Educator Workforce

Strengthening and diversifying the educator workforce is a priority area in U.S. education policy and is based on a substantive body of research that consistently shows that teachers are the single most important school-based factor in a student's academic growth. Indeed, the effects of teachers on student achievement are both additive and cumulative and are shown to have the most significant benefit for lower-achieving students. As leaders strive to address achievement gaps for students of color, diversifying the educator workforce has become prominent due to research showing the positive effects of students having exposure to same-race teachers.. 

Bright Ideas Across the Network

The Alabama Coaching Framework

The Alabama Coaching Framework sets the standard for how coaches in any content area conduct their work in Alabama. This evidence-based coaching framework provides a foundation for the work of Alabama literacy coaches, including English Learner coaches hired through the Alabama Literacy Act to support instruction in K-3. Based on Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey’s vision to provide innovative support to teachers, the framework was created with Implementation Science in mind, and incorporates elements of the Alabama Strategic Plan.

Access this resource from Region 7.

Lessons Learned around Reducing Inequitable Access to High Quality Teachers

In 2016, the North Carolina State Board of Education (NCSBE) developed the Teacher Compensation Models and Advanced Teaching Roles (ATR) pilot program. Initially, a three-year pilot, the program was revised in 2018 to become an eight-year pilot through the 2024-2025 school year. This document provides insights into some of the early lessons learned in implementing the program. 

Access the resource from Region 6 here.

Addressing Educator Workforce Shortages: A State Comparison Brief

The Region 12 conducted a scan to explore the innovative programs, policies, and practices that state education agencies and other education entities are using to mitigate educator staffing challenges. The report highlights common and promising practices used to address educator shortages, examines how key states are tackling shortages specifically in the context of COVID-19, and provides a state-by-state crosswalk of efforts to recognize, address, and mitigate educator shortages by region.

Access the resource from Region 12 here.

Getting Oriented to Strengthening and Diversifying the Teacher Workforce

With persistent educator shortages, declines in educator preparation programs, and troubling rates of attrition, education agencies are searching for proven and innovative strategies to ensure their students have access to the teachers and leaders they need. In addition, factors associated with the COVID-19 pandemic have left schools across the country facing their toughest staffing challenges in recent memory—at a moment when students need diverse, effective teachers more than ever.


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Attracting and Recruiting Educator Talent

Although states maintain a focus on recruiting and retaining qualified and competent teachers, it is particularly difficult for schools considered hard to staff—those with high concentrations of low-performing, low-income students; high teacher turnover; and relatively high percentages of teachers who are less than fully certified. Therefore, efforts to hire and retain teachers in high-need schools, teachers of color, and teachers certified in STEM/computer science subjects are top priorities in teacher recruitment and retention.

 

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Strategic Use of Data to Support Recruitment and Retention

The Region 8 Comprehensive Center developed this brief as part of its support for the Indiana Department of Education’s educator recruitment and retention efforts. The document details the different types of recruitment and retention data and how to use such data to answer key questions. In addition, the brief outlines how to use data throughout the process of teacher and leader recruitment.

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Strengthening the Teacher Workforce through Selection Processes
The COVID-19 pandemic has created disruptions in the teacher workforce, including reductions-in-force due to budget cuts, hesitation from teachers to return in-person to the classroom, and relaxed standards for entering the profession. This brief from the National Comprehensive Center is aimed at district and school staff involved in the teacher selection process, provides literature-based recommendations to improve the teacher selection process as a cost-effective means of strengthening the teacher workforce.

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Lessons Learned around Reducing Inequitable Access to High Quality Teachers
In 2016, the North Carolina State Board of Education (NCSBE) developed the Teacher Compensation Models and Advanced Teaching Roles (ATR) pilot program. Initially, a three-year pilot, the program was revised in 2018 to become an eight-year pilot through the 2024-2025 school year. This document provides insights into some of the early lessons learned in implementing the program.

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Opportunity Culture: Lessons Learned - An Executive Brief for District Leaders in North Carolina
This brief from Region 6 CC highlights lessons learned from eight North Carolina school districts that are designing and implementing Opportunity Culture school staffing models. Of North Carolina’s initial 10 Advanced Teaching Roles pilot districts, six elected to use the Opportunity Culture model.

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Illinois Teacher Recruitment, Retention, and Recognition Project: Summary of Findings From Illinois Student Focus Groups and Teacher Interviews

Region 9 Comprehensive Center (R9CC) and Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) collaboratively collected and analyzed teacher workforce data to identify barriers for recruiting and retaining an effective and diverse teacher workforce. R9CC and ISBE used the Teacher Shortage Tool from the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders to identify equity and diversity gaps within the teacher pipeline and created problem statements that characterize the teacher shortage in Illinois.

