Sustaining Strong Schools: Strategies for Teacher and Staff Retention – Event Recap

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Possip’s most recent webinar brought together a panel of experts to discuss innovative strategies for enhancing staff retention in schools. The event centered on data collected through school Pulse Checks® and underscored the importance of listening to and valuing staff feedback, a cornerstone of Possip’s mission.

Jordan Jones, a former teacher and the event’s moderator, set the stage for an insightful discussion. Jordan’s background as an educator brought a relatable and experienced perspective to the conversation.

The panel explored the “Top 10 Staff Feedback Trends” and “5 Key Recommendations” aimed at improving teacher and staff satisfaction. Highlights included the significance of peer recognition opportunities, addressing teacher workload, and bolstering internal communication systems.

Panelists

  • Shani Dowell: With over 20 years in education, including roles in teacher recruitment and retention with organizations like Teach For America and KIPP, Shani brings a wealth of experience. Her background as a teacher in various cities enriches her insights into the challenges educators face.

  • Alyssa Collins: A former teacher turned Assistant Principal in a New York City Public School, Alyssa’s transition to a school leader gives her a unique perspective on teacher satisfaction and challenges. Her current role as a Relationship Manager with Possip allows her to connect directly with educators’ needs.

  • Elizabeth Janca: Elizabeth’s background as a counselor and administrator, with a focus on operations, provides a balanced view of both human needs and operational strategies in education.

  • Jennifer Kehl: Leading data analysis for consumer brands before joining Possip, Jennifer’s expertise helps schools interpret and act upon community insights.
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Data-Informed Discussion

First, Jordan shared some of the data our team analyzed from staff surveys Possip Partners collected in 2022-23. That included the Top 10 Staff Concerns:

  1. Student Discipline/Behavior
  2. Teacher Workload
  3. Administration Feedback
  4. Compensation
  5. Communication
  6. Teacher Trainings
  7. Teacher Vacancies
  8. Teacher Duties & Requirements
  9. Curriculum Feedback
  10. School Schedule

Next, Jordan shared a chart that showed how those Top 10 concerns present throughout the school year. Our panelists explored the data and shared ways it can help school leaders manage and anticipate staff concerns. Watch as Jennifer and Elizabeth discuss their observations:

Then, Jordan asked the panelists to share their thoughts about the staff data at large: 

  • Jennifer dove into the data and some of the findings she and her team were surprised to uncover. 

  • Elizabeth further explored the connection between Teacher Vacancy concerns and concerns about Teacher Duties and Requirements and stressed the importance of protecting teacher’s planning times.

  • Alyssa discussed the motivation of teachers and how satisfying it can be to witness and celebrate students’ success in the classroom. She also talked about the changes she has seen as teaching has evolved over the past few decades, especially the focus on personalized learning, tracking progress, and communicating growth and struggles with students and families. She stressed the importance of trust within the school community and how that is supported by open lines of communication. 

  • Shani observed that the data can confirm staff experience and that school leaders can help normalize some of the stressors that staff express throughout the year. 

Key Recommendations and Tactics to Achieve Them

After the panel shared their observations, Shani walked through 5 Key Recommendations and tactics to achieve them from Possip:

Recommendation #1: Ask and Listen

In this segment, Shani Dowell explained the value of asking and listening to staff and the importance of offering an opportunity to provide anonymous feedback. 

Recommendation #2: Enhance Peer Recognition Programs

Tactics to achieve this recommendation:

  • Create a visual “Shout Out” board in public or staff-only areas
  • Save space in staff meetings for Team Brags
  • Broadcast PRAISE

Recommendation #3: Address and Reduce Staff Workload

Tactics to achieve this recommendation:

  • Calendar Opportunities to Reduce Workload
  • Ask Teachers How to Adjust Teacher Duties and Requirements 
  • Consider Options for Subbing or Covering Classes or Other Duties
  • Communicate and Respond to Mid-year Vacancies
    • Click here for specific ideas to communicate to staff, families, and students.
  • Optimize school schedules

Click here to review the resource shared in the chat with additional ideas: Ways to Reduce Workload in Your School(s). 

Recommendation #4: Give Meaningful Feedback and Support

Shani explains the feedback staff share regarding their leadership and how to proactively address those concerns.

Recommendation #5: Develop an Internal Communication Plan

Tactics to achieve this recommendation:

  • Two Way Communication Mechanisms

  • Digital Communication Platform

  • Regular Virtual Town Hall Meetings

  • Enhanced Professional Development on Communication Skills

As the event concluded, the panelists underscored the critical role of Possip in boosting staff morale. Possip’s ability to facilitate positive feedback sharing and provide actionable insights was highlighted as a key tool for school leaders in their quest to create better educational environments.

Invitation to Explore Further

To view the event’s rich discussions and insights, visit our membership portal with the code FREEMEMBER. Here, we will release the event recording and additional resources to aid in your journey towards creating stronger, more supportive school communities.