States, schools, and districts around the country are coming up with new ways to grow and sustain the teacher workforce, from ensuring new teachers have teacher mentors to reevaluating how teachers are certified. The current shortage represents a significant opportunity for policymakers to adjust and reform teacher compensation systems.

This Spotlight features resources designed to support state, school, and district systems to increase teacher compensation, improve working conditions, and utilize evidence-based practices for recruiting and retaining teachers.

Increasing Compensation

Teacher at a dry erase boardWestEd launched the Teacher Compensation Initiative in November 2022 with a Washington, DC, roundtable of experts in policy, practice, and research who met to discuss education funding, teacher compensation, and teacher shortages.

The Initiative aims to provide resources for changing the systems governing how teachers are compensated. Visit the Initiative’s website to read the four-part blog series, Money Matters: Conversations About Teacher Compensation, and watch short interviews with experts on the subject.

Visit WestEd’s Teacher Compensation Initiative.

Addressing Workplace Conditions

REL Northwest is supporting the Lower Kuskokwim School District in Alaska to improve teacher retention in the district through the Alaska Improving Teacher Retention and Recruitment in Rural Schools partnership. To ground the work, REL Northwest gathered existing research that examined the relationship between teacher working conditions and teacher retention.

From the studies, they created a downloadable fact sheet that identifies eight categories of working conditions that may influence a teacher’s decision to stay or leave:

  • Engaging with Families and Communities
  • School Leadership
  • Managing Student Conduct
  • Teacher Leadership
  • School Facilities and Resources
  • Instructional Practices and Support
  • Use of Time
  • Professional Development

Download the REL Northwest fact sheet.

Using Evidence-Based Practices

Science Teacher and studentsWhile teacher recruitment and retention issues are prevalent nationwide, REL West has been working within the West Region to understand the issues at a local level and identify ways to work with our partners to bring evidence-based resources and couple them with the local contexts of each state to identify ways to apply data use and applied research to inform strategies at the state and district levels. Through needs sensing with partners at the Utah State Board of Education (USBE), teacher retention and early career attrition were identified as issues for which the state seeks to make evidence-informed changes.

In response, REL West and USBE have launched the Utah Early Career Teacher Retention Partnership to learn more about the root causes of early career attrition across the state and to identify evidence-based strategies that districts can use to address them.

Learn more about this partnership, plus other evidence-based resources from the Regional Educational Laboratories.

Subscribe to the E-Bulletin

Screenshot of the May 2023 E-BulletinStay informed about WestEd’s research, resources, services, events, and career opportunities by subscribing to our E-Bulletin.  Our May 2023, Volume Two issue explores how states, districts, and schools can support and grow the nation’s teacher workforce. Topics include the following:

  • WestEd’s Teacher Compensation Initiative
  • Addressing Working Conditions to Improve Teacher Retention
  • Growing and Sustaining California’s Teacher Residency Grant Program
  • Evidence-Based Practices in Recruitment and Retention
  • Teacher Workforce Challenges in the West Region
  • Going Beyond the Data to Diversify the Teacher Workforce
  • How Will the Pandemic Impact the Next Generation of Teachers?
  • Developing Supportive and Sustainable Environments for Teachers

View the Latest E-Bulletin.

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