Boise State study boosts teacher retention

Boise State study boosts teacher retention
Posted at 4:32 PM, Mar 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-04 06:02:11-05

BOISE — Boise State says its commitment to the students, ready to take on their first year as a teacher, doesn’t end on graduation day.

"They still need support, it would be irresponsible of us to think we were done when they graduated from our programs," said interim dean of the college of education Jennifer Snow.

Since 2015 they’ve created a study and a series of workshops for teachers in their first two years.

“We wanted to bring them together in a collaborative workshop model, we wanted to come out to their classrooms and observe them, we wanted to take some survey data and see what their principal thought of their practice as well as their own students," said Boise State coordinator for clinical practice and partnerships Sherry Dismuke.

It focuses on improving the stress factors, which could lead to them leaving the profession. Since the start, sixty teachers have participated. Seventeen participating teachers are new this year. Teachers learn from professionals about analyzing data, improving instruction, and even mental health-related topics. The biggest, however, is goal setting.

“Sometimes it's the norms and procedures in the classroom, the routine for getting a drink going to line up in the hallway, and every little thing that you can feel that success, you realize you’re building on that foundation you already had and I believe that is what can set you on a path towards retention," said Snow.

Snow says all except 2 participants who have continued teaching have also stayed in the state. According to Idaho Education News, Idaho’s teacher retention rate is about 84 percent.

“We’re finding the teachers in the study had a 90% retention rate, which means we have about 90% of the teachers who participated still teaching after five years and that’s really high because nationally it's around 50%," said Dismuke.

The education program at Boise State requires students to spend a full year working alongside a professional in a classroom before they can graduate. These workshops offer additional support for real-life situations, which you can’t always emulate as a student.

“When you go out on your own, there is no way we can prepare you for having to be there, making all the decisions on your own," said Snow.

Ultimately, expanding resources for new teachers leads to more veteran teachers.