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Tools to Hone Your Teacher Retention Strategies: Program Profiles and Data Inventory
Over the years, districts and states have worked to tackle teacher shortages creatively using a variety of incentives, mentorship initiatives, trainings, and leadership programs. But how can education leaders discern which of these efforts are actually improving teacher retention? The imminent effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the teacher workforce make answering this question even more urgent. Although none of us knows precisely what a postpandemic future may hold, a recent Region 9 Comprehensive Center (R9CC) project with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) offers some lessons and tools for states and other districts to consider as they grapple with this issue.

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Preparing and Certifying Teachers

States are rethinking their policy and program systems for preparing educators for several reasons, including shortages, attrition, and the need to attract a more diverse workforce. As a result, educator preparation is rapidly evolving, with more "grow your own" programs and the increasing popularity of high school pathways, residencies, and other alternate routes to certification. Paired with more flexible licensing policies, states can take meaningful action to develop and hire high-quality teachers.

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The Mutually Beneficial Partnership
This Region 7CC brief highlights ways that states, districts, and Educator Preparation Programs (EPPs) can collaborate during recovery from COVID-19 to strengthen systems and relationships across the educator workforce and support student learning.

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Preparing Future Educators and Youth Workers in Michigan
The Regional Center 8 is supporting the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) in making changes to expand secondary learning opportunities for all students. Under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), Career and Technical Education (CTE) curricula will be directly tied to credentials that allow employment upon graduation. Students in the Education & Training career cluster will be able to work toward the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential or the Michigan Youth Development Associate (MI-YDA) Credential.

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Diversifying the Educator Workforce

Most students of color are not taught by teachers of the same race and ethnicity.  A diverse teaching force may help states and districts close large, persistent gaps in academic performance and improve the educational outcomes of students of color. Matching student and teacher race may result in more culturally-relevant instruction and more positive perceptions of teachers.

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Teacher Diversity and Student Success: Why Racial Representation Matters in Classrooms
In a forum hosted by the National Comprehensive Center for State education leaders, the authors of the 2021 book Teacher Diversity and Student Success: Why Racial Representation Matters in the Classroom present important and informative empirical findings, provide the important backdrop of the racialized history of teaching, and provide policy and practice solutions that can work to address racial gaps in the teacher workforce in the short and long term. This collection includes presentations from the researchers/authors and resources related to the strategic policy approaches discussed in the presentation and detailed in their book.

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Addressing the Bilingual Teacher Shortage
This brief from Region 4 CC is the second of a four-part series that focuses on bilingual education, bilingual educators, and addressing the bilingual teacher shortage in contexts across the United States. This research was commissioned by the New Jersey State Department of Education, which is committed to providing quality bilingual education to its linguistically diverse student population.

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A Coalition For Teacher Diversity
In this webinar, participants heard about a comprehensive, robust statewide coalition that has been working since 2016 to increase the percentage of teachers of color and American Indian teachers in Minnesota which stands at 5% while students of color represent 37% of all students. Working from a five-point platform, the Coalition has garnered bipartisan endorsement in the legislature for its Increase Teachers of Color Act and has succeeded in getting an increase of annual state funding from $4 million to $15 million for a variety of initiatives.

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Increasing Workforce Diversity To Boost Learning Recovery Efforts
Students hardest hit by the pandemic can benefit when districts couple effective strategies for summer learning, tutoring, and enrichment with research on the benefits of a racially diverse staff.  This webinar from the Summer Learning & Enrichment Collaborative provides suggestions on how to use ESSER funds to bolster student learning while expanding the pipeline of teachers of color. 

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Developing Culturally Responsive Practices

Data consistently reveals troubling trends in academic success for black and brown students in this country. The experiences of many students whose identities and family backgrounds do not reflect the dominant culture in American schools makes the case for schools to shift toward culturally relevant pedagogy and practice. This shift means that culturally relevant pedagogy and practices must provide a way for students to maintain their cultural integrity while succeeding academically.

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Culturally Responsive Practice as a Strategy for Diversifying the Educator Workforce

State and local education leaders were invited to join this Town Hall event featuring renowned researcher and educator, Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings, on the importance of culturally responsive pedagogy, practices, and culture in recruiting, preparing, retaining, and supporting a racially diverse educator workforce. Dr. Ladson-Billings moderated a conversations with a panel of youth of color who shared their experiences and insights to illuminate our understanding of the importance of having racially diverse educators.

