by Harry and Rosemary Wong
$50,000 to Replace Each Teacher
New Teachers + An Induction Program = Huge Savings
A Formula for Effective Schools and Teachers
Louisiana's Lafourche Parish Schools reports that of the 46 new teachers who have been through the first year of the parish's new teacher induction program, only 1 will be resigning. As of today, the attrition rate for the school year is 2.2 percent. This is phenomenal when you compare this rate of 2.2 percent to the prevailing national norms of anywhere between 9.3 to 17 percent for teachers who leave during their first year of teaching.
Fiction you say? Read on.
$50,000 to Replace Each Teacher
Every teacher who leaves the profession during the first three years likely costs taxpayers in excess of $50,000, says Leslie Huling and Virginia Resta of Southwest State Texas University. This is based on an industry standard of calculating 2.5 times the employee's initial salary in recruitment and personnel expenditures and lost productivity.
Let's pretend and reduce this cost to an unreal $25,000 per teacher instead of $50,000. The cost for recruiting and replacing, say, 50 teachers would be $1.25 million---a loss no school board would choose to accept. These costs are invisible, because the indirect costs in extra work for existing employees, reduced teacher effectiveness, and most important, the lost student productivity are incalculable.
In 2001, the Chicago Public Schools spent $5.7 million to hire 3,000 teachers. Officials did not mention any corresponding plan for increasing teacher retention, so will Chicago spend another $5.7 million the following year to recruit replacements for these teachers?
In 2001, New York City Schools chancellor Harold O. Levy recruited TBWA\Chiat\Day, a Madison Avenue agency, to create a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign to attract teachers for the school system. He had originally planned to spend $16 million on the campaign, but the seven-member board of education voted to spend only half that amount. That's still $8 million, just to hire teachers! And as reported in the New York Post on April 6, 2002, 22.5 percent, or 1,875, of the 8,334 new teachers hired in the fall of 2000 had left 14 months later---with more to eventually leave. Just imagine almost a quarter of your staff turning over each year.
$50,000 to Train All New Teachers
In one year, the attrition rate of the Lafourche Parish Public Schools dropped from 51 percent to 13 percent and, today, it hovers around 7 percent. That means that if the system had 500 teachers, then it cuts its rate of those leaving from 255 teachers in one year to 63 people leaving and finally to its present rate of 35 people leaving the school district. Attrition rate refers to the number of people who leave---for whatever the reason.
This district, in the scenic bayous south of New Orleans, had been losing 51 percent of their new teachers each year. In 1996, they installed a three-year new teacher induction program and the rate decreased to 13 percent in one year. Today, the district's teacher attrition hovers around 7 percent---a decrease of approximately 80 percent since the inception of the induction program.
The operating budget for the Lafourche Parish School's induction program is $50,000 a year. This covers the induction process for teachers for the first three years and includes expenses such as stipends, supplies, equipment, and of course refreshments! And there's always money left over.
Thus, if the loss of each new teacher costs the district $50,000, then if Lafourche retains only one new teacher a year, it recoups its entire investment.
However, they retain many more than one new teacher a year. (Are they making money?) Perry Rodrigue, Assistant Superintendent of the Lafourche Parish Schools, says,
Of those we asked, all of our new teachers returned the following year. This had never happened until we implemented an induction program.
Of the 279 teachers they have trained since 1996, only 11 have left teaching and bare in mind that some or many of these have left teaching for personal reasons (marriage, education, spouse's relocation), not because of being disgruntled with teaching. Thus, to have 96 percent (268 out of 279) still in teaching is a remarkable accomplishment for the Lafourche new teacher induction program. Of the 268 still teaching, 216 are still with the Lafourche Parish schools.
More importantly, over 99 percent of the new teachers who have participated in the district's induction program have successfully completed the performance-based Louisiana Teacher Assistance and Assessment Program, required for teacher certification in the state.
