3 Smart Ways Texas ISDs Can Improve Teacher Retention & Recruitment
admin | September 9, 2019
Texas school districts are in crisis. They’re gaining students and losing teachers, year after year.
In response, school districts across Texas are finding creative ways to bolster their teacher retention and recruitment efforts.
Offering Housing Support
For most of us, housing is a big part of the monthly budget. This is especially true for teachers. In fact, a recent study from Apartment List found that housing is a much bigger cost burden for households where the primary earner is a teacher. Texas offers a home loan program for teachers, but school districts in places as diverse as Midland and tiny Dell City are looking to provide more direct help by including housing assistance in their compensation packages.
Housing assistance can look like anything from a basic monthly stipend to providing teachers with free or highly affordable homes. For example, some districts might convert unused administrative buildings to studio apartments, while others have extra land that could host a tiny home village.
Sound interesting? This article from Edutopia provides a good overview of various approaches.
Improving New Teacher Preparation and Support with a Residency Program
In Texas, 16% of new teachers leave the profession within the first two years (TEA). Salary is often the foremost driver of poor teacher retention, but educators cited preparation and entry costs as the next most important factors in their decisions to enter, stay in, or leave the profession (Learning Policy Institute).
If a new teacher feels underprepared and lacking support, he or she may decide to leave for another vocation. To address this, districts are partnering with universities to create teacher residency programs. Student “resident” teachers undergo a year-long paid apprenticeship in a local school district while working on their degrees and certification — similar to the way doctors undergo a residency before receiving their final medical degrees.
These apprenticeships offer real-world experience, mentorship with expert teachers, and the opportunity for early access to employment contracts upon graduation.
Texas districts looking for a model to emulate can check out the Dallas Teacher Residency and UTSA Teacher Residency Program in San Antonio, as well as a newly announced residency program in the Bryan Independent School District.
Enhancing Compensation Packages: Keeping Teachers and Their Families Happy and Healthy, Affordably
When teacher retention is an issue, it makes sense for districts to do all they can to take excellent care of their faculty and staff. Healthcare is a big part of that equation. It’s hard to secure the care a family needs when mired in provider directories and complex medical bills. That’s why many school districts are offering alternative plans that focus on care management and the patient/provider relationship while reducing overall costs.
One innovative approach comes from Healthcare Highways, which offers an independent, high-performance network of accessible primary care physicians that excludes expensive providers with a history of overutilization, which drives up costs.
By offering this kind of option, districts can empower teachers and staff members to make the best provider choice for their families, keep more of their paychecks, and simplify their wellness journey. Healthcare Highways’ model has been proven to immediately lower overall costs for self-insured employers by 20% and sustain or increase these savings over time. These savings can be effectively reallocated for other valuable initiatives — including recruitment and retention.
The challenge to do more with less is nothing new to school administrators.
With creative thinking, districts can find new opportunities to attract new teachers and support your existing staff in powerful ways. Read more about the hiring crisis affecting Texas school districts and powerful, practical solutions to retain educators in our whitepaper.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Texas Education Agency (TEA)
CHRIS WILSON | Senior Vice President of Business Development, Healthcare Highways Mr. Wilson brought his experiences founding brokerage firm CJW & associates, LLC and serving as Senior Producer for Arthur J. Gallagher to the role of Vice President of Sales for Healthcare Highways. Now Senior Vice President of Health Plans of Healthcare Highways, Inc. his dedication to excellence has proven invaluable.