realistic and achievable strategy to retain quality teachers (Scherer, 2003).

     Teachers are key school partners who should be involved in all stages of a teacher retention initiative. School principals can provide school building leadership that creates a positive and supportive school climate for teaching and learning (Charlotte Advocates for Education, 2004). All school faculty and staff can foster a collaborative and supportive environment where the highest priority is student learning. Teachers’ unions can partner and link teacher union and school district programs to create innovative strategies to retain quality teachers, particularly in areas of persistent shortages. The school board can increase its understanding of the linkage between teacher retention and student achievement. In addition, all school partners can respond to the challenges faced by new teachers through collegial support and building positive relationships among all teachers.

2.               Collaborate with institutions of higher education. 

     Institutions of higher education can be valuable resources in supporting a teacher retention initiative. Starting with the preparation of new teachers, institutions of higher education can collaborate with schools to ensure that all new teachers entering the workforce are appropriately trained to help all students achieve higher standards. Research and evaluation findings that can support efforts to enhance teacher retention initiatives can be shared with schools. Partnerships can be established between schools and institutions of higher education to enhance linkages between pre-service training and ongoing professional development. These partnerships can provide the basis for inclusive pre-service programs, and follow-up training and support for both new and experienced teachers, particularly in areas of persistent shortages. Section Five of this document, Promoting Linkages: Partnerships Between Schools and Higher Education, provides a broad range of information, guidance and resources for schools and districts seeking to initiate or enhance partnerships with institutions of higher education. It has examples of partnerships including Professional Development Schools that provide a continuum of services addressing the needs of educators at all stages of their careers. A model partnership agreement, a rubric for assessing the qualities of partnerships, and case studies of existing partnerships are also included in appendices to Section Five.

3.               Include parents, families and community stakeholders.

     Parents and families are key partners critical to the success of students in school, and schools can enlist their support and commitment to a teacher retention initiative (Marzano 2003). Schools can help strengthen the knowledge of parents and families about the important role they can play in promoting student achievement, while at the same time, creating awareness of the need to devote efforts to retention of quality teachers. Schools can also gather information about potential partners in the community, including employers, businesses, Chambers of Commerce, employee groups, local media, community action groups, and other individuals and organizations that have an interest and commitment to quality education. Conversations with potential partners could be initiated through invitation to a meeting to discuss the importance of quality teachers to ensuring an education system in which students become responsible and productive members of society who contribute to the growth of their own communities.

     Every community regardless of size has groups, agencies, individuals, and other formal and informal organizations that are committed to helping the community grow and prosper (Marzano, 2003). While some groups and organizations are well known and their commitment very visible, others can play an equally important role in helping a teacher retention initiative succeed. A formal review of the resources both within the school and in the community can lead to the identification of a host of potential partners who, if asked, would be more than willing to commit their time and energy to improving the well-being of children by supporting quality teachers. Using the students’ needs assessments and the critical link between quality teachers and academic achievement, a wider audience of individuals and groups can be encouraged to become involved in supporting a teacher retention initiative.

Key Question: Have we reached out to partners who can support our efforts to retain quality teachers?
What Do We Want to Do?

     Retention of quality teachers provides a proven strategy for promoting student success.  Setting high expectations and providing the help students need to succeed through experienced teachers are the cornerstones of a good education program. A growing body of research strongly suggests that high student achievement occurs most frequently when teachers, parents and students set high standards and believe that all students can reach those standards (Schmoker, 2001). Expectations of high student performance are clearly related to a shared vision of success for the entire community and a commitment to ensuring quality teachers for all students. In New York State, for example, the Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD) Plan serves as the vehicle for addressing special education issues and concerns, including retention of special education teachers. The CSPD Plan has become the primary school improvement planning process and tool for many New York State schools, and it provides a comprehensive approach to identifying root causes of problems enabling development of realistic and achievable planning goals.

