Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Teacher turnover down in Clarke County schools - News - Online Athens

Teacher turnover down in Clarke County schools - News - Online Athens


Teacher turnover down in Clarke County schools - News - Online Athens

Posted: 08 Oct 2019 12:59 PM PDT

About 84 percent of Clarke County teachers stayed in their jobs for the current school year — a little more than last year, and well above figures from three years ago, according to the school district's latest retention report.

Clarke's public schools began the year with 14 vacancies — too many, but better than last year's 24, said Lynn Duke, the school district's chief human resources officer. In the three years before 2018-19, the average retention rate was about 77 percent, she estimated.

The current vacancies are in hard-to-fill areas such as special education and in the upper grades of middle and high school. Some still aren't permanently filled, Duke told members of the Clarke County Board of Education in a recent meeting.

About 200 teachers left after the 2018-19 school year, and 63 of those agreed to complete online exit interviews, Duke said.

The questionnaire asked the teachers why they left, and the most common response at 17 included things like spouses being transferred — issues unrelated to the teacher's employment. The second biggest category at 12 was "no reason given." But at no. 3 with 11 responses was "lack of support," Duke said.

District officials have taken some steps to address the "lack of support" responses on the surveys, including starting a teacher mentoring program.

Duke and Executive Director of Talent Management Michael Harris also broke down some of the demographics of the public school system's teacher work force.

Of all the teachers in their first through third years of teaching, a little more than half, 53 percent, were first-year. More than a third of Clarke teachers are University of Georgia graduates, concentrated somewhat in earlier grades.

"About 70 percent of the teachers we get from UGA are elementary teachers," Duke said.

About 74 percent of the school district's teachers are white, and about 21.2 percent black — slightly above the state average of 20.8 percent, according to Duke.

Nationwide, the percentage of black men and women in the teacher workforce declined from about 7.5 percent to 6.5 percent between 1987 and 2012, she told board members.

Charles Worthy, the board's longest-serving member, noted recent reports of growing teacher shortages in the state and across the country.

"I think you have done very well on that," Worthy said. "This shortage is just gong to get worse."

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