Teachers of color at all-time high
By Mark Hebert
Nov.13, 2023—After a tough 2021-22 led to a significant number of teacher resignations (430) before last school year, Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) teacher retention rate improved for the start of this school year with 11.9 percent fewer teacher resignations (379 teachers). JCPS’ current teacher retention rate of 94.9 percent is nearly a point-and-a-half higher than last school year.
“The bounce back for our teacher retention rate is directly tied to the hard work our school principals are putting in to listen to their teachers and meet their needs,” said Aimee Green-Webb, JCPS Chief Human Resources Officer. “Our teachers are dedicated, love their students and want to stay in the classroom. We’re trying to make it as easy as possible for them to do that in an environment that can be challenging, at times.”
The nationwide shortage of teachers graduating from colleges of education has prompted school districts, including JCPS, to redouble efforts to keep the teachers they have. According to the JCPS Office of Employee Retention’s Marco Munoz, a few of the key strategies being used to improve teacher retention include:
- Using teacher-voice data to guide improvements
- Coaching sessions with all school principals
- Displaying appreciation in more ways
- Emphasizing wellbeing to prevent teacher burnout
The high mark for JCPS’ teacher retention occurred during the COVID pandemic in 2021-22 when 97.3 percent of teachers stayed on.
The current school year will also be the first in which 17 percent of JCPS teachers are of color. The District has emphasized efforts to attract and keep more teachers of color to be a better reflection of JCPS’ student body, of which nearly two thirds are children of color. JCPS is also retaining a bigger share of its teachers of color than in years past.
A 2023 survey of JCPS teachers found an overwhelming majority are satisfied with their careers and the District. The survey showed gains in 9 of the 10 areas surveyed including school safety, appreciation, and teacher voice and leadership. There were significant gains (7%) in their views of professional development, work/life balance, and compensation/career path though teachers’ responses also indicated the latter two categories need the most attention.