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One district looks to combat teachers leaving profession.Though some cringe at the thought of gathering and analyzing data, educational professionals focused on teacher retention in the Tolleson Elementary School District (TESD) thrive on their numbers. The small district in Phoenix is comprised of

Aug 11, 2015

One district looks to combat teachers leaving profession.



Though some cringe at the thought of gathering and analyzing data, educational professionals focused on teacher retention in the Tolleson Elementary School District (TESD) thrive on their numbers. The small district in Phoenix is comprised of four schools, about 3,100 students and roughly 140 staff members.

This is TESD’s second time participating in the three-year Arizona Master Teacher endeavor. According to Veronica Vasquez, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction for TESD, all district and school leaders should offer new teachers extra assistance to improve their practice.

“Not only are there a huge number of teachers leaving the profession, but also many of them do not stay in one place. We see that as a travesty, and it’s not in the best interest of students,” Vasquez explained. “We know that new teachers require an extra few layers of support, in comparison to veteran teachers. For this reason, we sought out a partnership with the Arizona K12 Center.”

Andrew Ward, the Master Teacher Project Director for the Center said he feels TESD’s commitment to their development of new teachers stands above the rest.

“Through the Arizona Master Teacher Grant, TESD has successfully retained those beginning teachers assigned to a mentor over the last three years by 90 percent,” said Ward. “Through monthly professional development around the InTASC Model Core Teaching Standards, mentors are able to provide the necessary time to develop the beginning teacher’s specific classroom skill set on the continuum of reflective teaching practice.”

Vasquez claims that boasting their statistics and standards not only help to keep, but also recruit, teachers to their community.

“We are very candid and honest about our high expectations of teachers as it pertains to student achievement, but also the layers of support that are going to help them get there, which has to go hand in hand,” she explained. “To have high expectations is one thing, but to be able to offer those multiple layers of support is another."

While good marketing plays a role in the recruitment of staff, it requires more to retain quality educators.

“Tolleson does a great job holding their teachers accountable. Also, they evaluate their mentors and provide opportunities for growth,” Ward said. “TESD is a prime example of what happens when people work collaboratively for school improvement, adding their own adaptive style to the program.”

Are you ready to take the next step in your teaching career? Learn more about the Arizona Master Teacher Program.

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