Strengthening and diversifying the educator workforce is a priority area in U.S. education policy and is based on a substantive body of research that consistently shows that teachers are the single most important school-based factor in a student's academic growth. Indeed, the effects of teachers on student achievement are both additive and cumulative and are shown to have the most significant benefit for lower-achieving students. As leaders strive to address achievement gaps for students of color, diversifying the educator workforce has become prominent due to research showing the positive effects of students having exposure to same-race teachers..
Bright Ideas Across the Network
The Alabama Coaching Framework
The Alabama Coaching Framework sets the standard for how coaches in any content area conduct their work in Alabama. This evidence-based coaching framework provides a foundation for the work of Alabama literacy coaches, including English Learner coaches hired through the Alabama Literacy Act to support instruction in K-3. Based on Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey’s vision to provide innovative support to teachers, the framework was created with Implementation Science in mind, and incorporates elements of the Alabama Strategic Plan.
Lessons Learned around Reducing Inequitable Access to High Quality Teachers
In 2016, the North Carolina State Board of Education (NCSBE) developed the Teacher Compensation Models and Advanced Teaching Roles (ATR) pilot program. Initially, a three-year pilot, the program was revised in 2018 to become an eight-year pilot through the 2024-2025 school year. This document provides insights into some of the early lessons learned in implementing the program.
Addressing Educator Workforce Shortages: A State Comparison Brief
The Region 12 conducted a scan to explore the innovative programs, policies, and practices that state education agencies and other education entities are using to mitigate educator staffing challenges. The report highlights common and promising practices used to address educator shortages, examines how key states are tackling shortages specifically in the context of COVID-19, and provides a state-by-state crosswalk of efforts to recognize, address, and mitigate educator shortages by region.
Getting Oriented to Strengthening and Diversifying the Teacher Workforce
With persistent educator shortages, declines in educator preparation programs, and troubling rates of attrition, education agencies are searching for proven and innovative strategies to ensure their students have access to the teachers and leaders they need. In addition, factors associated with the COVID-19 pandemic have left schools across the country facing their toughest staffing challenges in recent memory—at a moment when students need diverse, effective teachers more than ever.
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Attracting and Recruiting Educator Talent
Although states maintain a focus on recruiting and retaining qualified and competent teachers, it is particularly difficult for schools considered hard to staff—those with high concentrations of low-performing, low-income students; high teacher turnover; and relatively high percentages of teachers who are less than fully certified. Therefore, efforts to hire and retain teachers in high-need schools, teachers of color, and teachers certified in STEM/computer science subjects are top priorities in teacher recruitment and retention.
Illinois Teacher Recruitment, Retention, and Recognition Project: Summary of Findings From Illinois Student Focus Groups and Teacher Interviews
Region 9 Comprehensive Center (R9CC) and Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) collaboratively collected and analyzed teacher workforce data to identify barriers for recruiting and retaining an effective and diverse teacher workforce. R9CC and ISBE used the Teacher Shortage Tool from the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders to identify equity and diversity gaps within the teacher pipeline and created problem statements that characterize the teacher shortage in Illinois.
Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Mid-Atlantic - Five Findings on Teacher Turnover and Access to Effective Teachers in the School District of Philadelphia
This blog shares five findings that stood out from REL Mid-'Atlantic's research.
Report author Sandi Jacobs, a principal at EducationCounsel, analyzes supply and demand for teachers before the Covid pandemic, identifies new staffing questions that have arisen during the current crisis, and offers policy recommendations that help states and districts take a nuanced approach to ensuring that all students are taught by effective educators.
By prioritizing recruitment and retention in a new, systemic way, districts and schools are experiencing increased success in finding and retaining those teachers their students desperately need. This report offers several supports to help schools or districts build teacher recruitment and retention systems.
The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education and the Commonwealth Education Continuum developed a list of recommendations to strengthen 'Kentucky's education-to-workforce pipeline, including building a minority educator workforce.
Preparing and Certifying Teachers
States are rethinking their policy and program systems for preparing educators for several reasons, including shortages, attrition, and the need to attract a more diverse workforce. As a result, educator preparation is rapidly evolving, with more "grow your own" programs and the increasing popularity of high school pathways, residencies, and other alternate routes to certification. Paired with more flexible licensing policies, states can take meaningful action to develop and hire high-quality teachers.
Diversifying the Educator Workforce
Most students of color are not taught by teachers of the same race and ethnicity. A diverse teaching force may help states and districts close large, persistent gaps in academic performance and improve the educational outcomes of students of color. Matching student and teacher race may result in more culturally-relevant instruction and more positive perceptions of teachers.
Center for Education Equity (MAEC) - Exploring Equity Issues: Racial Parity: The Need for a Diverse Teacher Workforce
This paper examines the need to achieve parity between the teaching workforce and the student population in the United States.
This infographic illustrates how increasing teacher diversity may improve educational outcomes for students of color.
Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest - Confronting Bias and Building Trust: Strategies to Create Inclusive Environments for Black Teachers
This webinar discusses how retaining Black teachers is a strategy for improving student outcomes.
Developing Culturally Responsive Practices
Data consistently reveals troubling trends in academic success for black and brown students in this country. The experiences of many students whose identities and family backgrounds do not reflect the dominant culture in American schools makes the case for schools to shift toward culturally relevant pedagogy and practice. This shift means that culturally relevant pedagogy and practices must provide a way for students to maintain their cultural integrity while succeeding academically.
State and local education leaders were invited to join this Town Hall event featuring renowned researcher and educator, Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings, on the importance of culturally responsive pedagogy, practices, and culture in recruiting, preparing, retaining, and supporting a racially diverse educator workforce. Dr. Ladson-Billings moderated a conversations with a panel of youth of color who shared their experiences and insights to illuminate our understanding of the importance of having racially diverse educators.
Supporting Professional Growth and Evaluation Systems
It is widely established that engaging in-service teachers, particularly those in the first few years of their career, in high-quality professional learning activities leads to improvements in practice and improved rates of retention. A review of studies demonstrating a positive link between teacher professional development, teaching practices, and student outcomes point to these features of effective professional development:
- is content focused
- Incorporates active learning utilizing adult learning theory
- Supports collaboration, typically in job-embedded contexts
- Uses models and modeling of effective practice
- Provides coaching and expert support
- Offers opportunities for feedback and refection
- Is of sustained duration
TI Brief #4: Prioritizing Teachers: Importance of Self-Care and Adult Social and Emotional Competencies
This Toolkit is a ready-to-use resource for states working closely with districts to build strong mentoring and induction programs.
Center on Great Teachers and Leaders - Using Teacher Evaluation Data to Inform Professional Learning
This module delves into practical approaches for using evidence and ratings gathered through performance evaluation to inform professional learning for teachers.
Cultivating Educational Leadership
Educational leadership capacities are needed throughout education systems and are enacted by district and school administrators as well as by teachers. Providing teachers with opportunities to develop their leadership skills recognizes their stature as instructional experts and their potential to influence learning beyond the classroom. Leadership development can occur at an individual, team, or organizational level and may include leadership pathway programs and opportunities to improve policy and practice, among other approaches to improve student achievement and educator decision-making.
Principal Leadership at a Challenging Time: An Evaluation of the Missouri Leadership Development System
Center on Great Teachers and Leaders - Teacher Leadership Toolkit 2.0: Strategies to Build, Support, and Sustain Teacher Leadership Opportunities
This toolkit can help with the design and implementation of teacher leadership programs.
This Guide provides 10 key decisions for designing teacher leader roles.