"If your school's not organized to support new teachers from the beginning, then you're going to have a really hard time keeping people," warns Susan Moore Johnson, professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Johnson's words couldn't be more valid. Education has been rocked by a staggering 86% increase in teachers leaving the profession or opting for early retirement, according to the National Education Association.
School administrators are in the thick of these extraordinary challenges. With fewer teachers nationwide, even those schools that do hire new teachers face another issue: dealing with a surge of new, less-experienced educators in their classrooms.
Fresh teaching talent should be a cause for celebration. New hires have an unbridled sense of enthusiasm, passion, and drive. They genuinely want to make an impact. Unfortunately, they won't survive those first five years of teaching on enthusiasm alone. What often hinders their growth and success is the need for more mentorship and support - something districts historically provided with their more experienced colleagues. This deficiency does not reflect the new teachers' abilities or dedication. Instead, the consequence is two-sided:
Adding to these challenges, many principals and district leaders are also relatively new hires themselves (due to attrition and turnover). They, too, need guidance on how to best support the newest members of their team.
The question then arises: how can administrators effectively onboard new educators and provide consistent, ongoing professional development? The answer may lie in leveraging technology.
District administrators realize they need comprehensive programs aimed at reducing teacher attrition rates. As a result, they're now focusing on analyzing and evaluating existing induction programs to create sustainable systems for evaluation. The ultimate goal is to:
Additionally, district administrators want to facilitate job-embedded professional learning and feedback. With this solution, they can offer personalized, applicable learning opportunities tailored to individual needs to minimize attrition rates.
The need for a comprehensive and well-organized approach to supporting new teachers has never been more important. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems like Sparkrock 365 are powerful tools to address this challenge. These systems are an all-in-one solution with your Finance, Human Resources, and Payroll combined to help districts manage various administrative tasks and processes, freeing up more time for mentoring and support.
School districts can close the gap in new teacher mentorship by leveraging ERP solutions like Sparkrock 365, creating a sustainable solution for bringing on board and developing new educators. These systems can streamline processes, offer robust tools for tracking progress, and facilitate seamless communication—significantly enhancing the onboarding experience for new teachers.
A recent EdWeek Market Brief presentation highlighted that districts are facing a significant challenge when it comes to professional development. The increasing turnover rate has made it too difficult for teachers to find the time for professional growth. New educators need to develop their fundamental skills, but there aren't enough substitutes to cover them while they are outside the classroom.
Serving as a prime example of evolving educational demands, Slate Valley Schools in Vermont, where approximately a fifth of their teachers hold temporary licenses, have limited standalone professional development opportunities. As a result, they have pivoted towards job-embedded professional development (JEPD) and prioritizing instructional coaching. "It's a very different landscape now. In the past, we used to pair incoming new teachers with experienced mentors, but we are running out of mentors. The vast majority of our staff has been with the district for ten years or less. When I joined the district twelve years ago, most of our staff had been here for twenty years or more," Superintendent Brooke Olsen Farell shared, highlighting the need for districts to adapt and address the changing needs of professional development effectively.
JEPD, while not a new concept, helps refine new hires' teaching skills by being grounded in day-to-day teaching practice. It's designed to enhance teachers' content-specific instructional practices to improve student learning. Though most PD initiatives revolve around these pillars, JEPD uniquely incorporates teacher-centricity into the workday, allowing teachers to identify their needs and find viable solutions.
3 Professional Development Examples for Teachers To Do In School:
A group of teachers collaboratively plan, teach, and review a lesson. For example, a group of 4th-grade teachers might work together to develop a lesson on fractions. They would then teach the lesson while the others observe, after which they would discuss the outcomes and plan improvements.
Groups of teachers meet regularly to share expertise and work collaboratively to improve teaching skills and the academic performance of students. For example, a PLC could focus on understanding how to implement differentiated instruction in a classroom with several English language learners.
Teachers identify a challenge in their classroom, like low student engagement. They’ll research strategies to address the issue, implement them, and analyze the results. This cycle is then repeated, leading to their continual improvement.
ERP systems help administrators support new teachers during their onboarding process and can centralize and streamline administrative tasks. Removing time-consuming tasks helps to liberate administrators' time for mentoring and professional development.
For instance, Sparkrock 365 offers robust tools for tracking and reporting on the progress of new hires, ensuring they complete the necessary training and meet crucial milestones. It also allows the design of personalized onboarding plans, aligning new teachers with the resources and supports they need from day one. Furthermore, an ERP solution can automate the sharing of new upskilling opportunities for teachers based on their interests and strengths. With so few vertical opportunities in education, this helps create intrigue after the excitement of a new job wanes.
Modern ERP systems are designed to integrate with other educational software and tools, such as Learning Management Systems (LMS), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, and assessment platforms. This ensures a cohesive and connected technological ecosystem for the school district.
By utilizing ERP data in conjunction with a CRM, administrators can create a weekly newsletter spreadsheet and template tailored to the unique requirements of new teachers. While an ERP system isn’t the medium to house these newsletters, the data an ERP provides serves as a valuable resource. Coupling ERP data with a district’s CRM, helps administrators deliver relevant information on various topics essential for a new teacher’s professional growth and success.
Here are some suggested newsletter topics that can be incorporated:
To further enhance the effectiveness of these newsletters, administrators can develop surveys to gather feedback from new teachers at the beginning, middle, and end of the school year. These surveys provide valuable insights into their challenges, needs, and professional development requirements. By incorporating survey results into the newsletter content, administrators can ensure that the information shared is relevant and addresses the unique concerns of new teachers.
In the face of teacher shortages and high turnover, it's more important than ever for school administrators to leverage technology to support new hires. ERP systems like Sparkrock 365 can streamline administrative tasks, facilitate effective onboarding, deliver professional development opportunities, and help foster timely communication with teachers.
Ready to see how Sparkrock 365 can transform your new teacher support? Book a demo today, and let us help you empower your educators and enrich your learning environment.