Recruitment and Retention Through Innovative Practices

 

Puzzle pieces with the words recruit and retain

 

The educational landscape is changing, so we must be innovative in how we support, recruit, and retain high quality teachers in Duplin County Schools (DCS). Our Board of Education understands the tremendous challenges that districts face, not only here in eastern North Carolina, but across the state and beyond. Even through these challenging times, as “One Family” we are dedicated to finding solutions so that every classroom across the district is filled with highly qualified teachers. We are proud of our recruitment and retention efforts that have been implemented over the years, but we must do more. Through programs such as the Beginning Teacher Support Program, TA to Teacher, our DCS Grow Your Own Scholarship-loan opportunity, the DCS Teacher Ambassador Program, the Duplin TEACH Academy pilot, and district license support, we continue to be solution driven in our efforts and work to evaluate these efforts to ensure that they are having a positive impact with our work to support, recruit, and retain teachers.


The Beginning Teacher Support Program has been a tremendous asset for our beginning teachers in their first three years of teaching. Over the years, we have been fortunate to have Beginning Teacher Coordinators serving teachers in every school across the district providing personalized classroom support designed to meet the unique needs of our beginning teachers.  In addition, beginning teachers have direct school-based support through site coordinators, and mentors. We pride ourselves on the continuous improvements of this program and how these support efforts have continued to have an impact on teacher and student success.

 

We are also excited about the opportunities to grow our own educators through the state supported TA to Teacher Program and our DCS Grow Your Own Scholarship-loan opportunity. The TA to Teacher program supports current teacher assistants as they pursue a college degree leading to teacher licensure. Currently, DCS has three former teacher assistants that have completed the program and are employed as classroom teachers in Elementary Education and Special Education. The DCS Grow Your Own Scholarship-loan opportunity seeks out current high school students that also want to pursue a teacher education pathway with a commitment to come back to teach in Duplin County Schools.  Currently, we have seven Grow Your Own recipients employed as classroom teachers across the district in the areas of Elementary Education, Middle Grades Social Studies and Middle Grades Math.  This year, Duplin County Schools has implemented the Teacher Ambassador Program to create another “homegrown” recruitment pipeline for future educators. Teacher Ambassadors from every school designs opportunities to promote the teaching profession and increase the number of students interested in a teaching career.  Future Teacher Clubs, established in all schools, give students, as early as elementary school, an understanding of the profession, opportunities to visit schools of education and explore the profession through realistic educational activities. To further address the need for teacher candidates in DCS, the Duplin TEACH (Tomorrow’s Educators are Created Here) Academy seeks to grow, employ, and support future teachers from within our district. This year’s pilot began with the 9th grade class at Duplin Early College High School with intentions to expand to all high schools in the future.

 

In addition, our beginning teachers have a direct line of support for their teacher license process through the district’s Licensure Specialist and Beginning Teacher License Support staff. This support assists our beginning teachers in helping them understand their state established teacher license requirements so they are able to successfully convert their license within the appointed timeline. Beginning teachers have the opportunity to participate in virtual meetings at any time with license support staff based on their unique licensure needs throughout the year.

 

We truly value our teachers in Duplin County Schools. Our ability to offer personalized and strategic support has always been a top priority and it is critically important that we do whatever it takes to ensure that our teachers can be successful and remain in our classrooms. We know when our teachers are successful, they are able to truly impact the success of our students in tremendous ways, which is our ultimate goal. It’s not just about recruiting our teachers into the classroom but keeping them in our Duplin County classrooms with the support they deserve.

 

Your humble servant,

Austin Obasohan