1.               Identify possible solutions. 

     A review of data on teacher retention and the impact on student achievement provides an opportunity for the school or district team to brainstorm potential solutions for addressing the teacher retention problem. The preliminary solutions should be both realistic and feasible in terms of cost and effort. Root cause data on the reasons why teachers leave is a starting point for developing preliminary solutions for potential inclusion in a teacher retention action plan. Previous sections of this document provide a series of potential strategies and ideas that should be considered in developing preliminary solutions to the teacher retention problem.

     If data shows that large numbers or percentages of new teachers are leaving after a relatively short time in the school or district, new teacher support activities described in Section Four including stronger and more comprehensive induction programs, and mentoring of new teachers are possible solutions. If survey data of current teachers shows a need for professional development in specific areas, potential solutions could include training identified by teachers, peer coaching, teachers visiting other classrooms to observe new or different instructional strategies, and other ideas developed by the team. School climate and instructional leadership issues as well as other working conditions outlined in Section Two could be addressed in a similar fashion by brainstorming solutions that would support a positive teaching and learning environment in the school. Enhancing administrative support and related leadership actions outlined in Section Three provide additional ideas for consideration.

2.               Develop or modify an action plan.

     Many schools already have school improvement plans and professional development plans that can be modified or amended to include a teacher retention initiative. Setting goals and objectives in existing or new plans forms the basis for developing a well organized initiative for teacher retention that serves as the primary vehicle for clear and effective communication among all partners. The teacher retention data reviewed in the problem identification process combined with the preliminary list of possible solutions can be used as the starting point for developing or revising an action plan for a teacher retention initiative. Student achievement data provides the framework for further discussions about the current level of achievement in the school or district, and highlights areas where improvement needs to occur. Gaining agreement among all partners on the critical importance of retaining quality teachers enables a more focused discussion around the priority needs within the district and its schools.

     During the planning process, the key partners in the school and in the community are able to expand their base of knowledge about each other, and about the needs that must be addressed to ensure retention of quality teachers. They are also in a stronger position to relate their knowledge about resources available in the school and in the community to new ways of working together to achieve a common goal of retaining quality teachers.

     Administrators, teachers and school staff can come together in a full staff meeting to review priority needs for teacher retention and offer ideas for solving problems. Surveys, small group meetings focused on teacher retention, focus groups or other means can be used to engage school staff in identifying solutions to problems. Community resources including parents and families, public and private sector partners including institutions of higher education, and local governmental leaders are potential resources that can also provide valuable support as part of the action plan for a teacher retention initiative.

3.               Implement the action plan.

     The program implementation stage provides the link between the available resources and the actions that will be taken to address a teacher retention issue. Crucial decisions will need to be made concerning the types and levels of support that will be provided to retain quality teachers. Human and financial costs of new and different services, and development of the organizational and administrative structure to ensure success need to be addressed as part of the implementation process.

     In implementing the action plan, the school or district team can begin working on a limited set of priorities with a clearly defined focus on retaining quality teachers. Working with a small core group of individuals including teachers, key elements of the operational plan can be implemented. A review of educational research and evaluative studies can be used to identify alternative strategies, activities and supportive services that have proven successful for other schools and districts.

     The team can play an instrumental role in moving the teacher retention activities from the initial exploratory planning stage on paper to the implementation of a concrete plan for action. Beginning with the commitment to retain quality teachers to help all children succeed, key partners in the school and community working together provide the momentum for change that begins to draw others into the effort. They demonstrate the leadership that establishes trust and opens lines of communication for people to become involved.

Key Question: Have we developed a school improvement plan that includes strategies for retention of quality teachers?
How Do We Do It?

     The ultimate success of an initiative devoted to retention of quality teachers will be determined by its impact on student achievement. Within our rapidly changing society, a quality education has become essential for students to achieve academic success in school, and gain the knowledge and skills needed to be productive in society. Teachers play a most important role in organizing and providing teaching and learning experiences designed to develop students’ basic and advanced skills. Research and evaluative studies have documented the crucial role of teachers in setting high expectations for academic success and helping their students achieve it. Emerging partnerships devoted to supporting retention of quality teachers that draw upon the strengths of the school and community create the enthusiasm and commitment needed to ensure success.

