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What We Heard at NCSC 2023

Grow Schools

June 22, 2023

What We Heard At NCSC

This year’s National Charter Schools Conference in Austin was such a great chance to connect with so many charter leaders from across the nation.

Our main session, How to Buy Your School: Getting the Timing Right, covered how to prepare for the ideal buying conditions, how much to budget, and how to identify the right timing. Audience members also heard from Wes Graner and Marshall Emerson on building and improving their schools’ forever homes to accommodate growth.

We also partnered with the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools in offering the Leadership Lab, a space dedicated to developing your skills through engaging in on-stage conversations and one-on-one consultations with industry experts. We hosted conversations about mental health, engaging the community, marketing materials, and website best practices. At our booth, we handed out 1,000+ pairs of #welovecharterschools socks and connected with leaders about how we can best serve schools this coming school year.

A Top Concern for the Second Year in a Row: Teacher Retention

Along with enrollment, school buildings, and money to run schools, a top concern we heard from school leaders: teacher retention and well-being. This is what we heard last year, too.

It comes as no surprise that teacher retention remains a top concern. Just this week, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools reported on a recent poll that focused on the state of teachers’ well-being and job satisfaction.

Here are key takeaways from the poll:

  • Teacher stress: The poll reveals that teachers continue to face significant stress in their profession, which can impact their overall well-being.
  • Lack of respect: Many teachers feel a lack of respect from the community, parents, and even their own students, which contributes to their stress levels.
  • Job satisfaction: Despite the stress and perceived lack of respect, teachers reported higher levels of job satisfaction compared to the previous year.
  • Pandemic impact: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a substantial impact on teachers, with increased workload, burnout, and challenges associated with remote and hybrid learning.
  • Politics: Most public school teachers express their desire to keep politics from interfering with their teaching responsibilities. The survey, which included responses from over 1,200 teachers, revealed that 91 percent of teachers feel caught in the middle of culture wars, while 94 percent want to focus on teaching.
  • Support from colleagues: Teachers reported finding solace and support from their colleagues, indicating the importance of a strong professional network.
  • Mental health concerns: The poll highlights the need for increased attention to teachers’ mental health and the importance of providing resources and support.
  • Appreciation from students: Despite feeling disrespected by some students, teachers also reported feeling appreciated by others, which can positively impact their well-being.

Overall, the poll suggests that while teachers face various challenges and stressors in their profession, they still find satisfaction in their work when they receive support from colleagues and students. However, addressing teacher stress, increasing respect, and promoting mental health support remain crucial for improving teacher well-being.

The findings prompted Nina Rees, CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, to express gratitude towards teachers and emphasize the need for increased support based on their feedback. “We owe an immense debt of gratitude to teachers,” she said in response to the findings. “We must listen to what they are telling us and do more to support them.”

Teacher Retention Resources

Our mission is to help school leaders get where they’re going—and that means providing the money, resources, and know-how to help create thriving schools. You can find the following free resources to support teacher retention:

Teacher Retention for 2023 & Beyond: How to Build a Lasting Relationship

Join Dr. Charlotte Pullins and Professor Tuan Nguyen to discover what you can do to create lasting relationships with your educators.

You’ll learn:

  • The facts on why teachers are leaving the profession
  • Ways to offer support and encourage teacher growth
  • Tips for managing your school so that teachers are excited to stay

Hiring and Supporting Special Education Teachers

To attract and retain special education teachers, schools can show they can provide what these teachers need to thrive in their roles. Watch this webinar with expert Ingrid Wulczyn of Project IDEA to improve your school’s special education teacher recruitment, hiring process, and ability to provide needed, ongoing support.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Support your special education teachers so they grow with your school
  • Write job descriptions that attract passionate and dedicated candidates for special education roles
  • Ensure each step of the hiring process reflects an understanding of special education teachers’ unique roles

Teacher Retention Guide

The guide includes insights from Dr. Charlotte Pullins, founder of ELC Training and Consulting LLC and renowned specialist on diversity and inclusion for charter schools. It includes a recruitment process plan and an action plan template for charter schools to address their specific retention problems and track progress.

You’ll discover:

  • Best practices for building strong teacher-school relationships
  • How to promote growth and provide leadership opportunities
  • How to support teacher wellness, encourage autonomy, and give teachers a voice
  • Tips for recruiting and retaining teachers of color
  • Ways you can create an inclusive and equitable school environment
  • How to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging

We value this kind of feedback from charter leaders and plan to continue providing resources on teacher retention. If you have a concern you’d like us to cover, please let us know!

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