The Lafourche Parish induction program is so successful that Louisiana has adopted it as the statewide model for all school districts. Information on Louisiana FIRST is available at www.doe.state.la.us/DOE/
A New Teacher's Investment
If you are a potential new teacher, perhaps you no doubt have spent $50,000 or more preparing to become a teacher. It would be tragic if you left after a few years, losing your investment, but more disheartening, losing your dream of working with children.
You can succeed, and succeed well, if you find a district willing to train and help you succeed. Do not be so naïve to believe that you can succeed on your own. Even if you can succeed on your own, teaching is not an isolated activity; it is a social activity. The most successful schools have a culture where everyone works as a cooperative, learning community.
If you are a teacher applying for a job, it is essential that you ask the question at the interview: Does this district have a new teacher induction program?
Do not be misled if you are told that you will be given a mentor. Mentoring is not induction. Mentors may be part of a larger, organized induction process. Several major research studies have shown that giving a new teacher a mentor only will not work.
Mentoring: Mentoring is a one-to-one buddy system, and, at best, lasts for one year.
Induction: Induction is an organized, multi-year district program with a major goal of welcoming and training new teachers so that they become effective and part of the district's learning community.
To find out if the district has a true induction program, ask the following to help you identify a school or district that is interested in training, supporting, and retaining their new teachers.
- Is there an induction program for newly hired teachers?
- How many days does the program run?
- Who coordinates and teaches the program?
- What is the course outline?
- How many years has it been offered?
- Has the principal of the school been through the induction program?
- Am I evaluated by any of the people running the induction program?
- Will my colleagues nurture me as I become a more effective teacher?
- What is the attrition rate of the new teachers over the past 2 years?
- What will the school district do to help me if I am not being successful in the classroom?
Unlike most dedicated service professions, education fails to support its newly hired teachers from their very first day and through their entire first year. It's little wonder that the teachers don't succeed---and that their students don't succeed either. What happens? Administrators who do not know what to do, hire yet more unsupported teachers or just assign teachers a mentor. As a result, many promising new teachers leave the profession after only a few years. The classroom becomes a battlefield and the solution is to keep sending in fresh troops. The real military spends considerably more time training its troops than we do training our teachers.
Mary Miehl, an experienced teacher from Pennsylvania, says,
When I began teaching 33 years ago it was easy to find a job because the country was going through a time of teacher shortage. We had nothing as far as materials and texts were concerned, so we had to search for what to do and how to do it.
We were given a classroom full of children and told, "teach them."
Susan Moore Johnson, director of The Project on the Next Generation of Teachers at the Harvard Graduate School, writes in an article in the March 2002 issue of Educational Leadership:
The beginning was awful, Laura recalled, describing her first days of teaching. At the district's orientation meeting for all new teachers, she found nothing there to help her begin her work as a classroom teacher. Laura only learned which classes she would teach when she received the schedule at a faculty meeting the day before school started.
She hadn't begun with high expectations for professional support, but she was still surprised by the lack of organized induction.
It's sad, but nothing has changed in 33 years. The issue is still support. It is a tragic waste of human resources when dedicated new teachers, full of commitment and energy, leave the teaching profession dejected after only a few years. These new teachers leave with bitterness toward education, and they leave not because of poor pay, but because of a lack of support from administrators.
Induction: A Necessary Investment
If you are recruiting and you want your new teachers to become effective in the classroom, we know what works.
Exemplary school districts place their new teachers in an organized, sustained new teacher induction program.
Induction programs are a smart investment in the ongoing training, support, and retention of beginning teachers, who, as a result of the programs, become more qualified, capable, and effective teachers. Successful induction programs go a long way toward improving the quality of teaching and ensuring student success.
If you are recruiting, take heed that a new teacher induction program is a valuable recruiting perk. Katrina Robertson Reed, a former associate superintendent of the District of Columbia schools, views her city's induction program as part of its recruitment package. "That's one of the first things candidates ask, before they ask about signing bonuses: 'What kind of support am I going to get when I'm there?'" Reed says, "We have found over and over that that is really critical."
