Recruitment and Retention Strategies in K12: Tips to Recruit the Best Teachers and Keep Them in Your Classrooms

Drew Whitehurst | July 27, 2021

Once you hire talented teachers, you need to keep them in your classrooms.

Classrooms filled with great teachers are paramount to students’ success. A teacher’s impact on their students’ learning outweighs other factors such as class size or technology, making it vital for school districts to recruit the strongest teachers and keep them in their classrooms. 

In the wake of the pandemic, many school districts have lost teachers at a time when they were already facing teacher shortages. This unexpected surge in teacher turnover rates has left districts scrambling. However, many view this as an opportunity for first-time teachers. In a recent EducationWeek article, Jacob Easley II, Dean of the Graduate School of Education at Touro College in NYC stated, “Because there’s so much change, now is the best time to go into the field.” 

Now is also the best time for districts to reassess both their teacher recruitment and teacher retention strategies so they can hire and keep the “top 20%” teachers. We have put together several strategies to help you build your talent pipeline with the top candidates and keep the most talented teachers at your school.

Teacher Recruitment Strategies that Work

At a time when school districts are finding it challenging to staff classrooms, many are hiring underqualified teachers—effectively increasing their turnover rate. The Illinois Network of Charter Schools has put together a list of best school hiring processes and here are a few highlights:

  • Track and Analyze Data. How many openings will you have? How many applicants and quality hires does each recruitment strategy produce? What are your candidate experience metrics? Collecting this data differentiates who can recruit the best talent and who can’t — so start tracking and analyzing your recruitment data now. If you need help tracking this data, interviewing platforms like interviewstream will track this data for you, allowing you to make data-driven hiring decisions while creating a consistent interview process.
  • Promote Your Jobs Online. In our internet-driven world, online and social media marketing is where it’s at. The most successful districts use these platforms to target candidates and build their brand awareness. By using strategic online marketing, you can set yourself apart from the competition and target the teachers you want to hire. This also allows you to meet your candidates in the online channels where they spend the most time, which is half the battle in this candidate-driven job market.
  • Pipeline Programs. Research has found that employee referral programs are the #1 source in hiring volume, quality, speed, and cost. Apprenticeship programs are an excellent opportunity to increase your internal pipelines, and many universities offer one-year master’s programs that place their students in classrooms as assistant teachers or teacher trainees.

Now that you found them, how do you keep them?

Now that you have your recruitment under control, the next step is to update your teacher retention strategies. Engage and have conversations with your teachers about their mid- and long-term career goals…what do they hope to accomplish in five, ten, or fifteen years? Genuine conversations between school administrators and teachers foster positive working environments. Data has shown that teacher turnover, especially during the summer months, impacts students’ access to top-tier teachers.

Here are a few teacher retention strategies from INCS which you should be implementing, and if you aren’t already, now is a great time to start!

  1. Leadership Pipelines. It is crucial to give your teachers opportunities for growth. Implement a leadership pipeline to provide teachers with paths to future leadership positions (i.e., department head, assistant principal, and principal).
  2. Competitive Salaries. Teachers are molding our future leaders and should be compensated for doing so. Studies show that 89% of new teachers starting at 40k or above stayed at their school compared to 80% of teachers paid below 40k. 
  3. Communicate. Have “stay conversations.” While many school leaders believe that they are having these conversations already, they are often one-sided. Being clear and intentional is key. Tell the teacher how valued they are and ask them what would make them stay and what could draw them away. Listen to your teachers and use their input to increase retention. This is an excellent opportunity to make use of on-demand video interviews, which allow your teachers to answer “stay” questions on their own time, in an environment in which they feel comfortable giving you raw, honest feedback.

Upgrade Your K12 Recruitment Strategy

Teachers plant seeds of knowledge that last a lifetime. With the new school year approaching, and schools preparing to hire, now is the time to upgrade your teacher recruitment and retention strategies. We want to help you fill your classrooms with the strongest teachers for your students. Schedule a demo today to learn how interviewstream can increase your hiring effectiveness and improve your district’s teacher recruitment and retention.

About The Author

Drew Whitehurst is the Director of Marketing at interviewstream. He's been with the company since 2014 working in client services and marketing. He is an analytical thinker, coffee enthusiast, and hobbyist at heart.


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