Factors that Affect Retention of Novice Teachers in Hard-to-Staff High Schools in Virginia
Blunt, Mechelle Savedge
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The mobility rates within the Kindergarten--Grade 12 teacher workforce are distressing, and the teaching profession has a relatively high turnover rate compared to other occupations. The Commonwealth of Virginia encounters many challenges when attempting to retain highly qualified teachers in schools. Despite the state's efforts to staff all schools, high teacher turnover rates persist. Novice teacher attrition is more prevalent in schools identified as hard-to-staff. Turnover affects not only the composition of faculties at individual schools and the stability of these schools but the quality of the teacher workforce as well. The factors that affect the retention of novice teachers in hard-to-staff high schools in Virginia were examined in this study. Similar to Giacometti's (2005) study, compensation, pre-service preparation, external forces, school culture, in-service training support, motivation to teach, and emotional factors were variables used in this investigation. Demographics, principal leadership actions, and economic conditions were added to Giacometti's original theory of novice teacher retention, and some of Giacometti's variables were refined to improve the theory and the quality of the measurements. Following descriptive and exploratory bivariate analyses, binary logistic regression was applied to predict teacher retention with two levels: planning to leave the school and planning to stay in the school. Results indicate that teachers who planned to leave were more likely to be minorities, to perceive less school cultural support, and to perceive less parental support than those who planned to stay. The results of the study have significant practical implications for school leaders, especially those who serve hard-to-staff high schools, in developing retention plans to keep their highly qualified novice teachers.
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