- A report published by Florida TaxWatch on Thursday covered a roundtable discussion event comprised of ten distinguished school principals
- During the event, the participants deduced that teacher retention and development are two key factors in improving a school’s performance
- As many Florida counties face teacher shortages, education leaders are attempting to find better ways to retain skilled teachers and administrators
Florida TaxWatch on Thursday released a report providing a comprehensive summary of a roundtable discussion with ten school principals. During the event, the principals unanimously concluded that retaining quality teachers and establishing a positive school culture is key to raising educational standards within the state.
The education leaders unanimously agreed that attracting high-quality teachers is more important than ever, as schools face unprecedented vacancy rates and threats of isolation imposed by rising living costs.
Numerous Florida school districts are facing critical shortages of qualified teachers and have been left to seek alternative measures to fill vacant positions. In the report, one principal discussed a Florida county with more than 1,000 vacancies.
Teacher effectiveness has been a leading driver of student success, but retention is not guaranteed. While the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated a preexisting issue, most cited teachers state they left teaching because the pay did not merit the disappointments and stress of the job.
One suggestion offered by the distinguished principals included schools being more upfront with prospective teachers before being hired, providing insight as to what to expect and what they will encounter. Additionally, the leaders proposed leveraging a teacher’s skillset and passion, then supporting their progress through professional development.
“We know strong schools produce capable, self-sufficient students, which ultimately allows Florida to maintain a competitive economic standing and ensure the wellbeing of its citizens,” Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic M. Calabro. “However, we also recognize that strong schools don’t just happen – they are the direct result of dedicated, innovative educators and, in particular, principals.”
Through discussion, the group deduced that effective principals work to develop connections between teachers by encouraging open communication and guiding teachers to reflect critically on their own learning and teaching practices.
Moreover, a focus was placed on collaborative principal-teacher relationships and a common shared vision. In facilitating participatory decision-making, collaboration, and shared instructional leadership that puts the students’ learning first, the principals claim a teacher’s best practice can easily translate into a schoolwide best practice.
“Effective principals lead this progress, setting expectations early and steering teacher development through the use of evaluations and collaborative opportunities,” states the report. “This leadership also helps teachers feel supported, reinforcing retention. A principal’s time in the classroom should be focused on enhancing the ability of the teachers to serve their students. Research on principal leadership indicates that principals are most effective when they focus on instructional improvement, share decision-making with teachers, and encourage teachers to work together actively toward instructional improvement.”