Susan Moore Johnson of The Project on the Next Generation of Teachers says,
The questions and uncertainty that new teachers bring to school require far more than an orientation meeting, a mentor in the building, and a written copy of the school's discipline policy.
What new teachers need is sustained, school-based professional development---guided by expert colleagues, responsive to their teaching, and continual throughout their early years in the classroom.
Principals and teacher leaders have the largest roles to play in fostering such experiences.
The key word is "sustained." Highly successful schools and school districts are successful because they TRAIN, SUPPORT, and RETAIN new teachers with a structured, sustained induction program for their new teachers.
The Induction Process
Although induction programs differ because they cater to the unique cultures and communities they serve, all have some commonalties. They all teach the following:
- Effective classroom management procedures and routines
- Effective instructional practices
- Sensitivity to and understanding of the school community
- Lifelong learning and professional growth
- Unity and teamwork among the entire learning community
What effective districts have in common is a new teacher induction program. The success of an induction program is measured by its retention rate. Simply put, effective successful teachers stay and concomitantly produce student achievement. It should be quite obvious that an unsuccessful teacher will leave and others will continue to leave on a revolving door basis without admitting they could not succeed. Thousands fall into this category every year and it's a shame.
So, if you are potential new teacher, how do you identify a district with an induction program? Ask! And make sure it is a structured, organized, and sustained induction program and not just a day of orientation or you're just given a mentor or buddy. An induction program is designed to train, support, and retain you. An induction program is a district's message to you that they care about you, that they value you, and that they want you to succeed and stay.
The following will help you recognize a true induction program.
What Is Induction?
It is a structured, comprehensive training program that must begin before the first day of school and continues for two or more years. Its purpose is to
- provide instruction in classroom and teacher effectiveness,
- reduce the intensity of transition into teaching, and
- increase the retention of greater numbers of highly qualified teachers.
The Components of Induction
An induction process must have three components:
- Training. Through a series of workshops, demonstration classrooms, visitations, and debriefing sessions, new teachers are taught and shown effective classroom strategies.
- Support. A cadre of mentors, administrators, and staff developers work personally and in regularly scheduled sessions to support and assist the new teacher.
- Retention. Provide a learning community where the contributions of all teachers are respected and shared. Effective administrators must retain effective teachers, creating a culture that values teaching and learning.
The Structure of an Effective Induction Program
- An initial four or five days of workshops and classes before school begins.
- A continuum of professional development through systematic training over a period of two or three years.
- A strong sense of administrative support.
- A mentoring component to the induction process.
- A structure for modeling effective teaching during in-services and mentoring.
- Opportunities for inductees to visit demonstration classrooms.
One of the finest new teacher induction programs can be seen in the Flowing Wells School District in Tucson, Arizona. The following is an excerpt from an article, "INDUCTION: The Best Form of Professional Development," from the March 2002 issue of Educational Leadership.
Flowing Wells School District
More than 6,000 students attend the Flowing Wells School District's six elementary schools, junior high school, and high school on the northwest side of Tucson, Arizona. Despite the community's lower-middle-income status, the district has produced 12 Arizona teachers of the year. Since the early 1980s, the five-year Flowing Wells induction program, directed by Susie Heintz, has taken teachers through five stages: novice, advanced beginner, competent teacher, proficient teacher, and expert.
The induction program kicks off with several days of activities for novice teachers before the beginning of the school year. Induction activities include
- Bus tour---The district superintendent acts as a tour guide on a chartered bus trip through the school district. A trivia contest introduces new teachers to the district's culture. For example, one question asks, How did the Flowing Wells School District get its name? (In 1881, the Allison brothers discovered water at the base of Sentinel Park.)
- Demonstration classrooms---Master teachers set up their rooms to model the first day of school in an effective classroom. Afterward, observers can discuss with the master teacher the strategies that the new teachers found useful.
- SPA (Special Professional Assistance) Day with a mentor---New teachers and their mentors observe each other teach. After observations, mentors and protégés have lunch together.
