USD Professor Identifies Potential to Reduce Teacher Turnover

David DeJong Identifies Potential to Reduce Teacher Turnover David De Jong, Ed.D., identifies potential to reduce teacher turnover with curricular coaches.

VERMILLION, S.D. - University of South Dakota assistant professor David De Jong, Ed.D., identified the positive impact of curricular coaches in reducing teacher turnover in a recent study published by the International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education.

“A growing trend in K-12 education is to hire instructional coaches or curricular coaches to support K-12 teachers as they learn to implement research-based instructional strategies into their classroom,” De Jong said. “The great news is that research shows that schools that employ instructional coaches are twice as likely to retain their new teachers."

The non-profit organization Learning Policy Institute estimates that 8 percent of teachers leave the profession each year, two-thirds of them for reasons other than retirement. This turnover is costly and negatively impacts student achievement.

To investigate this problem, De Jong and colleague Ayana Campoli, Ph.D., examined data from the national Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS). These nationally representative data revealed that schools with a curricular coach showed a substantial reduction in early-career teacher turnover, especially in urban areas.

Curricular coaches fulfill many roles including collaborating and consulting with teachers and other personnel to inform and implement evidence-based practices. They remain current in best practices and assist teachers in developing curriculum, setting the pace for learning and developing assessments with the goal of supporting teachers to improve student learning.

De Jong and Campoli found that early-career teachers were almost twice as likely to leave the profession if they worked in a school without a curricular coach. They note that this is one protective factor addressing some reasons for teacher turnover.

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