What can school leaders do to reduce the number of special education teachers who leave each year?
Page 2: A Model for Retaining Effective Special Educators
The retention of special education personnel requires that school leaders consider how to increase the attractiveness of special education positions compared to general education teaching and other occupations. A Leader’s Model for Cultivating and Keeping Effective Special Educators provides an overview of the key components that have an impact on teacher retention. This model is summarized in the movie below (time: 1:42).
The model focuses on two key ideas. The first is to Cultivate Effective Special Educators (left half of figure). There are three key leadership actions associated with this idea. Implementing these three actions in combination should lead to greater teacher effectiveness by:
- Using effective recruiting and hiring procedures to identify the best possible teachers and provide a good job match
- Providing teacher induction to help new teachers become more effective as they enter the profession
- Addressing professional learning throughout teachers’ careers (i.e., lifelong learning)
The second key idea of this model is to Improve Work Conditions (right half of figure). There are three key leadership actions associated with this idea:
- Being a supportive principal
- Encouraging a positive and collaborative school climate
- Establishing clear job responsibilities
School leaders who implement the six primary actions outlined in the Leader’s Model can increase teacher retention and decrease teacher turnover. These six actions will be discussed in more detail on subsequent Module pages.
Mars Hill Middle School
Clara Kamei, the principal in the Challenge, learns about A Leader’s Model for Cultivating and Keeping Effective Special Educators and decides to implement it and determine whether her actions affect teacher turnover.