- Graduation luncheon---At the end of several days of new teacher induction activities, Flowing Wells honors new teachers with a graduation celebration in a beautifully decorated boardroom. Induction graduates sit with their principals and district administrators and enjoy a formal, candlelit luncheon. The superintendent presents framed certificates to the graduates.
Toby Gregory, who teaches at Flowing Wells High School, says that after induction he was so excited to be an English teacher that, "I went in [to the classroom], started with a few procedures, and then went right into teaching English, which is what I had been waiting to do."
The Flowing Wells Schools' Induction Program, which has been in use for the past 16 years, is so successful that educators from around the country come to the district to attend an annual workshop to learn how to implement such a program in their own districts. To find out more about this workshop, contact Susie Heintz at the Flowing Wells Schools, 1556 Prince Road, Tucson, AZ 85705.
Why Is Induction Essential?
This we know: It is the teacher and what the teacher knows and can do that is the determining factor in student achievement. Therefore, an induction program is essential because
- We must have a common goal that focuses on a system wide plan to guarantee that every child will have the optimum opportunity to learn and to be successful. So the school board, the central administrators, the teacher educators, the students who are preparing to be teachers, and classroom teachers must work together to develop programs and strategies that improve the quality of teaching.
- An induction program acculturates each new teacher who joins the district "family" so that the culture of the district is continuously nourished. Teachers stay with such a school district because they are part of a common culture where everyone is working toward the same goals.
- Induction brings order and vision to a process. Mentoring benefits the individual, whereas induction benefits the group by bringing people together. Induction is a group process, one that organizes the expertise of educators into a collaborative culture---for the sake of the students.
- The Consortium on Chicago School Research found that in schools where teachers worked as teams, students were taught math above their grade level. In schools where teachers worked alone, instruction lagged behind. In these schools eighth-grade math teachers typically taught fifth-grade math.
- Large sums of money spent on fancy brand-name programs produces lower results than less money spent on improving teacher quality which produces greater gains in student achievement.
How Cost Effective Is Induction?
At Leyden High School in Franklin Park, Illinois, the pre-school year induction training costs about $100 a day, and most of that is for food!
Leyden High School's induction program, titled "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Teaching … But Were Afraid to Ask," is for all teachers new to the two public high schools in this suburban Chicago district. It involves a weeklong training seminar in early August, with a heavy emphasis on classroom management. Their attrition rate is negligible, losing on the average one new teacher a year. They have been able to retain 86 of the 90 new teachers they hired in the past three years.
Kathryn Robbins, the superintendent, says
"Our induction program has proved to be one of our best investments.
Every district should absolutely be doing it."
Karyn Wright, the director of Preservice Development and New Teacher Induction for Clark County Schools in Nevada, where they hire 1,800 new teachers each year, concurs.
"Induction more than pays for itself."
Now Is the Time
The statistics and the evidence are overwhelming. If you want teachers to stay, invest in their training. If you want to use your investment wisely, develop an induction program. In the long run you are actually making money for every teacher that commits to staying with you.
Every moment you don't act on this plan, is a moment lost in the potential of a child. Teachers deliver to children the promise and the hope and the vision for a bright future. Let's not let another second go by without making that dream happen for teachers and kids.
Past Gazette Articles by Harry & Rosemary Wong:
If you spot a link that appears to be out-of-date, please alert us at email@example.com!