1.               Provide strong leadership.

     The school community is in the best position to provide the leadership necessary to develop and implement a teacher retention initiative that involves the support of parents, families and community. School leaders can use planning discussions with the school or district team and key partners in both the school and community to talk about issues around teacher retention that are affecting all students and teachers. They can help establish and gain consensus on a vision for success that ensures student achievement through retention of quality teachers. School leaders can create a common message with key partners to promote an urgency for ensuring retention of quality teachers. That message can be delivered to the school and the community in both formal and informal meetings. The leaders can encourage the school’s partnerships with its teachers and with the community to work collaboratively to retain quality teachers who help students achieve success.

2.               Define responsibilities.

     As the plan for action for teacher retention is implemented, key activities and tasks will be conducted for addressing the defined needs of teachers with responsibilities and timeframes identified for achieving results. The implementation phase will require a structure and a set of agreed-upon processes and procedures to complete key activities. Logistical arrangements will need to be in place to organize meeting times, provide materials for all partners in the school and community, offer orientation and training for all key partners, and attend to a host of other details for implementing key activities.

     Specific attention should be devoted to establishing clear responsibilities for work to be completed with timelines and expected dates for completion of tasks. Performance indicators should be included to monitor achievement of objectives, and a schedule should be developed for the ongoing review and assessment of the teacher retention initiative. Data collected can be used to monitor and evaluate progress against planned objectives.

3.   Provide training and staff development.

     For many individuals in both the school and community, new learning standards and the No Child Left Behind law with its related assessment processes are new and unfamiliar. To enable all children to succeed and to stress the importance of quality teachers for high academic achievement, all partners including teachers, school staff, parents and families, and community members need to understand what new learning expectations entail, and how these differ from what occurred in the past (Darling-Hammond, 2003). They will need to have information on why the new standards have been put in place, and why it is critical for students to achieve the knowledge, skills and understandings contained in today’s curriculum. To support all teachers, key partners can be provided knowledge and skills that will enable them to support quality classroom instruction. Questionnaires, surveys, interviews and other means can be used for identifying areas for training and staff development of teachers, school staff, parents and families, and community partners. Staff development and training priorities should be based on the support needs of students and teachers, and should be incorporated into the plan for action for teacher retention.

Key Question: Have we created a supportive environment that ensures retention of quality teachers?
Where Do We Go From Here?

     In an era of competing demands for public funding, effective partnerships within schools and with the community have demonstrated the benefits of working together to achieve common goals. Partnerships cannot only maximize the use of scarce public resources, but they also send a clear and unambiguous message that the school and community are committed to working together to address issues affecting the positive growth and development of its children. The initial plans for a teacher retention initiative should specify activities designed to solicit ongoing broad-based support for the commitment to teacher retention as an important component of school improvement planning. In addition, evaluation should be included in the early stages of planning to guide program development.

1.               Evaluate and report results.  

     Evaluation is a key part of program design that needs to be considered an integral component of any teacher retention initiative. The evaluation design selected should be capable of guiding program development by measuring progress of actual activities implemented as compared to initial plans. The types of evaluation measures to be used, the format and arrangements for collecting data, and the frequency of reporting results should all be considered as initial plans are developed and implemented. Measures of teacher retention across schools, grades, subject matter and teacher specialty areas, as well as interviews and surveys of teachers’ perceptions can gauge the impact on teachers.

     Similarly, student performance on state tests and assessments, school and class level achievement data, indicators of student participation in school programs, and other important measures can be used to assess the impact of teacher retention strategies on student achievement.

