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Module 4: Retaining Effective Teachers

Retaining highly effective teachers is one of the most powerful strategies for improving school performance. There are two potential paths regarding retaining highly effective teachers: retaining them as teachers or retaining them through promotion into leadership positions. For the retention strategies to be successful, it is critical to understand which path each teacher wants to pursue.

Research by Fuller et al. (2018) has indicated that teacher working conditions impact retention more so than student achievement or student characteristics.  There are three components of teacher working conditions: Principal Effectiveness, School Resources, and Other School Characteristics. 

Teacher Working Conditions_v3

Strategic retention strategies include:

  • Developing a high-quality induction program for teachers who are new to the school.
  • Providing opportunities for teachers to develop new knowledge and skills.
  • Providing instructional leadership opportunities for highly effective teachers.
  • Creating a school culture in which excellent teaching is defined and recognized.

Quick Reads

Read the following articles:

  1. TNTP: The Irreplaceables: Understanding the Real Retention Crisis in America’s Urban Schools. Retrieved from  While this brief focused on urban schools, the solutions described on page 7 can be applied to all settings. The main takeaway is to develop targeted retention strategies for high-performing teachers to keep them at your school.
  2. Fuller, E.J., Pendola, A., & Young, M.D. (2018). Policy Brief 2018-2: The Role of Principals in Reducing Teacher Turnover and the Shortage of Teachers.

Reflection Activity

Describe a plan you might develop to help retain the high flyer you identified in the “Strategic Retention and Intervention Reflection.”

Consider the following:

  1. In what kind of professional development opportunities could you engage this teacher?
  2. What kind of leadership opportunities could you provide for this teacher?
  3. How could you make this teacher feel recognized, supported, and appreciated?

You will add your plan to the document you saved titled Strategic Retention and Intervention Reflection in the third column of the high-performing teacher chart. Save your document for future reference as you will use the document throughout the remainder of this module.

Continue to Module 4: Intervening with and Supporting Struggling Teachers