On July 26, Coalition for Education Equity released the final report from the “Research-based Educator System Support” (RESS) pilot study, designed to study and support educator workforce satisfaction and retention. The study was conducted throughout the 2017-2018 school year, with five of Coalition for Education Equity member school districts (Alaska Gateway, Kashunamiut, Nome, Northwest Arctic, Yupiit) and consisted of four surveys combined with direct district support (data sharing and analysis and consultation). Advice and guidance for the study was provided by an advisory team consisting of Sarah Sledge (CEEquity Executive Director), Daniel Walker (LKSD Superintendent, CEEquity President), and Sana Efird (DEED Deputy Commissioner), and funding provided through the Coalition for Education Equity from Moore Settlement funds.
Dr. Barbara Adams and Jerry Covey conducted the study and have provided the final report, which can be found on the Coalition for Education Equity website. The process and information gleaned from the study proved beneficial to individual school districts, and also provide us with salient recommendations for local and state policy and practices. Two important observations gleaned from the process include: 1) school board support is critical for implementing this type of information gathering and for engaging in constructive dialogue with educators that makes them feel heard, valued, and supported; and 2) the importance of assisting principals with constructive engagement and communication with their teachers.
Additional key takeaways and recommendations:
- Efforts to establish quality relationships between teachers and leadership, co-workers, and community require year-round consistent communications;
- Inconsistent application of discipline policies and procedures can create instability in the workforce;
- High value is placed on integrating local cultural knowledge and activities into teaching practice. But efforts to develop and integrate cultural curriculum materials and teaching strategies into the classroom and to prepare teachers to deliver them are often insufficient;
- Community engagement with schools is critical to counteracting feelings of isolation and disconnectedness among teachers (one of the most often cited reasons for teacher turnover) and supports teacher efforts to reflect community values and culture in the classroom. Many communities do a great job welcoming teachers, but efforts fall off as the year progresses;
- Teacher evaluation, recognition, and praise are all important to supporting high efficacy in educators and should be consistently practiced throughout the school year;
- Strong support and training regarding logistics and realities of living in rural districts makes a huge difference in teachers’ expectations and readiness to teach in these communities. Expanding information provided about accessing health care would be helpful;
- Teachers need more time for initial classroom set up, planning, and collaboration.
The full report can be found on our Educator Quality and Quantity (EQQ) page, and we hope our education partners will find this report useful and informative. Please let us know if you have any questions or feedback. We are looking forward to sharing this report and its recommendations across the state in the coming months.