Our goal in the induction process is to help new teachers transition into our district culture, to understand our academic expectations and the commitment we have to school/community partnerships.”Matt Kinsburgy, VSCSD High School Principal
A business that constantly loses trained workers and hires new ones has higher costs because advertising, interviewing, hiring, and training new workers is expensive. High turnover often leads to quality problems because no one learns to be part of a high-performing team.
Schools are no different. Research shows that costs to replace a teacher in a rural district can be as high as $10,000, while in urban schools it is roughly $17,000. Nationally, between 30% and 50% of first-year teachers will not be on the job in three years.
Reducing costs and improving quality are why Vinton-Shellsburg is committed to coaching and mentoring teachers in their first two years. Not only does V-S’s program saves money over time, but it also saves the new teacher, their entire team, and their students from experiencing unnecessary difficulties caused when a new teacher struggles.
“People entering the teaching profession are idealistic and have very high expectations for themselves,” says Kim Owen, Regional Administrator of the Grant Wood Area Education Agency who assists with the school’s program focused on hiring and retaining teachers. “By October or November of their first year, many new teachers are overwhelmed; they may be surprised at how hard it is to meet the needs of every student in their classroom, and they’ve been through their first parent-teacher conferences and reviews by administrators. Suddenly, as they are reworking lesson plans, adjusting to what’s happening in their classroom, and putting in long days and working weekends to get those lesson plans done, they recognize the gap that exists between their education and being fully prepared for the classroom.”
To bridge that gap, Vinton-Shellsburg takes full advantage of the teacher coaching program provided through Grant Wood AEA. The Grant Wood AEA induction coaches are a group of excellent teachers who apply to work outside their classroom for four years sharing their experience and being mentors for first and second-year teachers. Among the 16 school districts of the Grant Wood AEA Induction Consortium, there are currently 240 new teachers receiving coaching assistance. The districts are reimbursed for the cost of the teaching coaches they lend to the program.
The program has been in place for six years and Vinton-Shellsburg, like other schools in the Grant Wood AEA group, now retain between 85% and 95% of first-year teachers. New V-S teachers experience greater satisfaction with their work, accelerate their skill development, and achieve higher learning outcomes than teachers left to sink or swim on their own.
“Vinton-Shellsburg supplements what we do with other activities to improve the effectiveness of first and second-year teachers,” says Owen. “The support for this effort starts with their school board; it’s evident in Superintendent Hainstock’s commitment to the program, the building administrators, and the veteran teachers. It’s a group effort that really pays off for students and the district.”