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Teacher Retention Strategies

Local educational agencies (LEAs) may find that one of the root causes of disproportionate access to excellent teachers is poor teacher retention. If so, LEAs may consider one or more of the following teacher retention strategies for the equity plan.

Teacher and Leadership Career Pathways

Oftentimes, the only way for teachers to advance on the pay scale is by leaving the classroom to become an administrator. 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 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 Cultures Schools External link opens in new window or tab.

Mentoring and Induction

Mentoring and induction programs for new teachers have shown to improve teacher effectiveness and retention. Pairing a new teacher with a more experienced teacher assists in orienting the new teacher to the school and community and provides them with ongoing guidance and support. The most effective programs have a rigorous process for selecting mentors, ongoing professional development for new teachers and mentors, time dedicated for mentors and new teachers to meet, and provide multiple years of mentoring and support.  Additional resources about mentoring and induction are available at:

Great Teachers and Leaders: Mentoring and Induction Toolkit External link opens in new window or tab.

New Teacher Center: High Quality Mentoring and Induction Practices External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)

Promoting Teacher Collaboration

Teaching can be a very isolating profession if teacher collaboration time is not prioritized in schools and districts. Collaborative cultures ensure that teachers feel supported by their colleagues and can play a large role in retaining teachers. Districts and schools should use creative and innovative solutions to set aside time for teachers to plan and collaborate throughout the school year. This time can be focused around examining data, collaborative lesson planning, or discussing challenges and providing constructive feedback. For additional information about the impact of teacher collaboration see:

Learning Forward: High-Quality Collaboration Benefits Teachers and Students External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)

Edvestors: Making Space: The Value of Teacher Collaboration: School on the Move Best Practice Research External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)

Improving School Leadership

Studies have shown that school leadership is one of the most important factors in attracting and retaining teachers. Often, teachers point to poor leadership as a major reason for leaving a particular site. Conversely, many teachers point to excellent school leadership as a reason for staying at a high-need school. For additional information about improving school leadership see:

Quality School Leadership: Hiring Quality School Leaders: Challenges and Emerging Practices External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)

The Wallace Foundation: Districts Matter: Cultivating the Principals Urban Schools Need External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)

Questions: Teacher & Leader Policy Office | TLPO@cde.ca.gov | 916-445-7331 
Last Reviewed: Thursday, December 12, 2019
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