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Raising Awareness of the New York State Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Framework
To present key aspects of the CR-S Education Framework in a succinct format, easily accessible to a wider audience, the Region 2 CC team worked with NYSED staff to consider the questions educational partners, including teachers, community members, families, and administrators, may have about culturally responsive-sustaining education and the Framework.

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Supporting Professional Growth and Evaluation Systems

It is widely established that engaging in-service teachers, particularly those in the first few years of their career, in high-quality professional learning activities leads to improvements in practice and improved rates of retention. A review of studies demonstrating a positive link between teacher professional development, teaching practices, and student outcomes point to these features of effective professional development:

  • is content focused
  • Incorporates active learning utilizing adult learning theory
  • Supports collaboration, typically in job-embedded contexts
  • Uses models and modeling of effective practice
  • Provides coaching and expert support
  • Offers opportunities for feedback and refection
  • Is of sustained duration

 

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Considerations for Developing Effective Math Coaches: A Content-Driven Perspective
This resource from Region 7CC examines some limitations of current mathematics instruction and provides key considerations for coaches of mathematics teachers.

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TI Brief #4: Prioritizing Teachers: Importance of Self-Care and Adult Social and Emotional Competencies
It is important now more than ever for states and districts to support their teachers by addressing their mental health and social and emotional needs. Professional development trainings (PD) are a great way to focus on teacher self-care and foster adult social and emotional competencies that are both critical for creating safe and supportive learning environments. The brief highlights two critical components of professional development trainings for educators –self-care, and adult social and emotional competencies, commonly referred to as “adult SEL.” The brief provides guidance for practitioners at the school, district, and state level on how to develop a tailored approach for conducting PD for educators, by fostering their well-being and building their capacity to engage in trauma-informed pedagogy. Additional resources about PD are provided at the end of the brief.

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Building Teacher Capacity in K–12 Computer Science by Promoting Formative Assessment Literacy
This whitepaper, from the National Comprehensive Center. presents a call to action for states and school districts to support Computer Science (CS) teacher capacity-building through standards-aligned, sustained, scalable, and reusable teacher professional development (PD). This strategy promotes teachers’ CS formative assessment literacy as a way to improve their ability to effectively teach CS.

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Adult Learning Framework
The Adult Learning Framework and toolkit were developed by Region 5CC to support education stakeholders in their efforts to ensure all professional learning experiences are high quality, conducted and assessed consistently, and are aligned with adult learning theories.

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Planning Engaging Learning Experiences
This Region 5 resource provides recommendations for methods, tools, suggested (not endorsed) sample solutions, and tasks trainers can use to increase participant engagement in professional learning experiences. It also outlines connections between adult learning principles and steps in the Adult Learning Framework.

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Digital Professional Learning for K–12 Teachers: Literature Review and Analysis
To help those in charge of developing and delivering teacher professional learning online, this brief summarizes themes from an informational scan of research on digital professional learning. Many sources reviewed for this brief were written by authors outside the United States, and much of the information looks specifically at rural areas, which have had to deal with issues of isolation prior to the current pandemic.

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Cultivating Educational Leadership

Educational leadership capacities are needed throughout education systems and are enacted by district and school administrators as well as by teachers. Providing teachers with opportunities to develop their leadership skills recognizes their stature as instructional experts and their potential to influence learning beyond the classroom.  Leadership development can occur at an individual, team, or organizational level and may include leadership pathway programs and opportunities to improve policy and practice, among other approaches to improve student achievement and educator decision-making.  

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Success Stories from Region 5: Promoting Teacher Leadership in West Virginia
The Region 5 Comprehensive Center (R5CC) team shares success stories about its capacity building work with departments of education in Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia to meet state and regional needs. Collaborative state-level work requires continued buy-in and support even as leadership and strategy shift. Stories can be used to clarify a vision, explain interconnected systems and how they fit together, or encourage user-generated content.

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Principal Leadership at a Challenging Time: An Evaluation of the Missouri Leadership Development System
The 2019–2020 school year marked the first year that all four levels of the Missouri Leadership Development System (MLDS) became available to participants. The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is interested in learning from educators across the state about the implementation of the program, both preceding and during the COVID-19 pandemic. To help DESE in this area, the Region 12 Comprehensive Center (R12CC), funded under a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Education, conducted this evaluation on the implementation of MLDS. The purpose of the evaluation is to support DESE in understanding the current perceived impact and making evidence-based refinements to the program.

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