The Influx of New Teachers
Vol. 15 No. 4
Public schools around the nation are experiencing a higher percentage of new teachers. According to data from the Department of Education, 12% of all public school teachers are in their first or second year of teaching—in some states, more than 15%. This “greening trend” in teaching has been noticeable and well-researched over the past two decades.
Schools are fully aware that new teachers require a lot of extra support—and this is just as true in private-independent schools as public schools. Is your school experiencing an influx of new teachers each year? Perhaps more important, have you noticed higher teacher attrition among the younger faculty members?
The key—beyond enhancing morale not only with new teachers but your veterans—is professional development. This is particularly important for those teachers new to your faculty. And the Board must allocate funds to support this priority.
The Brookings Institute recently published an article in its Evidence Speaks series that showed that public schools spend about 8% of their budgets on professional development (PD) activities. The 2015 report, The Mirage, estimated that public school districts spent an average of $18,000 per teacher per year for PD. This public school focus on professional development can prove to be a serious competitive disadvantage for private schools when recruiting teachers.
ISM research indicates private-independent schools are underfunding professional development—in many schools, the percent of the budget spent is 1% or less. We recommend that at least 2% of the budget be allocated. Adding to your professional development budget should be an essential part of any good strategic plan/strategic financial plan. Measuring the return on that investment (e.g., student performance, enthusiasm, and satisfaction; faculty retention; increased expertise and effectiveness; achievement of strategic plan objectives) demonstrates that this is one of the best uses of money in your budget.
In your school’s focus on mission delivery, articulate the complex of skills faculty, staff, and administration need and the funding that requires. In light of the student experience and desired outcomes, marketing professional development can be more clearly explained. In knowing the context of PD, you are better able to identify excellent practice and mitigate the worst practices. We know teachers ultimately hold the school’s reputation in their hands—we know that professional development is critical to sustaining excellence in each teacher’s practice. Paying significant attention to this function enables your school to deliver its mission and remain competitive.
In the Board’s next strategic planning/strategic financial planning session, make sure that faculty professional development is a component of your discussion and deliberations. Appropriate funding can make a huge difference—especially when training and retaining your new teachers.
Additional ISM resources
The Source for Academic Leadership Vol. 11 No. 9 When Professional Development is Useful for Your Teachers
The Source for Private School News Vol. 15 No. 4 Report Shows Increased Spending, Emphasis on Professional Development
Additional ISM resources for Gold members
I&P Vol. 36 No. 3 ISM Success Predictor No. 17: Budgeting for Professional Development
I&P Vol. 28 No. 14 Scheduling Professional Development for Faculty and Staff