     Data elements should be gathered at the beginning of the initiative to ensure baseline data to compare with results in subsequent time periods. Regular scheduled reviews of performance data and indicators should be put in place to track results over time and to communicate accomplishments to all key partners supporting the initiative. A formal year-end evaluation should be conducted to establish priorities for subsequent years’ activities.

     The “Results Accountability” evaluation framework developed by Dr. Mark Friedman is one evaluation model that can be considered for use in evaluating a teacher retention initiative. The model provides a structure for quantifying the achievement of results. Using a four-quadrant schematic that enables users to display agreed-upon performance measures, the framework can be used to address key evaluation questions including: “How much did we do?  How well did we do it?  How much change did we produce?  Is anyone better off?”  A complete description of the model and how to use it for evaluating a teacher retention initiative are contained in Appendices 6-11 and 6-12.

2.               Celebrate success.

     As the teacher retention initiative develops, many people will devote considerable time and energy to make the initiative successful. In the early stages of the initiative, the changes in teacher retention rates and the impact on student achievement may not be readily noticeable or apparent in the short run. In many cases, the true measures of success will only emerge over a considerable length of time. In the interim and as a way of maintaining momentum, periodic reviews of progress might be conducted which highlight what’s been accomplished to date and which reaffirm the commitment of the vision that initially brought the partners together. These “celebrations” could focus on factors that will ultimately lead to retention of a quality teaching force and higher student performance. New forms of teamwork in the school that support all teachers or implementation of a buddy system for new teachers are examples of the types of activities that could form the basis for recognizing contributions of individuals and celebrating success.

3.               Sustain the effort. 

     A good solid evaluation design and a continuous series of planned celebrations that are built into the teacher retention initiative are two strategies that have been used to build enthusiasm for helping the initiative grow over time. In addition, the commitment to action and the sense of urgency conveyed by school leaders set the stage for others to identify how they can support the initiative. Key partners can use their skills and expertise to identify the types of activities that will be needed to move the initiative from the planning stage to implementation. Considerable time and energy should be devoted to building trust and ownership of the teacher retention initiative by a variety of individuals and groups that will be instrumental in making the initiative a success. Barriers to implementation should be identified as soon as possible in order to consider contingency arrangements for maintaining momentum. Data and evaluation results can be used to assess progress, and refine programs and activities. Finally, administrative and organizational procedures including a budget and sufficient resources necessary to support priority activities can help ensure development of a capacity for self-renewal.


     The gap in student achievement is most evident where students do not have the school, family and community support systems they need to succeed. Quality teachers are a critical factor in ensuring that all students have the teaching and learning experiences they need to be successful. There is an increasing body of research and evaluative studies that suggest that a well planned, comprehensive approach to school improvement with a clear focus on retaining quality teachers can support high levels of student achievement. In addition, schools and institutions of higher education working together can greatly improve the retention of new teachers.

     The following appendices include resources that will further assist school districts and schools in developing a framework for teacher retention that is aligned with, and integrated into, the school improvement planning process.

Appendix 6-1 provides a flowchart for the framework of the implementation process, outlining the key questions and recommended steps for creating a teacher retention initiative.

Appendix 6-2 creates a visioning process to consider in initiating a teacher retention initiative. The visioning process probes further into the key questions and allows for more comprehensive thinking through a series of guiding questions. This process can be used individually or in small group settings to “vision” what currently exists and what could be.

Appendix 6-3 offers an approach to examine each of the proposed steps in the planning process and assess whether the district or school currently engages in those steps; whether a change in practice would make a difference; and how much effort it would take to change current practices.

Appendix 6-4 establishes a framework for how root cause analysis can lead to potential solutions of a problem.

Appendix 6-5 introduces how one state views the process of root cause analysis as a helpful tool in the planning process. This process has been used at both the district and school levels to examine root causes or potential reasons for the current status.

Appendix 6-6 examines the potential roles of partners in developing, implementing and promoting a teacher retention initiative. This document was prepared and developed with a strategic planning workgroup of stakeholders involved in the process.