- A Grateful Goodbye After 15 Years (Jun 2015)
- Love, Marriage, and Babies, Oh My! (May 2015)
- Retention Rate Is 100 Percent (Apr 2015)
- Teacher Effectiveness and Human Capital (Mar 2015)
- Training Teachers to Be Effective (Feb 2015)
- Making Deals Is Ineffective (Dec 2014 / Jan 2015)
- Retrieving and Carrying Electronic Devices (Nov 2014)
- Sharing to Succeed (Oct 2014)
- How a University Prepares Its Students (Sep 2014)
- Effective Teaching (Aug 2014)
- Your Future Is in Your Hands (June/July 2014)
- The Classroom Management Book (May 2014)
- When Students Succeed; Teachers Succeed (April 2014)
- Teaching New Teachers How to Succeed (March 2014)
- Execute and Praise (February 2014)
- Shaping a Solid Foundation (Dec 2013 / Jan 2014)
- The Most Misunderstood Word (November 2013)
- How to Start Class Every Day (October 2013)
- Prevention: The Key to Solving Discipline Problems (September 2013)
- Planning, Planning, Planning (August 2013)
- Are You THE One? (June / July 2013)
- Practical Examples That Work (May 2013)
- A Disability Is Not a Handicap (Apr 2013)
- Totally Inexcusable (Mar 2013)
- Be Proud of Public Education (Feb 2013)
- Structure Will Motivate Students (Dec 2012 / Jan2013)
- Orchestrating the Classroom (Nov 2012)
- The Lasting Impact of Instructional Coaching (Oct 2012)
- Learning, Laughing, and Leaving a Legacy (Sep 2012)
- Twenty-two, First Year, and Legit (Aug 2012)
- A Master Teacher of Teachers (June/July 2012)
- Where Going to School Means Success (May 2012)
- A Nationally Celebrated High School (Apr 2012)
- The Highest Rated School in New York City, Part 2 (Mar 2012)
- The Highest Rated School in New York City, Part 1 (Feb 2012)
- The Importance of Culture (Dec 2011 / Jan 2012)
- You Can Teach Classroom Management (Nov 2011)
- Seamless, Transparent, and Consistent (Oct 2011)
- Coaching Teachers to Be Effective Instructors (Sep 2011)
- How a Principal Creates a Culture of Consistency (Aug 2011)
- Graduation Begins in Your Classroom (June/July 2011)
- The Inspiration of a Mother (May 2011)
- How to Be an Effective Leader (Apr 2011)
- Learning Objectives: The Heart of Every Lesson (Mar 2011)
- Even Shakespeare Had Structure (Feb 2011)
- Effectiveness Defined: It's Not a Mystery (Dec 2010 / Jan 2011)
- Surviving Without a Principal (Nov 2010)
- Achieving Greatness: Locke Elementary School, Part 2 (Oct 2010)
- Teaching Greatness: Locke Elementary School, Part 1 (Sep 2010)
- Effective from the Start (Aug 2010)
- Ten Year Summary of Articles, 2000 to 2010 (June/July 2010)
- The Success of a Culture of Consistency (May 2010)
- Training Teachers to Be Effective (Apr 2010)
- Learning to Teach, Teaching to Learn (Mar 2010)
- Turning Teaching Dreams into Reality (Feb 2010)
- Dreams and Wishes Can Come True (Dec 2009 / Jan 2010)
- Success in a State Controlled School (Nov 2009)
- Inner City Is Not An Excuse (Oct 2009)
- Exceeding All Expectations (Sep 2009)
- Teachers Are the Difference (Aug 2009)
- Nine Year Summary of Articles, 2000 to 2009 (Jun/Jul 2009)
- Teachers Are the Greatest Assets (May 2009)
- The Tools for Success (Apr 2009)
- Assessing for Student Learning (Mar 2009)
- To Be an Effective Teacher Simply Copy and Paste (Feb 2009)
- The Sounds of Students Learning and Performing (Dec 2008)
- A School That Achieves Greatness (Nov 2008)
- Boaz City Schools: Professional Learning Teams (Oct 2008)
- It Was Something Close to a Miracle (Sep 2008)
- A Computer Teacher Shows the Way (Aug 2008)
- Eight Year Summary of Articles, 2000 to 2008 (Jun/Jul 2008)
- An Amazing Kindergarten Teacher (May 2008)
- Schools That Beat the Academic Odds (Apr 2008)
