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Teacher Recruitment Strategies

If a local educational agency (LEA) finds that one of the root causes of disproportionate access to excellent teachers is poor teacher recruitment, the LEA should consider one or more of the following teacher recruitment strategies.

“Grow Your Own” Programs/Career Technical Education Academies

A recruitment strategy that has proven effective in districts throughout the country is what many call “grow your own” programs. In these programs, local educational agencies begin recruiting students to become teachers while they are still attending high school. This is often accomplished by developing Career Technical Education programs of study, or academies, for students that are interested in pursuing a career in education. Students are able to take college-level courses while completing their high school requirements. This has been especially successful in rural areas where teacher recruitment can be challenging. These programs have shown success because teachers often prefer to teach in the area where they grew up and attended high school (Podolsky, Kini, Bishop, & Darling-Hammond, 2016). A number of states have developed teacher academies and have resources and guidance available for the field. Some examples are:

Recruiting Washington Teachers External link opens in new window or tab.

Kentucky Teaching and Learning Career Pathway External link opens in new window or tab.

Teacher Academy of Maryland External link opens in new window or tab.

Mississippi Teacher Academy External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)

Competitive Compensation/Career Advancement Opportunities

One strategy for attracting teachers to high-need schools is by offering competitive compensation. This is especially true in urban areas where the cost-of-living may be very high. Oftentimes, the only way for teachers to advance on the pay scale is by leaving the classroom to become administrators. Some districts have developed career advancement opportunities for teachers that offer increased compensation without having to leave the classroom.

This may include mentoring new teachers, providing staff professional development, or coaching other teachers on campus. School administrators can increase the reach and capacity of effective teachers on their school site and offer them additional compensation for these increased responsibilities. This assists high-need schools in attracting and retaining better teacher candidates. For additional information on providing competitive compensation see the Education Commission of the State’s brief: Mitigating Teacher Shortages: Financial Incentives External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF).

For additional information about developing teacher leadership opportunities, see the following:

How to Retain Effective Teachers through Teacher Leadership External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)

Understanding the Opportunity Culture Principles External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)

Tools for Principals in Opportunity Culture Schools External link opens in new window or tab.

Transfer Incentives

Some districts around the country have offered transfer incentives to entice effective teachers to move to high-need schools within the district. One notable district offered a high-performing principal, vice-principal, behavior management technician and up to five teachers to transfer to a new site as a team. The district offered each member of the team a transfer bonus and salary increases. For additional information about transfer incentive see the Aspen Institutes report: Strategic Staffing for Successful Schools: Breaking the Cycle of Failure in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF).

Teacher Residencies

Teacher residencies are an effective means to provide more effective training and smoother transitions to teaching in high-need schools. Many districts in California have formed partnerships with teacher preparation programs where teachers can be compensated for their student teaching. This allows the district to gain access to new teachers entering the profession and hire them straight out of their teacher preparation programs. The teacher candidates, in turn, are already accustomed to the district procedures and policies and also have experience with the students and culture of the school. For additional information on teacher residency programs see the policy report: Recommendations for State Support for Effective Teacher Residencies External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF).

Improving Hiring and Screening Practices

Many districts have streamlined their hiring and screening practices by advertising year round for a pool of teacher applicants by subject areas.  Each application calls for several components which may include video of the candidate teaching a lesson.

The applications are prescreened and scored and then provided to principals when they have an opening at their site. For additional information on improving hiring and screening practices see the Center for American Progress’s report: To Attract Great Teachers, School Districts Must Improve Their Human Capital Systems External link opens in new window or tab..

Podolsky, A., Kini, T., Bishop, J., & Darling-Hammond, L. (2016). Solving the teacher shortage: How to attract and retain excellent educators. Palo Alto, CA: Learning Policy Institute.

Questions: Teacher & Leader Policy Office | TLPO@cde.ca.gov | 916-445-7331 
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, December 31, 2019
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