Appendix 6-7 creates an opportunity to reflect on current practice in involving partners in a teacher retention initiative. Coupled with Appendix 6-6, this document can be used to expand and enhance thinking regarding relationships among prospective partners.

Appendix 6-8 displays a framework for an action plan, where each potential solution or strategy can be outlined to ensure that successful completion of the strategy can be achieved.

Appendix 6-9 illustrates an exit survey tool that the New York City School District has developed to determine the reasons why first-year teachers have chosen to leave the system. This tool can be adapted for use within other districts.

Appendix 6-10 is a chart listing potential evaluation plan indicators and targets for each of the three key strategies identified for addressing a teacher retention problem.

Appendix 6-11 provides a description of Friedman’s “Results Accountability” evaluation framework including the use of the four quadrants for displaying performance data.

Appendix 6-12 provides examples of the use of the Friedman model in evaluating each of the three key strategies identified for addressing a teacher retention problem.

Appendix 6-13 provides a description, and a copy, of a survey instrument that can be used to gather baseline and subsequent data for use with the Friedman evaluation model.


Charlotte Advocates for Education. (2004, February). Role of principal leadership in increasing teacher retention: Creating a supportive environment. Charlotte, NC: Author.

Danielson, C. (2002). Enhancing student achievement. A framework for school improvement. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. 

Darling-Hammond, L. (2003, May). Keeping good teachers: Why it matters, what leaders can do. Educational Leadership, 60 (8), 6-13.

Glickman, C. D. (2002). Leadership for learning: How to help teachers succeed. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Goldstein, L. (2004, January). Highly qualified? Education Week Quality Counts, Special Education in an Era of Standards, 23, 62-67.

Hamushek, E., Kain, J., & Rivkin, S. (2003). Why public schools lose teachers. Forthcoming Journal of Human Resources.

Ingersoll, R. (2001, January). Teacher turnover, teacher shortages, and the organization of schools. Washington, DC: Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy.

Joftus, S. & Maddox-Dolan, B. (2002, December). New teacher excellence: Retaining our best. Washington, DC: Alliance for Excellent Education.

Levin, J., & Quinn, M. (2003). Missed opportunities: How we keep high-quality teachers out of urban classrooms. New York: The New Teacher Project.

National Education Association. (2003). Meeting the challenges of recruitment and retention. Washington, DC: Author. 

Marzano, R. (2003). What works in schools: Translating research into action. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Marzano, R. (2003, February). Using data: Two wrongs and a right. Educational Leadership, 60 (5), 52-60.

New York City Board of Education. (2003, July). Cohort 2001: An exit survey of new teachers who left the New York City public schools within one year. New York: Author.

Public Education Network. (2003). The voice of the new teacher. Washington, DC: Author. 

Reeves, D. (2004). Accountability for learning: How teachers and school leaders can take charge. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Rural Education Advisory Committee. (1999). Partners in progress: Closing the gap in student performance through partnerships. Albany, NY: Author.

Schmoker, Mike. (2001). The results fieldbook: Practical strategies from dramatically improved schools. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Scherer, Marge. (2003). Keeping good teachers. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Troen, V., & Boles, K. C. (2003). Who’s teaching your children? Why the teacher crisis is worse than you think and what can be done about it. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

University of the State of New York, The New York State Education Department. (2003, May). Access to quality teaching: Teacher quality, pre/in-service supports and alternative certification — Tools for schools facilitator’s guide. Albany, NY: Author.

University of the State of New York, The New York State Education Department. (2001). Comprehensive District Educational Plan. Retrieved from www.nysed.gov

University of the State of New York, The New York State Education Department. (2001, October). Data analysis and improving student performanceTools for schools facilitator’s guide. Albany, NY: Author.

University of the State of New York, The New York State Education Department (VESID). (2004). Data/Root cause professional development module. Albany, NY: Author.

Key Question: Have we created a framework for feedback and continuous improvement to retain quality teachers?

Back to Contents Page

PDF Format for Printing