Retain Talented Educators in Your District

We know what great teaching looks like- dedication, continuous improvement, care for their students’ needs, etc.  But, do we know what great teachers look like?

Does your school and district consciously recognize great teachers, as a means of honoring them, for the great work they do? Does the public know who those great teachers are?

More than a certificate and a handshake, a well-designed teacher recognition program can complement other essential work in your school and district. Schools should think bigger than offering recognition at staff meetings. Include the community at large, so they can share in their local schools’ pride, by recognizing educators at athletic or other events.

Promote Your School

Looking to promote your school to increase enrollment and instill pride in your community? Administrators and teachers should work together to highlight the successes happening within your classrooms. Some ideas, include:

  • If your district names a “Teacher of the Month,” feature them prominently, and put a face to the dozens of dedicated educators who will be guiding their child’s learning.
  • Ask local media outlets to donate ad time or space to publicize the outstanding accomplishments of teachers.
  • Recognize educators’ accomplishments at athletic or other events.
  • Encourage teachers to share their own achievements through social media.

Let Outstanding Teacher Lead

“Policy makers and practitioners see student teaching as a key component of the teacher preparation process (Anderson and Stillman 2013) and there is growing evidence that the conditions under which student teaching occurs influences teacher effectiveness and retention. Thus, over the long run, school districts play a vital role in the development of newly minted teachers. Attention to that developmental pipeline can help address teacher supply issues by influencing teacher hiring and retention.” (The Hamilton Project, Understanding and Addressing Teacher Shortages in the United States, April 2017)

Does your district host intern teachers? Pair a intern teacher with an outstanding teacher leader who has been recognized for their work in the same content area. Not only will that intern teacher learn from a great role model, but the teacher leader can gain valuable coaching experience which can prepare them for continued leadership roles within the district (and a valuable way to help retain talented educators).

Email Laura Robinson if you are interested in learning more about Kent ISD’s Teacher Leadership Program and Certification.

MDE Programs for Teacher Recognition

But don’t stop at your district boundaries. The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) coordinates and offers multiple programs to recognize and engage Michigan’s educators at the state level (and beyond).

These programs include:

  • Michigan Teacher of the Year: This program accepts nominations at the start of each fall and will culminate with 10 Regional Michigan Teachers of the Year (RTOYs) being named. One of these teachers will be recognized as the overall Michigan Teacher of the Year (MTOY) for the following school year. Together, the MTOY and 9 other RTOYs will comprise the Michigan Teacher Leadership Advisory Council (MTLAC).
  • Innovative Educator Corps: A new program authorized by the Marshall Plan for Talent. This program seeks talented educators who employ innovative strategies to help their students become career-ready in high-demand fields.
  • Talent Pool: The Michigan Talent Pool is a yearly initiative that the MDE utilizes to find talented educators in specific areas, including special education and teachers in the first part of their career. MDE then engages with these educators based on available opportunities that may be mutually beneficial.
  • #proudMIeducator: This is a Michigan Department of Education initiative that aims to acknowledge, elevate, and celebrate the work of great educators in the State of Michigan. Help celebrate Proud Michigan Educators by liking, sharing, and commenting on our posted videos; sharing your own video and tagging us; and using #proudMIeducator to celebrate your work and the work of other #proudMIeducators.
  • Troops To Teachers (TTT): TTT Recruits K-12 teachers for math, science, bi-lingual education, and special education content areas for high-needs districts. They assist in transitioning eligible military personnel to a new career as classroom teachers in K-12 public schools. A stipend of up to $5,000 to pay for certification requirements, or a bonus of $10,000 if employed in a high needs school, is available to eligible veterans. Both financial assistance options require a 3-year teaching commitment. Funding is in addition to the GI Bill and other VA benefits.

Additional Ideas and Information

In what ways are you recognizing your outstanding teachers? Share your ideas in the comments below.

Read more about Educator Workforce Research. 

This blog post was written by Jennifer Robel, MDE and edited by Amanda Walma, Professional Development Coordinator at Kent ISD.

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