- Academic Coaching Produces More Effective Teachers (Mar 2008)
- Coaches Are More Effective than Mentors (Feb 2008)
- Wrapping the Year with Rap! (Dec 2007/Jan 2008)
- The Floating Teacher (Nov 2007)
- Taking the Bite Out of Assessment—Using Scoring Guides (Oct 2007)
- Ten Timely Tools for Success on the First Days of School (Sep 2007)
- First Day of School Script - in Spanish, Too! (Aug 2007)
- Seven Year Summary of Articles, 2000 to 2007 (Jun 2007)
- Effective Teachers End the Year Successfully (May 2007)
- Training Gen Y Teachers for Maximum Effectiveness (Apr 2007)
- Classroom Management Applies to All Teachers (Mar 2007)
- Students Want a Sense of Direction (Feb 2007)
- Rubrics in Two College Classes (Dec 2006/Jan 2007)
- How to Write a Rubric (Nov 2006)
- Assessing Student Progress with a Rubric (Oct 2006)
- A 92 Percent Homework Turn-in Rate (Sep 2006)
- Effective Teachers Are Proactive (Aug 2006)
- Five Year Summary of Articles (Jun 2006)
- Hitting the Bulls Eye as a Beginning Teacher (May 2006)
- They're Eager to Do the Assignments (Apr 2006)
- The Success of Special Ed Teachers (Mar 2006)
- What Teachers Have Accomplished (Feb 2006)
- Fifty Years Ago, The Legacy (Dec 2005/Jan 2006)
- The Emergency Teacher (Nov 2005)
- Classroom Management Is Not Discipline (Oct 2005)
- A Successful First Day Is No Secret (Sep 2005)
- The Most Important Factor (Aug 2005)
- Four Year Summary of Articles (Jul 2005)
- Improving Student Achievement Is Very Simple (Part 2) (Jun 2005)
- Improving Student Achievement Is Very Simple (Part 1) (May 2005)
- Never Cease to Learn (Apr 2005)
- His Classroom Is a Real Life Office (Mar 2005)
- The Power of Procedures (Feb 2005)
- The First Ten Days of School (Jan 2005)
- PowerPoint Procedures (Nov/Dec 2004)
- The Saints of Education (Oct 2004)
- How Procedures Saved a Teacher's Life (Sep 2004)
- How to Help Students with Their Assignments (Aug 2004)
- Three Year Summary of Articles (Jun/Jul 2004)
- His Students are All Certified (May 2004)
- What to Do When They Complain (Apr 2004)
- A Well-Oiled Learning Machine (Mar 2004)
- The Effective Teacher Adapts (Feb 2004)
- How to Start a Lesson Plan (Aug 2003)
- Applying for a Teaching Job in a Tight Market - Part 2 (Jun/Jul 2003)
- Applying for a Teaching Job in a Tight Market (May 2003)
- The Effective Substitute Teacher (Apr 2003)
- A First Day of School Script (Mar 2003)
- How to Retain New Teachers (Feb 2003)
- No Problem With Hurricane Lili (Dec 2002)
- A Class Size of 500 (Nov 2002)
- Effective Practices Apply to All Teachers (Oct 2002)
- Dispensing Materials in Fifteen Seconds (Sept 2002)
- How To Start School Successfully (Aug 2002)
- Teaching Procedures Is Teaching Expectations (June - July 2002)
- $50,000 to Replace Each Teacher (May 2002)
- Even Superintendents Do It (Apr 2002)
- Impossible, No Job Openings? (Mar 2002)
- A Stress Free Teacher (Feb 2002)
- A Most Effective School (Jan 2002)
- Van Gogh in Nine Hours (Dec 2001)
- The Effective Teacher Thinks (Nov 2001)
- How a Good University Can Help You (Sep 2001)
- How to Motivate Your Students (May 2001)
- How to Recognize Where You Want to Be (Apr 2001)
- What Successful New Teachers Are Taught (Mar 2001)
- A Journey of the Heart (Feb 2001)
- The Miracle of Teachers (Jan 2001)
- It's Not the Students. It's the Teacher. (Dec 2000)
- The First Five Minutes Are Critical (Nov 2000)
- How to Start a Class Effectively (Oct 2000)
- The Problem Is Not Discipline (Sep 2000)
- There Is Only One First Day of School (Aug 2000)
- Applying for Your First Job (Jul 2000)
- Your First Day (Jun 2000)
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